GM Patents Exterior Airbag; Pop-Up Headlights Set for Triumphant Return?
Resident internet sleuth Bozi Tatarevic has unearthed an interesting patent granted to General Motors last week. Described as a “ Fender Located Pedestrian Airbag,” it is intended to provide protection to a pedestrian hit by the front area of a vehicle.Given that pedestrian safety standards are often cited as the reason for the pop-up headlamp’s demise, one can only assume that the units are poised for a glorious comeback on the next Corvette. No? Damn.
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The Difference Between Ford and General Motors' Longterm Strategies

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.

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Rare Rides: The Real Dream of the '70s - a 1975 GMC Sierra Gentleman Jim

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.

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It's Official: The Chevrolet Brand Is Returning to Australia

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.

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The Dream of the '70s Is Alive… In Minnesota

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.

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General Motors Eyes Carbon Fiber Beds for Future Pickups

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.

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GM's 'Digital Marketplace' Under Fire Just a Day After It Was Announced

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.

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Convertible

GM sold 191 octillion Cavalier s, more or less, during the Chevrolet-badged J-Body‘s 1982-2005 production run, and so I walk by many discarded examples without feeling any urge to grab my camera.

A late-1990s Z24 convertible is a rarity, though, and so I photographed this ’98 in a Phoenix self-service yard back in July.

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November 2017 Pickup Sales Winners and Losers

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.

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More Passenger Car Blues as GM Throttles Back in Canada

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.

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Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Loses Its Top During Official Debut

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.

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Who Will Design the Cars of the Future?

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?

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QOTD: How Can a Chevrolet Bolt-based Crossover Avoid Flopping?

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?

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Leaked: Next Corvette to Add Heaping Helping of Horsepower

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.

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QOTD: What Chevy Truck Was Truly the Heartbeat of America?

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?

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It's End-of-year Incentive Time, but One Deal Stands Out

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.

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GM Opens the Taps After Strike Depletes Chevrolet Equinox Supply

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.

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Truck Buyers Made a Choice in October (and Chose the Bigger One)

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.

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Let's Go All the Way: Chevrolet Bolt Increases Its Lead Over Faltering Volt

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.

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Detroit's October 2017 Sales: Ford Soars, Fiat Chrysler Hits the Brakes

If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their sales 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.

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Supercharging Our Dreams: Chevrolet's 2018 Silverado Performance Concept

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.

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GM Ignition Defect Scandal Reaches Penultimate Chapter

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.

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Junkyard Find: 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

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.

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Ask Jack: Push Me, or Pull You?

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.

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Ditching Opel and Vauxhall Hits GM in the Pocketbook; Crossovers to the Rescue!

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.

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Rare Rides: 1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

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.

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Unifor Approves Contract at GM's Canadian Equinox Factory, Strike Ends Tonight

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.

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General Motors, Union Strike Tentative Deal at Striking Equinox Plant

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.

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Hamtramck Going Dark as GM Large Sedan Inventories Balloon

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.

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GM to Union: End Strike or Automaker Will 'Wind Down' Equinox Production

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.

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QOTD: The Best Model Names of Them All?

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?

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Have No Fear, Bowtie Faithful: the Chevrolet Camaro Will Not Wear a Holden Badge in Australia

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.

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Chevrolet Nova Sedan

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.

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The Chevrolet Bolt Is Now Far More Popular Than the Chevrolet Volt

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.

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Chevrolet Equinox Inventories Dwindling, But No One's Panicking Just Yet

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.

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2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS Is a More Expensive, De-powered, Less Efficient Front-drive Traverse

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.”

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September 2017 Was a Terrific Month For Pickup Truck Sales in America

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.

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No Breakthrough in Labor Talks as Chevrolet Equinox Plant Remains Shuttered

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.

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Detroit's Passenger Car Sales Are Falling Way Faster Than the Overall U.S. Auto Industry's

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.

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Time to Go Global? GM Australia's Holden Special Vehicles Building Right-hand-drive Chevrolet Camaros for Sale in 2018

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.

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Chevy Trucks Don a New Bowtie for 100th Anniversary Party

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.

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The Strange Case of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox's Wandering Trim

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.

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Ripples From Chevrolet Equinox Strike Force Slowdowns, Layoffs

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.

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2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT 2.0T Review - Giddy Up

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?

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Ace of Base: 2017 Chevrolet Suburban LS

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.

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Chevrolet Equinox Production Shut Down as Workers Go on Strike

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.

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National Drive Electric Week Events, Free and Probably Near You

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.

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Why Did General Motors Report Such a Significant August 2017 Sales Gain as the Industry Slowdown Continued?

Crossovers.

New crossovers.

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.

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Nationwide Availability Means Chevrolet Bolt Has Outsold Chevrolet Volt Two Months Running

August 2017 marked the second consecutive month in which the Chevrolet Bolt, GM’s all-electric hatchback, generated more U.S. sales than the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s range-extended electric liftback.

Now available across America, the Chevrolet Bolt produced its best sales month to date in August.

The Chevrolet Volt, meanwhile, suffered its fifth consecutive month of decline.

Bolt > Volt?

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QOTD: Is the Column Shifter the Best Shifter Design There Ever Was or Ever Will Be?

Setting aside the glorious wonders of the manual, DIY shifter, is it not becoming increasingly clear that the automatic transmission shifter reached its zenith with the traditional column shifter?

One thing is certain: the column shifter is quickly fading away. The electronic controls behind many shifters are more often linked to unnecessarily complicated shifters than a simple, intuitive, steering column-mounted unit. There are pushbutton affairs on the center stack in Lincolns, rising and falling console-mounted pushbutton arrangements in Hondas and Acuras, rotary dials in everything from the Ford Fusion and Ram 1500 to the Jaguar XJ, monostable shifters with no detents in vehicles of every sort, and a horizontally opposed array of buttons and switches in a GMC Terrain that GMC felt necessary to explain for three hours.

We’re not sure these alternative shifters have shoved society along the path toward enlightenment.

But when Ford’s North American product communications manager, Mike Levine, tweeted a picture of a 2018 Ford F-150 with a 10-speed automatic and a column shifter — merging the past and future — we naturally wondered whether column shifters deserve more involvement in the present.

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Nissan Jacks Up 2018 Armada's Price, Cedes Bargain Crown to 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom

The 2018 Nissan Armada will be priced at $46,795, including destination, when it goes on sale Friday, September 1st; a $700 increase compared with 2016.

While that price increase would have been enough for the Nissan Armada to maintain its position as America’s least costly body-on-frame, full-size SUV, the sudden appearance of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom has altered the playing field.

Competitors, not just Nissan but Toyota and Ford as well, didn’t need to give the class-leading Chevrolet even more capacity to dominate the category. But now the best seller is also the bargain of the bunch, and by a noticeable margin.

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Automakers Bolt From the Gates With Post-Harvey Discounts

There was quite a debate occurring in TTAC’s private Slack channel yesterday — a conversation sparked by knowledge of a new discount from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles extended to those who lost insured vehicles in Hurricane Harvey.

The timing of the offer — CarsDirect claims the deal was valid as of August 28th, even as images and video of the waterborne and helicopter rescues of Houston-area residents filled television screens and social media — raised an eyebrow. How soon is too soon? It would seem the main concerns of impacted residents over the past couple of days included finding food and shelter, reconnecting with loved ones, and perhaps picking up the pieces in both flood- and wind-damaged communities. Not shopping for a new vehicle online.

The nature of the offer sparked further debate. Affected residents in certain Texas and Louisiana counties can show a copy of their insurance claim form to receive $500 off the purchase or lease of a new FCA vehicle, certain models (like the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler 200, SRT models, and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio) not included. Buyers can combine the offer with other applicable discounts.

$500 off that new Grand Cherokee? Whoo-wee, you might say. At what dollar amount does a post-disaster offer change from feeling like an opportunistic sales grab and more like a gesture of kind-hearted humanitarian assistance? Or is this just cynical thinking — should we regard any offer as a sign of generosity? It’s certainly not a new practice for any automaker. On and on it went.

Of course, any conclusion comes down to the individual. But this morning we heard FCA isn’t alone in offering deals to Harvey victims.

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Picture Time: American Muscle From the Keeneland Concours

In our previous concours edition of Picture Time, we shared five distinctly American luxury cars from years gone by. Today we move forward in history a little, and subtract some luxury for the sake of sheer power.

Follow along now for some great American muscle cars from the show.

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General Motors Hips Early EV Adopters to Potential Battery Failure in the Bolt

General Motors has informed a small number of owners of its Chevrolet Bolt EV about a battery issue that could cause a sudden loss of propulsion. Some of the early Bolt models may incorrectly report the estimated remaining range at lower states of charge due to potentially faulty cells, resulting in the car stopping abruptly.

The automaker says less than 1 percent of Bolts sold to date are likely to face the problem, and GM is currently arranging repairs for the affected cars. Ideally, the faulty cells are the result of an isolated manufacturing defect and not the result of some widespread wonky battery chemistry.

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Rare Rides: The Corvette Callaway Speedster From 1991 - Fast and Dangerously Teal

From a forgotten sidebar of automotive history, today’s Rare Ride is perhaps a bit more obscure than normal. Just 10 total examples of the Speedster were produced, making it exceptionally rare. And while the front clip says, “I’m still a C4 Corvette,” the rest of the car underwent quite a transformation at the Callaway shop.

Slip on your stonewashed Jordache jeans and get ready for this rapid Rare Ride.

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Chevrolet's New 'Blazer' is Approaching Its True Form

After numerous sightings in the wild, clothed in deceptive padding to hide the bodywork, Chevrolet’s midsize SUV is approaching its final form. Sharing a platform with the newly downsized GMC Acadia, the latest incarnation of the vehicle looks a little more like an upscale crossover and a lot less like the rugged Blazer from which it draws its rumored moniker.

Slipping into the Chevy lineup between the Equinox and Traverse, the relaunched Blazer should target other family crossovers in the Goldilocks segment — competing with the likes of the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano, among others. Spotted as a pair of test vehicles, the Chevrolets were reportedly sporting the Acadia’s 2.5-liter LCV inline-four and 3.6-liter LGX V6.

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QOTD: Does Any Car Do a Better (or Worse) Job of Looking Good and Bad Than the Chevrolet Malibu?

Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Body color door handles, for example, can take a simple compact car from appearing fit for penalty box duty to appearing worthy of driveway placement. Swap those black side mouldings and matte black mirror housings for body color paint and you’re home free.

In other instances, the absence of foglights in foglight housings turns a decent front fascia into a disappointment. A bigger front air dam has the potential to suggest the addition of horsepower. Chrome window surrounds, upgraded lighting, metallic paint, and red-trimmed grilles can add a premium aura to otherwise pitiful products.

Oh, and don’t forget the wheels. Wheels can cover a multitude of design errors.

But does any car benefit more from big, stylish wheels; body colour mirrors; and LED daytime running lights than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? And does any car suffer more from small wheels with puffy tires, black mirrors, and stock lighting than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu?

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General Motors Believes Diesel Lovers Haven't Stopped Loving Diesels

General Motors’ diesel-powered midsize pickup trucks are the only midsize pickup trucks available in America with diesel engines. GM’s Chevrolet Cruze is the only compact car on sale in America with a diesel engine. Although the Mazda CX-5 is scheduled to arrive later this year, diesel-powered editions of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain will be the first small utility vehicles with diesel options.

With all the negative diesel press earned largely by the eruption of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal in September 2015, is GM’s investment in America’s diesel market a complete and utter waste?

GM obviously thinks not. “I don’t think diesel customers forgot why they liked driving diesels in the last two years,” GM’s vice president for global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, tells Automobile. “They didn’t forget about the driving character or the fuel economy.”

Moreover, Nicholson says of the tens of thousands of former Volkswagen TDI owners, “We don’t think those customers went away.”

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QOTD: Which Vehicles Deserve a Cost-cutting Trim Level?

Yesterday, Tim Cain reported on the new Chevrolet Tahoe Custom trim, which lowers the point of entry on the Tahoe by $3,750 for 2018. If you’re a nerd and enjoy trim-level discussions like I do, this is an important moment. For the first time since the Tahoe grew to four doors in 1995, you’ll be able to buy a trim lower than the LS.

This new (relatively) low-cost trim is seen by many Internet Car Enthusiasts here at TTAC as the way forward: dispensing with unnecessary options like infotainment, large wheels, and a third row seat that rarely sees use. Seems like a decent enough idea, so let’s take it across the board today.

Which vehicles deserve a cost-cutting trim level?

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The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom Is a Cut-Price, De-Contented Full-Size SUV

General Motors announced today the September 2017 arrival of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom, priced from $44,995, including destination fees. That represents a $3,750 price cut for what will now become the base Tahoe, down from the 2018 Tahoe LS’s $48,745 MSRP.

GM says the 2018 Tahoe Custom is a response both to “strong consumer demand for Tahoe,” and to the “full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Therefore, there’ll be no cooled seats here. No adaptive cruise. No head-up display.

No third row of seating. Gasp.

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  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.Αnd who cares if they sell all they make? this is 100% worthless bragging, since they hardly make ANY. ALL of Subaru's models together, all dozen of them, sell less than the top selling Toyota or Honda or even Tesla sells. ANd furthermore, if you have the intellectual horsepower to understand it, bulldude, which I am 99% sure you sure as hell do not, it is NOT about the sales units, it is not even about the sales revenue.It is all about the P R O F I T S.Am I going slow enough for you, bulldude?
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.