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Chevy’s New Corvette is Breakin’ the Law

Recording feature of valet mode might be violation.

by on Sep.29, 2014

Valets across America can breathe easier that now that their voices can't be recorded while parking the new 2015 Corvette.

Owners of the 2015 Chevy Corvette and former U.S. President Richard Nixon have something in common: they can record conversations. However, in some states, the Vette recordings could be a violation of the law.

When the car is in “Valet Mode,” which is part of the vehicle’s Performance Data Recorder, owners can secretly record conversations in their cars and performance data when they’re not along for the ride, such as when the car is being parked by a valet.

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While that sounds like a great way to ensure you can prove some crazy valet may have caused the small ding in the Corvette’s fender, it’s also a great way to get in legal hot water: it’s illegal in many states to record conversations without telling the person being taped. (more…)

GM Regains Investment Grade Rating from S&P

Maker gets a much-needed endorsement.

by on Sep.26, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra on the cover of the latest issue of Mary Barra.

Despite the recall of more nearly 30 million vehicles in the U.S. this year, concerns about subprime lending and a lackluster showing in the stock market, Standard & Poors has given GM a much-needed endorsement, raising the company’s credit rating to investment grade.

The announcement comes at a welcome moment for GM, which has watched its share price slide 20% since the beginning of the year, even while the S&P 500 has gained 20%. It also coincides with a generally positive cover story in Time magazine featuring CEO Mary Barra.

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Despite taking some serious hits in recent months, the ratings agency focused on the positive side, among other things, citing the progress of GM’s European turnaround plan, which could put the company back on a breakeven level after losing money for the past 15 years. S&P also noted the automaker’s healthy cash flow and the limited reputational and market share damage from what has become a record number of recalls.

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Colorado Concept Lures Sport-Minded to Midsize Trucks

New Chevy uses innovative system to cater to outdoorsy owners.

by on Sep.25, 2014

Chevrolet's Colorado Sport concept was unveiled today at the State Fair of Texas, and heads to SEMA in early November.

General Motors is looking to attract a new type of truck buyer with its new midsize offerings and part of their appeal is their utility. The Detroit-based maker showed off one version of the truck that might appeal to younger buyers.

With the State Fair of Texas as the backdrop, GM introduced the Chevrolet Colorado Sport concept. Loaded with two mountain bikes on a specially designed rack in the bed of the truck, the “lifestyle-oriented” midsize truck is aimed at buyers spending a lot of time outside.

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“It’s not just mountain bikes, but just about any passion you can name, from kayaking, fishing, dirt bikes and more,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “It’s a truck for those who need the versatility of a pickup to support their work and lifestyle interests, but don’t need a full-size truck to do it.” (more…)

First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon

Big things in a smaller package.

by on Sep.25, 2014

GM is jumping back into the midsize truck market with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

When General Motors pulled the plug on its old Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models a few years back, it looked like the midsize truck segment was getting ready to be taken off life support. At one time, back in the 1980s, U.S. buyers bought more small pickups than full-size models, but that flip-flopped in subsequent decades and, with sales sliding, seemingly towards oblivion, General Motors followed Chrysler and Ford towards the exit door.

But the biggest of the Detroit makers wasn’t quite ready to drive off into the sunset – not with archrival Toyota, as well as smaller Japanese maker Nissan, picking up whatever demand was left in the midsize truck market. GM had other plans in mind, revealing it would be back with two all-new trucks for 2015.

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Rather than just rehab its old pickup platform, GM set out to do a complete redesign. What its come up with is something of a hybrid, starting out with the best attributes of the global midsize truck it offers in markets as diverse as Thailand and Brazil and blending them with the rugged, U.S.-centric Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups launched late last year. (more…)

Update – Cadillac Flagship Gets a Name: CT6

Caddy to adopt new product naming structure.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Cadillac will call its new flagship the CT6, while it begins to adopt a new naming plan for future products.

Cadillac is adding a significant detail to the various headlines it has made over the last two weeks, announcing that its planned flagship sedan will be emblazoned with the name, CT6 – not to be confused with the midrange Cadillac CTS.

The latest news follows up on Caddy’s confirmation it will be moving its headquarters to NYC in the near future as part of an effort to come in closer contact with the sort of luxury car buyers it hopes to win over to the struggling brand. Word of the flagship sedan was first revealed by General Motors CEO Mary Barra earlier this month. But, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported this week, new Cadillac brand boss Johan de Nysschen is giving strong consideration to a model that would rise even higher into the luxury spectrum.

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As for the CT6, “This Cadillac will be the lightest and most agile car in the class of top-level large luxury sedans,” said Travis Hester, the project’s executive chief engineer. “Using the lessons learned from our dynamic ATS and CTS product lines, we have developed an entirely new vehicle architecture for the CT6. It will employ a mixed material philosophy that combines the best and most efficient components optimized for each area of this new top-of-the-range car.”

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Toyota, Nissan and GM Take Top Honors in Motorist Choice Awards

Balancing customer satisfaction and cost of ownership.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Toyota's FJ Cruiser is the favorite SUV, according to IntelliChoice and AutoPacific's Motorist Choice Awards.

When it comes to the brands that best fit their lifestyle needs, U.S. drivers are pointing to Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the three topping the charts in the new Motorist Choice Awards.

Compiled by data tracking service Intellichoice and automotive research firm AutoPacific, Inc., the awards are meant to reveal the vehicles that deliver the best combination of customer satisfaction and lower-than-expected operating costs.

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“Buyers look for a vehicle based on their usage needs and emotional desires” said Daniel Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. “By paying attention to these buying patterns, and incorporating our satisfaction data and IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership insights, we can offer sound advice to consumers across all vehicle segments.” (more…)

GM Suffers Legal Setback in Civil Cases

Manhattan judge allowing discovery to proceed.

by on Sep.23, 2014

Mary Barra recently said that the worst of the recall problem was behind the company. However, a recent court ruling may change that outlook.

General Motors has suffered a legal setback as plaintiffs have gained wider access to the company’s internal documents involving the defective switch that has been now been blamed for 21 deaths and the recall of more than 2.6 million GM vehicles.

In a ruling that will increase GM’s legal bills, if nothing else, a federal judge in Manhattan is allowing plaintiffs to begin the process of “discovery” in cases filed in the switch-related civil suits against GM. Discovery can proceed in cases involving accidents that occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009.

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U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York said plaintiffs could begin requesting documents from the company related to accidents, injuries and lost vehicle value linked to the switch that allegedly occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. (more…)

Cadillac Moving to NYC as Part of Global Restructuring

Product blitz in the works, but luxury brand could take short-term hit.

by on Sep.23, 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.

(Copyright 2014, TheDetroitBureau.com)

Cadillac will go through a major strategic realignment that will see it spun off as a separate business unit and move its headquarters to New York City, the General Motors brand will confirm today.

While key operations, including sales, marketing and product planning, will move to the Big Apple, Caddy’s design and engineering efforts will remain in the Motor City. And they will be extremely busy in the years to come, according to Johan de Nysschen, the new Cadillac global brand chief who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

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The one-time “standard of the world” is getting ready to unleash a product blitz intended to challenge its ambitious German rivals, covering everything from a new entry-level model to the upper reaches of the luxury market. There will likely be new coupes, convertibles, crossovers and performance cars, according to de Nysschen – though the South African-born executive cautioned that the cost could be significant, at least initially. (more…)

Cadillac Readying Unprecedented Product Blitz

Maker aiming to match its German rivals.

by on Sep.23, 2014

The next Cadillac CTS-V Coupe will be one of the first new models to come as Caddy broadens its product portfolio substantially.

(Copyright 2014, TheDetroitBureau.com)

There was a time when luxury brands sought exclusivity above all else, even if that meant shutting the door on some potential buyers. No longer, as Mercedes-Benz has demonstrated with a rapidly expanding line-up that will soon reach from the under-$30,000 CLA to the top-line S600 Pullman limousine that, in some configurations, could top $1 million.

While Mercedes has confirmed plans to add 30 new or updated models by 2020 – rivals BMW and Audi making similar moves — Cadillac has been subsisting on a handful of products. But that’s about to change.

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As part of a global restructuring that includes the move of its headquarters to New York City, the General Motors luxury division will unleash an unprecedented product assault aimed at catching up to its German rivals.

As with Mercedes, Cadillac could cover a far broader range of market segments, running from entry-lux to super-premium, by decade’s end, new global chief Johan de Nysschen told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

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Feinberg Ups GM Ignition Death Toll to 21

Administrator approves two more claims for death benefits.

by on Sep.22, 2014

Kenneth Feinberg approved two more claims for death benefits from the GM victims compensation fund.

For the second time in less than a month, the number of deaths connected to faulty ignition switches in General Motors’ small cars has been revised upward. It now stands at 21.

Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator of the victims compensation fund established by the automaker, approved two more claims for death benefits moving the number from 19. Less than two weeks ago, he approved six claims to change the number from 13 to 19.

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Additionally, he substantiated four claims for serious injuries, which under the definitions established includes amputations, burns, spinal cord or brain damage. Twelve of 467 claims for hospitalization with 48 hours of an accident were also deemed eligible for compensation. (more…)