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Has Tesla Been Bending the Numbers for Model 3?

Carmaker claims it has purged speculators from the order banks.

by on May.03, 2016

Only two per household. Tesla insists it has purged multiple reservations for the Model 3.

Tesla’s Model 3 is still about 18 months from production, but the Silicon Valley automaker has already lined up an enviable order book, the ever-ebullient CEO Elon Musk declaring it, “the biggest one-week launch of any product ever.”

But there have been some questions raised about Tesla’s claims. For one thing, potential buyers have been plunking down $1,000 refundable reservations, not orders. They’ve still got plenty of time to decide if they actually will purchase one of the compact battery-electric vehicles once they finally begin rolling off Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly line.

Keeping Things Honest!

And are consumers really the ones making these reservations? Or are speculators and others who really have no intention of ever taking delivery of a Model 3 inflating the list?

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GM Phasing Out Vehicles Without Airbags

All models worldwide will offer airbags, other safety features by 2019.

by on Apr.15, 2016

The Chinese-made export version of the Chevrolet Sail got zero stars in Latin American crash test.

After flunking a widely reported crash test in Latin America, General Motors will reverse course and add not only airbags but a variety of other safety features in all vehicles it sells worldwide.

The move could prompt other mainstream manufacturers to follow suit, despite the added cost, as government regulators and safety advocates around the world press to lower a global highway death total estimated at 1.25 million last year.

The Last Word!

GM says it now plans to spend about $5 billion to bring its worldwide fleet up to higher safety standards, a move that will target emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America and smaller Asian countries like Vietnam and Indonesia. Chinese regulators have already been ramping up safety requirements in recent years.

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Tesla Costs Likely to Rise as Incentives End

Few, if any Model 3 buyers will qualify for $7,500 tax credit.

by on Apr.06, 2016

Tesla buyers may no longer qualify for federal tax credits by the time the Model 3 reaches showrooms.

When the Tesla Model 3 finally goes into production, in late 2017 or early 2018, buyers might be in for an unpleasantly costly surprise – one that fall particularly hard on customers who were hoping to get that new battery sedan at a relatively affordable price.

American motorists buying the carmaker’s two current products, the Models S and X, stand to receive federal tax credits of $7,500. Industry analysts say that incentive has helped draw many buyers into the battery-car market. But under federal guidelines, those givebacks might be gone before the first Tesla Model 3 hits the road.

Your Auto Insider!

When Congress passed the measure aimed at spurring demand for battery-based vehicles – including both plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or PHEVs and BEVs – lawmakers set a cap on those incentives, limiting them to just the first 200,000 vehicles sold by a particular automaker.

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Tesla Set for Biggest Risk Yet as it Reveals New Model 3

Will early interest translate into profitable sales?

by on Mar.31, 2016

A shortage of showrooms could prove a problem taking the new Tesla Model 3 mainstream.

Battery-carmaker Tesla Motors is set to make the biggest bet in its short life Thursday night with the official unveiling of the all-new Model 3.

At an estimated price of $35,000, the new sedan will cost less than half as much as the base version of the current Tesla Model S and, if all goes according to plan, transform the California carmaker into a serious mainstream, rather than niche, manufacturer.

Plug In!

According to some observers, Tesla could very quickly log more than 100,000 early reservations. But not everyone is convinced, one analyst warning that “fundamental headwinds” could prove more substantial than Tesla’s ever-upbeat founder and CEO Elon Musk has anticipated.

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Muscle Car Wars Heat Up as Chevy Reveals New 2017 Camaro ZL1

Gen-6 model adds another 200 hp to the equation.

by on Mar.16, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 bumps the pony count up to 640 with its LT4 V-8.

If you think the battle for the White House has gotten nasty, just check out the fight for supremacy in the pony car market. Ford and General Motors are lobbing everything but hand grenades at one another, and GM is firing the latest shot with the announcement that it will bring out an all-new version of the Camaro ZL1 next year.

Chevy gave a handful of automotive journalists a look at the new model – and a brief ride — during a sneak preview at the Spring Mountain race track an hour outside Las Vegas. And, if seeing is believing, it only takes a lap inside the 640-horsepower monster to know that the bowtie brand is playing for keeps.

We perform!

“We’re delivering world-beating levels of performance, on the track and off,” proclaimed GM President Dan Ammann, before strapping on his element and heading out onto the track.

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Chevy Speeds into Geneva with Corvette Grand Sport

Latest ‘Vette variant blends best of Stingray and Z06.

by on Mar.02, 2016

The new Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport.

For the most part, American automakers have been keeping a painfully low profile at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, leaving it to overseas competitors. But even though the brand has largely abandoned the European market, Chevrolet did have something to show off during a show with a heavy emphasis on power and performance.

Think of the new Corvette Grand Sport as a hybrid of the “base” Stingray and the steroid-laden Z06. Picking up on some classic design cues and adding better brakes and wider wheels, among other things, the Grand Sport promises to fill a nice gap between the two current models.

Product News!

“We didn’t hold back with the new Grand Sport,” Tadge Juechter, the chief engineer on the Corvette program, said ahead of the new model’s debut at Geneva’s PALExpo convention center.

The Grand Sport retains the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 found in the Corvette Stingray. And like that model, it will turn out 460 horsepower.

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Reliability Woes Worsen, Warns New J.D. Power Study

Tech issues now make up 20% of reported problems.

by on Feb.24, 2016

Lexus topped the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, the 2013 GS also a segment winner.

Two things seem to be true about the newest cars coming to market these days: they’re likely to have lots more high-tech features than the vehicles they replace. But they’re also likely to have more reliability issues, largely as a result of problems with those new tech features, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study.

The VDS queried owners of 2013 model-year vehicles and found that, on average, dependability dropped 3% year-over-year. It found that one in five of the problems owners reported involved audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technology. Collectively known by the acronym ACEN, these systems are, collectively, the single largest source of trouble owners reported.

Power Up!

“The increase in technology-related problems has two sources,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive research at J.D. Power. “Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers. At the same time, the penetration of these features has increased year over year.”

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Chevy 1LE Gives Performance Boost to Camaro

Package available for both V-6, V-8 models.

by on Feb.10, 2016

For the first time, the Camaro 1LE package will be available on V-6 and V-8 models.

For those hoping to squeeze even more performance out of the Chevrolet Camaro, the bowtie brand is bringing back its 1LE package.

Set to make a debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the Camaro 1LE option will be offered on both V-6 and V-8 versions of the muscle coupe. The package provides a combination of increased handling, extra performance and a more sporty appearance with a signature matte satin black hood.

Muscle Up!

The 1LE is meant for “an owner who wants a daily driver and a weekend track car,” suggests Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president in charge of Chevrolet marketing.

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Chevy Makes Trax With Updated CUV

New look, new safety and tech features.

by on Feb.10, 2016

Chevrolet U.S. Vice President Brian Sweeney introduces the 2017 Chevrolet Trax, which gets a number of tech and appearance updates, inside and out.

Barely a year after first introducing its little Trax SUV, Chevy is making some major upgrades, revising the compact crossover’s appearance, updating its infotainment system and adding an assortment of new safety features.

First shown in concept form at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the Trax originally wasn’t supposed to come to the U.S. market, but buoyed by the success of the similar Buick Encore, Chevy decided to give it a go with the 2015 model-year.

Product News!

The Trax quickly became one of the bowtie brand’s unexpected hits. The compact crossover quickly grabbed a 20% share of the fast-growing segment, and Chevy officials say they’re hoping to do even better with the updated version of the Trax coming for 2017.

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Victory, Defeat – and Plenty of Surprises – at the Rolex 24 at Daytona

Another tequila sunrise to start the 2016 racing season.

by on Feb.01, 2016

Luis Filipe Derani celebrates after driving the last leg in the ESM team's Honda at the Rolex 24.

It wasn’t champagne flowing in Florida Sunday afternoon — nor milk, the beverage of choice for Indianapolis 500 winners. After 22-year-old Luis Filipe Derani shot across the finish line to wrap up the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the drink of choice was tequila.

No surprise, for Derani and his four co-drivers claimed an unprecedented victory behind the wheel of the Honda-powered Tequila Patron Extreme Speed Motorsports prototype, a full 26 seconds ahead of their nearest competitors.

Racing News!

It was the first time ever that a P2-class race car had claimed victory in what is generally seen as America’s most grueling endurance race – and a prelude to the summer’s main event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Words can’t describe it,” said ESM co-driver Scott Sharp, a previous Daytona winner. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s amazing.”

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