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Makeover for Chevrolet Traverse Set to Take NAIAS Bow

Updated ute gets larger, lighter, better equipped.

by on Jan.09, 2017

The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse gets a major makeover, not just in looks but also size and efficiency.

GM is upping its game to take advantage of the huge shift from passenger cars to utility vehicles. Following the makeover of the Chevy Equinox, General Motors’ big brand is rolling out an all-new version of the Traverse at the North American International Auto Show.

The mid-range, three-row model grows a bit bigger on the outside and a lot roomier inside for 2018. Nonetheless, it’s also a fair bit lighter than the outgoing Chevy Traverse, something that will translate into a smoother, more nimble ride – and notably better fuel economy.

Product News!

The debut of the 2018 Traverse is part of what Brian Sweeney, the U.S. chief of the Chevrolet brand, calls a “major onslaught” of new products aimed at taking advantage of the growing surge in SUV and crossover-utility vehicle sales. (more…)

Trump Attacks GM Over Mexican-Made Chevy Cruze

Detroit maker fires back at latest attack on auto imports.

by on Jan.03, 2017

The President-Elect shifts his focus to GM.

After spending much of his initial campaign taking shots at Ford Motor Co. for its plan to shift small car production to Mexico, President-Elect Donald Trump is now taking a poke at General Motors for importing the Chevrolet Cruze from a plant south of the border.

“Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax,” the businessman-turned politician declared in a tweet, slamming GM for “sending Mexican-made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border.” The president-elect has proposed dismantling or revising the North American Free Trade Agreement and hitting Mexican imports with as much as a 35% tariff – though he has notably made no public indication of plans to return production of his own clothing lines – some made in Mexico – back to the U.S.

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For its part, General Motors quickly responded to the Trump attack by noting that all of the Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold on the American market are produced in the U.S. A small number of Cruze hatchbacks recently began being imported from Mexico.

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Autonomous Cars, Battery Vehicles and Record Sales: a Look at 2016’s Top Auto Stories

Industry at “an inflection point.”

by on Dec.29, 2016

Ford's next-generation autonomous Fusion prototype. Self-driving cars were a hot story in 2016.

Barring an unexpected, December surprise, 2016 will go out like a lion for the U.S. auto industry, automakers collectively racking up their third consecutive year of record sales. That’s an all the more massive achievement considering the decade began with the worst downturn the U.S. car market had suffered since the Great Depression.

What’s ahead for the industry is far from certain, demand showing signs of losing momentum in recent months. But what’s clear is that 2016 will not only go down in the record book from a sales perspective but that the year could be seen as marking a series of major transitions – “an inflection point,” in the words of John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google’s recently renamed autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

The Last Word!

What was once the stuff of science fiction began shifting into everyday reality this past year, with hundreds of self-driving vehicle prototypes taking to public roads across the country – some even being used as part of ride-sharing pilot programs in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

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Three California Drivers Take Delivery of First Chevrolet Bolt EVs

Initial sales limited to California market.

by on Dec.13, 2016

Customers Bobby Edmonds (l to r), William “Bill” Mattos and Steve Henry take delivery of the first three 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVs Tuesday

The first three Chevrolet Bolt EVs have been delivered to retail customers in California, marking the start of sales of the market’s first long-range, relatively affordable battery-electric vehicles.

Industry experts believe that the Bolt could usher in a new era in which battery-cars finally start appealing to mainstream, rather than just green-minded, buyers by delivering range comparable to conventional, gas-powered vehicles without a hefty price premium. Chevy hits market as much as a year ahead of similar offerings coming from manufacturers including Tesla, Volkswagen and Nissan.

Breaking News!

“The range and technology attracted me to the Bolt EV,” said Bobby Edmonds, a software developer from suburban San Francisco, who is replacing his BMW i3 with the Chevy Bolt. “It’s also a great-looking, roomy vehicle and I love the fact it’s from an American brand. I look forward to the longer drives I can make compared to the i3 that I owned.” (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Getting charged up over battery power.

by on Dec.12, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt can manage 238 miles from its 60 kWh battery pack, says the EPA.

It’s no surprise that the first generation of battery-electric vehicles barely registered on the U.S. sales charts. They were small, costly and, with the exception of a few luxury-priced Teslas, not very much fun to drive. Add limited range and only the most green-minded buyers were willing to plug in.

But the equation is about to change and, if a handful of new models deliver what they’re promising, we could begin to see electric propulsion move into the mainstream. First out of the box is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV. With a range of 238 miles and a price tag dipping below $30,000 – once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit – there’s a lot to like about the Chevy hatchback.

Stay Plugged In!

We’ve now had three stints behind the wheel of the Bolt EV, including our first drive of a pre-production prototype last January. While it may not have the cache of the Tesla Model 3 – which won’t make it to market until the second half of 2017 at the earliest – the new Chevy battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, really delivers on all its promises. It’s surprisingly quick, roomy and able to deliver nearly as much range as comparably sized gas vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Sonic.

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Getting it Right: Inside the Chevy Bolt EV Plant

by on Dec.09, 2016

A new Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the assembly line at GM's Orion Township Assembly Plant.

With the plant running at only about a third of its capacity, General Motors has dimmed the lights at much of its Orion Township Assembly Plant, save for one final station near the end of the production line. There, in a booth lit as brightly as a mid-summer’s day, a couple of hourly workers are carefully inspecting a Chevrolet Bolt hatchback.

They’re determined to make sure all the sheet metal and chrome fit together as planned, and that there are no nicks or scratches to the paint. GM can’t afford any mistakes. The Chevy Bolt EV could prove to be one of the most important products the Detroit-based automaker has launched in decades.

Plug In!

The first long-range, affordably priced battery-electric vehicle isn’t likely to generate six-figure sales. Nonetheless, it will not only demonstrate whether there’s a mainstream market for EVs but also show whether GM can appeal to the sort of buyers who have largely flocked to either imports or new start-ups like Tesla.

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Pickup Trucks Are Suddenly Hot in China

Rapturous for the Ford F-150 Raptor.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's soon plans to start shipping the newly updated to F-150 Raptor to China.

They’re banned in Beijing, as well as Shanghai and a number of other cities, but pickup trucks are still expected to be the hot ticket when the Guangzhou Motor Show opens up to the public later this month.

In fact, import trucks like the Ford F-150, as well as little domestic models, are one of the hottest segments of the Chinese auto industry right now, with IHS Automotive expecting a 14% increase in sales for all of 2016, about double the pace of the overall market’s growth.

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And despite hefty import incentives, that’s enough to encourage Detroit-based makers to expand pickup export plans, Ford, for one, planning to start shipping its F-150 Raptor model to China starting in 2017.

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Chevrolet Bolt Lauded as Green Car of the Year

Battery car claims another endorsement.

by on Nov.17, 2016

Chevrolet Bolt marketing manager Steve Majeros and Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan show off the battery-car's latest award.

The Chevrolt Bolt, the world’s first long-range, mainstream-priced battery-electric vehicle, was given another in a growing list of endorsements, being named Green Car of the Year during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Organizers of the award called the Bolt a “game-changer,” suggesting that its launch will transform the public’s perception of green powertrain technology from a quirky niche to something that can appeal to everyday drivers.

Green News!

“This takes battery power into the mainstream,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and the organizer of the annual Green Car of the Year award. “This is the transition year. Green technology is no longer for early adopters.”

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Chevrolet Bolt Lauded as Motor Trend Car of the Year

Ford Super Duty, Mercedes GLC take Truck, SUV honors.

by on Nov.15, 2016

Pam Fletcher, GM's electric vehicle chief, and North American President Alan Batey hold the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy.

It hasn’t even reached showrooms yet, but the Chevrolet Bolt has landed a big victory, the new battery-electric vehicle being named the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

The widely followed award could give General Motors’ first mainstream, long-range BEV a leg up on competitors – including Tesla – at a time when plug-based vehicles are only beginning to show signs of momentum in a market largely motivated by cheap gasoline.

What a Winner!

Separately, the enthusiast publication also named the new Mercedes-Benz GLC its SUV of the Year, while the newly redesigned Ford Super Duty picked up a trophy as Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year during a ceremony marking the start of the annual Los Angeles Motor Show.

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Chevrolet Gets a Jump as Bolt Production Begins

Sales set to begin before year-end.

by on Nov.07, 2016

A prototype Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the line at the GM plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

The line is moving at a snail’s pace, but production of the Chevrolet Bolt is finally ramping up at the General Motors assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Orion Township, with the first of the new, long-range battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, set to go on sale before the end of the year.

Parent General Motors is hoping that it can steal a march on a variety of competitors, notably Tesla Motors, who hope to get their own long-range electric vehicles into showrooms over the next several years. With regulators in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China pushing the industry to expand sales of zero-emissions vehicles, the Bolt could provide the first real test of a vehicle designed to overcome so-called range anxiety.

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But whether motorists will take to the $37,495 Chevy Bolt – or any of the other, more mainstream BEVs to follow is far from certain. Fully electric models have accounted for just 0.4% of the U.S. market so far this year. Adding in plug-ins and conventional hybrids, battery-based vehicles still only make up a miniscule 2.5%.

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