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GM’s Reuss Confims Cadillac’s Plans for Flagship Sedan

A book-end for a rapidly expanding product line-up.

by on Aug.20, 2014

The Cadillac Elmiraj concept is expected to have a strong influence on the new flagship, though it will go with a sedan body style.

Cadillac will finally bring to market a full-size luxury flagship sedan late next year, Mark Reuss, the global product development chief for General Motors confirmed.

The new model, as TheDetroitBureau.com previously reported, is expected to go up against some of the toughest competitors in the luxury automotive market, including the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the best-selling premium sedan. Industry analysts expect the new model to showcase Caddy’s distinctive Art & Science design language while also offering an array of new comfort, performance and safety features.

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“What we do there has got to be a symbol of excellence,” Reuss said during a media scrum following a GM event for student interns. “This is a car that Cadillac needs that will define this brand in terms of innovation and excellence.”

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Russia Ready to Retaliate – and Automakers Could Take a Big Hit

One unexpected winner could emerge.

by on Aug.19, 2014

A worker on the AvtoVAZ assembly line in Togliatti, Russia, a plant now run by Renault-Nissan.

Slammed by sanction for its role in the Ukranian revolt, Russia is warning it may tighten retaliatory sanctions against the West by banning automotive imports.

The crisis in the Ukraine has made stock traders around the world nervous, leading to some major swings in key indexes and raising fears about the overall strength of the European economy, which is just beginning to recover from a steep recession.

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But retaliating against Western automakers could have unforeseen consequences for Russia itself as it struggles to build momentum for its own economy. Car sales in the heart of the former Soviet Union also slumped badly along with the rest of Europe.

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GM Drops to Number Four

Still third in sales, but revenues slip a spot.

by on Aug.18, 2014

GM isn't the behemoth it used to be: it's fallen to fourth in revenue through the first half of 2014.

It was the manufacturer to beat for three-quarters of a century, but General Motors has been steadily losing ground in recent years, whether one measures from a vehicle sales standpoint, or in terms of revenues.

The latest numbers suggest the maker is still losing momentum by both metrics. GM slid to third when it comes to units sold for the first half of 2014. And focusing on just the most recent quarter, the Detroit maker fell to fourth when it comes to gross revenues.

Data Driven!

And it’s a question whether GM will even maintain that position, with several other major manufacturers close to catching up – especially if the U.S. maker’s ongoing safety problems begin to erode its position in the marketplace. (more…)

GM Plows $2.9 Billion into Brazil for Sales Rebound

Tough economic times lets maker get bang for its buck.

by on Aug.15, 2014

Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, left, and GM CEO Mary Barra are all smiles after Barra announced the maker was investing $2.9 billion there.

General Motors plans to invest $2.9 billion during the next five years in Brazil for product development, new technologies and employee training. The cash infusion is a reminder of the importance the maker places on the potential of the Brazilian market.

“This investment will allow the Chevrolet brand continue to renew its lineup with a focus on technology and quality,” said Jaime Ardila, president of GM South America, in a statement.

The Last Word!

“Another major purpose of this contribution is to raise the percentage of nationalization of the components of the cars made in Brazil, in an action that also involves suppliers installed in the country.” (more…)

Automakers Power Up on Solar

Ford joins growing list of makers tapping into sun’s energy.

by on Aug.14, 2014

A rendering of Ford's planned solar park.

Ford Motor Co. has been betting big on battery power, and now it’s tapping the sun to help charge up some of its electric vehicles with a sprawling new solar energy array it plans to install outside its suburban Detroit headquarters.

Ford is the latest in a growing list of manufacturers turning to solar energy at their office buildings and manufacturing plants. General Motors is even using sun power to help charge up newly assembled Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids before shipping them off to customers. And solar energy is providing a major chunk of the power needed to run Volkswagen’s big assembly plant in Tennessee.

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Ford has “a deep commitment to sustainability,” explains Chairman Bill Ford Jr. The maker’s “beliefs are embodied in this project,” he stressed.

Working with local power supplier DTE Energy, Ford’s new solar array will be the largest in Michigan and the second-largest in the Midwest, covering 360 parking spaces in front of the headquarters building known locally as “Glass House.” In all, it will be able to produce up to 1.038 megawatts of energy.

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Federal Judge Urges Settlement of GM Lawsuits

Most of the cases claim economic losses.

by on Aug.13, 2014

One of the replacement ignition switches.

A federal judge is encouraging attorneys to settle over 100 lawsuits that have been brought against General Motors in cases involving the maker’s defective ignition switches.

The majority of those cases involve economic losses, claims that used GM vehicles have lost value as a result of the maker’s ignition switch recall. But about a dozen of those cases involve personal injury claims, according to the Associated Press. In all, attorneys represent nearly 1,000 individual plaintiffs suing GM.

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U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman said he intends “to encourage settlement as much as possible.”  But whether the plaintiffs’ attorneys take the jurist’s advice may depend on what happens in another courtroom.

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GM, Ford Enjoy Blistering Sales Pace in China

Automakers tracking to set new records.

by on Aug.13, 2014

GM's China operations sold their 2 millionth vehicle during 2014 last month. It marks the five straight years they've hit that mark.

General Motors and Ford continued to roll up record sales in China last month where both companies are continuing to expand their presence in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

GM reported its joint ventures in China set a new domestic sales record for July, by selling nearly 250,000 as demand increased 12.7% from the same month in 2013. In addition, GM has now sold more than 2 million vehicle in China, marking the fifth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has reached the milestone.

Auto Insight!

Ford China sales grew by 25% in July with 90,775 vehicles sold, compared with 72,834 sold in July 2013. Steady customer demand for Ford’s global nameplates pushed year-to-date sales to 640,031 vehicles, up 33% from 480,555 sold during the same period last year and putting the company in striking distance of selling more than 1 million vehicles in China for the first time. (more…)

GM Loses a Round in Key Ignition Switch Lawsuit

Court lets Melton family reopen lawsuit originally settled in 2013.

by on Aug.11, 2014

29-year-old Brooke Melton was killed in a crash involving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.

General Motors’ legal morass continues to deepen, following an adverse ruling by a court in Georgia that allows the reopening of a case it thought it had settled out of the public’s eye more than a year ago.

Cobb County State Court Judge Kathryn Tanksley has denied GM’s motion to dismiss the new lawsuit filed in May by the family of Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old nurse killed in March 2010 when the ignition switch on her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt slipped into accessory mode and the car collided with another vehicle, according to the suit. Melton died in Cobb County, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Keeping Track!

Melton’s parents originally sued the company in 2011 and settled in September 2013 for a reported $5 million. The couple decided to try to reopen the case when internal GM documents began to emerge showing it had long known about the ignition switch problem but delayed a formal recall until February of this year. Parents Ken and Beth Melton are now claiming fraud, negligence and concealment in their new lawsuit. (more…)

GM Targets 269,000 Vehicles in Five New Recalls

Brings to 66 total number of recalls this year.

by on Aug.08, 2014

Older versions of the Saturn Vue have been targeted in the latest burst of GM recalls.

(Editor’s Note: GM has revised its original news release, noting that it double-counted one of the recalls announced last week. This story — but not the headline — has been revised to reflect the correct count.)

General Motors has announced another five recalls to wrap up a busy week for the Detroit maker, bringing to 65the total number of products it has targeted for safety-related problems since the beginning of the year.

Friday’s announcements collectively involving 267,000 cars and utility vehicles. The largest of the recalls involves 202,115 Saturn Vue crossovers from the 2002 to 2004 model-years. GM says their ignition keys could be removed even while the vehicles are running, a problem linked to two known crashes and one injury.

Safety News!

The latest recalls come barely a day after GM had to call back nearly 190,000 older SUVs for the third time to address a power window switch problem that could lead to vehicle fires.

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GM Recalling SUVs for 3rd Time to Fix Fire Risk

Problem switches have created problems for numerous makers.

by on Aug.08, 2014

GM is re-recalling a number of 2006 - 2007 midsize SUVs, such as this Chevrolet TrailBlazer, due to a potential fire hazard.

General Motors is recalling almost 190,000 older SUVs for the third time to try to fix problem switches that could cause a vehicle fire.

The problem is so severe that the maker is warning owners to park the vehicles outside until repairs can be made – but it doesn’t expect to have the necessary parts until at least October.

Behind the Headlines!

The problem centers around switch window switch modules in the driver’s door that may short out if exposed to rain or other liquids. It’s a problem a number of other manufacturers have experienced over the last several years, and has proven particularly difficult to resolve, Honda also having to re-recall some models after an initial fix proved ineffective.

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