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Recall Parade Marches On with GM, Chrysler

Makers announce actions on more than 425K vehicles.

by on Sep.22, 2014

The Cadillac XTS is part of a larger recall including Chevrolet Impalas for a parking brake problem.

General Motors and Chrysler recalled more than 425,000 vehicles for brake and fuel pump issues. The latest round pushes the number of recalled vehicles in the U.S. well past the 40-million mark.

GM called back 221,558 Chevy Impalas and Cadillac XTS cars from the 2013-2015 model years for a defect in the parking brake that could cause a fire. The vast majority – 205,309 – were recalled in the U.S. with the remainder in Canada and other countries.

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The brake’s indicator light sometimes fails to illuminate while the brake is not fully retracted. (more…)

Autobrake Systems Earn 8 Models Top Safety Ratings

Collision warning technology showing marked improvement.

by on May.29, 2014

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is one of four GM models on the IIHS list, and the only mainstream vehicle.

While autonomous vehicles may still be years away from production, one of the key technologies that will allow vehicles to drive on their own already has begun to find their way into today’s production vehicles, helping eight 2014 models earn top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The group includes seven luxury vehicles and one large mainstream model. Notably, a full half of the vehicles that earned the IIHS Superior rating are built by General Motors, a company that has been struggling to salvage its reputation in the wake of an ignition switch scandal and the recall of nearly 14 million vehicles since January, more than in any single year in its history.

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All eight of the top-rated models share at least one critical technology: forward collision warning with auto-braking. That is a step up from earlier models that could detect a potential crash and warn the driver. The newer systems also can apply the brakes if a driver doesn’t respond quickly enough.


Feds Launch Probe of 2014 Chevy Impala Brakes

Move comes as GM notifies 1.4 million motorists replacement ignition switches are ready.

by on Apr.23, 2014

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala was named Best in Class by Consumer Reports.

Federal investigators have launched a preliminary probe of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala following a report that the big sedan’s emergency braking system might activate without warning or driver input.

The probe comes as General Motors shakes up its internal product development system in a bid to catch potential safety problems as early as possible. GM is facing a number of separate investigations stemming from the handling of a recall now involving 2.6 million vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.

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On Wednesday, GM said it had notified 1.4 million U.S. motorists they could schedule repairs for vehicles covered by the ignition switch recall.


Natural Gas Gets Boost from President Obama

But automakers, energy suppliers still need come aboard.

by on Jan.30, 2014

Obama omitted battery power during his speech, discussing alternatives such as CNG, instead.

It’s being billed as a cleaner alternative to gasoline and one in wide supply thanks to new fracking technology – and now, President Barack Obama is lending his support to the use of compressed natural gas as an automotive fuel.

The question is whether that will be enough to move automakers and energy suppliers who have so far been reluctant to commit their resources to adding new CNG-powered vehicles to their line-up and the fueling stations needed to power them.

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After coming into office in January 2009, the Obama Administration seemed single-mindedly focused on battery power, shifting funds away from other promising technologies like hydrogen fuel-cells. But that has begun to change during the Obama second term and during his State of the Union address this week, the president put a focus on CNG.


GM to Launch CNG-Powered Impala

Energy security “more than a one-off moonshot,” declares CEO Akerson.

by on Oct.16, 2013

CEO Dan Akerson says numerous alternatives to gas-power will be needed, including CNG.

General Motors will launch a new CNG-powered version of its big Chevrolet Impala sedan next year, making it the first maker to offer the availability to use the cheaper, cleaner fuel in a full-size model.

The announcement came in a speech by GM CEO Dan Akerson during a national summit meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Mideast oil boycott. That defining event led to skyrocketing gas prices, lines at U.S. gas stations and a serious economic recession. It also forced Detroit makers to close a number of factories and gave the Japanese auto industry its first real crack at the American market.

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Today, even with fuel prices having dipped slightly in recent months, there is strong demand for alternatives, and while much of the attention is on battery-based vehicles, there’s also growing interest in the use of CNG which has become widely available with the increased use of fracking.

During his speech, Akerson stressed that a variety of different solution ultimately will be needed, warning that, “energy security won’t come from a one-off moonshot.”


Old and New, Chevrolet Will Market Two Versions of Impala

by on Mar.19, 2013

The new 2014 Chevrolet Impala will target retail buyers while the old model will be aimed at fleets.

General Motors plans to offer two separate versions of the big Chevrolet Impala, both the 2014 remake of the full-size sedan as well as the old model that it was intended to replace.

The previous-generation Chevrolet Impala will remain in production indefinitely and will be aimed strictly at the fleet market while the all-new 2014 will focused on the retail market where Chevy hopes to pick up market share, GM officials said.

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Less than one third of the old Impala have been going into consumers’ hands, something that the maker hopes to change with the 2014 model, according to Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing. “It’s 30 percent retail, 70 percent fleet right now. We’re going to flip that with the new car,” he said.


“Big Year” for Chevrolet

Chevy promises 13 for ’13.

by on Oct.11, 2012

A redesigned Impala will be one of 13 new models Chevrolet promises for 2013.

Some folks might consider it doubly unlucky but Chevrolet is counting on rebuilding its momentum in the months ahead as it launches 13 new products for the ’13 model-year.

The maker certainly can use a little boost.  While its sales are up since January, that pace has generally lagged the overall automotive recovery, gaining a modest 11% to date. The new model-year gained a bit of traction in September as some of the first of those new offerings began to reach showrooms, generating a nearly 14% year-over-year bump. But arch-rival Toyota gained more than 41% — meaning Chevy and General Motors, overall, still continued losing market share.

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No wonder Mike Albano, chief spokesman for GM’s largest brand, declared that 2013 “is a big year for Chevrolet” during a news conference outlining the product strategy for the coming months.

We’ve already see some of those new offerings, including the all-new Spark minicar, the larger Sonic and the completely redesigned Malibu. That midsize sedan has had a two-part rollout starting with the launch of the new Eco version last Winter and now seeing more mainstream models wheel into Chevy showrooms.


GM Recalls 38,000 Chevy Police Cars

Subject to front suspension failures.

by on Aug.13, 2012

GM recalls Impala police cruiser due to a potential faulty suspension component.

This time, it’s the cops who got busted.  General Motors is recalling 38,000 police cruisers because of a suspension problem that could cause fractures and the sudden loss of control – a potentially serious problem, especially during a high-speed pursuit.

The recall affects the specially modified police version of the Chevrolet Impala sedan produced from mid-2008 to 2012.  The recall specifically affects the pursuit package and does not involve civilian models, a GM spokesman emphasized.

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The maker says it knows of no accidents or injuries connected to the problem but is warning police agencies to make repairs quickly because of the potential severity of the defect.


Chevy Bringing New Impala, Traverse To New York Auto Show

But is an alternate, rear-drive offering in the cards, as well?

by on Mar.22, 2012


Chevrolet offers just a subtle peak at the new Impala coming to New York next month.

The folks at Chevrolet will be busy squeezing in two significant new product updates at the New York Auto Show next month, the maker pulling the wraps off both an all-new version of the aging Impala line, as well as revealing an updated version of the big Chevy Traverse SUV.

The Traverse will reach showrooms for the 2013 model-year, but Chevrolet planners apparently want to build buzz more slowly for the big Impala sedan, which will be designated a 2014 model when it reaches showrooms.

The Impala nameplate is one of the General Motors division’s oldest, first bolting onto a sedan back in 1958.  The 2014 reincarnation will be the Impala’s tenth-generation remake – and, Chevy clearly hopes, will help add momentum to a brand that set a global sales record last year, topping 5 million vehicles – dealers around the world selling one new Chevrolet car, truck or crossover, on average, every six seconds.


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“The new Impala further strengthens Chevrolet’s passenger car lineup by giving consumers a full-size sedan that balances the desire for distinction with engaging driving dynamics,” said Chris Perry, the vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing.

The teaser image doesn’t reveal much, though it does hint that Chevy designers opted for a classic luxury cue, with a long and sweeping C-pillar and what appears to be a more coupe-like roofline than the current Impala.  It also boasts plenty of chrome trim. 


Chevrolet Offers Tease of New Malibu

Classic American sedan getting Shanghai preview.

by on Mar.31, 2011

Chevrolet offers a hint of what's coming with the launch of the all-new Malibu sedan.

Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out an all-new version of its Malibu sedan – but in an interesting turn reflecting the realities of the new automotive world order, the new 2012 model will be making its formal debut not at the upcoming New York Auto Show but at the year’s big motor show in Shanghai – with an appearance at the Big Apple’s Jacob Javits convention center to follow.

The teaser shot shown here provides a glimpse of the new car’s taillights, which also reflect some of the realities of the new GM, a more intriguing, squared-off shape, influenced by the Camaro, populated by what appear to be LED bulbs.

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Along with a more modern and – one hopes – more visually appealing design, General Motors reveals that the new sedan will be a bit wider than the outgoing Malibu.  That’s all the more noteworthy considering it will ride on the smaller Epsilon II platform which, for those familiar with GM nomenclature, is shared with several other global models, including the new Buick Regal.