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GMC Tightens Up Premium Truck Segment with 2020 Sierra 1500

More technology and engine choices highlight new truck.

by on May.17, 2019

For 2020, the GMC Sierra gets a slew of new technology as well as a new engine offering.

The competition to produce the best-equipped pickup truck continued to get tighter today with GMC’s announcement that its “taking premium to the next level” for its 2020 Sierra 1500.

GMC’s full-size light-duty pickup can now get a slew of new options to take it up a notch, including expanded availability for its carbon fiber bed, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission, plus additional technology like Adaptive Cruise Control – Camera.

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While options are great, functionality is still king among truck users and GMC is looking to make a statement in that arena too. For 2020, the Sierra 1500 will be available with the upgraded ProGrade Trailering System introduced earlier this year on the 2020 Sierra HD. The updated system offers 15 camera views – the class leader – plus an in-vehicle Trailering App which has been enhanced to simplify the trailering process. (more…)

EU Auto Tariffs Deadline Fast Approaching

European and American automakers alike hope for delay.

by on May.15, 2019

President Donald Trump has until May to either enact new tariffs on EU autos or order a delay.

With one trade war already underway, the White House could kick off another battle this weekend as the May 18 deadline nears for Pres. Donald Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on European auto imports.

Any move would follow the completion of a Commerce Department study completed last February that concluded auto imports pose a threat to America’s national security. The president has not given a clear indication of how – or whether – he will respond as a 90-day deadline approaches, though he has had harsh words about European automakers in the past, at one point threatening to banish all Mercedes products from the streets of his home city, New York.

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Auto imports from Europe totaled $56.4 billion last year, according to Commerce figures, Germany responsible for the bulk of that. The risk of new tariffs sent shares of German manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reeling in recent days. But even U.S. automakers, as well as suppliers and dealers, have been pressing the Trump Administration to hold back on launching a new front in the trade war.

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General Motors, Unifor Ink Deal for Oshawa Plant

New agreement saves 300 jobs at facility.

by on May.10, 2019

Workers at GM's plant in Oshawa, Ontario, staged a sit-down strike after the company rejected plans to keep the plant open.

General Motors Canada and Unifor have announced a plan to convert elements of the Oshawa Assembly plant into an arts-making operation, saving some 300 manufacturing jobs, and vehicle test center for autonomous and advanced vehicles.

The “Transformation Agreement” between GM and Unifor, the union representing Canadian autoworkers, apparently will end the sometime bitter dispute that began in November 2018 when GM announced plans to shutter the Oshawa plant permanently, ending more than 100 years of car making on the site just outside Toronto.

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The dispute about Oshawa led a brief sit-down strike inside the factory earlier this year and Unifor attacking GM for abandoning Canada through a series of ads including one that ran on the highly rated Canadian telecast of the Super Bowl. GM countered the brief strike and the ads with lawsuits. (more…)

Barely One in Six Americans “Likely” to Buy an EV Next Time They’re in the Market

New AAA study finds millions more might enter market – if gas prices top $5/gallon.

by on May.09, 2019

The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the winners of AAA's annual Top Green Vehicle Award.

Less than one in six Americans say they’d give serious consideration to buying an all-electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a new car, truck or crossover, according to a new AAA study, a finding that could spell trouble for the automakers ready to launch dozens of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, over the next several years.

The good news for the industry is that as many as 40 million Americans say they’d at least consider the merits of an all-electric model. But, according to the study released today, U.S. motorists remain confused about both the benefits and limitations of battery-cars.

Green Car News!

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

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EV Start-Up Workhorse Expected to Buy GM’s Shuttered Lordstown Plant

GM also planning $700 million investment at three Ohio plants.

by on May.08, 2019

This may not be the last vehicle produced at GM's Lordstown, Ohio plant. The automaker is talking with Workhorse to sell the plant.

General Motors will begin the process of selling its shuttered Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant to Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group and another newly formed venture, the automaker said Wednesday afternoon, largely confirming a tweet issued by President Donald Trump earlier in the day.

If the deal is completed, Workhorse is expected to use the sprawling factory, about an hour southeast of Cleveland, to produce electric trucks, creating hundreds of jobs in the process. The other “newly formed” company partnering in the deal is being led by Workhorse founder Steve Burns.

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“This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the EV community,” said Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes. (more…)

GM’s Cruise Unit Gets Additional $1.15B in New Funding

T. Rowe Price leads new round of funding.

by on May.07, 2019

GM's Cruise self-driving car unit received a new round of funding: $1.15 billion led by T. Rowe Price.

Producing self-driving vehicles requires a lot of money and, perhaps, even more faith. It would seem investors have both when it comes to this part of the automotive industry as General Motors’ Cruise outfit has secured $1.15 billion in new equity.

Cruise officials revealed Tuesday that T. Rowe Price and a group of existing investors put down $1.15 billion in new equity, pushing the self-driving vehicle unit’s value to $19 billion.

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As a result, GM’s shares jumped as much as 2.1% to $38.89 in morning trading on the heels of the announcement. The new funding includes GM, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co Ltd., and should provide Cruise the cash it needs to launch vehicles by the end of 2019. (more…)

New Corvette Stalling Sales of the New Corvette

Fans waiting for the mid-engine C8, slowing C7 sales.

by on May.06, 2019

General Motors is adding a second shift and more than 400 hourly jobs at its Bowling Green (Kentucky) Assembly plant in preparation for the C8 Corvette.

The new Corvette is the best ever — and no one wants one.

Well, perhaps not no one, but with the news confirming that the eighth-generation, mid-engine ’Vette is due to arrive later this year, sale of the America’s sports car are fading even faster than they have for the past few years.

Beyond the Headlines!

Corvette sales hit their high-water mark at about 37,000 in the U.S. in 2006. (more…)

Electrifying America

Volkswagen-funded start-up is rolling out a nationwide network of quick-chargers -- and cutting prices 20%.

by on May.06, 2019

A Chevrolet Bolt is plugged into an Electrify America charger at EA's suburban DC tech center.

Volkswagen plans to spend $50 billion on battery-electric vehicles while General Motors’ CEO says the automaker is on a “path” to go fully electric. Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and, of course, Tesla, by mid-decade, these and other manufacturers expect to have more than 200 electric vehicles on the market.

But just because you build them doesn’t mean buyers will come, industry analysts warn, pointing to a variety of obstacles to mass acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including range and cost. But one of the biggest concerns is the lack of a viable charging infrastructure that would allow electric vehicle owners to travel as freely as do owners of conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

Electrification News!

That is beginning to change as charging stations, especially “Level 3” fast chargers begin to pop up across the countryside. And, ironically, that roll-out owes a fair share of credit to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Out of the roughly $30 billion the automaker has so far paid out in terms of fines and settlements, $2 billion is funding Electrify America, a start-up helping promote the adoption of plug-based vehicles, in large part by setting up the fastest-growing public charging network in the U.S.

EA is taking another step to increase the appeal of running on battery-power, on Monday announcing plans to cut the cost of charging at one of its stations by 20 percent.

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You Probably Won’t Be Able to Pronounce Its Name, But Zotye is Betting You’ll Want to Buy One of its SUVs

Stealing a page from the Koreans – and undercutting them, in the process.

by on May.03, 2019

The Zotye T600 shown making its debut at Auto Shanghai last month.

At 69, Duke Hale has been selling cars, either at a dealership or working for an automaker, for 50 years, but he’s betting he can become a sort of automotive Pied Piper to Millennials and Gen-Z.

He and a team of aging Baby Boom industry veterans are getting ready to start selling what may become the first cars imported from a local Chinese carmaker. It’s no easy task, his California-based start-up, known as HAAH, is still pitching its idea to the dealers who will have to bet on a brand that’s not only unknown to American car buyers but which is saddled with the ungainly name, Zotye.

Beyond the Headlines!

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time U.S. motorists were won over by a brand whose name they’ve had to struggle with. Think Hyundai, which Americanized its name to “Hun-day.” The Chinese brand, pronounced “Zoh-tee,” hopes it can lift some other pages from the Korean carmaker’s playbook, starting with a price low enough to make it an appealing alternative to a used vehicle.

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Nissan Adds Another Nail to Convertible Coffin with Plans to Kill 370Z Roadster

Choice of ragtops growing increasingly thin.

by on May.02, 2019

Nissan will still offer the Z Roadster overseas, but it's dropping the ragtop in the U.S. due to slow sales.

Nissan is pulling the plug on its 370Z Roadster at the end of the 2019 model-year, the Japanese automaker has confirmed, marking the end of one of the brand’s most iconic offerings.

The good news for roadster fans is that the coupe version of the sports car will remain in production indefinitely – which doesn’t mean it will last forever, just that there are no current plans to once again remove it from the line-up.

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The 370Z Roadster joined the Z Coupe after it was returned to the Nissan family in 2009, part of the automaker’s turnaround program. Its demise comes as automakers rethink their passenger car strategies and, in particular, cull their slow-selling convertible offerings.

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