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Best Cars for Tailgating

For Serious Tailgaters, the Car’s as Important as the Game Itself

by on Oct.23, 2015

The extended Janisse family chowing down at a Michigan State tailgate party.

He may live on the other side of the country these days, but Steve Janisse tries to get to East Lansing, Michigan as often as possible to catch the Michigan State Spartans in action.

It’s a tradition dating back to his days as an MSU student, and while it’s too long to drive in from California, he’s stayed in touch with old college friends who have made a tradition of arriving hours early to park and party. Tailgating is a pastime repeated around the country as football season gets underway, but to do it right takes more than just a ticket for the game and a parking pass. It also takes the right sort of car.

Get in the Game!

“The tailgating is almost as much fun as the game itself,” says Janisse, a one-time auto executive who now works as a consultant in the entertainment industry. “But you want something like an SUV or a pickup that you can open up in back.”

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Silverado v. Ram Heating up Over Incentives

Could Ram outsell Silverado consistently?

by on Apr.04, 2014

The amount of incentives Chevy and Ram have put on their trucks to entice buyers has become a point of contention in the analysis of Ram outselling Silverado in March.

The Ram celebrated its best-ever sales month in March, highlighted by the fact it actually outsold the Chevrolet Silverado for the first time on a monthly basis in 15 years.

Ram sold 42,532 trucks compared with Chevy’s 42,247 Silverados last month. In discussing the flip-flop, GM officials suggested that its competitor bought market share with heavy incentives on its trucks.

The Last Word!

Critics of the call out noted that Chevy turned right around, extended its current incentives, which were due to expire in April, and plunked more cash on the hood of selected Silverado models to ensure it takes back second place in the monthly truck sales race. Ford sold 70,940 F-Series models during the month, which was up 5% on year-over-year basis. (more…)

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.

Keep on Truckin'!

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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Recall of 370,000 Pickups Couldn’t Come at Worse Time for GM

Embarrassing setback as Chevy Silverado vies for Car of the Year honors.

by on Jan.11, 2014

What could have been a great week for the Chevy Silverado now has an ominous omen hanging over it.

Just days before it learns whether its 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup wins honors as the North American Truck of the Year, General Motors has announced it is recalling 370,000 full-size trucks due to a potential fire hazard.

The safety action covers both the new Chevy Silverado and the near-twin GMC Sierra model, both receiving widespread kudos since being completely redesigned for the 2014 model-year. But the recall could be just one of the problems the new GM pickups will be facing in the coming days.

Your Automotive Source!

According to GM, the recall is required to reprogram engine control software to reduce the risk of overheating exhaust components and eliminate the risk of an engine compartment fire. The Detroit maker reports that there have been eight fires resulting from the problem, “three of which were on customer owned vehicles.”

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Ford Blows Past Last Year’s Truck Sales

Truck giant tracking to hit 2006 sales levels.

by on Nov.19, 2013

Ford has already sold more F-Series trucks than it did all of 2012.

New vehicle sales have been humming along this year, in large part due to the renewed popularity of full-size pickups. Nowhere has it been more evident than at Ford, which gets a reminder every 42 seconds.

The company announced today that it has already sold more F-Series trucks this year than it did last year with six weeks left to go. F-Series sales have now exceeded 645,316 trucks: one every 42 seconds, according to Ford.

Product News!

“If our truck business continues at this rate through the end of the year, we will reach 60,000 F-Series sales for eight straight months, putting us on par with 2006, before the economic downturn,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst, in a release. (more…)

Chevy Takes a Load Off With Silverado Cheyenne Concept

Mini mass, maxi performance, suggests Chevy.

by on Nov.04, 2013

Chevy drops some mass with Cheyenne show truck.

They’re big, they’re bad, but do they have to be quite so heavy? That’s a question a lot of folks are asking about full-size pickups, especially in light of the tough new fuel economy standards the auto industry will be facing over the next decade.

Ford is reportedly ready to show what can be done when it reveals the next-generation F-Series early next year, the big truck expected to migrate to an aluminum-intensive platform and body that could reduce mass by as much as 750 pounds or more. And while Chevrolet took a more conventional approach with its new 2014 Silverado, the maker is also looking at ways to put the big truck on a diet.

Stay on Top of a Fast-Changing World!

Which brings us to the Chevrolet Silverado Cheyenne concept truck that will be making its debut at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week.  The prototype makes extensive use of lightweight materials – primarily carbon fiber – to trim 200 pounds off its 4,503-pound production stock mass.

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GM Earnings Fall By Over Half for Q3

Maker hurt by restructuring costs; buoyed by European improvement.

by on Oct.30, 2013

The surge in truck sales -- the 2014 Chevy Silverado shown here -- helped prop up GM's bottom line.

General Motors reported its net income was cut in half during the third quarter as one-time adjustments for restructuring the company’s debt reduced profits to $700 million from the $1.5 billion reported for the same period a year ago.

Despite the drop income, GM chairman and chief executive officer Dan Akerson said he was satisfied that GM was still making steady progress as its North America Operations, where margins surpassed 9%, continued to show strength. And the maker also saw an improvement in its loss-making European operations as a new turnaround plan appeared to be taking hold.

A Profitable News Source!

During the third quarter, GM said net income to common stockholders was $700 million, or 45 cents per fully diluted share, down from $1.5 billion, or 89 cents per share a year ago.  Investors appeared to be taking the results in stride, however, with GM shares up in early trading. Excluding the one-time items, GM would have earned $1.7 billion, or 96 cents a share. That was ahead of the 94-cent forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

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Ram Diesel Named Truck of Texas

Shutouts for Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado.

by on Oct.15, 2013

The 2014 Ram Diesel gets a tip of the 10 gallon hat from Texas Auto Writers.

The folks at General Motors have to be gritting their teeth and stomping their cowboy boots this morning.  Despite the general raves being heaped upon the maker’s new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, the General’s new offerings were nudged aside by the year-old Ram when the influential Texas Auto Writers wrapped up their annual pickup truck shoot-out.

Those longhorn journalists gave their Truck of Texas award – again — to the year-old Ram 1500. Well, to be more precise, this year’s winner is the new Ram 1500 diesel, the very first oil-burner to be offered in the half-ton full-size pickup segment.

Keep on Truckin'!

These and a host of other awards were handed out after two days of testing at the Texas Auto Writer’s Association’s 23rd Truck Rodeo. The competition — which puts a variety of trucks, traditional SUVs and even some more newfangled crossovers through a variety of on- and off-road torture tests  — delivered a few surprises, including shut-outs for both the new Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra models.

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GM Truck Offensive Picks Up Momentum

Chevrolet, GMC, add more models, target up-market buyers.

by on Sep.26, 2013

The upcoming launch of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will highlight GM's new truck offensive.

General Motors plans to unveil  its new mid-sized pickup trucks during the press previews at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November – the new Chevy and GMC models part of a broad offensive the Detroit maker hopes will take advantage of the sudden surge in truck sales.

The introduction of the two midsize pickups will follow the launch of GM’s new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size models, and target a segment of the market now dominated by the Japanese.

News You Can Trust!

“We think we have a real opportunity with that truck,” said Chris Perry, marketing chief for the Chevrolet division, referring to the new Chevy Colorado pickup. The GMC model will be dubbed the Canyon.

Since GM killed off the old Colorado and Canyon models, Detroit makers have left the segment to the Japanese, with models like the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline. And with sales on the decline, it has been anything but certain whether the domestics would try a comeback.

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GM Truck Sales Exceeding Maker’s Expectations

Both old and new models commanding higher prices than forecast.

by on Aug.15, 2013

GM's 2014 pickups could add a billion dollars to its bottom line, according to one forecast.

As it sells off its old full-sized pickups while ramping up production of two all-new models, things are going markedly better than forecast, according to several top General Motors executives, with sales exceeding expectations and the old truck commanding a higher price than planned.

The overall U.S. market has been rebounding faster than almost anyone has expected this year, with sales now forecast to reach or exceed 15.5 million for all of 2013, about 1 million more than last year. And full-size pickups have been leading the charge, the segment up more than 20% for the past seven months.

News You Can Trust!

But GM pickup sales surged a whopping 44% in July compared to year-earlier numbers, with the outgoing 2013 model accounting for 85% of total volume for the month.

“It’s a nice transition,” said Chris Perry, general marketing manager for the Chevrolet Division which markets the most popular of GM’s two full-sized trucks, the Silverado. The other model is the GMC Sierra.

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