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  1. General Motors took a page out Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' playbook by continuing the build the outgoing-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra alongside the next-generation models in an effort to keep sales up. But sooner or later, the previous-generation models will end production. When is that? During GM's third-quarter earnings call, CFO Dhivya Suryadevarat said the automaker would begin winding down production the K2 crew cab models early next year, followed by double cab and regular cab models beginning in "the early second half of next year." GM's Oshawa, Ontario plant has been helping with the production of the outgoing models. According to Automotive News, Oshawa receives unfinished Silverado and Sierra double cab bodies from the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant. Models are painted and undergo final assembly. Known as the "Oshawa shuttle," it started at the beginning of the year and would add heavy-duty pickups and a second production shift in the summer. GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter told AN the program is expected to "run into late 2019 based on market demand." Production of the next-generation (T1) pickups began in July at Fort Wayne, followed by double cab models last month. GM's Silao, Mexico plant will begin production of the regular and crew cab models in January. Unlike FCA, which experienced a number of problems with the launch of the next-generation Ram 1500, GM was able to deliver 45,000 next-generation pickups in the third-quarter. The big question is what happens to the hourly workers building the trucks at Oshawa. GM declined to comment, but AN speculates they could be laid off or moved to other positions. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  2. By the end of next year, GM's self-driving car unit was planning to have a fleet of self-driving taxis available those in San Fransisco, California. But a new report from Reuters casts some serious doubts on this goal. Speaking to a number of current and former GM and Cruise Automation employees, and autonomous vehicle technology experts, Reuters' report paints a picture of various issues that could derail Cruise's goal. The driverless Cruise vehicles (Chevrolet Bolt EVs) have struggled to determine whether objects on the road are moving or stationary. Example: Vehicles have stopped or hesitated when driving past a group of parked bicycles or motorcycles. Software has failed to identify pedestrians, "and has mistakenly seen phantom bicycles, causing the cars to brake erratically" Sources claim that software also slows the messages between the car’s sensors and computers Cruise doesn't have a data-sharing collaboration with the San Francisco Fire Department - necessary to train the cars when a fire truck is responding to an emergency. Numerous milestones have been missed such as logging a million miles a month by early 2018. Cruise is aware of the various issues. CEO Kyle Vogt told Reuters said the next-generation of hardware and software would solve various issues. General Motors' President Dan Ammann said that the 2019 goal would only move forward "if the Cruise system achieves the safety standards the automaker has established, and shown to regulators." At the current moment, that goal seems quite far away. Source: Reuters
  3. General Motors' self-driving unit, Cruise got a huge boost today from Honda. Today at a press conference, the two companies announced a new deal where Honda will invest $2.75 billion ($750 million upfront for a 5.7 percent stake and the remainder to be invested over the next 12 years) and will work together on developing a purpose-built self-driving vehicle. Speaking at GM's technical center in Warren, MI, CEO Mary Barra said Honda would provide "additional engineering, design, and technology expertise" and help assist Cruise's “global reach and the ability to deploy at-scale.” “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale,” said Barra in a statement. Honda's investment comes five months after Japanese holding conglomerate SoftBank invested $2.25 billion into the unit. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle Honda investment of $750 million values Cruise at $14.6 billion SAN FRANCISCO — Cruise and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced today that they have joined forces with Honda (TYO: 7267) to pursue the shared goal of transforming mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology. Honda will work jointly with Cruise and General Motors to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment. In addition, Cruise, General Motors and Honda will explore global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network. Honda will contribute approximately $2 billion over 12 years to these initiatives, which, together with a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, brings its total commitment to the project to $2.75 billion. In addition to the recently announced SoftBank investments, this transaction brings the post-money valuation of Cruise to $14.6 billion. “This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.” “Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” said Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.” “With the backing of General Motors, SoftBank and now Honda, Cruise is deeply resourced to accomplish our mission to safely deploy autonomous technology across the globe,” said Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. “The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.”
  4. General Motors is recalling 1,015,918 pickup trucks from the 2015 model year due to a problem with the electric power steering (EPS) system. In a letter published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yesterday, the EPS may momentarily lose assist before regaining it. "If EPS assist is lost and then suddenly returns, the driver may have difficulty steering the vehicle, especially at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash," wrote NHTSA. The models affected include, Cadillac Escalade Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Suburban Chevrolet Tahoe GMC Sierra GMC Yukon The fix is simple as dealers will update the EPS software. No word on when GM will begin the recall. GM issued a similar recall for about 700,000 Chevrolet and GMC trucks in the US last year. Source: NHTSA (PDF) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  5. When General Motors decided to study the Ford F-150 to help make the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, they sent engineers to the front door of where the F-150 is built. According to Reuters, engineers went on a public factory tour of Ford's Dearborn truck plant to study how Ford was building them. Special attention was paid to workers attaching aluminum body panels to the trucks. After watching and timing the fitment of parts with stopwatches, GM engineers found some problems. “They had a real hard time getting those doors to fit,” said Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer for GM truck programs. Focusing on the doors, engineers bought F-150 doors as parts and took them apart. What they realized is that they could cut weight in their trucks with a combination of aluminum and thinner high strength steel for a lower cost. GM could have gone all-aluminum with their trucks. Herrick said the debate at the company “was a really hotly contested item for us.” But at the end of the day, the decision to use mixed metals will allow for a larger profit on the trucks. “We think we have thousands of dollars advantage (over Ford) just in the aluminum costs. It’s big,” said Herrick. Source: Reuters
  6. The Buick Envision finds itself in a tough spot. General Motors has been exporting the model to the U.S. since 2016. But with the on-going trade-war between the U.S. and China, it means the Envision could smacked with a 25% percent tariff. That is why GM is asking for exemption on the model. In a statement provided to Reuters, GM said that it filed the exemption request on July 30th to the U.S. Trade Representative. In the request, GM makes some sound arguments as to why the Envision should be excluded. Price is major factor. If the vehicle is hit with a 25 percent tariff, GM would be forced to pull it from the U.S. unless it wants to a take serious loss on each model. Why not build it here? The Envision has been a target of critics of Chinese-made goods, including leaders of UAW. GM explains that the sales volume of the Envision doesn't justify moving it to the U.S. Last year, Buick only sold 41,040 Envisions in the U.S. In China, Buick moved about 210,000 models. In addition, the current Envision is reaching the end of its current lifecycle before the company could make the preparations to build the model here. GM also makes the argument that the loss of the Envision would put them in a distinct disadvantage against foreign competitors such as Acura and Volvo. You can check out GM's request on regulations.gov website, which is tracking requests for exclusions from the Section 301 tariff. If the Envision does get hit with a 25 percent tariff, GM has already taken some steps to relieve some of the pain. Before the higher import tariffs went into affect, GM shipped in a six-month supply of Envisions that would be hit with the much smaller 2.5 percent tariff. This should keep dealers happy in terms of stock and not having to deal with a higher price. Source: Reuters, Regulations.gov
  7. Tripower is one of General Motors' most revered names. Used on Pontiac V8 engines from 1957-1966, Tripower referred to the use of three two-barrel carburetors on top of the engine. GM is bringing back the name for the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. But in this case, Tripower carries a very different meaning. At the CAR Management Briefing Seminars yesterday, Mike Anderson, GM's executive director of global transmission and electrification hardware engineering said Tripower will now "refer to a suite of technologies that boosts horsepower and fuel economy" for the new 2.7L turbo-four. According to Automotive News, Tripower will include cylinder deactivation, intake valve lift control, and active thermal management. The new engine is expected launch sometime after the new trucks begin arriving at dealers this fall. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  8. Tesla and General Motors lead the pack when it comes to the sales of plug-in vehicles. Data from Automotive News says Tesla stands at 193,344 vehicles, followed by GM at 181,062, But there arises a problem; once they cross the 200,000 mark, the phaseout of the $7,500 tax credit begins. Tesla is expected to be first with some predicting it taking place next month (provided they don't run into more production troubles). GM will follow sometime next year. Barring some sort of extension of the program, it will put the two automakers in a bit of bind where they'll be playing on an uneven playing field due to increased costs. It should be noted that the tax credit won't disappear. The way the phaseout works is that the $7,500 credit sticks around for two more quarters after the 200,000 mark is reached. After that, the credit is cut to $3,750 for the next two quarters, then it drops to $1,875 for two more quarters before it is gone. "The groundbreakers, the people who forged ahead and got these products out there first, could be at a significant disadvantage now. I don't think it's fair to reward a company that hasn't been as innovative with an incentive that begins when someone else's ends," said Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelly Blue Book. Industry experts expect GM to take a bigger hit than Tesla due to the credit affecting decisions on "lower-priced vehicles such as the sub-$40,000 Chevrolet Volt more than a $75,000-plus Tesla Model S or X" according to research done by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis. A study in 2016 bears this out. 40 percent of Chevrolet Volt buyers admit they wouldn't have purchased one without the tax credit. Only 14 percent of Tesla buyers say the same. This likely explains why various GM executives have been pushing the White House for a possible extension of the credit. "At the end of the day, we think having the benefits is great for the customer, because obviously it makes the EV adoption easier and more attractive," GM North America President Alan Batey told Automotive News. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  9. In April of 2013, Ford and General Motors announced they would be working together on developing new nine and ten-speed automatic transmissions. The nine-speed automatic would be for front-wheel drive models, while rear-drive models got the ten-speed. Already, a number of Ford and GM vehicles are using the ten-speed. But GM will be the only one using the nine-speed. Automotive News reports that Ford is electing to use a new series of eight-speed automatic transmission on their vehicles. The company said the new nine-speed didn't provide enough of an improvement in fuel economy to justify the added cost and weight. According to a source, Ford made this decision before GM began to use this transmission on their production models. "Typically, if anyone gave me a transmission that didn't require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, I would take it and run. It's a lot of design work after the fact to come up with their own flavor. It shows there might be some different schools of thought in terms of transmission efficiency," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific Inc. While GM claims the nine-speed brings “smoother shifts” and a better driving experience, it hasn't brought any real gains to fuel economy. The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu 2.0T only saw an increase of one mpg on the highway when compared to the 2016 model with a six-speed automatic (33 vs. 32). The 2019 Buick Envision 2.0T saw its highway fuel economy drop by one when equipped with the nine-speed auto (25 vs. 26). It should be noted that one of the eight-speed transmissions Ford is using is based on the new nine-speed, minus a gear. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  10. Cadillac's leadership is seeing a major change as current president Johan de Nysschen will be stepping down effective immediately. In his place will be Steve Carlisle who is currently president and managing director of GM Canada. “We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac. Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann in a statement. No reason was given as to why de Nysschen is leaving after leading the brand for over three years. His tenure saw Cadillac make a number of dramatic changes including moving the brand's headquarters to New York City and introducing a new nomenclature system. Steve Carlisle has been part of GM since 1982 when he was an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa assembly plant. He was named the president of GM Canada back in 2014 and helped the region get back on its feet. Last year, GM was number one in retail sales in Canada, with Buick, Cadillac, and GMC posting their best ever sales. “The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible and I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future. I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury,” said Carlisle. We'll be updating this story if any new information comes out. UPDATE: Automotive News and Wards Auto have learned some possible reasons as to why de Nysschen was shown the door. One is Cadillac's slumping sales. In 2017, sales in the U.S. dropped eight percent - the second straight year of a sales decline. Sales are doing slightly better in 2018 - up 8.1 percent - some of this is due to incentives being placed on slow-selling models. Project Pinnacle which was de Nysschen's ambitious incentive plan that would divide dealers into five tiers based on sales volume. Each tier would have different requirements in terms of showroom and service, along with perks. One contentious point that irked a number of dealers was smaller dealers setting up a "virtual showroom" where buyers could order vehicles. These dealers would not be able to stock Cadillac vehicles. Since then, Project Pinnacle has undergone a number of changes. Wards Auto says de Nysschen didn't move fast enough to join the fast-growing trend of crossovers. Cadillac has introduced the XT4 at the New York Auto Show last month are there plans to launch a couple more in the coming years, but this is only going to widen the gap between Cadillac and competitors. Both outlets report there has been growing tension between de Nysschen and GM. Such examples include him proclaiming that "Cadillac would be the technical leader at GM in the future," partly due to the launch of SuperCruise. Apparently, de Nysschen forgot about the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt. There was also the comment he made about Apple's CarPlay saying it was “extremely clunky”. (Mr. de Nysschen, have you even used CUE?! -WM) Source: General Motors GM Names Steve Carlisle Senior VP and President, Cadillac Johan de Nysschen leaves GM to pursue other interests; Travis Hester becomes president and managing director, GM Canada DETROIT — General Motors today announced the appointment of Steve Carlisle as General Motors senior vice president and president, Cadillac, replacing Johan de Nysschen, who is leaving the company effective immediately. Travis Hester, currently vice president, Global Product Programs, is named president and managing director, GM Canada, replacing Carlisle. The transition will begin immediately. “We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.” Carlisle was most recently president and managing director of GM Canada, where he led a resurgence of the GM Canada franchise. In 2017, GM was number one in automotive retail sales in Canada, with Buick, GMC and Cadillac achieving their best ever sales years. Carlisle also reestablished key relationships in Canada with retailers, employees and government officials. “The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible and I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future,” said Carlisle. “I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury.” Carlisle will report to Dan Ammann. Carlisle began his GM career in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. Over the course of his career with General Motors, Carlisle has held several senior leadership positions that have taken him across the globe, including vice president, Global Product Planning (2010-2014); vice president, U.S. Sales Operations (2010); and president and managing director, Southeast Asia Operations (2007-2010). Hester brings extensive global leadership and global product development experience to his new role at GM Canada. Since 2016, he has led the team responsible for balancing all aspects of vehicle development, including quality, cost, appearance, purchasing, customer acceptance and performance targets. Hester will report to Alan Batey, president, GM North America. Hester began his GM career in 1995 in Australia as a technical support engineer for GM Holden. He held a variety of positions in Australia before moving to the U.S. in 2005. Since 2005, Hester has held engineering positions in both the U.S. and China, including chief engineer for several global premium luxury vehicles, the Buick Regal, Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Sonic. Hester became vice president, Global Product Programs, in 2016.
  11. Ahead of releasing this month's sales numbers, General Motors has announced that it will start reporting sales quarterly instead of monthly. “Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market. Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations in a statement this morning. GM cites many reasons for the change to quarterly reporting - weather, product launches, number of selling days, incentives, and seasonal factors. “It’s not that (GM) doesn’t want to talk about how many cars they are selling or if they’re having a bad month. They’re still going to report everything quarterly,” explained IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley. “It changes the tone of the story, because with month-to-month results it is difficult to really get a good picture of the industry.” "I understand the reasons they are doing it. There can be a lot of fluctuation during a month," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Autotrader to Automotive News. Krebs went onto say that other automakers might consider following General Motors lead. She used the example of Chrysler which ended the practice of reporting sales-figures for 10 days in 1991. Other automakers would follow suit, but it took some time. GM didn't make the switch till 1994. "What happened was they decided to go monthly, and everybody did it. That would make me believe everybody is going to follow suit and follow GM's lead." But this move could bring forth some unattended consequences. Monthly sales numbers are used by many people and industries to help gauge the economy. It could also make estimates made by third-parties not fully reflect the automaker’s performance. “Right now, the market looks at whether someone comes in above or below forecasts. If GM’s sales are estimated monthly, those estimates could be really high and then the results come in lower when you look at quarterly sales. That could have unintended consequences.” But the inverse - GM posting higher sales numbers than what was estimated - is also true. One thing is certain, we just don't know how this is going to work out. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, General Motors Press Release is on Page 2 GM to Begin Reporting U.S. Sales on a Quarterly Basis DETROIT – General Motors announced today it will begin reporting its U.S. vehicle sales on a quarterly basis, effective immediately. In 2018, second quarter sales will be released on July 3, third quarter sales on October 2 and fourth quarter sales on January 3, 2019. “Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing.” In the auto industry, monthly sales are subject to many issues that make them more volatile than quarterly sales, including product launch activity, weather, other seasonal factors, the number of selling days and incentive activity. GM’s high level of transparency on total, brand and nameplate sales, fleet mix and inventory will not change. The company will also continue sharing J.D. Power PIN estimates for incentive spending and average transaction prices. The company’s March 2018 U.S. sales will be released today at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
  12. When the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra begin rolling off the assembly line sometime later this year, there will be a larger number of crew cabs. GM's vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss tells Automotive News that the company has been "constrained' when it comes to the output of their crew cab pickups, a segment that has seen its popularity increase in recent years. Reuss said the company is planning to increase capacity for crew cabs with their next-generation pickups. A Chevrolet spokesman said that crew cabs have grown from more than 50 percent of GM's truck sales in 2013 to more than 60 percent. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  13. The Cadillac XT4 is an important model for the brand as it will give them a competitor in the lucrative compact luxury crossover class. It might also give one of GM's assembly plants some much needed good news. Bloomberg has learned from sources that General Motors has started producing test versions of the Cadillac XT4 at their Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City. This possibly hints that production of the XT4 could take place here. A GM spokesman declined to comment when asked about this. The Fairfax plant has been hit hard by the decline in sales for midsize sedans. Home to the Chevrolet Malibu, the plant has seen the third shift cut last year as Malibu sales dropped 18 percent. Source: Bloomberg
  14. Despite General Motors mostly leaving the European market with the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group earlier this year, the automaker isn't ruling out a full-scale return. During a recent meeting of the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company would "absolutely" consider a return to the European market, adding that "nothing keeps us from going back." But it will be some time before GM decides to go back. According to Barra, the company would need to build out a lineup of "transformative products" like electric or self-driving vehicles to make it worthwhile. General Motors does have a small presence in Europe with Cadillacs being sold by 45 dealers - most of them in Germany and Switzerland. The Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette are also sold in small numbers. Source: Motor1
  15. General Motors has announced plans of moving towards an electrified and self-driving future. But in the foreseeable future, the company's core business model of selling vehicles to drivers will not be going away. “The owner-driver model will be there for a very long time. So far we see (mobility) as additive, but we see it as having potential to grow and be quite substantial,” said GM CEO Mary Barra during a meeting of the Automotive Press Association. Most of GM's and other automaker's profits come from crossovers, pickup trucks, and SUVs. But GM is planning for a possible future where the automotive landscape is very different. Back in October, the automaker announced an ambitious plan of launching 20 electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2023 - two of those will launch within the next 18 months. The company is also planning to launch a driverless ride-sharing service in 2019. Source: The Detroit News
  16. General Motors had a field day when Ford switched from metal to aluminum for their truck beds. The company ran a series of ads showing how their metal beds could stand up to the rigors of a pickup truck's life compared to the Ford's. So it seems slightly ironic that GM is planning to use a lightweight material for their next-generation truck beds. The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News have learned from sources that GM is planning to use carbon fiber in their full-size pickup beds. According to one source, carbon fiber will be part of a mix of different materials, including aluminum. The move makes sense as stricter fuel economy regulations come into effect. Finding ways to cut down on weight is a good way to boost fuel economy. There is a big issue with carbon fiber, price. The material is very expensive to produce due to the long, labor-intensive process. The Journal reports that at first, the beds would be used on the premium versions of the trucks (High Country and Denali). It would trickle down to lower trims as "more efficient production processes" come online. The new beds are expected to debut within the next two years. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  17. General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke yesterday at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York. During her talk, Barra said the company expects to make a profit off electric vehicles once they launch their next-generation EV platform. “We are working to provide desirable, obtainable and profitable vehicles that deliver a range of over 300 miles. There’s a lot of really creative things we’re doing to achieve that profitability point for that new platform,” Barra said to investors. The next-generation modular platform, due in 2021 will play a pivotal role in GM's plan to launch 20 all-new electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2023. The platform will help drop the total per-unit cost by 30 percent or more. It will be used across a number of GM brands and various segments. GM is also working on a new battery system that will cut the per-kilowatt-hour from $145 to under $100 by 2021. Before these two launches, GM will be introducing four new EV and hydrogen vehicles. Two of those will be launch by April 2019 according to a GM spokesman. At least two vehicles will be small crossovers according to Automotive News. It is expected the electric models will use the underpinnings of the Chevrolet Bolt. The company has a set a goal of a million electric vehicles by 2026 - with most happening in China due to their strict production quotas for EVs. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
  18. After a month-long strike and threat earlier this week, General Motors and Unifor Local 88 have reached an tentative agreement for workers at the CAMI assembly plant. Last night, Unifor Local 88 made the announcement via email to its workers. Details of the agreement are being kept under wraps until a ratification vote is held on Monday. If the agreement is approved, workers will return to the plant starting at 11 PM Monday night. "We have addressed job security which will be in this deal. I think it's a fair agreement ... and everybody is looking forward to going back to work and making vehicles their customers want, knowing there will be some sort of job security there," said Mike Van Boekel, the union's plant chair at CAMI to CBC News. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), CBC News
  19. The news isn't getting any better at General Motors' CAMI plant where workers have been on strike for a month after the automaker and Canadian union Unifor were unable to reach an agreement. Already, the strike has caused GM to make adjustments and idle some of their plants in North America, and there are concerns about the shrinking stock of Chevrolet Equinoxes. But now the stakes have been raised. According to Reuters and Automotive News, General Motors issued a warning to leaders at Unifor that it will start winding down production of the Equinox at CAMI unless the strike is called off. Unifor leader Jerry Dias was told by GM officials that the automaker would begin ramping up Equinox production at the San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plants if the strike was not called off. "GM just told us today that they are going to ramp up production in Mexico. They have declared war on Canada," Diaz told Reuters. GM had no immediate comment on Dias' statement when reached by Reuters. According to a source at GM, the discussions between them and Unifor have been going nowhere and there is "a high degree of frustration." Because of this, GM is planning to study how quickly key suppliers for the Equinox could move their operations down to Mexico. No final decision on CAMI's fate has been decided according to the source, but the time frame for getting a deal done is narrowing. Mexico has been the dividing point between GM and Unifor. The union objected to GM's decision to lay off 600 workers at CAMI when it moved production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Unifor wants CAMI to be the lead plant for Equinox production by "giving it more production if Equinox sales rise and making it the last to scale back production if sales fall." But GM has invested $800 million into the plant for retooling to build the new Equinox. The automaker believes this should be enough commitment and putting it into writing isn't necessary. According to the source, there is no such language in any of the other union contracts. The strike has gotten so bad that the Government of Ontario has stepped in, urging both groups to resolve this rift. “I feel like we’re engaged in a poker game, but the interests of Ontario are sitting on the table right now,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario's Economic Development Minister. “It’s an uncomfortable place to be, obviously, and we’d really like to urge the parties to find a resolution to this as quickly as possible before permanent damage is done.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
  20. General Motors has brought back a concept idea from their past for the modern era. This is SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) which takes the hydrogen skateboard platform from the GM Autonomy and Hy-Wire concepts from the early 2000s and supersizes it. The platform uses GM’s new Hydrotec fuel cell system that is comprised of a gen 2 fuel cell, storage tank that can provide a range of 400 miles, electric drive units, and a lithium-ion battery. This is placed onto a commercial truck chassis that will allow it handle various tasks and terrains such as military transport or a mobile medical unit in an area after a natural disaster. The platform also features autonomous tech. “SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments. General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. GM will be showing off SURUS fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from October 9th to 11th. Source: General Motors Press Release is on Page 2 GM Outlines Possibilities for Flexible, Autonomous Fuel Cell Electric Platform Washington, D.C. — General Motors aims to solve some of the toughest transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts. The company will display its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities, at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from Oct. 9-11, 2017. The commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use. SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times. Fuel cell technology represents a key piece of General Motors’ zero emission strategy. It offers a solution that can scale to larger vehicles with large payload requirements and operate over longer distances. SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. The SURUS platform is equally well-suited for adaptation to military environments where users can take advantage of flexible energy resources, field configurability and improved logistical characteristics. GM is evaluating multiple applications for SURUS, such as: Utility trucks Mobile and emergency backup power generation Flexible cargo delivery systems Commercial freight Light- and medium-duty trucks, improving upon the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 that has been evaluated by the U.S. military under guidance of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and is undergoing testing on bases Future military-specific configurations SURUS will deliver highly mobile autonomous capability and agility in unpredictable terrain. Operating multiple vehicles in a leader-follower configuration could reduce manpower needed. For future potential military uses, the system’s inherent low heat signature and quiet operation offer benefits in environments to reduce detection and risks. TARDEC has been in discussions with GM evaluating the commercial SURUS concept as a next step of the broader collaboration to evaluate fuel cell technology for future military applications. “SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.” The SURUS platform leverages GM’s vast experience in fuel cell technology, high-voltage batteries and electric drive systems, autonomous driving and vehicle manufacturing. The platform boasts: Two advanced electric drive units Four-wheel steering Lithium-ion battery system Gen 2 fuel cell system Hydrogen storage system capable of more than 400 miles of range Advanced propulsion power electronics GM truck chassis components An advanced, industry-leading suspension Hydrotec Technology The SURUS commercial platform draws on GM’s more than 50 years of research and development of fuel cell technology. The scalable and adaptable technology enables land, sea and air applications across commercial and military environments. Since April 2017, the Army has been testing the commercial Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 on its U.S. bases to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles in military mission tactical environments. The vehicle has been operating in off-road conditions to evaluate its power generation, reduced odor, acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque, extended operating range and the potential to use the byproduct water. Military testing has shown the ZH2 reduced acoustic non-detection distance by 90 percent compared to current military vehicle in operation. This means the ZH2 can get 10 times closer before being detected. Leaders also observed the potential advantages for stationary power generation over diesel generators, including a significant reduction in idle noise and fuel use. Testing will continue through spring 2018. Partnerships remain an important part of GM’s electrification strategy. Last year, the U.S. Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for testing purposes that leverages GM fuel cell technology common with the Colorado ZH2.
  21. We're now into the third week of the strike at GM's CAMI Assembly in Ontario and neither side appears to be budging. There are rising concerns that GM could be running out of the stockpile of the Chevrolet Equinox. GM's second-best selling nameplate. According to data from Automotive News, GM had 43,453 Equinoxes (about a 41-day supply) at the beginning of this month. Chevrolet dealers sold 27,512 Equinox models last month. If this trend continues, there could be some serious problems towards the end of the year. "That's going to be hard on Equinox to compete on such a limited quantity in such a hot segment. We would expect sales to pick up in the last quarter of the year," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst and director of pricing and industry analysis for Edmunds.com. GM has been downplaying this issue since the strike started. "We believe we have sufficient inventory and production to meet demand while negotiations continue and we continue to work closely with dealers to ensure customers continue to be well served," the company said in a statement. A small number of dealers that spoke with Automotive News said their inventory of the Equinox models hasn't been directly affected, but that could change if the strike continues. GM is ramping up Equinox production at two plants in Mexico - San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe. The company declined to provide production capacity or change in plans due to the strike. But neither plant can compete with the output of CAMI. Through August, the two Mexican plants produced 40,017 Equinox models since production began in April. Compared to CAMI which produced an estimated 132,388 models in the same timeframe. "We don't know the ramp-up at the other production facilities in Mexico. That's the X factor," said Caldwell. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  22. General Motors is the latest automaker that is preparing for an emissions-free future. Today at GM's technical center in Warren, MI, the company announced plans to introduce 20 electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2023. The first two models of this plan will launch in the next 18 months and will be "based off learnings" from the Chevrolet Bolt. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future. Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain in a statement. Those who were at the technical center got a preview of three clay models featuring the next-generation electric powertrain - a Buick crossover (Encore replacement?), Cadillac wagon, and a pod-looking vehicle. GM is also working on building out vehicles using hydrogen powertrains. "General Motors believes in an all-electric future... Our electric solution cannot be 'one size fits all.' We believe you need two different flavors of electrification — battery electric and fuel cell electric." GM showed off SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) which takes the idea of the skateboard hydrogen chassis from the Hy-Wire concept and makes it quite larger - about the size of a commercial truck chassis. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Green Car Reports , Roadshow, GM Press Release is on Page 2 GM Outlines All-Electric Path to Zero Emissions DETROIT — General Motors announced today how it is executing on a major element of its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, recently announced by GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs.” In the next 18 months, GM will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV. They will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023. Given customers' various needs, getting to a zero emissions future will require more than just battery electric technology. It will require a two-pronged approach to electrification — battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric depending on the unique requirements. GM also introduced SURUS — the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure — a fuel cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance — all emissions free.
  23. Last Sunday night, workers at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario went on strike due to the automaker and Unifor Local 88 being unable to reach a tentative agreement. The plant where the majority of the Chevrolet Equinoxes are built has been shut down since. Now the side effects are the strike are beginning to be felt. At least 255 workers at GM's St. Catharines, Ontario plant have been given temporary layoff notices that begin tomorrow. St. Catharines is where the transmissions for the Equinox are built. According to Automotive News, workers spent the week stockpiling transmissions. "We supply about 90 per cent of (CAMI's) transmissions, so it's related to that. Even though they were down, we ran all week ... We have a lot of transmissions stockpiled now because we didn't know if they were going to resolve it this week or not. It doesn't look like they're going to," said Tim McKinnon, chairman of Unifor Local 199 that represents St. Catharines. “We’re off until they get it settled. Every time they sneeze, we catch a cold. If they pick up more volume, we pick up more volume.” GM announced late last week that it is making production adjustments at St. Catharines, Spring Hill, and Flint Engine Operations. Both Spring Hill and Flint provide the engines for the Equinox. Also last week, Canadian supplier Magna International said it would suspend the supply of parts. The top concerns for the two sides are very different. For GM, it is the worry of having enough supply of Equnoxes for the demand. Sales rose 85 percent year-over-year in August. While GM does also build the Equinox in San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the two plants cannot match the output of CAMI (40,017 for the Mexican plants vs. 132,288 for CAMI). For Unifor, they want assurances that CAMI will remain the lead plant for the Equinox and want another product for the plant to build. Unifor has reached out to GM on Wednesday on possibly restarting negotiations. At this time, no word on whether two have or will meet. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Canadian Press via CBC
  24. Last night, workers at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario went on strike. GM and Unifor Local 88 - the group that represents about 2,750 workers at the plant - were unable to reach a tentative contract before a deadline of 10:59 P.M. last night. This is the first time since 1996 that Canadian autoworkers went on strike against an automaker. "While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement," GM said in a statement on Sunday. You might be wondering why a strike is taking place in the first place as GM already worked out a deal with Unifor back in September. That's because Unifor members at CAMI are under a different contract than workers at other plants, meaning they were not involved in the negotiations. CAMI is home to the Chevrolet Equinox and used to build the GMC Terrain, before being sent down to Mexico. The loss of the Terrain meant 400 workers were laid off, while another 200 workers took early retirement. Unifor Local 88 President Dan Borthwick said the two sides are very much apart on “language issues, economic issues that are still outstanding, and, most importantly, job security.” Borthwick also said GM wouldn't budge on Unifor's demand by making a long-term commit through new products and investments. "We put our best foot forward, and we don’t believe the company is serious about our membership’s demands,” he said to Automotive News. Stalling production at CAMI raises some headaches. As The Truth About Cars note, various operations such as the engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario and numerous suppliers will be hampered by this strike. There are concerns if the strike goes long-term. The popularity of the Equinox and Terrain has been booming thanks to the large increase in crossovers. Data from Automotive News shows that Chevrolet dealers in U.S. had about a 53 day supply of Equinoxes at the start of the month, well below the 74-day supply last month. While GM also builds the Equinox in two plants in Mexico, CAMI is where the majority of the models are built. Through August, the San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe plants in Mexico built a combined total of 40,017 units. Meanwhile at CAMI, 132,288 Equinox models rolled off the line. Losing CAMI for a time could mean a tighter supply of Equinox models. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Truth About Cars
  25. After three years of fighting, General Motors has finally gotten the green light from IP Australia to use the Corvette emblem in the country. Wheels Magazine reports that Australia's governing body on trademarks has rejected GM's application for the Corvette emblem four different times. The initial rejection by IP Australia was due to yellow-on-red bowtie used on the emblem looking similar to the Red Cross, "a symbol protected under international law and with deep ties to Australia’s wartime history," according to Wheels. The international law in question is the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957 which states the emblem can only be used during times of war or conflict as a “do not fire upon” marking. But there are some strings attached to GM's victory. “It is a condition of registration that, in use, the cross device contained within the trade mark will be rendered in colours other than red on a white or silver background, or white or silver on a red background,” said IP Australia. This is some good news for GM as rumor has it that the next-generation model - the rumored mid-engine one - is destined for Australia. Source: Wheels

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