Algona, Iowa, United States
The days of changing your engine oil every 3,000 miles are long gone thanks to most cars having automatic oil monitoring systems, but about 800,000 General Motors vehicles apparently have incorrect monitoring software that is leading to premature engine component wear. According to Autoweek, certain 2010-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain models equipped with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines could be going too long in between oil changes resulting in a higher-than-normal number of warranty claims for the engine's balance chain. The balance chain links the balance shaft to the crankshaft, and a worn one can produce higher noise levels.
As a fix, GM dealers will be reprogramming the software for the monitors in an effort to reduce the interval between oil changes, which varies based on driving habits and conditions. Through February 2015, the software update will be done at no cost to vehicle owners, but since this is not a recall, after that point, it will be up to the discretion of dealers as to whether or not they will charge for the service. What isn't immediately clear is whether GM plans on giving assistance to out-of-warranty customers who are experiencing engine issues from the worn chain.
Can A Fleet Queen Become a Fullsize King?
On paper, the Chevrolet Impala is a pretty strong seller, posting annual sales that have hovered right around 170,000 units for the last two years, but it only takes one trip to practically any rental car agency to discover where the majority of those sales have come from. In fact, General Motors told Autoblog that a full 70 percent of Impala sales last year went to fleet companies for things like rental cars and government vehicles. Logic tells us that this is neither good for resale values nor name equity, so Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out an all-new Impala with improved comfort, styling and technology, hoping to turn the tables on its retail-to-fleet ratio.
Chevrolet's sedans have come on quite strong in the last few months with the introduction of the Cruze diesel and the SS sedan, but while these will likely be low-volume sellers, there's more pressure for the new Impala to perform well as GM looks to slash fleet sales and compete with the wide variety of full-size sub-luxury sedans. Riding on a platform shared with the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS, the 2014 Impala will compete against the Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon on the more traditional side, while also looking to take a bite out of somewhat sportier models like the Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger twins and the Nissan Maxima. We headed to sunny San Diego to see if this totally new Impala can stand on its own without the assistance of fleet companies and rental agencies. [w/video
One of the things that dogs the full comeback of General Motors is the instability of its marketing. That part of the automaker got yet another big shakeup today when GM confirmed what I have been tweeting for a few days - strong rumors that the Chevrolet and Cadillac ad accounts are walking to new ad agencies.
Cadillac, GM's luxury brand, is going into review from Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis and the indications are that Campbell-Ewald, Chevy's old ad shop, will end up with most or all of it. C-E just announced that it was moving from its long-time home in Warren, MI to a new downtown Detroit office next to Ford Field, just blocks from GM.
The other shoe to drop shortly will be the shift of GM's most important brand, Chevy, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco to McCann-Erickson of Troy, MI. McCann used to be the agency for Buick and GMC, as well as GM's corporate advertising, and has retained some pieces of business over the last few years. Sources have even told us that it was McCann that did a lot of the creative work on Chevy's new ad platform, Find New Roads. (Not to be confused with a former McCann tagline for Saab, "Find Your Own Road.")