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    William Maley

    If you see a Chevrolet Bolt with loads of equipment operating in Metro Detroit, it is likely an autonomous test vehicle

    Almost a week after the state of Michigan signed into law a series of bills that allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads, General Motors announced today that it would begin testing them immediately. The plan will see GM beginning to test vehicles on road the company's technical center in Warren, MI. In due course, the testing will move to the metro Detroit area. During a press conference today, CEO Mary Barra said Detroit would be GM's primary test area for snow and cold-weather driving.
    “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality. Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles,” said Barra in a statement.
    Along with this, General Motors is assigning the Orion assembly plant to build the next-generation autonomous testing vehicles. They'll be based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV and come equipped with LiDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware required for full autonomy. The vehicles will be used in Detroit, San Francisco, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently, GM has 40 test vehicles operating in San Francisco and Scottsdale.
    Source: General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM to Start Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturing and Testing in Michigan

    DETROIT — On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. 
    “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”
    Testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan, and with the passage of the SAVE Act legislation will now expand to public roads on the facility’s outskirts. Within the next few months, testing will expand to metro Detroit, which will become GM’s main location for the development of autonomous technology in winter climates. 
    Workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will build test fleet Bolt EVs equipped with fully autonomous technology. The plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic. The new equipment will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety, leveraging GM’s proven manufacturing quality standards. 
    The test fleet vehicles will be used by GM engineers for continued testing and validation of GM’s autonomous technology already underway on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as part of the Michigan testing fleet.
    Since the beginning of 2016, GM has taken significant steps in its development of autonomous vehicle technology.
    In January, the company announced the formation of a dedicated autonomous vehicle engineering team and a $500 million investment in Lyft to develop an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. In March, the company announced the acquisition of Cruise Automation to provide deep software talent and rapid development expertise to help speed development. 
    In June, GM began testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs on the public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale. The company has more than 40 autonomous vehicles testing in the two cities.

    William Maley

    General Motors could be fined by China for antitrust allegations 

    General Motors is under investigation by China's National Development and Reform Commission over possible antitrust violations. 
    News of this first broke in an interview with Zhang Handong, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's price supervision bureau done by Chinese Newspaper China Daily. Handong said an American automaker would be penalized for monopolistic behavior. He did not mention said automaker. Bloomberg was able to learn from sources that the automaker in question is General Motors. 
    The accusation is that GM told distributors in China to fix prices in an effort to improve sales.
    It should be noted that many of the penalties handed down by the bureau have been to mostly foreign companies. This has led many to accuse the bureau of being protectionist of companies in China, something the bureau has denied time and time again. Also, this comes days after President-elect Donald Trump made comments questioning the U.S. policy of not recognizing Taiwan.
    Source: China Daily, Bloomberg, Reuters

    William Maley

    Declining sales cause GM to do layoffs at some their plants

    As sales of compacts and sport cars begin declining, automakers are faced with tough decisions as to what in terms of production and workers. General Motors made the difficult decision to lay off 2,000 workers at two plants.
    Bloomberg reports that GM will be cutting the third shift at their Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan (home to Cadillac ATS, CTS, and Chevrolet Camaro) and a shift at Lordstown, Ohio plant (home to the Chevrolet Cruze). GM spokesman Tom Wickham said the company is treating the layoffs as permanent, although some workers will be able to transfer to other plants.
    The layoffs are due to sales of compact and sports cars going down due to consumers buying more crossovers. Sales of the Chevrolet Cruze dropped 20 percent through October, while the Camaro has seen a drop of 9 percent.
    On the same day, General Motors announced a $900 million investment for three plants - Toledo Transmission Operations, Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana, and Lansing Grand River. Wickham said this investment would not add any new jobs.
    Source: Bloomberg, General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    General Motors today announced initiatives to strengthen and align its production output at key U.S. manufacturing operations. The plans include investing more than $900 million in three facilities — Toledo Transmission Operations in Ohio, Lansing Grand River in Michigan and Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana —  to prepare the facilities for future product programs.
    GM also announced plans to align production output with demand for cars built at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Lansing Grand River, Michigan, assembly plants. As the customer shift from cars to crossovers and trucks is projected to continue, GM will suspend the third shift of production at both facilities in the first quarter of 2017. 

    William Maley

    Those leaked numbers from the weekend? They check out.

    Over the weekend, General Motors published and then deleted the power figures for the new 6.6L Duramax Diesel V8 that would be appearing in the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. Today at the Texas State Fair, GM revealed everything about this new engine.
    We'll begin with the most important detail, power output. The numbers that GM revealed match the numbers posted to their powertrain site - 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the current Duramax V8, the new engine produces 48 more horsepower and 145 more pound-feet of torque.
    How was GM able to pull this off? They basically went through the engine with a fine tooth comb and made various changes. GM says 90 percent of this engine has been changed. Some of the changes include new electronically controlled, variable-vane turbocharger, revised cylinder heads, improved cooling, and revised fuel delivery system. The updated Duramax can also run B20 bio-diesel.
    Figures for payload and towing will be announced at a later date.
    Source: Chevrolet, GMC
    Press Release is on Page 2

    DALLAS — Chevrolet today announced the redesigned Duramax 6.6L V-8 turbo-diesel offered on the 2017 Silverado HD. This next-generation redesign offers more horsepower and torque than ever — an SAE-certified 445 horsepower (332 kW) and 910 lb.-ft. (1,234 Nm) — to enable easier, more confident hauling and trailering.
    Along with a 19 percent increase in max torque over the current Duramax 6.6L, the redesigned turbo-diesel’s performance is quieter and smoother, for greater refinement. In fact, engine noise at idle is reduced 38 percent.
    “With nearly 2 million sold over the past 15 years, customers have forged a bond with the Duramax diesel based on trust and capability,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, Global Propulsion Systems. “The new Duramax takes those traits to higher levels.”
    The new Duramax 6.6L shares essentially only the bore and stroke dimensions of the current engine and incorporates a new, GM-developed control system. The Duramax’s signature low-rpm torque production hasn’t changed and still offers 90 percent of peak torque at a low 1,550 rpm and sustains it through 2,850 rpm.
    “Nearly everything about the Duramax is new, designed to produce more torque at lower rpm and more confidence when trailering or hauling,” said Gary Arvan, chief engineer. “You’ll also notice the refinement improvements the moment you start the engine, and appreciate them as you cruise quietly down the highway — with or without a trailer.”
    Additional highlights include:
    New, stronger cylinder block and cylinder heads New, stronger rotating and reciprocating assembly Increased oil- and coolant-flow capacity New EGR system with single cooler and integrated bypass New electrically actuated/electronically controlled turbocharging system All-new advanced solenoid fuel system All-new electronic controls New full-length damped steel oil pan that contributes to quietness New rocker cover/fuel system acoustical treatments B20 bio-diesel compatibility SAE-certified 445 net horsepower (332 kW) at 2,800 rpm SAE-certified 910 net lb.-ft. of torque (1,234 Nm) at 1,600 rpm A new, patent-pending vehicle air intake system — distinguished on the Silverado HD by a bold hood scoop — drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler engine temperatures during difficult conditions, such as trailering on steep grades. Cooler air helps the engine run better under load, especially in conditions where engine and transmission temperatures can rise quickly. That allows the Duramax to maintain more power and vehicle speed when trailering in the toughest conditions.
    The intake design is another example of the advanced integration included in the 2017 Silverado HD that makes it over-the-road capable.   
    A strong foundation
    As with previous versions, the new Duramax block features a strong cast-iron foundation known for its durability, with induction-hardened cylinder walls and five nodular iron main bearings. It retains the same 4.05-inch (103mm) and 3.89-inch (99mm) bore and stroke dimensions as the current engine, retaining the Duramax’s familiar 6.6L (403 cu.-in./6,599 cc) displacement.
    A deep-skirt design and four-bolt, cross-bolted main caps help ensure the block’s strength and enable more accurate location of the rotating assembly. A die-cast aluminum lower crankcase also strengthens the engine block and serves as the lower engine cover, while reducing its overall weight.
    The new engine block incorporates larger-diameter crankshaft connecting rod journals than the current engine, enabling the placement of a stronger crankshaft and increased bearing area to handle higher cylinder loads.
    An enhanced oiling circuit, with higher flow capacity and a dedicated feed for the turbocharger, provides increased pressure at the turbo and faster oil delivery. Larger piston-cooling oil jets at the bottom of the cylinder bores spray up to twice the amount of engine oil into oil galleries under the crown of the pistons, contributing to lower engine temperature and greater durability.
    A new, two-piece oil pan contributes to the new Duramax’s quieter operation. It consists of a laminated steel oil pan with an upper aluminum section. The aluminum section provides strength-enhancing rigidity for the engine, but a pan made entirely of aluminum would radiate more noise, so the laminated steel lower section is added to dampen noise and vibration.
    There’s also an integrated oil cooler with 50 percent greater capacity than the current engine’s, ensuring more consistent temperatures at higher engine loads.
    Segment firsts
    Re-melt piston bowl rim Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator Closed-loop glow plug temperature control Stronger pistons with remelt
    A tough, forged micro-alloy steel crankshaft anchors the new Duramax’s stronger rotating assembly. Cut-then-rolled journal fillets contribute to its durability by strengthening the junction where the journals — the round sections on which the bearings slide — meet the webs that separate the main and rod journals.
    The connecting rods are stronger, too, and incorporate a new 45-degree split-angle design to allow the larger-diameter rod bearings to pass through the cylinder bores during engine assembly. They’re forged and sintered with a durable powdered metal alloy, with a fractured-cap design enabling more precise cap-to-rod fitment. 
    A new, stronger cast-aluminum piston design tops off the rotating assembly. It features a taller crown area and a remelted combustion bowl rim for greater strength. Remelting is an additional manufacturing process for aluminum pistons in which the bowl rim area is reheated after casting and pre-machining, creating a much finer and more consistent metal grain structure that greatly enhances thermal fatigue properties.
    Additionally, the Duramax’s pistons don’t use pin bushings, reducing reciprocating weight to help the engine rev quicker and respond faster to throttle changes.
    Lightweight cylinder heads, solenoid injectors
    The redesigned engine retains the Duramax’s signature first-in-class aluminum cylinder head design, with six head bolts per cylinder and four valves per cylinder. The aluminum construction helps reduce the engine’s overall weight, while the six-bolt design provides exceptional head-clamping strength — a must in a high-compression, turbocharged application.
    A new aluminum head casting uses a new double-layer water core design that separates and arranges water cores in layers to create a stiffer head structure with more precise coolant flow control. The heads’ airflow passages are also heavily revised to enhance airflow, contributing to the engine’s increased horsepower and torque.
    The Duramax employs a common-rail direct injection fuel system with new high-capability solenoid-type injectors. High fuel pressure of 29,000 psi (2,000 bar) promotes excellent fuel atomization for a cleaner burn that promotes reduced particulate emissions. The new injectors also support up to seven fuel delivery events per combustion event, contributing to lower noise, greater efficiency and lower emissions. Technology advancements enable less-complex solenoid injectors to deliver comparable performance to piezo-type injectors.
    Electronically controlled, variable-geometry turbocharging system
    A new electronically controlled, variable-vane turbocharger advances the Duramax’s legacy of variable-geometry boosting. Compared to the current engine, the system produces higher maximum boost pressure — 28 psi (195 kPa) — to help the engine make more power, and revisions to enhance the capability of the exhaust-brake system.
    Along with a new camshaft profile and improved cylinder head design, the Duramax’s new variable-vane turbocharger enables the engine to deliver more power with lower exhaust emissions. It uses a more advanced variable-vane mechanism, allowing a 104-degree F (40 C) increase in exhaust temperature capability. The self-contained mechanism decouples movement from the turbine housing, allowing operation at higher temperature. That enables the engine to achieve higher power at lower cylinder pressure. Additionally, it has lower internal leakage, allowing more exhaust energy to be captured during exhaust braking.
    The integrated exhaust brake system makes towing less stressful by creating added backpressure in the exhaust, resulting in negative torque during deceleration and downhill driving, enhancing driver control and prolonging brake pad life.
    Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator
    A new Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator employed with the Duramax 6.6L is the first of its type in the segment and is designed to ensure oil control in sustained full-load operation. The totally sealed system collects the fine mist of oil entrained in the blow-by gas and uses a small portion of the boosted air generated by the turbocharger to pump the collected oil back to the engine oil sump for re-use by the engine. Less sophisticated systems are not able to return this oil during full-load operation, which can result in oil carryover into the cylinders during combustion.
    Cold Start System
    The new Duramax also provides outstanding cold-weather performance, with microprocessor-controlled glow plugs capable of gas-engine-like starting performance in fewer than 3 seconds in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F (-29 C) without a block heater. The system is enhanced with ceramic glow plugs and automatic temperature compensation — a first-in-class feature providing improved robustness and capability. The automatic temperature compensation assesses and adjusts the current to each glow plug for every use, providing optimal temperature for cold start performance and durability.     
    Electronic throttle valve and cooled EGR
    Unlike a gasoline engine, a diesel engine doesn’t necessarily require a throttle control system. The Duramax 6.6L employs an electronic throttle valve to regulate intake manifold pressure in order to increase exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rates. It also contributes to smoother engine shutdown.
    Additionally, a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system enhances performance and helps reduce emissions by diverting some of the engine-out exhaust gas and mixing it back into the fresh intake air stream, which is fed through the cylinder head for combustion. This lowers combustion temperatures, improving emissions performance by reducing NOx formation.
    The exhaust is cooled in a unique heat exchanger before it’s fed into the intake stream through a patented EGR mixing device, further improving emissions and performance capability. An integrated bypass allows non-cooled exhaust gas to be fed back into the system to help the engine more quickly achieve optimal operating temperature when cold.
    B20 Biodiesel Capability
    The new Duramax 6.6L is capable of running on B20 biodiesel, a fuel composed of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel. B20 helps lower carbon dioxide emissions and lessens dependence on petroleum. It is a domestically produced, renewable fuel made primarily of plant matter — mostly soybean oil.
    The new Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel engine is produced with locally and globally sourced parts at the DMAX Ltd. (GM’s joint venture with Isuzu) manufacturing facility in Moraine, Ohio.
    Allison 1000 Automatic Transmission
    The proven Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the new Duramax 6.6L. A number of refinements have been made to accommodate the engine’s higher torque capacity, including a new torque converter.
    The Allison 1000’s technologically advanced control features, such as driver shift control with manual shift feature and a patented elevated idle mode cab warm-up feature, haven’t changed. Also, the Tow/Haul mode reduces shift cycling for better control and improved cooling when towing or hauling heavy loads.
    There’s also a smart diesel exhaust brake feature that enhances control when descending steep grades.

    William Maley

    We get our first clues as to what the next Duramax V8 is producing

    The seemingly never-ending diesel heavy-duty truck war is back in force with Ford announcing the power figures for the F-Series Super Duty back in the summer. We were wondering when either FCA or GM would strike back. Well GM did this over the weekend by accidently and then subsequently deleting the figures for the next-generation Duramax V8 diesel.
    Truck Trend got screenshots of GM Powertrain's website where the details of the L5P 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel are there to see: 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. Compared the 6.7L PowerStoke V8 found in the 2017 F-Series Super Duty, the updated Duramax produces 5 more horsepower but is slight behind in torque (15 down from the PowerStroke's 925 pound-feet).
    We know for sure that the new Duramax will debut a new air intake system (you can see the new hood scoop in the picture above). More air is a good thing as it means better cooling and more power.
    The Texas State Fair is this week and it has become a showplace for the various truck manufacturers to make big announcements. We wouldn't be shocked if General Motors debuts the new Duramax there.
    Source: Truck Trend

    William Maley

    We have a possible idea as to what product Oshawa will be getting

    The tentative agreement between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor has a $400 million investment going to Oshawa for a new product. Unifor President Jerry Dias said at a press briefing yesterday morning that Oshawa would be the only GM plant that will build cars and trucks. Neither side is saying what that product might be.
    But Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has learned from sources that Oshawa will be handling the final assembly of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Truck bodies from GM's Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana will travel to Oshawa to have interiors installed and final assembly. The Detroit News reports something similar, although their source says it will only be the Silverado.
    Oshawa has a history of building pickups. For four decades, Oshawa was one of the places where GM built the Silverado and Sierra. But in 2009, GM closed the truck plant due to the recession. 
    The Globe and Mail also reports that production of the XTS has been extended at Oshawa. Analysts believed previously that XTS production would end in 2019.
    Source: The Globe and Mail, The Detroit News

    William Maley

    A tentative deal is reached between General Motors and Unifor

    It came down to the wire, but a tentative deal between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor was reached before the midnight deadline. 
    “Did we achieve our objective? I would suggest the answer is clearly yes,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias during a press conference this morning.
    “We have found a solution for your facilities. To say this is a difficult set of negotiations is an incredible understatement."
    In a statement released by GM, the tentative agreement will bring wage increases to the 3,860 workers and introduce new investments and products to the Oshawa and St. Catharines plants. Oshawa was a key focus for Unifor as GM didn't have any plans for the plant after 2018. 
    For St. Catharines, GM will move some engine production from Mexico to the plant. A source tells The Detroit News the plant will also continue building the 3.6L V6 and add some transmission work. Oshawa was the big winner as GM will be investing millions into the plant to make it the only GM plant that will build cars and trucks. GM and Unifor aren't saying what the products will be. 
    “It’s a total win for Jerry Dias and Unifor. They got everything they were looking to get going into the talks; every box right now is checked,” said Tony Faria, professor emeritus, office of automotive and vehicle research at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, 2, GM
    Press Release is on Page 2

    General Motors of Canada Media Statement
    OSHAWA, ON, September 20, 2016 — General Motors of Canada and Unifor have reached a tentative new collective agreement, covering approximately 3,860 represented employees at just after midnight on September 20th 2016.  The agreement will enable significant new product, technology and process investments at GM’s Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock facilities, placing those operations at the forefront of advanced manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability.  This agreement is subject to member ratification.  We will be working with government on potential support, and will provide further details on the investment at the appropriate time, while respecting Unifor’s ratification process.

    Drew Dowdell

    A software bug could prevent the airbags from deploying in a crash.

    General Motors today announced a recall of 4.3 million vehicles globally with 3.64 million of those vehicles located in the US.  The recall involves a software bug in the sensing and diagnostic module that could prevent the deployment of the front airbags in certain circumstances preceded by a specific series of events. Most of the vehicles involved are GM's recent trucks and large SUVs.
    The repair for this recall requires a software update and no physical parts are required for most vehicles.
    The following vehicles are affected by this recall:
    2014 - 2016 Chevrolet SS, Spark EV  / Buick Lacrosse
    2014 - 2017 Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice, and Silverado 1500 / Buick Encore / GMC Sierra 1500
    2015 - 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, Suburban HD / GMC Yukon, Yukon XL / Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV
    GM stated that it was originally made aware of the problem in May 2016 via an internal Speak Up program that encourages employees to report potential safety issues in its vehicles.  GM received a report that a 2014 Silverado involved in a crash did not deploy its front airbags or seat-belt pretensioners. The investigation started on June 7th and GM spent the next several weeks working with Delphi, the supplier of the part, and investigating other possible incidents with similarities to the original report. 
    Owners of the above vehicles can check their VIN in the NHTSA Database or on the GM Website.
    Source: GM Media and Automotive News

    William Maley

    The future of GM's Oshawa plant will be a topic of focus for auto workers during this round of union contract talks

    This week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, and General Motors begin talks with Unifor, Canada’s auto workers union for new agreements. GM will likely have the most contentious talks as workers at GM's Oshawa plant don't know what the future holds after 2018.
    The plant has already lost a third shift and about 1,000 jobs when it moved production of the Camaro to Lansing last year. Next year will see the end of production of the Chevrolet Equinox, leaving just the Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS. GM has said time and time again for the past two years that it needs to know labor costs before making any decisions on the plant, only causing the worry to increase.
    “The company in the past have had feasibility studies or launch teams if we are going to get product. This year, there’s no feasibility studies going on, no launch teams,” said Colin James, president of Unifor Local 222 to The Detroit News.
    “Of course, it’s led to a lot of our members in the plant asking questions. There’s uncertainty: ‘Why is there no launch team?’ ‘Are they planning on closing the facility?’ General Motors is basically not answering that question.”
    Yesterday at a news conference in Toronto, Unifor president Jerry Dias said workers at Oshawa will not sign a contract unless there are plans for production.
    “We are not going to leave negotiations until we have a firm commitment from General Motors on product,” said Dias.
    “We firmly believe General Motors will exit Oshawa unless we have a firm commitment.”
    But GM has said that it will not make any commitments on investments until there is an agreement in place.
    “We won’t be in a position to make a competitive investment decision until after we are through the negotiations,” said David Paterson, GM Canada’s vice-president of corporate affairs.
    “We understand that there is a lot of anxiety about Oshawa," Paterson said. He went onto say that GM's focus during the talks is to work on an agreement that is "mutually beneficial and economically competitive."
    Whether or not GM and Unifor are able to work an agreement before September 19th remains to be seen. We'll be keeping a close eye on this.
    Source: The Toronto Star, The Detroit News

    William Maley

    General Motors gets a major blow in terms of the ignition switch scandal

    One of the groups that haven't been able to take any legal action against General Motors over the faulty ignition switch were those who bought the affected vehicles before the company announced bankruptcy in 2009. Last year, a bankruptcy judge said that New GM was shielded from liabiliites over the actions taken by Old GM.
    But today, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan reversed that decision. In the ruling, the court stated that New GM must face some of the claims from owners that arose from their actions before their bankruptcy.
    “We are reviewing the ruling and its impact. Even if some claims are ultimately allowed to proceed, the plaintiffs must still prove their cases," said GM spokesman Jim Cain in an email to the Wall Street Journal.
    This decision could expose GM to additional costs as it tries to move away from this mess. According to the ruling, the protection given to GM shielded them from up to $10 billion of liability claims.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Production of GM's Fullsize Cutaway Vans Move Out of Wentzville to Make Way for More Midsize Trucks

    General Motors is building as many Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups as they can, but they are still not able to keep up with the demand. Currently, there is a 41 day supply of Colorados and 58 day supply of Canyons in dealers or being sent out. Part of the problem of not meeting demand is the Wentzville, MO is working at full tilt producing as many midsize trucks, along with full-size commercial vans.
    But GM has a possible solution to increasing production of their midsize trucks; outsource some of the van production. In a statement released on Friday, GM and Navistar, Inc announced a new partnership where Navistar would build the cutaway version of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. Production will take place at Navistar's Springfield, Ohio plant starting in the first half of next year.
    "This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full size vans," said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President.
    Automotive News has learned from a source that the move of the cutaway vans will enable GM to produce an additional 40,000 trucks at Wentzville.
    But what about the possible deal between GM and AM General to produce the cutaway vans last November? The same source says the discussions between the two didn't pan out.
    Source: Navistar, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Navistar Partners With GM To Manufacture Cutaway G Van
    LISLE, Ill., June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Navistar, Inc. today announced it has reached an agreement with General Motors (GM) to manufacture the cutaway model of GM's G Van at Navistar's Springfield, Ohio plant starting in the first half of 2017. With this multi-year contract, Navistar will add at least 300 jobs and recommission its second line at the plant.
    "We're very pleased to partner with GM on this important manufacturing opportunity," said Persio Lisboa, president, Navistar operations. "Our Springfield plant is an important part of our manufacturing footprint, and we've been preparing it for a higher volume concentration of light- and medium-duty products as part of our manufacturing strategy. This is an important step towards our goal to drive automotive quality into the commercial vehicle industry."
    GM produces cutaway vans for commercial customers. The company's Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, which are full-length on frame, are upfitted into utility or service vehicles, ambulance or rescue vehicles, shuttle buses or school buses.
    "This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full size vans," said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President.
    Navistar and GM are not disclosing any further details of the agreement at this time.
    Navistar primarily manufactures its DuraStar® and WorkStar® models at the Springfield plant. Last September, Navistar and GM announced a separate long-term agreement to develop and assemble a medium-duty, conventional cab Class 4/5 commercial vehicle at Navistar's Springfield plant starting in 2018. The future products will be jointly developed using Navistar's expertise in rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM's commercial components and engines. The trucks will be available under both the International® and Chevrolet brands, and will mark Navistar's reentry into the Class 4/5 market.

    William Maley

    Your future GM vehicle will likely have a Stop-Start system

    General Motors is planning to expand the use of start-stop systems across most of their range by 2020 in an effort to improve fleetwide fuel economy. The plan will see at one powertrain combination offered in a vehicle to have this system. Stop-start systems work by turning off the engine when the vehicle isn't moving. When the driver removes his/her foot from the brake, the engine will kick back on.
    This move comes as the EPA will start handing out credits towards compliance with corporate average fuel economy standards to automakers who use this system in their vehicles next year.
    "Everyone will end up adding start-stop. Now there's a benefit in the EPA cycle, which there wasn't a few years ago. GM's new nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions have been engineered from the beginning to incorporate start-stop. That will make it much easier and much smoother. That's what's been the holdup. First it was a regulatory issue, then it was a hardware issue," said AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan.
    GM spokesman Tom Read tells Automotive News that vehicles equipped with the stop-start system will use absorbent glass mat batteries (AGM) and tandem solenoid starters to enable faster and smoother restarts.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Here is what GM will be offering owners of the crossovers with inflated fuel economy numbers

    Earlier this week, we reported that General Motors was working on a compensation plan for owners of 2016 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia crossovers that had inflated fuel economy numbers. Yesterday, the company unveiled the plan.
    Automotive News and Reuters reports that GM will offer buyers the choice of either debit card (ranging from $450 to $1,500) or a 48 month/60,000 mile extended warranty. Those who are leasing the crossovers in question will only get the debit card. The amount a person will get will vary due to various factors including the difference between the inflated and actual fuel economy figures.
    “We want all of our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we designed this reimbursement program to provide full and fair compensation in a simple, flexible and timely manner,” said a GM spokesman in a statement.
    How much will this cost GM? A source tells Reuters that it will be about $100 million.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters

    William Maley

    General Motors goes into damage control after revealing they had overstated fuel economy figures on their large crossovers

    Last week, General Motors issued a stop sale on the 2016 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia due to the window stickers having overstated fuel economy numbers by one to two mpg. All-wheel drive models had an incorrect label showing ratings of 17 City/24 Highway/19 Combined. The correct label has ratings of 15 City/22 Highway/17 Combined.
    But what about the folks who bought one of GM's large crossovers with the incorrect ratings? How did this happen in the first place? We have answers.
    In a statement to Automotive News, GM explained the 2016 models were equipped with new “emissions-related hardware,” which meant new tests needed to be done.
    “The fuel economy data from these tests were not captured in calculations made for EPA fuel economy labels ... causing 2016 model year fuel economy numbers to be overstated,” said GM.
    The error was found when engineers were working on the labels for the 2017 models. This issue was immediately reported to EPA. At the moment, GM is working with the EPA on this issue.
    As for what will happen to the nearly 170,000 owners of affected crossovers, GM is working on a compensation plan. Sources tell Reuters that GM is working out a program to compensate owners for the difference in fuel economy figures. Out of the 170,000 owners, more than 130,000 will qualify for the program (the remainder of vehicles belong to fleets). The plan will be announced in the coming week.
    Not surprisingly, an owner of one of the affected models has filed a class-action lawsuit against GM, alleging that the company concealed the actual fuel economy figures.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
    Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

    William Maley

    Your next Lyft could be a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt

    Only a few months after General Motors and Lyft formed an alliance, the two are planning to test a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads.
    Specific details about the testing are still be working out, but a Lyft executive said it will include customers in an undisclosed city. Customers will be able to opt in or out of the program when hailing a Lyft cab from the company's application. Riders will be able to contact an advisor from OnStar to ask questions or provide help if a problem arises.
    The self-driving tech will come from Cruise Automation Inc., a developer of autonomous driving tech that was acquired back in March.
    “We will want to vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves and slowly introduce this into markets,” said Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft’s product director. That will “ensure that cities would have full understanding of what we are trying to do here.”
    There are still a number of regulation hurdles Lyft has to work out. In an effort to remove some of the hurdles, Lyft will still have drivers in the vehicles to intervene. But the end goal is to remove the driver. The testing is expected to begin within a year.
    Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    A total of $906.7 million going to two of GM's Plants

    General Motors has announced new investments for two of their plants today.
    The Spring Hill manufacturing complex in Tennesse will see the largest of these two investments. A total of $788.7 million will go towards a new high-efficiency engine program and modernizing vehicle production. The investment will bring forth 792 new jobs and retaining 16. The Detroit News reports that GM is keeping quiet on what on the new engine program.
    “This investment will help GM and our workforce continue to put the customer at the center of everything we do, providing them with powertrain solutions to meet their changing needs. Today’s announcement reinforces our absolute faith in this facility, and our strong commitment to this community and the state of Tennessee,” said Arvin Jones, GM North America manufacturing manager in a statement.
    GM will also invest $118 million into the Bay City Powertrain plant in Michigan, creating 29 jobs and retaining 67. The investment will be used to support the new engine program in Spring Hill.
    Source: The Detroit News, General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Invests Additional $788.7 Million in Spring Hill Manufacturing
    Brings total announced investments in Tennessee to $936.7 million in 2016 Bay City Powertrain operation to get $118 million to support engine project


    SPRING HILL, Tenn. — General Motors will invest $788.7 million for an all-new, high-efficiency engine program, as well as projects to modernize the vehicle programs at its Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant, creating 792 and retaining 16 jobs. At the same time, GM announced a $118 million investment at its Bay City Powertrain facility, creating 29 and retaining 67 jobs.
    Since 2010, GM has announced investments of more than $2 billion for the Spring Hill operations. This includes a $148-million investment announced in February to repurpose flexible machining and assembly equipment to build V8 engines.
    “This investment will help GM and our workforce continue to put the customer at the center of everything we do, providing them with powertrain solutions to meet their changing needs,” said Arvin Jones, GM North America manufacturing manager. “Today’s announcement reinforces our absolute faith in this facility, and our strong commitment to this community and the state of Tennessee.”
    According to Cindy Estrada, vice president and director of the UAW General Motors Department, this investment helps secure a bright future for its workforce.
    “UAW members at Spring Hill and Bay City have well-earned reputations for quality work and craftsmanship,” said Estrada. “Since the 2015 collective bargaining agreement, GM has invested more than $1.7 billion and UAW-GM members, their families and their communities will all benefit for years to come.”
    Construction will begin in May and will last several years.
    “Spring Hill and its employees have earned a reputation for producing award-winning engines,” said UAW Local 1853 Chairman Mike Herron. “GM recognizes this and we’re thankful they are investing further in the future of this facility and this community.”
    Numerous local, state and federal officials attended the announcement to show their support of the investment in capital and employment, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
    “We want to congratulate and thank GM on another substantial investment in Spring Hill and its workforce,” Haslam said. “Tennessee is number one in the Southeast for job growth over the last year, and we continue to attract investment from companies that can choose to do business anywhere in the world. It is exciting for our entire state to see long-time partners like GM continue to invest in Tennessee and create high quality jobs here.”
    The Tennessee Valley Authority worked with government and company representatives in helping secure this investment announcement.
    ”TVA understands the importance of reliable, affordable electricity to General Motors and the entire automotive industry. We are proud to be a partner in this announcement, which will lead to more jobs and investment in the region’s economy,” TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said.
    Spring Hill Manufacturing opened in 1990 and produced Saturn vehicles until March 2007. It produced the Chevrolet Traverse from September 2008 until November 2009, and the Chevrolet Equinox from September 2012 until October 2015. Currently, the site operations consist of a flexible vehicle assembly plant producing the Cadillac XT5 and the GMC Acadia, an engine plant making 4-cylinder engines, a stamping plant, a body shop, a paint shop and two polymer injection molding operations. Engines and stampings are supplied to various GM assembly plants globally. The complex will begin building small block V8 engines by the end of 2016.
    Bay City Powertrain produces engine components that are used in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. The plant opened in 1892 as National Cycle Manufacturing Company and produced a new bicycle to replace old high-wheeled types. In 1916, William Durant and Louis Chevrolet bought the plant and the plant was added to the General Motors portfolio in 1918. With this investment, GM has invested or will invest $249.4 million in Bay City Powertrain since 2010.

    Cmicasa the Great
    DETROIT -- General Motors' first-quarter pretax profit surged 28 percent -- even while its global sales slipped -- as the company aggressively cut costs in troubled regions and sold pricier vehicles across its key markets.
    GM said today its pretax operating income -- the figure the company considers most reflective of its underlying performance -- rose 28 percent, to $2.66 billion. That amounted to a pretax profit of $1.26 a share, hurdling the $1-a-share average forecast of analysts, compiled by Reuters.
    The improved results were broad-based: Each of GM’s four operating regions posted a stronger bottom line, even as economic headwinds made it tougher to do business in several markets globally. That was especially true in South America, where GM shored up its losses to $67 million, from $214 million a year earlier, despite a 26 percent slide in sales there.
    GM narrowly missed breaking even in Europe, posting a $6 million pretax loss, vs. a $239 million loss in the same period a year earlier. The company has long targeted 2016 as the year it finally stanches the flow of red ink there.

    William Maley

    More bad news for GM's Orion Assembly

    It hasn't been a good couple of years for workers General Motors' Orion Assembly, home to the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic. Last year, GM laid off 150 workers. This was followed by GM eliminating a shift at the plant this year due to weak demand for small cars. Yesterday, another dose of bad news hit the plant.
    Both Automotive News and Detroit Free Press report a $245 investment announced last year for the plant has been shifted to GM's Fairfax, Kansas - home to the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse production.
    A GM spokeswoman tells Automotive News that workers were told about the investment shift back in January.
    The switch is “part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business,” a spokeswoman went on to say.
    The investment is for a new vehicle, although GM is keeping quiet. As we reported last year, the vehicle could be a small crossover for Cadillac.
    The Detroit Free Press notes that Orion will also phase out production of the Verano beginning this fall. Several production-forecasting firms believe Verano production will move down to Mexico.
    Not changing is the production of Chevrolet Bolt at Orion. The plant has begun to build pre-production models, with production models expected to roll off the line sometime in the fourth quarter.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Detroit Free Press

    William Maley

    The man who heralded GM's design renaissance announces his retirement

    Ed Welburn, General Motors' Chief Designer and one of the key people around the recent revitalization of GM's design has announced he will retire from the company on July 1st. Taking his place as chief designer will be Michael Simcoe who currently heads GM International Design.
    Welburn is GM's sixth design chief in GM's 108-year-history, following in the footsteps of people Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. Welburn also holds the distinction of being the first African American to lead design for an automaker.
    Welburn's story of becoming the head of GM design starts in the early sixties when he saw the Cadillac Cyclone Motorama concept at an auto show and writing to GM about careers in design. He would join GM as a design intern in 1971 before becoming an employee in Buick's design studio a couple years later.
    Welburn would move to Oldsmobile in 1975 and become its chief designer in 1989, working on such projects as the Cutlass Supreme and Cutlass Ciera. In 1996, he became the chief designer for Saturn and then head of GM's advanced design center. Welburn would be named head of GM design in 2003. Two years later, a new position was created for him that would have him oversee GM's global design.
    “GM Design is among the most respected and sought-after organizations in the industry because of Ed’s leadership. He nurtured a creative, inclusive and customer-focused culture among our designers that has strengthened our global brands,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO in a statement.
    The list of vehicles Welburn played a role in is quite long. Some of the most recent vehicles include the Corvette Stingray, Chevrolet Volt, Buick Avista concept, Cadillac El Miraj, and 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. But one vehicle Welburn says is the most important to him was the Oldsmobile Aerotech, an experimental vehicle from the mid-eighties that would earn two world speed records.
    "That was a big part of my development as a leader. Because for the first time, I wasn't just sketching. I was working with engineers, with marketing. I was working all day in the studios and all night in the wind tunnel. That was the project that I really learned design cannot be an island," Welburn told Automotive News earlier this month.
    Michael Simcoe joined General Motors in 1983 as a designer for Holden. In 1995, Simcoe was named director of Design for GM Asia Pacific and then executive director of Asia Pacific Design in 2003. A year later, Simcoe would be named executive director of North American Exterior Design. Simcoe's achievements include leading the team behind the Avenir concept.
    Source: General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Design Chief Ed Welburn To Retire July 1
    Michael Simcoe named new vice president, GM Global Design

    WARREN, Mich. – Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design, told employees today he will retire effective July 1, following a 44-year career with the company.
    Michael Simcoe, a 33-year veteran of GM Design and vice president of GM International Design, based in Australia and Korea, has been selected to succeed Welburn. He will be the company’s seventh design leader and begins transitioning into his new role on May 1. His replacement has not been named.
    Welburn, 65, has been celebrated inside and outside the industry for his extraordinary achievements. He has led GM Design since 2003, and globally since 2005, the first African American from any automaker to do so.
    “GM Design is among the most respected and sought-after organizations in the industry because of Ed’s leadership. He nurtured a creative, inclusive and customer-focused culture among our designers that has strengthened our global brands,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.
    Under Welburn’s leadership, GM built a network of 10 GM design centers in seven countries. His team of more than 2,500 creative men and women – based in the U.S., Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India – collaborate on the design development of every GM concept and production car, truck and crossover globally.
    Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, announced Simcoe’s promotion and commended Welburn.
    “Given his deep global experience and passion for breakthrough design, Michael is the right person to lead GM Global Design,” said Reuss. “He is known for his ability to take diverse ideas and mold them into great products that surprise and delight our customers.”
    Reuss recognized Welburn for his creative imprint on four decades of iconic vehicles and his leadership in identifying and developing world-class talent.
    “Ed’s team turns out one award-winning product after another … and his strong bench will keep GM Design on top for years to come,” Reuss said.
    Simcoe has been in his current role since 2014, overseeing GM’s production and advanced studios in Korea, Australia, and India. He is known for applying global design excellence and creativity to the company’s distinct brands.
    He joined GM in 1983 as a designer at Holden in Australia, and is Holden’s brand champion. In 1995, he became director of Design for GM Asia Pacific and in 2003, was named executive director of Asia Pacific Design and led the development of the new GM Korea design operations under Welburn’s leadership.
    The following year, he became executive director of North American Exterior Design, responsible for critical and commercial successes like the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox and Cadillac CTS.
    More recently, he led the team responsible for the award-winning Buick Avenir Concept. Last month, he introduced the Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show.

    Drew Dowdell

    Most GM vehicles with Apple CarPlay now can get a a free update to support Android Auto.

    GM's four North American brands announced today that as of now, most 2016 vehicles that currently have Apple CarPlay compatibility can be brought to their dealers for a free update to the infotainment system to add Android Auto.
    Android Auto requires a phone running Android Lollipop 5.0 or higher and require various apps to be installed on the phone. You can find apps compatible with Android Auto here.
    Vehicles eligible for the updates are as follows:
    Chevrolet - 2016 models with 8" MyLink eligible for Android Auto Update:
    Malibu (Excluding Limited)
    Camaro coupe and convertible
    Corvette coupe and convertible
    Silverado 1500 and HD
    All 2016 models with 7" MyLink screen are already Android Auto capable and do not require an update.
    GMC - 2016 models with 8 inch IntelliLink eligible for Android Auto Update:
    Buick - 2016 models with 8 inch IntelliLink eligible for Android Auto Update:
    *Envision and Encore will gain Android Auto in 2017 Model year
    Cadillac - All 2016 and newer models except SRX

    William Maley

    A California Only Special With 700 Trucks Being Built

    Whenever someone brings up hybrid and GM's pickups, we're reminded of the two-mode hybrid system GM installed on the last-generation Silverado and Sierra that only delivered negligible gains in fuel economy. But GM is giving the hybrid truck another go with the introduction of an eAssist powertrain on the Silverado and Sierra.
    The eAssist system comprises of a small electric motor (13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque) and 0.45-kWh battery pack. This is paired with the 5.3L V8. Power figures stand at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque (no increase in horsepower, but an increase of 3 pound-feet). The system only adds an additional 100 pounds to the overall weight.
    In terms of overall fuel economy, GM says the eAssist boosts fuel economy from 16 City/22 Highway/20 Combined mpg to 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined mpg. Other pluses for the eAssist include a stop-start system, the ability to run the engine on four-cylinders for a longer time, and regenerative brakes that can feed power to various accessories.
    The eAssist powertrain only adds $500 to the price of a Silverado or Sierra.
    All good news? Not exactly. The only way you can get the eAssist system is by either ordering a two-wheel drive version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1LT crew cab or GMC Sierra SLT crew cab with the SLT Premium Plus package. Also, GM is only offering this in California. Finally, GM is only building 500 Silverados and 200 Sierras with the eAssist. GM says this is test and "will monitor the market closely... and adjust as appropriate moving forward."
    Source: Chevrolet, GMC

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Chevrolet Introduces 2016 Silverado With eAssist
    New mild-hybrid system delivers 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, based on EPA city estimates

    DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today that a select number of 2016 Chevrolet Silverados will be offered with eAssist technology. The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of innovative electric vehicles – including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13 percent better fuel economy in city driving.
    “Silverado already leads the full-size truck segment in V8 fuel economy,” said Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevrolet Trucks. “For customers and small-business owners who use their trucks for more urban driving, the addition of eAssist can further reduce their fuel costs without sacrificing the utility they expect in a full-size truck.”
    The compact, lightweight system increases curb weight by approximately 100 pounds, and delivers an additional 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor.
    The eAssist propulsion system, including the 8-speed automatic transmission, will be a $500 premium over a comparably equipped two-wheel drive Silverado 1500 crew cab in 1LT trim.
    Initially, Chevrolet will offer approximately 500 Silverado eAssist trucks for the 2016 model year, exclusively through California dealers. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet will adjust production for 2017 model year.
    The eAssist Silverado adds another piece to Chevrolet’s growing electrification portfolio - from all-electrics like the Chevrolet Spark EV and Bolt EV (slated to begin production in late 2016), to extended-range electrics like the Chevrolet Volt, to full-hybrids like Malibu Hybrid, and mild-hybrids like Silverado eAssist.
    Technology developed from new Malibu Hybrid and Volt
    The eAssist system pairs a compact lithium-ion battery pack with the Silverado’s 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission to provide:
    Electric Power Boost: The on-board electric motor provides up to 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of supplemental power during acceleration and passing. The electric motor also enables the Active Fuel Management system on the 5.3L V-8 engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode for longer periods, resulting in additional fuel economy benefits. Stop/Start capability: Added fuel savings are achieved by seamlessly turning the engine off when stopped at a traffic light or in congested traffic and turning the engine back on when the accelerator is pressed. Regenerative Braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system. These features deliver a 13 percent improvement in city fuel economy, based on EPA estimates. The 2016 Silverado eAssist will have an EPA estimated 18 mpg city, a 2 mpg improvement over the equivalent Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8 and 8-speed automatic. EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the Silverado eAssist is 24 mpg, while the combined rating is 20 mpg.

    Power for the eAssist system is supplied by a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the center console (or front bench seat) that uses the same battery cells as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. It weighs nearly 15 percent less than the previous generation eAssist system, yet provides up to 15 kW of power to the electric motor.

    A reengineered power inverter module is now liquid cooled and moved underhood for improved packaging and performance. The software used to control the battery system is based off a modified version of the software for the Chevrolet Volt.
    The compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides peak regen capability of 15kW resulting from advanced software controls based off those used in the Volt. The motor, which features a stator design leveraged from the Volt and Malibu Hybrid, acts like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb.-ft. (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high-load situations.
    This new generation of eAssist is also more modular than the previous system, meaning it could be more easily used in front-wheel or rear-wheel drive drivetrain configurations and it’s capable of using more or fewer cells, based on power needs for each vehicle application.
    GMC Introduces 2016 Sierra with eAssist
    Technologically advanced premium truck offers greater efficiency, capability

    DETROIT – Building on GMC Sierra’s advanced powertrain technologies, new eAssist technology enhances its position as one of the industry’s most innovative and capable trucks, helping it achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy – and solidifying its segment-best ranking for V8 efficiency.

    Starting this spring, the new eAssist system is exclusively available on the already well-equipped 2016 Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD model with the SLT Premium Plus package. For 2016, we will monitor the market closely, producing 200 Sierra eAssist models for California, and adjust as appropriate moving forward.
    “Innovative technology that enhances capability is at the core of everything we do at GMC and the new Sierra with eAssist takes it to a higher level,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “Its advantages are delivered in a compromise-free package that enables real-world fuel savings with premium content that provides a very high level of refinement, comfort and connectivity.”
    Compared to a comparable Sierra 1500 with a 5.3L/eight-speed powertrain, the Sierra with eAssist offers an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city – a 2-mpg improvement – while highway fuel economy improves 2 mpg to 24 mpg. The combined estimate improves 2 mpg to 20 mpg. The 5.3L eAssist V8 has a GM estimated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.
    The new eAssist powertrain is available in the Sierra SLT crew cab with the up-level Premium Plus package, a package that is also available with the standard 5.3L non- eAssist engine and the 6.2L V8 engine. The SLT Premium Plus package includes an extensive list of premium technologies and features:
    High-performance LED headlamps, LED taillamps and thin-profile LED foglamps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone) IntelliLink with navigation and 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen Bose premium audio system Wireless phone charging Heated and vented leather-appointed seats Heated steering wheel Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert IntelliBeam headlamps Front and Rear Park Assist Rear Vision camera. The max trailering rating is 9,400 lbs. and the Eaton locking rear differential is standard, for sure-footed traction on slippery surfaces.

    eAssist details
    The Sierra’s eAssist powertrain is a light electrification system leveraging General Motors’ latest electrification technologies. It builds on the advanced technologies of the 5.3L V8 engine, including direct injection, variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), complementing them with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to enhance efficiency through:
    Stop/Start capability: Additional fuel savings are achieved by turning off the engine when stopped at a stop light or heavy traffic and restarting the engine when the driver lifts his or her foot from the brake pedal Electric power boost: The on-board electric motor provides a power boost during acceleration and passing, while enabling the engine to operate in four-cylinder mode for longer periods, for additional fuel savings Regenerative braking: By using the on-board electric motor as a generator, the energy recovered while braking is converted to electricity to recharge the onboard battery system Aero enhancements: A 6 percent improvement in aerodynamics contributes to fuel economy due to a standard soft tonneau cover and automatic grille shutters, which can close at speeds over 30 mph in order to further reduce drag and fuel consumption.

    The eAssist system includes a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located under the center console (or front bench seat). It adds only about 100 pounds to the vehicle’s curb weight.

    A compact induction motor, located on the accessory drive, provides 15 kW of peak regenerative capability, thanks to advanced software controls based on the Chevrolet Volt. It performs like an electric torque booster, providing up to 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) and up to 13 hp (9.7 kW) of additional boost in high load situations. There’s also a liquid-cooled power inverter module located under the hood.

    William Maley

    You Might Find the Volt's Powertrain Under A Rival Automakers Hood In the Future

    Imagine a future where the powertrain from the Chevrolet Volt is found under the hood of another automaker's vehicle. This might actually become reality if General Motors global powertrain chief Dan Nicholson gets his wish answered. Speaking to Automotive News, Nicholson said he was open to sharing the Volt's powertrain.
    "We want to be the partner of choice in propulsion system development in this complex and turbulent era we are approaching," said Nicholson.
    If this idea is given the green light, it would pay dividends for GM and the other automaker. For GM, giving the Volt powertrain to another automaker would drive costs down due to larger economies of scale. The other automaker wouldn't have to spend so much on research and development for a powertrain like the Volt.
    Whether this happens or not is a wait and see matter.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    GM Plans On Extending the Life of their Platforms

    General Motors is rethinking its approach in the automotive marketplace. A number of conflicting issues (auto sales growth are slowing, stricter standards for emissions and safety; autonomous vehicles, changes in how vehicles are owned, and trying to return more cash to stockholders) have the company making some drastic changes in an effort to cut captial spending.
    Speaking with Reuters, a number of GM executives said they are undertaking the most extensive overhaul of its vehicle development process in many years. The end goal is to design their global lineup with a few building blocks and spreading the costs of engineering and research over many more vehicles. Also, GM plans on doubling the life of their platforms.
    GM President Dan Ammann said the basic platform of their vehicles "could last a dozen years or more." This move will begin with the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze. GM plans on changing the exterior styling more often and updating electronics with updates from the internet.
    But this new strategy brings a lot of risks. First, GM will be increasing its capital spending from $7 billion in 2014 to $9 billion in 2019. This is so GM can prepare for this change in strategy with investments in various facilities. There is also the danger of the platforms being outdated or products that aren't appealing customers in different global markets.
    “The advantage could be short-lived,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president at LMC Automotive.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    The first Bellwether Trial against GM has come to an abrupt end

    The first bellwether trial against General Motors over the faulty ignition switch has come to abrupt end. The plaintiff, Robert Scheuer has voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit against the automaker according to a filing in Manhattan federal court today.
    Scheuer accused GM of concealing a defect in the ignition switch that caused the airbags in his 2003 Saturn Ion to not deploy when he crashed into two trees in Oklahoma in May 2014. The accident caused injuries to Scheuer's back and neck.
    As we reported in December, GM tried to dismiss the case. However, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said the plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.
    So why was the case dismissed? To understand fully, we need to look at one of the claims made by Scheuer. He claims the crash caused memory loss and, in turn, caused him to misplace a $49,500 check for a down payment on a house in Tulsa, OK. This caused Scherer's family to be evicted from the house.
    But paperwork filed by GM's lawyers earlier this week tell a much different story. They have found evidence that Scheuer committed check fraud when buying the house. A real estate agent found Scheuer faked a check stub totaling $441,430.72 from his federal government retirement account as a “proof of funds”. The check stub originally totaled $430.72 before the changes took place.
    GM lawyer Richard Godfrey said in the filing suggests that Scheuer "misled his own counsel, as well as the court and the jury.” GM asked Judge Jesse Furman to present the evidence and bring two witnesses; the real estate agent and a forensic technology expert.
    “We are assessing GM’s allegations about a situation we were unaware of,” Robert Hilliard, the lawyer representing Scheuer told Bloomberg earlier this week.
    On Thursday, Furman granted GM permission to present this new evidence to the jury. Furman also said the new evidence would be “devastating,” making the suit “almost worthless as a bellwether case.” Furman urged the two parties to consider dismissing the case.
    “The apparent lies the plaintiff and his wife told the jury ended the trial early, and we are pleased that the case is over without any payment whatsoever to Mr. Scheuer,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said in a statement.
    Scheuer and his wife have hired criminal defense lawyers.
    The dismissal of this case is unlikely to affect other cases against. What it will do is make it slightly harder to determine the value of similar claims.
    Source: Bloomberg (2), Reuters

    William Maley

    GM Makes Its Next Move In Shared Transportation

    General Motors is taking a big step into the shared transportation economy. Yesterday the company announced Maven, a new car sharing service that will combine and expand the various programs into one program.
    “GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility. With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement.
    The first part of Maven is a car-sharing service where you can open an app on your phone and request the use of a Chevrolet vehicle for as little as $6 per hour (much like ZipCar). Maven has launched a pilot program in Ann Arbor, MI where 21 Chevrolet vehicles are sitting in parking lots around the University of Michigan campus.
    Maven will also incorporate and expand a number of GM's other car sharing services. These include a residential car sharing service in New York City, and a peer-to-peer sharing program where residents can rent out their vehicles by the hour.
    This announcement comes a few weeks after GM announced a partnership with Lyft and days after GM acquiring the assets of another ride-sharing company, Sidecar Technologies
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Launches Personal Mobility Brand: Maven
    DETROIT— General Motors announced today its next step in redefining personal mobility with a new car-sharing service called Maven, which combines and expands the company’s multiple programs under one single brand.
    Maven’s mission is to give customers access to highly personalized, on-demand mobility services. The global Maven team includes more than 40 dedicated employees from the connected car technology industry as well as ride- and car-sharing professionals from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar.
    “GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.”
    Starting this week, Maven is expanding its offerings in multiple cities and communities across the U.S. Services are customized to regional customer needs and include city, residential, peer-to-peer and campus programs:
    City: Today, Maven is announcing that it is offering its car-sharing program to more than 100,000 people in Ann Arbor, Mich., initially focusing on serving faculty and students at the University of Michigan. GM vehicles will be available initially at 21 parking spots across the city.
    Additional city-based programs will launch in major U.S. metropolitan areas later this year.
    Maven customers will experience seamless smartphone and keyless integration with the vehicle. Maven customers use its app to search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type and unlock the vehicle with their smartphone. The app also enables remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling and more. Customers can bring their digital lives into the vehicle through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio and 4GLTE wireless. Each vehicle will provide an ownership-like experience with the convenience of car-sharing.
    Maven pricing is simple and transparent and includes insurance and fuel.
    As Maven grows, the team will use innovative ways of connecting personally with customers. Ann Arbor Maven users will have direct access to Maven leadership and core team members via the messaging application WhatsApp to share their experiences, ideas and thoughts with the team as they help shape the Maven service.
    Residential: In the first quarter of 2016, Maven will launch car-sharing services for Chicago residents in partnership with Magellan Development Group. Maven is also expanding its existing residential program in New York City (previously called Let’s Drive NYC) with Stonehenge Partners giving users on-demand access to vehicles and preferred parking options. Both programs combined will offer service to more than 5,000 residents. Peer-to-Peer: Existing global initiatives include peer-to-peer car-sharing through the CarUnity market place in Germany. Nearly 10,000 users have signed up in Frankfurt and Berlin since mid-2015. Campus: Various programs are running on GM campuses in the U.S., Germany and China to refine and test future Maven commercial offerings.

    “Maven provides on-demand access, choice and ease of use. The right vehicle and right mobility service for the right trip at the right time,” said Julia Steyn, GM vice president, Urban Mobility Programs. “With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry.”

    Learn more about Maven at MavenDrive.com. Connect with us on Twitter: @DriveMaven

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