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Automakers Adding High-Tech Features Consumers Often Do Not Want

Millennials prove surprisingly tech-resistant.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Even Millennials seem to find little appeal in such high-tech features such as the new Apple CarPlay.

Virtually every Chevy that will roll off the assembly line next year will feature a built-in 4G LTE connectivity that can provide anyone in the car access to a mobile WiFi hotspot. General Motors’ OnStar unit, meanwhile, offers many of its customers access to a mobile concierge service – as do a number of competitors.

But a surprising number of owners don’t bother to use either of those features – which are among the most underutilized among a raft of high technology features and services automakers are building into their latest vehicles, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

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The 2015 Drive Report finds that 20% of recent new car buyers have not yet used half of the high-tech additions to their vehicles during the first three months of ownership.

But what may be the biggest surprise in the Drive Report is that supposedly tech-centric Millennials are proving particularly slow to embrace all the new features supposedly designed to attract them to today’s newest, highest-tech vehicles.

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Woodward Dream Cruise Can Celebrate Past and Present

Forget the ‘60s; the best muscle cars ever are being built today.

by on Aug.10, 2015

The latest version of Chevy's Corvette Stingray can get up to 31 mpg while making 455-hp.

The roar is back. All this week, you can expect to see countless classic hot rods, muscle cars and other exotics cruising Detroit’s main drag as the Motor City gets ready for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

This will mark the 20th anniversary of an improbable event that took shape almost by accident when a small car club in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale decided to change things up. Rather than having its members park their cars for their annual gathering, organizers decided it would be more fun to cruise up and down Woodward Avenue. Word got out and almost 250,000 people lined the eight-lane boulevard to watch. In recent years, that has grown to as many as 1.5 million, with an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 classic cars cruising Woodward.

Cruise on In!

“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” noted regular Dream Cruise fan Bob Wissman, who recalled spending plenty of time riding around with friends in their Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs as a teenager back in the 1960s.

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Toyota Expecting Only Modest Growth for 1st New Tacoma Pickup in Decade

Capacity limits could see loss of share in growing midsize truck market.

by on Aug.06, 2015

Toyota is hoping the next-gen Tacoma will keep the good times rolling sales-wise in the U.S. in 2015.

When the 2016 Toyota Tacoma rolls into U.S. showrooms next month it will mark the first major update of the midsize pickup in a decade, an eternity by today’s automotive standards.

Considering the long somnambulant segment has suddenly roared back to life in recent months, one might expect to see Toyota prepping for a major surge in sales for the 2016 Tacoma. But it’s not. The Japanese maker is looking for modest growth, at best, for the new pickup next year.

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The reason is simple, according to Toyota division General Manager Bill Fay: “We’re very close to maxxed out on our production capabilities right now,” despite adding more capacity at a plant in Baja, Mexico.

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Gen-2 Chevy Volt’s EV Range Jumps to 53 Miles

Updated model also gets performance boost, fifth seat.

by on Aug.04, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt will get a 40% boost in its battery-only range.

The second-generation Chevrolet Volt will deliver 40% more range in battery mode than the original version of the plug-in hybrid, the maker announced today.

At 53 miles per charge, the compact sedan will permit buyers to commute or run even more errands without using any gas, General Motors officials have suggested. They also hope to increase the appeal of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt by offering better performance and more interior space, the new plug-in now capable of seating five, rather than four like the original model.

Charge Up!

“We listened to our customers,” Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah said ahead of a news conference at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan. “They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range, and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”

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Chevy Rolls Out New 2016 Colorado Diesel

Oil-burner offers significant boost in mileage and towing capacity.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Chevrolet will be the first maker in the midsize pickup segment to offer a diesel option.

A year after launching its new midsize Colorado pickup, Chevrolet is back with a new diesel-powered version of the truck.

The new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel will be offered in the near-twin GMC Canyon, as well, making the pair the only diesels offered in the rebounding midsize pickup market. While no hard figures for the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel were released, it has been widely anticipated that highway mileage will top 30 mpg when the truck goes on sale this fall.

Keep on Truckin'!

“Along with greater capability and efficiency, it expands the Colorado lineup to give customers more choices and the capability of exploring more possibilities on and off the road, said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing.

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GM Recalling Nearly 700k Utility Vehicles Because Liftgates Could Fail

News caps a week of safety-related problems.

by on Jul.10, 2015

The Enclave's curves are different than any other SUV on the market.

The 2012 Buick Enclave is one of the various GM crossovers covered by the liftgate recall.

Capping a week that already has seen some massive recalls, General Motors has announced a new service action covering 686,000 midsize crossover-utility vehicles because their rear liftgates could fail.

The latest recall by GM – which has taken major heat for safety problems over the last 18 months – covers Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia CUVs sold during the 2008 through 2012 model-year, 2009 through 2012 model-year Chevrolet Traverses and 2007 through 2010 model-year Saturn Outlooks.

Keeping You Safe!

According to a report posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the affected vehicles are equipped with power liftgates whose gas struts may prematurely wear out. If that happens, the hatches could suddenly and unexpectedly fall.

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GM Takes on Ford F-150 in New Web Campaign

YouTube spots use bear, fake superhero…and Howie Long.

by on Jul.06, 2015

Howie Long compares Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 repair costs in one new web ad.

General Motors is amping up its attack on Ford’s highly touted, aluminum-intensive F-150 in a bid to gain dominance in the hugely profitable full-size pickup segment.

The YouTube web spots – which may soon turn into a network TV campaign – rely on a 700-pound bear, a fake superhero and NFL broadcaster Howie Long in a bid to portray Ford’s new truck as too costly for the average owner to maintain.

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The stakes are huge. Full-size pickups are some of the most profitable vehicles in the industry. Ford has long dominated the segment with its F-Series line-up, but some analysts say it may be vulnerable in the wake of the switch from steel to aluminum for the 2015 model-year.

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Hybrid, Battery-Car Sales Slumped in First Half of 2015

Demand shifts from small, efficient, to big and powerful.

by on Jul.02, 2015

Honda Civic Hybrid production ended last month.

At the beginning of 2014, when fuel prices seemed headed for new record highs, U.S. shoppers couldn’t drive off fast enough with small cars and alternative-power vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

But with fuel costs down by at least $1 a gallon across the country, manufacturers have been struggling to sell those same, high-mileage vehicles. That’s forced them to stack up new incentives on the hood and, in some cases, slash production.

Stay Plugged In!

That poses a challenge for the industry as it faces new fuel economy mandates for 2016 – with even tougher targets phasing in from now until 2025. Even so, automakers show little sign of retreating from the aggressive plans they’ve put in place to introduce new battery-based vehicles and other clean alternatives.

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Muscle Cars Rule Again

Why advertise a car that’s already sold out?

by on Jul.02, 2015

The Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models take center stage in the new Predators ad campaign.

At 707 horsepower, the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models are the most powerful muscle cars to ever roll off a Detroit assembly line, and the fastest. Just ask any dealer who has watched the two vehicles squeal out of showrooms faster than the factory can build them.

Even though Dodge is heavily promoting the Hellcat models in a series of new 30- and 90-second ads, the Hellcats are sold out for the rest of the 2015 model-year. But parent Fiat Chrysler isn’t the only one struggling to meet demand. Ford Motor Co. saw a roughly 40% jump in sales of its long-popular Mustang last month, and while sales are off a bit for the Camaro, Chevrolet expects a big surge of demand once it launches the all-new 2016 version in the months ahead.

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Only a few years ago, skeptics were predicting the demise of the muscle car, with the classic V-8 likely to be relegated to the automotive rust heap. Hybrids and battery-cars were expected to take their place. But as recent sales figures have demonstrated, Americans aren’t about to abandon their long-standing passion for performance. These days, manufacturers are being forced to pile on the incentives to get buyers to consider those alternative-power vehicles.

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Chevy Goes Cruze-ing with New 2016 Sedan

Redesigned Cruze is roomier but lighter, more fuel-efficient; hatchback to follow.

by on Jun.25, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra shows off the larger but lighter and more fuel-efficient 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.

Chevy hopes to Cruze to the top of the compact sales charts with the all-new sedan it’s launching later this year. The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will be larger than the outgoing model, yet lighter and more fuel-efficient.

The Detroit automaker also plans to add a new hatchback version of the 2016 Chevy Cruz, reflecting a growing shift in the American market as compact buyers in the U.S. start to fall in line with more global trends.

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While it might share its name with Chevrolet’s outgoing compact sedan, not much else remains the same, said styling chief John Cafaro during a Detroit preview. “The Cruze’s approach to proportion and premium details adds to Chevrolet’s elevation of craftsmanship, content, quality and a fresh interpretation on an identity that is unmistakably Chevrolet,” he proclaimed.

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