It seems like yesterday, but it was six months ago when I took delivery of my 2017 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Crew Cab Long Bed with the much-desired Max Tow package. I’d taken a pretty major hit at a local skatepark just two days prior; although I had to play down the extent of the injury so I didn’t get booted off a big European car test, now that everything’s done I can mention that I’d broken six ribs and fractured my right arm.
I also want to mention that the beds in Switzerland tend to be the consistency of slabbed granite and that cobblestone roads can make you vomit if you have enough blood floating around in your mouth already.
Oh well. Half a year later, I’m about 90 percent rehabilitated and the Silverado has gone everywhere from South Carolina to Detroit and back again, performing a broad range of trucky jobs and doing a variety of trucky things. I’d like to tell you that it’s been 100 percent trouble-free, but that has not been the case.
Was it really 22 months ago that I first encountered the fleet-customers-only 2016 Chevrolet Malibu? Indeed it was — and although the rental companies were quick to take advantage of what was presumably an absolutely massive discount on the General’s leftovers, they have not been in a hurry to release their inventory of these cars into the auction lanes.
That’s particularly true in the case of our local National Car Rental franchisee, which is actually a Chevrolet dealer in disguise. Which explains why Danger Girl’s final car rental of the year turned out to be a rather well-worn and thoroughly undistinguished example of the fleet-spec ‘Bu LTZ.
Why review this car yet again? Simple. You’d never guess it, but my review of the rental-spec Chevrolet Captiva turned out to be one of the biggest articles in TTAC history. A lot of people who were looking at ex-rental Captivas in the used market ended up reading it and (one hopes) learning something about the vehicle they did or did not buy. Consider this 2016 Malibu LTZ review to be aimed at the used-car customer, particularly the person who is looking for a new-shape 2016 Malibu but comes across one of these instead. They will want to know that the combination of old style body and 2016 VIN means “fleet car” for sure and “rental car” more often than not. They might also be interested in knowing how these cars survived the abuse to which their first “owners” put them.
Saddle up, used-Malibu intenders, and let’s ride out.
Starting with the Chevrolet Sprint in 1985, General Motors sold rebadged versions of the Suzuki Cultus all the way through the 2001 model year. For the 1989 through 1997 model years, these cars were sold as Geo Metros; after the demise of the Geo brand, they became Chevrolets.
Unlike most miserable econoboxes, the Metro’s decades-long reputation for frugality has kept it on the road for longer than most of its competition, and 21st-century examples are very rare in wrecking yards. Here’s one in a Denver self-service yard.
General Motors is spending billions to upgrade certain factories, prepping them to build the next-generation Silverado and Sierra. As part of a four-year contract agreed to in September 2016, $310 million was invested in Oshawa’s so-called consolidated line so that it could handle truck production.
Now, Automotive News is reporting that while the Canadian plant may indeed be building trucks, it won’t be the snazzy new ones set to hit dealer lots for the 2019 model year. Instead, Oshawa will simply paint and perform final assembly of the outgoing 2018 trucks.
The small car-based truck market was an interesting place in the early 1980s. Chevrolet had a hit on its hands with the El Camino, and it caught other manufacturers empty handed. By then, Ford had lost its LTD-based Ranchero pickup, and in its grief turned to a short-lived experiment called the Durango, based on the Fairmont Futura.
Dodge tried this one. The Rampage.
As the beyond dominant sales kings of the large SUV segment, the body-on-frame General Motors brutes can afford to mix things up a little and take a chance on something new. Like a sports team whose winning streak assures them a spot in the playoffs, trying a new play no longer carries with it the same amount of risk. After all, its failure is not exactly going to scupper the season.
Chevrolet heeds this advice for 2018, electing to plug a new player into its lineup by stuffing the mighty 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 in its Tahoe, creating the Tahoe RST.
You can’t quantify beauty. The emotional appeal of a particular vehicle’s styling is no different than that of a Florentine mural or Greek statue, save for, perhaps, the 1958 Edsel. But even that homely dog has its fans.
This past weekend we got our first glimpse of a vehicle destined to ply the roadways in great numbers for years to come: the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, this one a jacked-up, blacked-out Trail Boss variant. Like it or not, it’ll be everywhere.
Beauty remains forever in the eye of the beholder, there’s nothing wrong with stirring up a debate on the merits of a makeover. A little game of vehicular Dud or Stud, if you will.
I’ll bite. The 2019 Silverado’s face haunts my dreams.
After a year of good news (McDonald’s all-day breakfast came to Canada), it seems only fitting that 2017 will end in tears.
The Chevrolet Cruze, one of a shrinking number of models in which one can easily find a manual transmission, appears set to lose that option after the 2018 model year. As the owner of a manual-shift Cruze, no words can ease the pain.
Just like Ram’s revamped 1500, there’s an all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra pickup lying in wait for the 2019 model year. And, also like the Ram, General Motors plans to keep an old version of its full-size truck kicking around for buyers not interested in something new.
The news comes by way of GM’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) decoder document, recently submitted for 2019 model year vehicles. In the GM truck stable, it isn’t just the Silverado line that’s getting a new addition. GMC wants some of the same old-truck action Chevy’s having.
Starting life as a simple show car design that proved popular among consumers, the Chevrolet Corvette is iconic among American sports cars. Throughout seven generations over six decades, the basic formula has stayed the same: engine at the front (for now), driven wheels at the rear, and immediately recognizable styling in the middle.
But how do you sort the generations, best to worst?
General Motors has recently filed a patent that could point to the future of the company’s high-performance offerings, including the C8 Corvette.
After 18 months in review by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, documents published on October 24, 2017, reveal GM has been granted a patent for an internal combustion engine with elevated compression ratio and multi-stage boosting.
The document describes a propulsion system made up of a high compression internal combustion engine that uses a low-flow supercharger in combination with a high-flow turbocharger, linked to “one or more electric motor/generators.”
It gives us an interesting look at how GM engineers plan to continue producing obscene performance cars like the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1 1LE in a world of increasingly stringent emission regulations.
While General Motors has become progressively more brazen in outlining its plans for the future, Ford has kept its cards a bit closer to the chest. We do know both companies have similar long-term goals, but Ford has been (rather wisely) preoccupied, adjusting its fleet to meet global demand and ensuring production flexibilities that should prevent it from being caught off guard by an industry turnaround.
It’s interesting because, a little over a year ago, former Ford CEO Mark Fields was promising a complete evolution of the automaker into something called “a mobility company.” However, it now looks as if GM is the firm making a beeline toward alternative revenue streams and a new business model, while Ford takes a more measured approach.
The bowtie badge is heading Down Under. As General Motors revamps its overseas presence — pulling out of some countries, ditching its Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries — Australians can look forward to visiting a GM dealership with more than just the Holden brand on the sign.
Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), a performance sub-brand of GM’s Holden subsidiary, has struck a deal to convert and market left-hand-drive Chevrolet Camaros and Silverado Heavy Dutys for consumers suddenly starved of hot, rear-wheel-drive GM products.
These buyers should give thanks to Ford.
Yesterday, Steph Willems reported on a dealer in the northern province of Minnesota that’s offering a dreamy Seventies stripe package for newer Chevrolet Silverado pickups. The package includes the mandatory stripes, vintage tailgate lettering, and “Cheyenne Super 10” badging. The internet is most pleased with the offering.
I was mostly underwhelmed, and felt the need to share with you a real dream pickup from the Seventies. He’s a special luxury Sierra, but you can call him Gentleman Jim.
The Wikipedia page for Wells, Minnesota, tells us it’s the birthplace of Secret Service agent Larry Buendorf, best known for collaring Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme before the unhinged former Manson Family member could get the sights of her Colt 1911 on President Gerald Ford.
What the page doesn’t tell you is that the ’70s are back, baby, but only if you live (or take a trip to) Wells, Minnesota. The requirement for this time travel? Ownership — or the purchase — of a late-model Chevrolet Silverado.
General Motors, the company that ran a campaign criticizing Ford for moving away from steel on its F-Series, is expected to implement carbon fiber in the beds of large pickup trucks within two years. Hopefully, the wait gives consumers time to forget some rather negative ads that bemoaned the use of aluminum for its high repair costs and chance of deformation in an impact.
Carbon fiber is ridiculously strong and should hold up in any side-by-side impact test against aluminum. That is, until you start considering price. Carbon fiber costs substantially more to manufacture, form, and fix than either steel or aluminum. That’s probably why GM plans to limit its usage to only highest trim levels, at least until it can figure out a way to keep production costs down.
After announcing its new in-car marketplace earlier this week, General Motors is taking some heat from the National Safety Council. While we weren’t entirely sold on the shopping service either, our concerns revolved mainly around the automaker’s initial push into consumer data acquisition and targeted advertising.
We glossed over the safety angle, for the most part, mainly because we hadn’t yet played with the feature. However, the council’s worries focus squarely on the potential risk for distracted driving.
Upon marketplace’s release, GM tried to make clear that the service took those dangers into account, offering what it claims is a safer alternative to mobile phone use. But National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman believes the app will only create more accidents, hinting at the role cumbersome in-car technologies may have played in last year’s 5.6-percent rise in U.S. auto fatalities.
Barring a blockbuster December, 2017’s light duty vehicle sales stand to dip below 2016’s record 17.55 million units. The National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts 17.1 million sales in the U.S. this calendar year, with 2018 sales falling to 16.7 million vehicles.
Bad news for automakers? Not if profits stay up. And nothing generates profits quite like large volumes of high-margin vehicles — pickup trucks, to be exact. While November 2017 was a relatively flat month for the industry, a closer look at the pickup segment shows America’s love affair with trucks is keeping the money taps flowing.
General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant isn’t the only facility hit hard by the public’s growing distaste for traditional highway cruisers. Falling full-size sedan sales turned out the lights at that plant last month, and GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant will follow suit in January, returning with a missing shift once production resumes.
Like Hamtramck, the Oshawa plant builds the Chevrolet Impala sedan, and is the sole domestic builder of the Cadillac XTS. As the only remaining front-wheel-drive passenger car in the brand’s lineup, the XTS — saved from execution and refreshed for 2018 — didn’t stage a repeat performance of its October sales climb in November.
Even though we’ve seen it before, Chevrolet brought the 2019 Corvette ZR1 to the L.A. Auto Show to unveil its sizable price tag. Despite the six-figure sticker, the unabashedly American car manages to be a comparatively good deal for those in the market for a “budget” supercar. That doesn’t mean the ZR1 comes up short on specs. With its LT5 6.2-liter supercharged V8 pumping out 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque, it’s an SAE-certified monster of the highest order.
With a starting price of $119,995, the ZR1 remains more affordable than many exotic offerings with fewer ponies under the hood. If you need the wind in your hair, General Motors is also willing to provide a convertible variant with an MSRP of $123,995.
A late-1990s Z24 convertible is a rarity, though, and so I photographed this ’98 in a Phoenix self-service yard back in July.
You heard it here yesterday. General Motors will introduce not one, not two, but three new vehicles based on the increasingly popular Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback. And it’ll do it over the next two years.
Is this a case of too much Bolt, too soon, or is GM within its rights to go whole hog on its green halo model, given the need to get out in front of looming competitors? One of the Bolt-based EVs will be a car, the other two, crossovers. Let’s focus on the latter models right now.
What must a Bolt-derived electric crossover bring to the table to get American buyers interested?
To paraphrase former editor of GOOD, Cord Jefferson, we Millennials are cold-blooded killers. Whether it’s due to lack of income or interest, few industries have been unaffected by our non-traditional spending habits. The auto industry has been especially vulnerable; I have attended academic conferences and read countless thinkpieces theorizing ways to motivate Millennials to fall in love with automobiles like their parents did. Finding buyers for all of these future cars will be tricky, but there’s a greater problem: If nobody in my generation cares for cars, who will do the work to design them?
Even more bleak are the prospects for students who are actually passionate about automobiles. One current transportation design student told me it is easier to get picked for NFL draft than it is to get a job designing cars for a major automaker. In the past, two schools dominated auto design education in America: Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design. Today, graduates from these prestigious (and expensive) schools have to compete against a global talent pool, all vying for a limited number of internships.
With such overwhelming odds stacked against them, who would even encourage a prospective student to apply?
Besides delivering bedfulls of cash to Bob Seger’s front door, Chevrolet trucks have spent the last century burrowing into the very core of rural American identity. Sure, Ford sells more F-150s, and has for decades. There’s more competition now, including full-size pickups from two Japanese automakers — something unheard of in Detroit’s heyday.
Still, the Chevrolet pickup, now 100 years old, seems perpetually positioned as a more honest, more Middle America offering than its domestic rivals. Its advertising campaigns, often serving as a new salvo in its bitter rivalry with hoity-toity Ford, make this clear (Yep, those F-150 power running boards really help a fellow avoid scuffing his slacks while loading up at Whole Foods). Remember Chevy’s sputtering incredulity over Ford’s “Man Step”?
And who can forget, two decades on, the famous “ Like a Rock” campaign? Rocks last billions of years, guys. Ford’s aluminum beds can be punctured by rocks (well, cinder blocks, anyway).
So, with Chevy’s big truck birthday upon us, let’s take a tally. Which Chevy pickup was the best one?
With the Corvette ZR1 currently off the table, Chevrolet has eased the existing Stingray into a comfortable 450 to 650 horsepower. While that might be enough to trounce just about anything you might encounter on the daily commute, it doesn’t have the necessary might to embarrass a Lamborghini Aventador with total assurance.
That’s unfortunate, as one of the Corvette’s best attributes is being able to bully European exotics sitting at a much higher price point. While America does have a handful of muscle and pony cars that can do the job, the majority would have trouble accomplishing that feat going any direction other than straight. So, with Dodge’s Viper now absent from the automotive landscape, we could really use the ZR1 right about now.
Fortunately, it’s coming soon and it’s bringing 750 horsepower with it.
Snow has already touched Minneapolis pavement, meaning it’s time for automakers to hurry up and clear out 2017 models. Special offers, like the coming winter, are rolling in fast.
Not surprisingly, many of the end-of-year incentives target the increasingly unloved passenger car segment. If two or four doors and a trunk is your bag, you’re in luck, though crossover shoppers aren’t being ignored in the rush to unload old inventory. However, if you’re a fan of the Big H, and especially its sportier offerings, Christmas might have just arrived early.
The deal reached with striking autoworkers in Ingersoll, Ontario, last month prevented the supply of hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox crossovers from reaching critical levels, but we now know just how bare the cupboard was.
After a high of 74 days of supply in June, rising sales meant inventory of the newly redesigned compact crossover shrunk to 53 days’ worth at the beginning of September, shortly before the month-long strike began. It plummeted thereafter. With another month of Equinox sales gains under its belt, GM is busy making up for lost production.
So diverse are the trim levels available in a modern pickup truck, it wouldn’t be shocking to see automakers begin offering a “Scotsman” edition, complete with three-on-the-tree shifter, for buyers accustomed to eating beans out of a can. On the other end of the ladder, surely “Limited,” “Platinum,” and “Tungsten” fall short in the luxury trappings offered within their leather-trimmed cabins. Buyers clearly need a wood-panelled humidor for their stogies.
Suffice it to say that automakers are making the purchase of a pickup truck more appealing than ever, and in October, buyers did their duty. October 2017 was a boffo month for light truck sales, with every full-size truck line recording rising year-over-year sales in the United States. Unfortunately, but not all that unfortunately (according to accountants, anyway), buyers offered a raised middle finger to mid-size pickups sold by those same automakers.
Never mind competing with EVs from other manufacturers. With each passing month, it becomes ever clearer that the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt competes directly with another General Motors stablemate: the Chevrolet Volt.
In October 2017, the Bolt — first sold last December and available nationwide since mid-summer — pushed into second place out of all plug-in vehicles sold in the United States, muscling out the Tesla Model X in the process. In doing so, it increased the sales gap between it and the range-extended Volt.
When buyers hit up a “dinosaur” legacy automaker for a green car, it seems they prefer going all the way — once-revolutionary gas generator be damned.
If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their [s]sales[/s] sails, it sure won’t happen on the strength of traditional passenger cars.
Several brands from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted U.S. sales declines in October 2017, all thanks to the slipping popularity of regular cars. In many cases, the continued strength of the crossover/SUV/truck market wasn’t enough to tip the scales back in the automakers’ favor.
Halloween is over, but there’s at least one automotive costume worth mentioning — the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado Performance Concept. However, counter to most versions of dressing up, it’s what’s on the inside of this truck that matters.
Exterior design wasn’t forgotten — the Silverado is lower than a standard 1500 model and additional ducting helps cool what’s lurking beneath the hood. Air inlets add a bit of menace to the slate gray bodywork, too, which replaces any trim piece that could have been chromed. There is also a hint of red from behind the wheel spokes, denoting upgraded six-piston Brembo brakes. But it’s the 450 horsepower bestowed onto the truck via a new supercharger that makes all the difference.
Earlier this month, General Motors agreed to a $120 million settlement over faulty ignition switches and the uncouth way in which it handled that particular, ahem, “safety issue.” The settlement applied to 49 states and the District of Columbia but not Orange County, California. That region of the U.S. required a separate case, an additional $13.9 million, and some exuberant scorning.
California faulted GM with not only selling defective vehicles but intentionally concealing serious safety defects through the careful usage of language.
Prosecutors claimed the company specifically trained its staff to never use words like “defect” or “stall,” and even avoid dealing with any safety issues whenever possible, while being simultaneously aware of a problem that ultimately resulted in the deaths of over 120 individuals. While this matter had been more-or-less settled via an earlier $900 million agreement (resulting from the Justice Department’s investigation, in 2015), it deferred direct criminal prosecution of the company for three years. Perhaps that caveat rubbed Californian prosecutors the wrong way and they wanted some additional retribution.
It’s called cryptic biodiversity and it’s the process by which genetically diverse species end up looking very similar. This is a big thing with salamanders; apparently the perfect design for amphibian quadrapeds is so obvious that it can be reached via several different pathways. It’s also the reason why I have successfully convinced several convenience store employees that I was, in fact, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.
As the automotive market not-so-gently pushes manufacturers towards producing identical-looking products on vastly different mechanical platforms, there’s a bit of amusement to be had in wondering which one of those platforms really serves a certain market segment best. It’s also a source of considerable purchaser angst, which brings us to this week’s question regarding cryptically-biodiverse mommy wagons.
Thanks mainly to the unloading of its longstanding European operations, General Motors reported a $3 billion net loss in the third quarter of 2017, according to an earnings report released Tuesday.
Punting responsibility of its Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries to France’s PSA Group definitely didn’t come without a penalty, with most of the expense ($5.4 billion related to deferred tax assets and pension costs) incurred during the last quarter. Still, GM prefers the one-time earnings hit to keeping an unprofitable operation alive on the other side of the Atlantic.
While the Opel sale cut into the automaker’s balance sheet, The General also saw less earnings from car sales. Production declined in Q3 2017 compared to last year, and that meant less black ink. Still, GM doesn’t see many dark clouds. Why? One word: crossovers.
General Motors and Unifor representation at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, announced a tentative agreement on Friday. Today, that deal proved amicable to both parties, as union employees voted to approve a new four-year contract with the automaker — ending a month-long strike at a factory producing the incredibly popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.
While the deal includes a salary increase of four percent over four years and $8,000 in lump sum payments over the lifespan of the proposal, it lacks Unifor’s primary demand of a written assurance that CAMI will remain the lead producer of the Equinox. GM proved unwilling to give way on that issue, which is likely due to the ongoing and uncertain nature of NAFTA renegotiations.
“Despite our every effort, General Motors steadfastly refused to accept our members’ reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox,” Unifor president Jerry Dias wrote to local union members prior to the factory vote.
From the most malaisey part of the late 1970s comes a model which would have been a Rare Ride sooner, had your author known about it. It’s a little Pontiac two-door wagon with sporting pretensions.
What awaits you is a Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon from 1978. Prepare your polyester jacket.
After a month-long strike and a war of words that erupted earlier this week, General Motors and the union representing workers at its CAMI assembly plant have struck a tentative deal.
Late Friday, Unifor Local 88 posted a statement claiming a breakthrough in bargaining talks that reached an impasse on September 17th. That means Chevrolet Equinox crossovers could restart production at the Ingersoll, Ontario facility on Monday — easing dealer fears over a shortage of the hot-selling vehicle.
It’s going to be a black Christmas at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant this year. Amid rising inventory levels for the Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt, General Motors plans to shut off the lights for the rest of the year.
Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.
Talks between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor seem to have broken down after the automaker mentioned it might wind down production of the Chevrolet Equinox at the striking CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Negotiators explained to the union that the cost of continuing the month-long strike would mean losing more business to Mexico, which has already been filling Canadian production gaps since before the strike began.
GM currently builds the popular Equinox at three North American facilities: the CAMI plant, and two Mexican plants. With a shrinking 41-day supply of rolling stock at the end of last month, the facilities located south of the border can’t produce an equivalent volume to the Canadian worksite. However, GM suggests that could change if Unifor doesn’t throw in the towel soon.
General Motors’ Australian outpost is losing all of its domestic production, but that doesn’t mean Holden is shutting down all of its Australian development operations.
Late last month, we told you the Chevrolet Camaro was going to become a right-hand-drive model five years earlier than originally planned because of special rebuilds by GM’s Holden division.
But once the Chevrolet Camaro goes on sale Down Under, it will not wear the local GM badge.
Last month we featured a Question of the Day about the worst model names ever glued onto the back of a vehicle. Everyone had fun trashing corny, little-known nameplates from here and abroad, as well as the various and oft-nonsensical letters applied to the back of many North American offerings today.
Today we flip this question and talk about the best model names. What’s your selection for the best vehicle names out there?
One thing about visiting wrecking yards in the Upper Midwest is that I know I’ll see interesting late-model General Motors cars.
I couldn’t find the elusive junkyard Saturn Ion Redline during my trip to Wisconsin in August, but I did find its Chevrolet cousin: a Chevrolet Cobalt SS, spotted in a Green Bay self-service yard.
If plug-in hybrids were meant to function as a stop-gap between ICE-powered cars and fully electric cars, it may be time to consider Chevrolet gapless.
The Chevrolet Volt appeared in first-gen form in late 2010. By 2016, with the arrival of a second-generation edition, Volt sales climbed to record levels in the United States, albeit still not at the level GM originally hoped to see.
The Volt was and is a plug-in hybrid, an electric car with a range-extending gas-powered engine.
But with nationwide availability of the Chevrolet Bolt — change that V to a B for pure electricity — we’re now watching as Chevrolet Volt sales tumble. It turns out General Motors now has far more U.S. demand for its electric car than its ICE-accompanying electric car.
There was a time, from the late 1960s through the late 1980s, when the third-generation Chevrolet Nova was among the most plentiful Chevrolets found on North American roads. These cars were cheap, sturdy, and fuel efficient for their time, but discarded ones are so rare now that this is the first one I have seen in a self-service wrecking yard since this ’73 hatchback in 2011.
It was another hot month for the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in September, especially when contrasted with last year’s sales. U.S. sales last month amounted to an 80-percent year-over-year increase, with 27,512 vehicles sold, while Canada’s 2,079 vehicles sales represented a 27-percent increase, year-over-year.
Both countries’ year-to-date tallies are on the upswing, outranking last year’s total by 22 percent in the U.S. and 27 percent north of the border. Good news for General Motors, but worrisome when you consider the main Equinox production line shut down over two weeks ago. Workers at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are still on strike. Meanwhile, the amount of Equinoxes in GM’s inventory is dropping steadily.
It’s not a crisis yet, but if GM and its unionized plant workers don’t reach an agreement soon, it could turn into one.
Priced at $42,995 including destination fees, the late-arriving 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS is an oddly positioned member of the second-generation Traverse lineup.
The RS is the only four-cylinder member of the fleet — it’s down 53 horsepower on the 3.6-liter V6 in other Traverses — and yet a basic Traverse RS costs $12,120 more than the least costly Traverse. The RS consumes more fuel on the highway, albeit slightly less in the city. It’s also available exclusively as a front-wheel-drive model.
Ah, but GM says it’s “sporty.”
September 2017 sales of pickup trucks rose to the highest level so far this year in the United States, jumping 12 percent to 257,864 units.
Prior to this point, truck sales had grown by less than 4 percent, year-over-year, averaging slightly more than 225,000 monthly units.
September’s big gain was fuelled almost entirely by improvements among the full-size pickup trucks that own 84 percent of America’s pickup truck market. And America’s full-size pickup truck gains were powered in large part by America’s best-selling line of vehicles: the Ford F-Series.
The sound of workers slapping together 2018 Chevrolet Equinox crossovers is not ringing through the streets of Ingersoll, Ontario, this morning.
A strike that began late on September 17th continues today after a weekend labor update that might have heralded good news turned into just another day on the picket line. The workforce at General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant, represented by Unifor Local 88, continue advocating for a new collective agreement that cements the plant’s future in GM’s production roster.
Meanwhile, inventories of the hot-selling crossover are dwindling.
Across the U.S. auto industry, there are a number of auto brands that are actually selling more passenger cars in 2017 than in 2016: Jaguar, Lincoln, Infiniti, Subaru, Volkswagen.
Some specific models, many with all-wheel-drive availability like the Audi A5, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf, are enjoying far greater sales success this year than last.
But you know the story. Generally speaking, Americans are buying far fewer cars now than they used to. From more than 50 percent just five years ago, passenger car market share is down to 37 percent. Nowhere is this more obvious than at traditional domestic manufacturers, the Detroit Three.
In response to the huge global success achieved by the sixth-generation Ford Mustang, General Motors’ Australian Holden branch is developing right-hand-drive Chevrolet Camaros for sale in 2018.
According to Australia’s News, the beleaguered Holden brand will benefit from the launch of a market-specific Camaro next year thanks to conversion work done by Holden Special Vehicles.
General Motors is no doubt privy to news that the Ford Mustang became a global hit when the sixth iteration launched with independent rear suspension and right-hand-drive availability. The Mustang arrived in the United Kingdom in late 2015, for instance, and quickly outsold all other sporting coupes, earning the bulk of its sales from V8 versions. And in Australia, where Ford originally anticipated 1,000 annual Mustang sales, the Blue Oval is running at a roughly 10,000-unit annual pace.
Selling far fewer Camaros in its home market than it used to, Chevrolet could certainly use a global boost for its high-performance coupe. But the sales boost may be modest, as Australia’s Camaro is destined to be far more costly than the Mustang.
Chevrolet has gone to great pains to remind everyone that the 2018 model year marks the 100th anniversary of Chevy Trucks. A hundred candles is a big deal, so Chevy reached into its lengthy history for a few design and detail cues to mark the occasion.
I’d wager a hefty amount of money that most people reading this either had or has a Chevy truck in their family or know someone who did. They’ve produced over 85 million of the things, after all.
By all accounts, the upgraded and downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a competitive vehicle in a red-hot segment, priced and optioned to help boost its parent company’s fortunes in a time of falling auto sales.
Too bad they don’t build it anymore.
While editing TTAC writer Chris Tonn’s review of a mid-level 2018 Equinox last week, something jumped out from the page. “A close look reveals an inconsistency in the chrome trim surrounding the windows,” Tonn wrote, describing his futile attempts to push the rear door beltline trim back into position.
This jogged my memory. Back in the spring, a 2017 Buick LaCrosse tester displayed the exact same problem, leaving me wondering if it was a fluke issue or indicative of a wider-ranging problem. The suspicion only grew after I dropped the LaCrosse off at a participating dealership. There, I noticed the rear passenger door of a brand new, zero-mile Cadillac CT6 exhibiting worse trim lift than the Buick. (See photo after the break.)
Naturally, I sent the TTAC crew to their local General Motors lot in search of full-size sedans, but the effort went nowhere. Low-volume models, few sitting on lots, and those that were showed no discernable trim lift. Well, with the Equinox, it’s not a needle-in-a-haystack scenario — it’s everywhere.
The Chevrolet Equinox assembly line at General Motors’ CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, remains shuttered, and the impact from the dried-up flow of crossovers now extends across the border.
Unionized workers at the plant walked off the job Sunday night after their Unifor Local 88 bargaining team failed to reach a contract agreement with GM. Though the week began with marching and signs in Ingersoll, it ended with layoffs at an Ontario transmission plant and the promise of more in Michigan and Tennessee.
Full-size, body-on-frame, real SUVs are in some circles (not mine, thankfully) about as politically correct as a Monsanto home fracking kit. Thing is, though, if a person wants to transport nine people while towing an 8,000-pound trailer, there are few options other than the Suburban and its fraternal twin, the GMC Yukon XL.
The Suburban is a nameplate that’s been around since 1935, unabashedly truck based and powered by a 355-horsepower V8 engine which may or may not run on ground-up bicycles. Since the last time we looked at the Beast from Chevy, the bowtie brand has introduced a Tahoe Custom that was received warmly at TTAC HQ. Can the ‘burb retain its spot on the Ace of Base board? Let’s find out.
I tried in vain, but I couldn’t track down a proper early ‘60s surf rock station on the SiriusXM radio during my time driving the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. I was imagining the Beach Boys’ classic “409” every time I planted my right pedal in this improbably powerful compact crossover. Sadly, the basic facts and figures don’t lend themselves to poetic lines like “She’s real fine/my four oh nine:”
She can go/my two point oh.
My nine-speed, front-drive, direct-injected two point oh.
Giddy Up, two point oh.
My apologies for the not-quite-Brian Wilson earworm. Few crossovers inspire anything, let alone any hint of song. This Chevrolet Equinox has plenty of power (and torque steer), but can it measure up beyond the engine room?
Unionized employees at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ontario, are on strike. Unifor Local 88 and General Motors were unable to reach an agreement by Sunday’s deadline. At 11:00 p.m. ET, workers at the plant traded the assembly line for the picket one, ending production of the recently redesigned Chevrolet Equinox.
Despite both sides having spent the weekend saying they were making headway in talks, it wasn’t enough to avoid the shutdown. In a post-strike statement, General Motors reiterated this fact.
“While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement,” said GM.
New crossovers in the biggest crossover segments.
General Motors reported a 7-percent year-over-year U.S. sales improvement in August 2017 — in stark contrast to GM’s declines in four preceding months — as the U.S. auto industry reported its eighth consecutive sales decline.
Don’t thank GM’s cars, sales of which tumbled by more than a tenth. Pickup-truck sales edged up only slightly, rising less than 3 percent compared with August 2016. But crossovers — especially newly launched crossovers, especially newly launched crossovers in America’s largest utility vehicle segments — produced massive U.S. sales improvements for GM in August 2017.
How massive? Apart from the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Terrain, and GMC Acadia, General Motors’ U.S. sales were down 2 percent last month.
Since 2011, National Drive Electric Week has taken place in venues across the United States, some Canadian locations, and at select international venues. This year, it runs from Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.
There are 262 event locations for 2017, so there’s probably an event not far away, assuming you’re electrically inclined.