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Cadillac ATS-V the “Next Chapter,” Says New Brand Boss

High-performance model will introduce no-lift stick-shift.

by on Nov.20, 2014

Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's new boss, noted the performance of the new Cadillac ATS-V is "perfect for the Autobahn."

When the new Cadillac ATS-V comes to market next year, the compact performance model will introduce a new feature the luxury maker is calling “no-lift shift.” Buyers who opt for the six-speed manual transmission will be able to keep their foot flat on the floor, rather than lifting off the accelerator to change gears, explained new Caddy brand boss Johan de Nysschen.

It’s an appropriate metaphor for what the South African-born executive has in mind for Cadillac. The launch of the ATS-V – available in both sedan and coupe trim – comes at the start of “the next chapter” for General Motors’ flagship brand. And there’ll be plenty to follow, with an array of new performance models, sedans, coupes and an all-new flagship now in the development phase.

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“We have to shape consumer attitudes,” de Nysschen said during a preview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is all too apparent, he admitted, that luxury buyers no longer follow the brand or know “how competent our vehicles are.” (more…)

Colombian Activists File Complaint against GM

Group charges maker violated Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

by on Nov.18, 2014

The labor strife at GM's Colombian plant has, in the past, triggered a hunger strike by workers, and now a complaint filed with the U.S. DOJ and SEC.

Labor activists filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission, charging General Motors with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to government officials in Colombia.

The bribery and corruption charges are the latest twist in long-running dispute between GM and Colombian workers, who argue they were injured while working at a GM assembly plant in Bogota, Colombia, and never received anything near adequate compensation.

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In their new complaint, the workers claim their efforts to be compensated properly for their injuries was systematically subverted by Colombian officials, who were bribed by GM employees in Colombia, according to the complaint filed with the DOJ and SEC. (more…)

Deadline Extended for GM Ignition Recall Claims

Feinberg wants to ensure everyone eligible has been contacted.

by on Nov.17, 2014

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator fo GM's victims compensation fund, extended the deadline for filing claims to Jan. 31, 2015.

The deadline to file claims for benefits from General Motors victims fund was extended by one month to Jan. 31, 2015. The deadline was extended to ensure that anyone eligible to file a claim had been contacted and the time necessary to compile the information needed to file.

“I believe that the many efforts to reach all possible GM automobile owners, former owners and others who might have been adversely impacted by a defective ignition switch have been both comprehensive and effective,” said Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the fund, in a statement.

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“There will always be some individuals who do not receive formal notice and are generally unaware of available compensation. But such individuals appear to be very few in number.” (more…)

Your Next GM Car Could Alert You Before it Breaks Down

Maker developing “active, preventive maintenance system.”

by on Nov.14, 2014

The next version of the Chevy Impala may alert you to a possible mechanical problem before it happens.

If you haven’t just gotten your driver’s license last week, odds are you’ve faced that mysterious and inexplicable “Check Engine” light at least once or twice, leaving you the choice of heading to the dealer or ignoring the indicator, hoping the bulb might burn out.  Then again, you might have gotten no warning whatsoever when your battery died or a water pump failed.

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General Motors is developing an “active, preventive maintenance” system that could avoid such headaches by giving a motorist a detailed alert before something on the vehicle breaks, says the maker’s global product development chief.

“We’re testing the system now with our employees,” noted Mark Reuss, during a lunchtime interview.


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…)

General Motors Laying Off 510 Workers

Drop in small car demand due to low gas prices forces cuts.

by on Nov.12, 2014

GM is laying off 350 workers at its Lansing Grand River plant in Lansing, Mich. However, they may be recalled when Camaro production is moved there next year.

The low gas prices that have benefitted sales of full-size pickups and SUVs has also cut demand for small cars and as a result forced General Motors to lay off 510 hourly workers at two plants in Michigan that produce small cars.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline is now $2.923 cents per gallon, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gage as the price of gasoline dropped by almost a penny. Last month, Americans were paying $3.208 cents per gallon. The prices are part of the reason buyers are finding their way back to trucks, crossovers and SUVs, which is resulting in more production capability than demand at the sites.

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The automaker is laying off 350 employees at its Lansing Grand River Assembly facility in January and 160 more at its Orion Assembly plant. The two sites produce a variety of small cars, including Cadillac ATS and CTS in Lansing and the Buick Verano and Chevy Sonic in Orion. (more…)

Shades of Watergate: What Did GM Know and When Did it Know it?

E-mails reveal maker ordered 500k switches months before alerting NHTSA about recall.

by on Nov.10, 2014

One of the replacement GM ignition switches.

Raising a specter of the old Watergate question – what did the President know and when – internal General Motors documents reveal that the maker ordered 500,000 replacement parts months before alerting federal regulators about a faulty ignition switch now linked to at least 32 deaths.

The e-mails were released today by Texas personal injury attorney Robert Hilliard who is handling some of the many lawsuits filed against GM in the wake of its February announcement of a recall covering 2.6 million vehicles sold in the U.S. They were equipped with ignition switches that could inadvertently shut off a vehicle and disable its airbag system. The administrator overseeing a victims’ compensation fund established by the maker has so far acknowledged the problem led to 32 deaths – a figure that could yet go higher.

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“This pulls the curtain back completely and proves GM has not been forthright,” Hilliard said, referring to documents that appear to show that GM knew at least as early as December 18, 2013 that the switches needed to be replaced.


GM Offers Gift Cards to Get Owners to Make Recall Repairs

$25 cards will be activated after ignition switch repairs are completed.

by on Nov.06, 2014

General Motors is using $25 gift cards from Amazon and other retailers to lure owners of recalled vehicles into dealers to complete repairs.

With at least 30 deaths now attributed to a defective ignition switch in more than 2 million General Motors vehicles sold in the U.S., you might think owners would race to get the deadly problem fixed as soon as possible. In fact, despite a widely publicized recall, only slightly more than half of the owners have yet dealt with the problem.

Some have delayed because of an initial shortage of replacement parts. But it is normal, according to federal data, for a sizable share of motorists to ignore recall notices for even the most deadly defects.

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Chrysler is struggling with a similar issue. It recalled 2.3 million Jeeps for to install trailer hitches to solve a problem with exposed fuel tanks that may catch fire. Only 119,000 owners have responded to the notices with just 90,000 getting the repairs done. The maker is currently setting up a website to raise the response rate. (more…)

Cadillac Confirms New ATS-V Debut in LA

First V-Series model to go V-6.

by on Oct.31, 2014

Cadillac will up the performance quotient of the ATS sedan and coupe models with a new V-Series.

True, it might be lifting another maker’s tagline, but Cadillac will be going “vroom, vroom,” when it rolls into the Los Angeles Auto Show a couple weeks from now.

General Motors’ once-dominant luxury brand is planning a massive expansion of its product line-up over the next few years, and it will start bottom to top with the roll-out of the all-new ATS-V, the maker has confirmed. It’s the first high-performance version of the compact sedan and coupe models, and the first V-Series addition in some years.

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The debut will be equally significant if, as expected, the top-secret powertrain that will be used in the new ATS-V proves to be a twin-turbo V-6. That would mark the first time Caddy’s V-Series line shifts away from the classic V-8s that it has traditionally relied on.


No Room for Complacency, Says GM CEO Barra

Maker aiming to “annihilate the opposition,” she tells Detroit leaders.

by on Oct.28, 2014

GM intends to win, proclaims CEO Barra, during a speech to Detroit business leaders.

General Motors is no longer going to act a polite competitor, GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said during an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club.

“I want to win,” Barra said. Not get by. Not hold on. Not be competitive. But win.

“I want GM to excel. To build relationships with customers for life. To be the most valued automotive company in the world,” Barra added. “If we aren’t here to win, to lead, to excel, why are we here?”

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In her speech to the leaders of the Detroit business community, Barra made it clear she wasn’t chosen to be CEO just to put a friendly face on the once-bankrupt automaker. Already having walked through fire as she has had to steer GM through an embarrassing and costly recall crisis, Barra has shaken up the maker and is clearly planning more major changes.