By on August 16, 2019

A federal probe that’s been dropping United Auto Workers staff like flies has another one in its crosshairs, this time with ties to General Motors. Up until now, the investigation has primarily involved members connected to the union’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles department or the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. But, according to court records filed Wednesday, retired UAW-GM Center for Human Resources board member Michael Grimes is also formally accused of corruption.

Grimes becomes the ninth individual to be slapped with corruption charges and the first with links to an automaker outside of FCA. He is not, however, alone. Court documents suggest he’s one of several UAW officials suspected of accepting bribes and kickbacks from automakers; they’ve just yet to be named.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

When General Motors debuted the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, the automaker promised it would start below $60,000. It’s just barely been able to keep that promise at $59,995, which incorporates the obligatory $1,095 destination charge, but it’s still an impressively low target for a mid-engined performance vehicle. You can, of course, option out Chevy’s C8 Stingray to a much higher price tag.

Fortunately, even if you go absolutely mental on the options, you’ll still be saving yourself some cash vs any of the Corvette’s chief rivals. For example, a bare-bones Porsche 911 starts at $98,750 while the Corvette has to move up two trim levels and take on loads of extras before it surpasses $80,000. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

With another global recession looming on the horizon, executives at General Motors and Ford are busy touting the merits of being prepared. On Tuesday, the financial heads of both automakers were present at a J.P. Morgan Conference in New York to explain the steps being taking to mitigate economic disaster.

While financial hardship is not yet a guarantee for the United States, the ongoing trade war with China has impacted the cost of doing global business. Likewise, most sizable automotive markets are either underperforming or have surpassed peak growth levels. Depending upon the severity of the anticipated recession, GM claims its “downturn planning” could include postponing non-essential capital expenditures and shifting toward lower-priced automobiles. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

In last Wednesday’s QOTD post we covered all the worst examples of automotive collaboration. Commenters racked up the examples, sharing collaboration failures even worse than the Jaguar X-Type selected for textual pillory in the post.

Today we flip it around and discuss the best outcomes of automaker cooperation.

(Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Can you kill a ghost? While Hollywood and some Catholic priests say yes, in the automotive realm the process of ridding oneself of a spectre usually involves a new sheet on the drawing board, not a ceremonial ritual.

As you may have already heard, a ghost long rumored to haunt Detroit’s future product stable has reportedly disappeared into the ether from which it came. It never had much of a form, its name carried a question mark, and no one officially admitted to its existence. It only had a clear rival: the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and upcoming Ford Bronco. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

gm

Like its Chevrolet division mate, Buick plans to spend the 2020 model year filling white space in its lineup, hauling the tweener Encore GX from overseas to plug the gap between the existing subcompact Encore and the larger Envision. Beneath its hood, however, the Encore GX is anything but larger — at least when displacement is concerned.

Once the Encore GX arrives, the Ford EcoSport won’t be the only domestic crossover available with a three-cylinder engine. In fact, the Encore GX will be the only crossover offered in America with a choice of triples. No four-bangers invited to this party at all. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

The equinox, which arrives dutifully every spring and fall, represents a harmonious balance between day and night, light and darkness, but it also signals a return to the imbalance that reigns for the remainder of the year. For Chevrolet’s perennially popular Equinox crossover, current production rates are not harmonious with what GM expects to come.

Which is why the automaker plans to throttle back on building, both south of the border and north of it. Plants in Mexico and Canada will see a production haircut following some crystal ball action on the part of the company. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

Former union vice president Norwood Jewel has become the highest ranking UAW member to be convicted of corruption charges in a federal investigation that has lasted four years and delivered prison sentences for eight people, including Fiat Chrysler’s former labor negotiator, Alphons Iacobelli. You might recall him from to his extravagant spending habits.

The probe amassed evidence showing UAW officials receiving extravagant gifts, private residences, vacations, parties, and even cash furnished by FCA. Bribes, essentially, to help draw union concessions. Investigators looked into claims that high-ranking UAW members received kickbacks after giving business executives contracts to produce union-branded chachkies (shirts, keychains, frisbees, etc) and concerns that union members’ donations to flower funds intended for funeral services were misappropriated by the leadership.

Ford and General Motors are also under the microscope, with both saying they’re in full cooperation with authorities and cannot comment further.  (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

Who’s talking about the C7 Corvette these days? Precious few, that’s who, as the recent appearance of the mid-engined C8 has sucked all the attention away from the current-generation Chevrolet two-seater.

This situation, paired with the need to clear existing inventory, could be advantageous for buyers of the departing model, assuming you’re ready to shell out nearly six figures for the hottest C7s around. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

Unlike the botched launch of Ram’s new-for-2019 1500 pickup, General Motors from the very outset planned to release its equally new full-size trucks in dribs and drabs. Sales have taken a hit as the automaker focused first on lucrative crew cab models, recently boosting production of the popular bodystyle, as well as that of the arguably more attractive High Country trim. Next comes regular and double cabs, while the polarizing, new-for-2020 Heavy Duty models just went on sale.

As headlines shout about GM’s shrunken truck market share, the automaker claims profits from its revamped models are just fine. Sales will follow — just you wait, GM says. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2019

Last week we played a round of Armchair Alternative History where we discussed missed opportunities in the automotive industry. Conversation focused on actions automakers didn’t take when they should’ve.

Today is round two. Let’s go back and erase things that actually happened.

(Read More…)

By on July 30, 2019

Unlike Ford, which plans to put its sole remaining four-door passenger car underground by 2021, General Motors’ Chevrolet division is not quite ready to kiss the sedan goodbye.

While the automaker did cull its compact Chevrolet Cruze earlier this year (sparking a wail of grief from a certain writer whose year-old daily driver now bears an defunct nameplate), and while the Chevy Impala is also scheduled to bite the dust come January, the long-running Malibu is said to have at least a few good years left in it. (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2019

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Image: Chevrolet

In accordance with all that is true in the U.S. sports car market, General Motors is about to sell 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingrays by the truckload before settling in to a few years of significantly less volume.

Even casual industry observers understand that trend. Between the hype, the early adoption fervor, and the performance leaps generally represented by a new species of sportus caricus, shoppers tend to turn en masse to the newest, flashiest, boldest two-door. That pattern is amplified by vehicles with legendary status.

Fortunately, the legends aren’t as inherently prone to suffering from dramatic, post-hype declines in demand (See: FR-S, Scion.) History tells us General Motors’ 66-year-old sports car will surge some 40 percent in 2020 and then continue rising in 2021 before dipping somewhat in 2022.

The Corvette average buyer age is a whole ‘nuther story. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2019

Buick Regal Mistaken Identity commercial screenshot - Image: Buick/Youtube

Encore, not Regal. Regal TourX if you please, not the Cascada. No to the LaCrosse, yes to the Enclave. Regal Sportback shunned, Envision approved.

This isn’t an elementary analysis of the pro-crossover/anti-car trends of the marketplace or GM’s China-centric Buick brand. Rather, it’s the message Buick seems to be sending in its own advertising.

Of course, that’s not the official line from Buick PR. But the more you watch the six-month-old “Mistaken Identity” commercial, the more you wonder what Buick must think of its own cars. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2019

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we considered three-door Japanese SUVs from 1989. In this edition, we move forward a couple years in history and down a size class. Up for grabs are compact SUVs with removable roofs, all of them Japanese.

(Read More…)

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