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Chevy Rolling Out Cruze Refresh at NY Auto Show

New WiFi hot spot for GM's hot-seller.

by on Apr.15, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze gets some modest exterior tweaks - and some major new tech.

There seem to be two General Motors these days.  One is scoring an assortment of solid hits with products ranging from the big Chevrolet Silverado pickup to the sporty new Chevy Corvette and lavish Cadillac CTS.  The other GM, well, it is struggling to keep its name from being dragged through the muddy waters surrounding its ongoing ignition switch recall scandal.

Good product is, without doubt, the best way to shore up one’s reputation, and the Detroit maker is hoping that’s what folks will be focusing on this week as the annual New York Auto Show gets underway. One of the most important GM product launches on tap will be the debut of a refreshed 2015 Chevrolet Cruze.

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Though it lags behind such compact powerhouses as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the Cruze has been doing well for GM as the Detroit maker’s top-seller in 2013.  So, no surprise the maker hopes to do even better with this update that puts an emphasis on new technology.

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Chevrolet Turns Loose the Latest Z06 Convertible

First Z06 drop top since ’63 puts out 625 hp.

by on Apr.11, 2014

The all-new, 2015 Corvette Z06 will be one of the most capable convertibles on the market, offering 625 hp, and a zero-to-60 mph time under 3.5 seconds.

Chevrolet today unleashed a beast that Corvette mavens haven’t seen in more than 40 years: a Z06 Corvette convertible.

The first Z06 drop top available straight from the factory since 1963, its LT4 6.2-liter V8 puts out 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque with a zero to 60 time under 3.5 seconds. It is the most powerful convertible the Bow-Tie manufacturer has ever produced.

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“The Z06 Convertible is a world-class supercar in every sense,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible.” (more…)

2015 Corvette Stingray to Get New 8-Speed Automatic

New transmission expected to be quicker, smoother, more fuel-efficient.

by on Apr.07, 2014

The Stingray will shift to an 8-speed for 2015.

Not even a year out of the box, the new Chevrolet Corvette is about to get a significant upgrade.  The 2015 version of the Stingray will trade in its current 6-speed automatic transmission for a new 8-speed gearbox that promises to be smoother and quicker, the maker says.

The new 8L90 automatic also is expected to yield about a 5% improvement in fuel economy, according to General Motors, a significant figure, especially considering the current Corvette already can deliver as much as 30 mpg on the highway, a number not traditionally associated with a high-performance sports car capable of producing as much as 460 horsepower.

“Corvette Stingray’s new eight-speed automatic delivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and the manual control that enhance the performance-driving experience,” said Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions. “It was designed to enhance the Stingray’s driving experience, with performance on par with dual-clutch designs, but without sacrificing refinement.”

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Ram Outsells Silverado for 1st Time

Ford F-150 retains solid segment leadership.

by on Apr.02, 2014

The addition of the Ram 1500 Diesel has helped the truck gain new momentum in the market.

One month doesn’t a trend make.  And it’s too early to see whether General Motors’ worsening recall problems are having an impact – but for the first time ever, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 outsold rival GM’s Chevrolet Silverado 1500 last month  to become the U.S. market’s second-best-selling full-size pickup truck.

March also marked the first time since 1978 that Chevy’s big rig wasn’t in second place in the fast-reviving truck segment, behind only the long-dominant Ford F-150.

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The numbers were close, Ram delivering 42,532 pickups last month compared to the Silverado’s 42,247. And Chevy can take solace in the fact that it remains entrenched in second place for the year to date, holding a more than 10,000-unit lead over the Ram brand: 107,757 Silverado 1500s to 96,906 Ram 1500s.

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1.5 Mil Vehicles Targeted by 3 New GM Recalls

Maker takes $300 mil Q1 charge for recalls.

by on Mar.17, 2014

The 2013 - 2014 Cadillac XTS is covered by one of the three new recalls.

Still stinging from the headlines surrounding an ignition switch recall that is blamed for taking at least 12 lives, General Motors today announced another three recalls covering a total of 1.5 million midsize crossover-utility vehicles, commercial vans and luxury sedans.

The maker stressed that there have been no injuries and accidents related to the three separate service actions – recalls that might have largely been relegated to the back page had it not been for the ongoing controversy over GM’s handling of the ignition switch problem last month.

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“These are routine recalls,” said GM spokesman Jim Cain, “but these aren’t routine times.”

GM also noted that it will set aside $300 million to cover the cost of the three new recalls as well as the ignition switch recalls announced in February – a figure spokesman Cain acknowledged could increase.

The Detroit maker is facing a series of inquiries by the U.S. Justice Dept., committees on both sides of Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – and a team of lawyers GM itself has hired to find out why it waited as much as 13 years to act on the ignition switch problem.

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First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty

Powered by Duramax diesel, GM trucks topping the heap.

by on Feb.20, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD LTZ crew cab pickup is half brute, half luxury vehicle.

The top two selling vehicles in the United States are full-size pickups, and while Ford and General Motors are fighting tooth and nail for each sale, the big money profits in the segment lie with the heavy-duty versions of the trucks.

One of every four trucks sold in the United States are of the heavy-duty variety. These big brutes are used for tougher than every day chores like hauling major loads, towing big trailers and plowing snow.

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Moreover, the battle for bragging rights in the highly profitable and uniquely American segment between General Motors and Ford as well as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram division, is ferocious with each of the big competitors looking for a technical edge that would allow them to nose out the competition. (more…)

Six Deaths Linked to GM Recall

Nearly 800,000 vehicles involved.

by on Feb.13, 2014

The old Chevrolet Cobalt shown here was later replaced by the current Chevy Cruze model.

General Motors is recalling nearly 800,000 older compact cars due to a problem that the company acknowledges is linked to six deaths.

The recall covers Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models sold in North America during model-years 2005 through 2007.  According to GM, the weight of the key ring can inadvertently lead to the ignition switch moving out of the Run position when the vehicles are driven on rough roads.  In such a situation, their airbags may not operate during a crash.

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In all, GM reports there have been 22 separate accidents resulting from the problem, including five frontal impact crashes and six fatalities in which front airbags did not deploy. However, a GM spokesperson also noted that in all the incidents resulting in death, the crashes occurred off-road and at high speeds, where fatal injuries might have occurred even if the airbags worked.

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New Chevrolet Van to Get Chicago Auto Show Debut

GM turns to Nissan for a helping hand.

by on Jan.31, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet City Express will be available in dealerships in the U.S. and Canada this coming autumn.

One of the big reveals at the Chicago Auto Show next week will be the rollout of a new compact cargo van from General Motors – for which GM has turned to Nissan for a helping hand.

The new Chevrolet City Express van, which is designed to compete with the new Ford Transit Connect, is aimed primarily at commercial customers, such as tradesman and small business owners in need of a delivery vehicle, GM officials explain.

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The new Chevy van could be converted into a people carrier, as well, and is expected to find a strong niche in the small van segment, which has been growing in recent years.

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Show-goers Find Plenty Cool Tech at 2014 Auto Show

Motorists find ways to stay connected, improve safety, boost mileage.

by on Jan.24, 2014

The latest Honda Link not only accesses smartphone music apps, but even displays a new navi app on the LCD screen of the new 2015 Honda Fit.

This year’s North American International Auto Show is flirting with record attendance levels despite the intense cold that has settled over the Motor City – and that may be because show-goers have plenty of cool stuff to check out into Detroit’s sprawling Cobo Center convention hall.

There are 100s of new cars, trucks, crossovers and concept vehicles on display – including more than 50 vehicles making their debut at the 2014 NAIAS.  But for many of the visitors who’ve slogged through snow and temperatures dipping at times below zero, the big draw are the new performance, safety and infotainment features rapidly transforming the automobile into a technological showcase.

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This year’s Detroit auto show follows the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and there are some notable similarities – no surprise, suggests Art St. Cyr, the head of American Honda’s automotive operations, since for many buyers, “the single most-important technology is their cellphone. They don’t want to be disconnected.”

That’s an observation more and more automakers are taking to heart.  Among the coolest new automotive technologies, many allow motorists to pair the car with their smartphones, tablets, laptop computers and other digital devices.

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Most Minicars Fail New Frontal Crash Tests

Chevy Spark the only model to pass – barely.

by on Jan.22, 2014

The Chevrolet Spark was the only one of 11 minicars to pass the IIHS front crash test.

A new round of crash tests could give serious pause to those hoping to downsize in order to lower their fuel bills or simply to reduce monthly payments – especially those who don’t want to downsize their safety.

Of 11 new minicars examined by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10 failed the trade group’s challenging new small overlap front test, the sort of crash common in real-world driving.  Only the Chevrolet Spark passed, and then just barely – the IIHS dubbing “these tiny vehicles the worst performing group of any evaluated so far.”

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As a result, the Spark is now the only minicar to earn the group’s coveted 2014 Top Safety Pick award.  Several other models previously honored lose that endorsement after failing the new crash test which is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another car or an object like a utility pole or tree.

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