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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.

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“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.

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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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Feds Launch Alt-Fuel Highway Network

Corridors will cover 25,000 miles, 55 routes in 35 states.

by on Nov.04, 2016

The new project should make it much easier for owners to find places to charge up on the road.

With the upcoming launch of longer-range, more affordable electric vehicles the auto industry is taking several critical steps towards making alternative power mainstream, but range anxiety isn’t yet a thing of the past.

Now, the federal government is taking steps to address the other big problem: a lack of places to charge electric vehicles. The plan announced by the Obama Administration will include 55 different interstates, covering 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states. Add in efforts to boost the availability of natural gas and other alternative fuels and the network grows to 85,000 miles of roadway.

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“Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America’s transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We have a duty to help drivers identify routes that will help them refuel and recharge those vehicles and designating these corridors on our highways is a first step.”

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Tesla Warns of Slow Model 3 Deliveries.

Bad news for Tesla could be good news for Chevrolet’s new Bolt.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Tesla still hopes to have the first Model 3 sedans in production during the 2nd half of 2017.

Looking to buy one of Tesla’s new Model 3 battery-cars? You can look for a long wait.

Those who put in an early reservation for the carmaker’s first mainstream model might yet get a Model 3 delivered before the end of next year, Tesla now says more recent orders won’t be fulfilled until 2018. And some analysts questions whether the company will even meet that goal, considering its history of missing targets with new products.

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That could be good news for Chevrolet, however. The Detroit maker expects to start delivering the first of its own affordable, long-range electric vehicles before year-end, and battery supplier LG Chem said this week that it believes there will be demand for as many as 30,000 Chevy Bolt EVs in 2017.

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Long Just a Rumor, Mid-Engine Corvette May Soon Become Reality

And is a Cadillac supercar also in the works?

by on Aug.04, 2016

A rendering of a possible mid-engine Corvette from Car & Driver, which has long chased the story.

In the classic Humphrey Bogart film, The Maltese Falcon, detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the chase for a jewel-encrusted bird, it’s “the stuff that dreams are made of,” he says. For sports car fans, especially those who’ve long waited to see General Motors finally deliver a true world-beater, the stuff of dreams is the long-rumored, mid-engine Corvette.

The search has long consumed veteran Detroit journalists like Don Sherman who remains convinced the project is real. And there are growing signs he is right – at least if a flurry of recent whispers and rumors, as well as articles and reports in outlets as diverse as the Detroit News and Car & Driver prove accurate.

There is an unusual twist to this long-running tail being bandied about. Might the mid-engine prototype spotted a number of times in recent months not actually be earmarked for Chevrolet, however? Might this supposedly ultimate Corvette actually be destined to serve as the halo car for the Cadillac brand, a challenge to the likes of the newly updated Audi R8 and reborn Acura NSX?

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For their part, General Motors officials remain mum. The stock answer is that the automaker doesn’t discuss future projects. And, the reality is, even some of the company’s more senior officials don’t really know. As several current and former Corvette project members stress, that is a highly compartmentalized team operating in its own little world.

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Toyota Delays Launch of Plug-in Prius Prime

U.S. sales not planned to start until winter.

by on Aug.03, 2016

The plug-in Toyota Prius Prime made its global debut at the NY Auto Show last March.

(Ed. Note: Toyota has now clarified details of the U.S. launch. See details, below.)

Toyota Motor Co. is delaying the start of production for its new plug-in model, the Prius Prime.

The move is expected to push back the availability of the new model in the Japanese market. The U.S. launch, TheDetroitBureau.com has been advised, will begin in November, but will be slower than originally planned.

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The exact reason for the delay hasn’t been stated, though spokesperson Kayo Doi was quoted telling reporters in Japan that, “We decided we want to take our time and more care before starting mass manufacturing.” The launch of production will be slower than original planned, a U.S. official added.

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Chevy Cruze Joins New Wave of Hatchbacks

Hatches gain traction – but can be hard to distinguish from CUVs.

by on Jun.17, 2016

Chevrolet will bring the new Cruze Hatchback to dealers this autumn at a base $22,190.

Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out a new, five-door version of its compact Cruze model, a move that might have had industry analysts scratching their heads just a few years ago.

Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, hatchbacks were hot. But due to some poor designs and quality problems – notably leaky hatches – they earned a bad reputation as “penalty-box” cars and all but vanished from the market. Suddenly, however, the market appears to be heating up again, with manufacturers introducing new models and consumers responding enthusiastically.

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“Automakers are responding to consumer demand for additional choice,” said David Sullivan, a senior automotive analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.

Adding new body styles, said Sullivan, can also help prop up passenger car nameplates that have been losing momentum as more and more U.S. buyers shift to sport- and crossover-utility vehicles, as well as other light truck lines.

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Detroit Muscle Cars Fall Short in New Crash Tests

Ford Mustang outperforms Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

by on May.24, 2016

They perform well on the street, but the IIHS wanted to see how the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro perform in a crash.

The Ford Mustang outperformed its domestic muscle car rivals in the latest series of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but none of the three managed to earn top ratings in the closely watched tests.

This marks the first time the insurance industry-funded safety group tested and compared all three of the domestic “pony cars,” a move that reflects the fact that muscle cars collectively suffer some of the highest loss rates of any vehicle category, according to government statistics.

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“Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund.

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