The former General Motors site along the Flint River was officially known as Chevrolet Flint Manufacturing, but many of the folks who worked there and Flint locals called it “Chevy in the Hole” — likely a reference to its location in the river valley. It was once GM’s most profitable operation, producing millions of Chevys, engines, AC spark plugs and other components that went into those Chevrolets and other GM vehicles. It’s also where the United Auto Workers made history with its massive sit-down strike in 1936-37.
Starting with an engine plant in 1913, GM grew and so did the complex, adding an assembly plant and then a Fisher Body factory in the early years. Eventually the complex’s scores of buildings took up 130 acres. As the American auto industry started its decline in the 1980s, though, and over the next two decades, the massive complex was shut down and taken apart in piecemeal fashion, just as it had been assembled. (Read More…)
TTAC commentator Arthur Dailey writes:
We all understand that developing a new vehicle requires hundreds of millions of dollars and a number of years. However between the early ’50s and late ’70s, the Detroit Three unveiled multiple “new” vehicles on an annual basis. I remember eagerly watching the first episode of Bonanza, each September through most of the ’60s because that’s when Chevrolet would unveil its new cars to the public.
The split-window Corvette, the Corvair Monza, the Caprice and the Camaro, all seen for the first time on Sunday nights.
Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.
After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.
(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)
Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.
There has been a lot of coverage recently devoted to that scandal where Volkswagen revealed that its vehicles have been polluting like a chemical company that dumps out its waste in poor neighborhoods late at night.
But this scandal seems to have taken our eye off the Volkswagen ball. I say this because the whole “cheating on diesel” thing is not Volkswagen’s only issue. It is merely one of a myriad of problems that has launched the brand into the mediocre, also-ran position where they find themselves in America today. And right now, I’m here to remind you of the largest of these problems: that they spend their money on absolutely the wrong things.
The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I felt that at any second, things might switch to black and white and Rod Serling would step out from behind one of the backdrops.
I wasn’t in the Twilight Zone, though. I was on a gentle hillside on the north side of Ann Arbor. (Read More…)
Tesla’s Q3 2014 earnings report had a few pluses (record deliveries of the Model S, high demand for the D trim sedans) and minuses (the third delay of the Model X, removal of brown and green from the Model S palette). The biggest minus, however, was its bottom line: A net loss of $75 million in GAAP income.
With the highway mostly conquered, autonomous vehicles now must navigate the cities through which they would otherwise pass by, a challenge unto itself with few proving grounds available for research.
Mercedes-Benz, however, happened upon a solution not too far from its R&D base in Sunnyvale, Calif.
One of the main roadblocks to wide adoption of EVs is how quickly the battery can be fully charged. While Tesla’s Supercharger could put a Model S P85D back on the road in 30 minutes to an hour, a Dodge Charger Hellcat can pull up to and away from the pump in three minutes, barring a run inside the 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee and a couple of donuts.
That roadblock may come down sooner than later, thanks to researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University.
Though carbon fiber is being used more extensively in new vehicles, the high costs associated with building a vehicle out of the material have kept it to the likes of the Lexus LFA and BMW i Series. This could soon change, however.
BMW has teamed up with the Google of China, Baidu, to begin work on automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai.
As companies like Google, Tesla and Uber seek to reshape the auto industry in their own ways, more automakers and suppliers are beating a path toward Silicon Valley and the Center for Automotive Research Stanford to help adapt to the new reality.
For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.