Posts By: stephwillems

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Automakers jump through hoops to tease upcoming models or put eyes on just-released ones. General Motors, it appears, has chosen an altogether new avenue for its marketing efforts.

Yes, that image you see above is real. The Chevrolet Suburban will now join the likes of Christina Applegate*, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and other celebrities we can’t think to name in receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At least the star doesn’t mention the model’s upcoming rear suspension swap. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

While U.S. auto sales are expected to slump further this year, continuing a trend in the industry, certain products seem impervious to market pressures. Take the Toyota Tacoma, for example. Hardly the newest kid on the block, the Tacoma nonetheless manages to consistently retain buyers while capturing new ones.

Like its parent company, the Tacoma just posted its best-ever November sales month. And wouldn’t you know it — early results are in, and the new Corolla seems to be a hit. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

vw

A longtime design presence in the Volkswagen family will take on a new title in the new year. The automaker has announced that Klaus Bischoff (seen above, to the left of North American CEO Scott Keogh), currently head of design for the Volkswagen brand, will oversee design work for the entire VW Group range.

Replacing him in his current role will be Jozef Kaban, a man whose last position involved designing some of the most expensive cars on earth. Not that he hasn’t already done that at VW, though. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Cars are out, crossovers are in. This is as true as saying the sun rises in the east or that the slow air leak in your back tire will eventually get worse. It’s a given, and, with the current onslaught of crossovers now trickling into previously unexplored white space, your choice has never been greater.

2019 may be remembered as the year automakers broke out of traditional segments and began inserting boxy products into that narrow window between existing models. Chevrolet, Buick, and Mazda all decided it was a good idea to pursue buyers in tweener segments. The question today is: have any of these supposedly right-sized products moved you to consider a brand you’d normally have ignored? (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Plenty of planks found in the quickly hammered out UAW-Ford contract can be found in the tentative deal forged between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler. Following approval from the National UAW-FCA Council, the agreement reached last weekend goes to members for final approval (or rejection) on Friday.

The two sides reached an agreement far quicker than some predicted, but the final word on the deal will come from workers.  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Introduced last year, Genesis’ third — and newest — model is the G70, a value-packed rear- or all-wheel-drive sports sedan aimed at BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class intenders. We could throw the Jaguar XE in there, too, but no one buys that car.

Like its Kia Stinger platform mate, the G70 kicks up its feet with the help of a base 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or uplevel 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. However, on the horizon looms a larger, more potent entry-level powerplant. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Impala, Image: General Motors

Just a couple of days ago, your author’s eyes were drawn to a brand spankin’ new, dark red Chevrolet Impala sitting in a parking lot — one made all the more distinctive by black five-spoke steel wheels. Tis the winter season, after all.

The Impala’s design always garnered a nod of approval from this writer, a person whose former ME once referred to as a raging GM apologist, though the model’s rear-seat headroom is definitely lacking. It’s also a Chevrolet and not a Mercedes-Benz. All of that aside, fans of traditional full-size sedans, especially those of the domestic variety, can mark two dates on their calendar. The Impala is leaving forever, and it seems the model’s Cadillac CT6 factory mate will not get the lease on life some expected. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

UAW

In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, former UAW Acting President Rory Gamble, who took over the top spot when scandal sunk former prez Gary Jones, has been appointed president of the union.

The ongoing federal corruption probe into the UAW hasn’t ended, but Jones’ presidency did after media outlets named him as one of the shadowy UAW officials mentioned in embezzlement-related court documents. First order of business for Gamble after taking over last month? Clean up the UAW’s act. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: GM

A battery plant mentioned in General Motors’ recently ratified UAW labor contract will soon become a reality in the hard-hit city of Lordstown, Ohio. That locale recently saw the lights go out at GM’s Lordstown Assembly, which closed its doors this spring after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Cruze. The plant’s now in the hands of a fledgling electric automaker.

On Wednesday, GM announced the spending of $2.3 billion and the creation of 1,100 jobs in Lordstown — a necessary move to supply the automaker with battery packs for its electric vehicle push. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: Nissan

As Christmas looms, Nissan just placed an unwanted gift in the stockings of its U.S. employees. Sinking sales, combined with a global streamlining of its cash-strapped operation, has led the automaker to give all employees two unpaid days off of work in January, Automotive News reports.

In a memo to employees obtained by the publication, Nissan’s U.S. arm laid out the emergency cost-cutting measures in full. It seems no one gets off the hook. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

Always the innovator in creating car parts out of plants that aren’t trees, Ford Motor Company plans to burnish its green cred with a new building material: a composite created partly from dried coffee bean husks.

Following the automaker’s soybean experiments of the early 1940s, Ford adopted soybean-based foam for its seat cushions back in 2008. Now, coffee chaff will help add strength and lower energy use for the manufacture of headlight housings and other components. Its supplier partner on this project? McDonalds. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

Not in the way Genesis would have liked, however. While the fledgling Genesis brand’s first utility vehicle isn’t expected to debut until early in the new year, a pair of images posted to Instagram gives us a pretty good impression of what to expect.

That said, the brand’s 2017 GV80 concept vehicle (seen above) took us a good part of the way there. Clearly, Genesis’ designers didn’t stray too far from the camp. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

The coming year isn’t just the first chapter in a new decade, it will also be the final year you’ll be able to purchase a new Buick Regal. For that matter, it’s the last year you’ll be able to buy a Buick car.

Confirmed by a brand spokesman, the 2020 model year will be the midsize Regal’s last in the North American market. (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

In the struggling Alfa Romeo brand’s near future, the subset of voices calling for sexy new sports cars will have to take a backseat to owners and would-be buyers who just want minor improvements to existing vehicles.

Exciting? Not very, but Alfa isn’t concerned with wowing the blogger crowd at this point in time. The axe taken to its future product lineup shows this pretty clearly. In response to the about-face, Alfa’s North American director claims the sky is no longer the limit, though you can expect some sexy new lower body cladding. (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

With a brace of sedans not arriving until later in the year, Cadillac’s big attention-getter last January was a gas-free, unnamed crossover… as well as a conventional one with little charisma in the tank.

The concept EV heralded an electrified product surge from General Motors as well as the Cadillac brand, but in the 10 months since its reveal, little has been heard of the future model. Expect to hear a lot more in the New Year, as the vehicle’s debut is barely more than a year away. It’s the first of many fingers-crossed products from GM. (Read More…)

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