By on May 22, 2020

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT

While General Motors earned the right to resume production in Mexico on Thursday, parts procurement in the gradually reopening North American economy remains a serious roadblock.

U.S. plants came online May 18th following two months of pandemic-prompted downtime. Of topmost importance to all members of the Detroit Three are their hot-selling pickup lines, though UAW- and state-approved health protocol calls for a slow ramp-up, with all plants operating on reduced shifts. Parts supply will dictate those ramp-ups; in GM’s case, boosted pickup production in the Midwest will have to wait. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2020

2020 Chevrolet Silverado front quarter

General Motors received good news on Thursday, earning approval from the Mexican government to fire up its extensive manufacturing presence in that country after weeks of coronavirus downtime.

The green light to resume production will help the automaker restock its all-important pickup shelves, though assembly won’t turn on a dime. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2020

GM

Today’s letter is clearly “T” — as far as GMC’s concerned, anyway. With little else to show off during These Trying Times, General Motors’ truck division decided to remind the public that its plan to release a large electric pickup bearing the Hummer name hasn’t changed. Just the timing.

In said truck, which was bound for a May 20th debut before the coronavirus pandemic kiboshed those plans, gazing at the stars or taking shots at enemy aircraft in some sort of Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic scenario will be made all the more easier with removable roof panels. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2020

Reeling from the pandemic-born financial crisis, Hertz is unloading some particularly cost-intensive vehicles from its rental fleet. While plenty of these vehicles are old stock it would have had to get rid of eventually, Hertz is limiting fleet turnover this year, recently cancelling roughly 90 percent of new vehicle orders it had on the books for 2020. The company’s also selling some of the special performance vehicles slotted into its lineup every year ⁠— and not all of them seem to have accrued the kind of mileage that would normally warrant a sale.

We’ve chronicled the rental agency’s plight for a while now; Hertz seems to be on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, making it a good case study for the perils confronting auto rental groups everywhere. While we don’t think selling a handful of high-horsepower Chevrolets will be anyone’s saving grace, it might help Hertz scrounge up some loose cash — and provide a half-decent opportunity for enthusiasts to procure a bargain project car.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

Cruise, the self-driving arm of General Motors, is cutting roughly 8 percent its full-time staff as coronavirus lockdowns mar the economy and companies walk back development programs. You might have noticed the hype surrounding autonomous cars started dying down even before 2020 became the most miserable year in recent memory.

That made them prime candidates for cost-saving cuts. Health concerns have likewise made autonomous concepts like “robotaxis,” where occupants are confined together in small, self-driving shuttles, far less appetizing. Cruise actually showed off a six-passenger AV it developed and built back in January. Interested in paying to ride face to face with complete strangers?

We didn’t think so.  (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2020

Production at General Motors’ Mexican assembly plants could start up next week, following a go-ahead from the country’s leadership to resume factory activity. The faster GM’s able to come back online south of the Rio Grande, the better.

In an earnings briefing last week, GM, like its rival Fiat Chrysler, pointed to a declining inventory of lucrative pickups — a segment that proved extremely resilient over the past two months, even during the depths of the coronavirus lockdown. With U.S. plants resuming work on Monday, a concurrent Mexican restart is what the company needs. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2020

Image: GM

With General Motors aiming for a May 18th restart of North American vehicle production, powertrain components, in some cases, need a head start. That’s why May 11th will be the first day back to work for many employees of GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, home to much-used V6 and V8 engines, as well as a transmission.

The gradual return to work ahead of GM’s restart date comes after the Canadian labor leader Jerry Dias expressed concern over workplace safety. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

Mercedes-Benz is nixing its all-electric EQ hatchback, according to R&D boss Markus Schäfer. Instead, it’s going to play a GLA-sized EQA crossover as its next hand.

Speaking with Autocar, Schäfer basically said it was a question of market demand. The EQC has already been delayed until at least 2021 for U.S. customers, though we’ve heard talk that its suspension could prove indefinite as the brand reassesses what should — and shouldn’t — be included in its future lineup. “We have to watch customer demand and, at the moment, SUVs and crossovers are the absolute favorites. Those are our first priorities,” Mercedes’ R&D head explained.

It’s only the latest chapter in a complicated story about an industry that’s constantly having to rethink how it handles electric cars.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

Things change, and things fall apart. Both of these truths can be applied to best-laid plans, but they ring especially true for those of General Motors.

GM might have wanted 2020 Chevrolet Corvette production to run uninterrupted from late last fall through this summer, but a series of ever-larger crises managed to keep its production numbers down to a trickle. The result is a first-model-year run so small, it’s almost guaranteed to make every 2020 ‘Vette sold a de facto Launch Edition model. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

Like its domestic rival, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors is also looking to begin firing up U.S. assembly plants on May 18th. The news first came by way of The Detroit Free Press, which learned of alerts sent from plant managers to UAW workers at GM’s Lansing Delta Township and Flint operations. The automaker later confirmed this via its first-quarter 2020 earnings report.

The non-renewal of Michigan’s stay-at-home orders (which run through May 15th), coupled with a new, company-wide health protocol and the UAW’s quiet acquiescence to a Detroit Three reopening, seemed to pave the way for a firm restart date. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2020

gm

Your author can’t explain why his neighbor purchased a new Chevrolet Blazer Premier, but he can understand why General Motors felt the need to insert a new crossover between the Equinox and Traverse. CUV white space = $$$, I think the famous equation goes.

With this in mind, the existence of the new Chevrolet Trailblazer, slotted between the Trax and Equinox, is equally understandable. Boasting a brace of three-bangers and more space and MPGs than a Trax, the decidedly non-BOF Trailblazer serves as a larger stepping stone to the Chevy brand.

Timing, however, was not the Trailblazer’s strong suit. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

Thursday’s health and safety update from Ford offered up details on that automaker’s back-to-work plan, with new info provided on how the company plans gradually ramp up production amid a pandemic. Ford seemed to suggest that its new protocol had the backing of a crucial organization: the United Auto Workers.

While neither the company nor the union can do anything to ease Michigan’s lockdown order, which runs through May 15th, UAW approval is needed to bring the Detroit Three’s plants back online. On Friday, the union’s stance seemed as firm as ever. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2020

Buick Grille Logo Emblem, Image: General Motors

Not sure about you, but these past few weeks has seen yours truly think more about remdesivir and potatoes (at alternating times) than the Buick brand. I’d put the ratio somewhere close to 99:1, though you could add an extra digit to that first number and probably still be bang-on.

Yes, it’s a brand that’s not top of mind, earning itself more headlines for ditching cars than for adding crossovers. And yet, when our lockdowns end the the virus is vanquished and the open road cries out its alluring siren song, cushy, long-legged cruising machines might be the first thing to cross your mind. It seems Buick has just the thing for you, but you’ll have to act fast — and search long and hard. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2020

We don’t know what sort of person will purchase the GMC Hummer EV; presumably, the sort of person that’s also salivating over Tesla’s Cybertruck. Rugged electrics are a novel segment and we’re not sure what its demographic looks like.

Will it be technophiles hoping to secure their masculinity, or hard-living folks who’ve finally find a battery-driven vehicle that speaks to them? More importantly, how will these electric monsters stack up against established bruisers carrying tried-and-true internal combustion engines?

We haven’t the foggiest, and it looks like we’ll be waiting longer than planned to get some answers. General Motors announced it’s delaying the reveal of the new-and-improved Hummer on Wednesday. While no official reason was given, it’s almost certainly the result of lockdown measures relating to the coronavirus.  (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Unlike their foreign rivals, Ford, General Motors, and, belatedly, Fiat Chrysler held off on nailing down a specific date for a production restart. The latter company was expected to begin ramping up production starting May 4th, but last week’s announcement by UAW President Rory Gamble made it the odd man out. The plan’s now off the table.

According to one report, the three automakers will present a united front, with each operation coming back online on the same day. (Read More…)

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