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East Northport, New York, United States
69 CHEVELLE 396 SS
4 SPD M-21
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General Motors has announced a large investment in its Spring Hill, Tennessee facility. The former home of Saturn production will be getting a $167 million addition to a previously announced $183 million, to cover a pair of new midsize vehicles. The investment is expected to create 1,800 jobs at the factory.
That $350 million is being divvied up for a pair of programs at Spring Hill. The first will take the bulk of the money ($223 million) and create 1,000 of the 1,800 jobs, while the other will take the remaining $127 million and generate the leftover 800 positions. But GM says the investment will cover "midsize vehicle programs." So what could they be?
The leading candidate in our minds is a new crossover for Buick, called the Anthem, that will slot between the Encore and Enclave, but will be slightly smaller than the Equinox and Terrain. As we've explained, the new model will likely be the first product to sport GM's new D2UX platform, which will eventually replace both the Delta and Theta platforms. Spring Hill is already building the Equinox, so there could be some credence to this theory.
The wheel ranks right up there with the telescope and four-slice toaster in the pantheon of inventions that have moved humankind forward. But what if a circle in three dimensions had never occurred to anyone, and we all had just moved on without it? Perhaps we'd be driving around in Lucas Motors Landspeeders with anti-gravity engines. Or maybe we'd have the same cars we do today, just without wheels.
That's the thought experiment that seems to have led French photographer Renaud Marion to create his six-image series called Air Drive. The shots depict cars throughout many eras of motoring that look normal except for one thing: they have no wheels. The models used include a Jaguar XK120, Cadillac DeVille (shown above), Chevrolet El Camino and Camaro, and Mercedes-Benz SL and 300 roadsters.
Perhaps one day when our future becomes our past, you'll be able to walk the street and see with your own eyes the rust and patina of age on our nation's fleet of floating cars. Until then, Monsieur Marion's photographs will have to do.
Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the General Motors compensation fund dealing with the its widespread ignition switch woes, has issued an informal, two-letter response to the plaintiffs in more than 70 lawsuits seeking redress for lost resale value of their Cobalts: "No." The cases were recently combined into one, but Feinberg told The Detroit News that the fund will deal "only with death and physical injury claims," and that "perceived diminished value" will get no consideration.
ALG, the firm specializing in establishing residual values, determined that Cobalt owners had lost $300 compared to the segment competition and doesn't envision any long-term effects from the recall situation. Feinberg's statement comes in advance of public details on how the compensation fund will work and adheres to GM's long-held position on the matter. The company has already asked a judge to throw out such suits using the pre-bankruptcy defense, even as it stopped using that defense in cases of injury and death.
With plenty of potential gain from the GM suit, however, don't expect the plaintiffs to give up yet. When Toyota was sued for the same reason during the unintended acceleration debacle, it eventually settled the case for between $1 billion and $1.4 billion just to get it over with. Since the 85 law firms involved in the Toyota litigation took home more than $250 million of that total, we shouldn't expect the attorneys to give up on a GM payout, either.