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GM Charges Up Second-Gen Chevrolet Volt

Longer range, better MPG, more room – but will buyers plug in?

by on Jan.12, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra introduced the second-generation Bolt, which will get an additional 50 miles per charge. Photo credit: Len Katz.

General Motors sparked plenty of interest when, in 2010, it launched the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt. But after an initial surge, sales have waned over the last several years, falling a precipitous 30% last year. So, Chevy can only hope that potential buyers will plug back in with the launch of an all-new, second-generation Volt at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

The 2016 model was designed to address many of the weaknesses of the original car, including its buzzy engine, sluggish performance and cramped interior. But it also will deliver significantly more range – an estimated 50 miles per charge – and improved fuel economy.

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And while the maker has yet to announce specific numbers, there is widespread speculation the 2016 Chevrolet Volt also will see a price cut putting it more into the mainstream of the compact American sedan market.

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New GM Electric Vehicle Could Take Aim at Tesla

Chevrolet Bolt expected to deliver 200-mile range at $30,000 price tag.

by on Jan.11, 2015

The nose of the current Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-market plug-in hybrid. It was redesigned for 2016. A pure electric Chevy Bolt could follow in 2017.

First came the Chevrolet Volt, now comes the Chevy Bolt. Even as General Motors gets ready to officially unveil an all-new version of its plug-in hybrid, various sources suggest the Detroit maker also will debut a concept version of a battery-electric vehicle at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

Significantly, the Chevrolet Bolt is expected to deliver as much as 200 miles range per charge. That would more than double what most of the current crop of electric vehicles can handle – and would be in line with what Tesla is thought to be targeting for the Model III, the mainstream EV it plans to launch in a couple years.

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And, at an estimated $30,000, GM would likely undercut the smaller Tesla model while coming in only slightly higher than some competing vehicles delivering half Bolt’s range, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the current Chevrolet Spark, which can travel just 82 miles per charge.

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First Drive: 2015 Corvette Z06

World-class performance, unexpectedly affordable price.

by on Jan.07, 2015

Chevy is offering the Z06 in coupe and convertible configurations, with stick and auto transmissions.

It’s an unusually chilly morning out in the Nevada desert, and as we buckle our helmets, strap on our seatbelts and make a few final adjustments, we get a last-minute warning: the track is chill and the pavement cold. It might get a little slippery if we go balls-to-the-wall on the first couple laps.

But it doesn’t take long to throw caution to the wind as we shoot through the corners and back out onto the front straight at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, an hour outside Las Vegas. With a neck-snapping 650-horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque bursting out from under its hood, the new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is not only one of the fastest cars you can find, it’s also one of the most forgiving.

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It’s the sort of sports car that makes an average driver feel like a hero, and a serious performance enthusiast push further than they might ever have thought possible. What’s all the more impressive is that it comes at a price tag that Euro-snobs might snicker at, less than $80,000 to start with – nudging up to around $110,000 for an absolutely fully loaded Z07 version.

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Chevrolet Offers Unexpected Preview of New 2016 Volt

"Significant" improvements to range, mileage and performance.

by on Jan.05, 2015

Chevy intentionally made sure reporters got only a brief view of a poorly-lit version of the 2016 Volt during a sneak preview at CES.

A week before its official unveiling at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Chevrolet pulled off a surprise, giving a small group of reporters a first, brief glimpse of the second-generation Volt plug-in hybrid.

While the unexpected preview at the Consumer Electronics Show revealed a significant shift in styling, Chevy officials withheld specific details, including the range and fuel economy of the 2016 Volt.

Plug In!

But in a subsequent conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, Chevrolet’s global marketing chief Tim Mahoney did confirm that the updated extended-range electric vehicle will deliver a “significant” increase in mileage, as well as the distance it can travel in all-electric mode, while there will be a number of other improvements, including a roomier and more upscale interior, as well as increased performance.

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Toyota Set to Debut New Tacoma at Detroit Auto Show

Adding energy to a resurgent midsize pickup market?

by on Dec.05, 2014

The current Toyota Tacoma.

Adding fuel to a simmering midsize truck market, Toyota confirms it will unveil an all-new version of its aging Tacoma pickup at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

The next-gen 2016 Toyota Tacoma will be unveiled along with two new models from the maker’s upscale Lexus division, said Bon Carter, the maker’s senior vice president pf automotive operations in North America. Toyota has been racing to get the new Tacoma ready for battle with a new line of offerings from General Motors, including the Chevrolet Colorado.

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Thinly disguised versions of the next Tacoma have been spotted undergoing testing in North America in recent months. As with the bigger Toyota Tundra, designers and engineers in the U.S. had a significant role in the development of the midsize truck, although it is being geared for sale in markets around the world, while Tundra is primarily focused on a State-side audience.

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Chevy Colorado Nabs Motor Trend Truck Honors

Midsize model tops Ford’s new F-150.

by on Dec.03, 2014

The 2015 Chevy Colorado wins a big endorsement from Motor Trend with its annual Truck trophy.

In something of a surprise, Chevrolet’s new midsize Colorado pickup truck outgunned the favored Ford F-150 to nab top honors as Motor Trend Truck of the Year.

The decision was a vindication for General Motors which is betting heavily on a revival of the once wildly popular midsize truck segment despite a huge fall-off in demand over the last two decades. GM itself walked away from the segment earlier in the decade before returning with two much more modern offerings, the Chevy Colorado and the near-twin GMC Canyon.

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“Colorado is a smart, capable, and refreshingly honest truck that makes a strong value and efficiency statement,” declared Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh. “It’s perfectly sized and suited for the needs of many of today’s truck users.”

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Mustang Ponies Up – Regains Lead Over Camaro

But will it continue to hold the reins?

by on Dec.03, 2014

Ford's 2015 Mustang is smoking the competition.

The all-new Ford Mustang is back in full gallop, and has corralled its long-time rival, the Chevrolet Camaro.

Ford says it sold more than 8,000 of the pony cars last month – a more than 60% year-over-year jump, marking the best November Mustang has had since 2006. Equally significant, as it closes out its 50th anniversary, Mustang has regained its position as the best-seller in the U.S. muscle car market.

“We’re feeling good about the response the public has been showing us about the car,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development director, in a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Chevy Goes Off-Road with Colorado ZR2 Concept

Show car showcases new Duramax diesel.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Chevy has used the ZR2 badge since 1994.

While most pickup owners are likely to experience nothing rougher than a worksite, or perhaps a gravel path to their summer cottage, there are those who love to test the mettle of their trucks with some serious off-roading. And that’s what Chevrolet is targeting with the Colorado ZR2 Concept making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Riding higher, and getting four inches of added width compared to the production Colorado Z71, the show car also serves as a showcase for the new Duramax diesel engine Chevy will add to its midsize pickup line next year.

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“From the bold stance to the trail-ready special equipment, the Colorado ZR2 is all about the fun of driving where the pavement ends – and doing it in characteristic Chevy style,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “Chevrolet has a heritage of the ZR2 representing the ultimate in production-based off-road capability and we’ll gauge the public’s interest in this concept as we continue to explore the possibilities for the all-new Colorado.”

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Chevy Revives the Legendary Chaparral Race Car

Concept gives PlayStation fans chance to race modern reinterpretation.

by on Nov.13, 2014

Chevrolet developed a modern interpretation of the Chaparral cars for GranTurismo's 15th anniversary.

Every so often, a race car comes along that fundamentally transforms the world of motor sports, and there are few better examples that the exotic Chaparrals raced by Jim Hall and Hap Sharp back in the early 1960s.

It’s hard to imagine a Formula One racer or an IndyCar today without their pioneering work on aerodynamics – the ground effects, the wings, and spoilers integrated into models as groundbreaking as the Chaparral 2D and the 2J CanAm “sucker car.”

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Despite winning the 1980 Indianapolis 500, the partners left racing two years later. But what might have happened if they continued in the sport? What would a Chaparral look like today? That’s something Chevrolet is exploring with the Chaparral 2X VGT concept it will reveal at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. (more…)

Special Edition to Celebrate Camaro’s Final Run

Three special versions of pony car debuting at SEMA this week.

by on Nov.03, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Commemorative Editon will help end the car's fifth-generation run.

Chevrolet isn’t about to let the current Camaro line fade away without some celebration. It’s planning to unveil three special versions of the popular pony car at the SEMA Show this week, including a special 2015 Camaro Commemorative edition that will go on sale next spring.

It also will reveal another special – but as yet-unnamed — production model that will help mark the unexpected rival of a once-dead nameplate. Re-launched in 2009 after a long absence, the Camaro is now the country’s most popular muscle car, handily out-selling long-time leader, the Ford Mustang. But Ford is looking for a revival of its own with the launch of an all-new model of its own this year.

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“The Camaro has had an amazing run since we introduced the fifth-gen Camaro,” said Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “In fact, Camaro’s outsold everybody in the segment, every single year. And what I attribute it to, is Camaro has always had this ability to deliver a combination of style, performance and affordability.”

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