Auto blogWed, 03 Apr 2013 13:30:00 EST
Spy photographers have spotted the new Chevrolet Silverado High Country and GMC Sierra Denali out on public streets for a little testing. From the looks of things, the Silverado will receive a much-differentiated front fascia along with special badges and those honking 20-inch chrome wheels. Expect to find a more posh interior as well. Likewise, the Sierra Denali will wear a tweaked nose with the familiar Denali bling. The one of the GMC trucks spotted here rolls on 21-inch gunmetal wheels instead of the 20-inch chrome pieces of the High Country.
Word has it both trucks will go on sale after the Texas State Fair this summer. While General Motors hasn't said for certain what we can expect to find under the hood, we'd be surprised to see anything outside of the range of engines found in the standard Silverado and Sierra models. That means buyers should be able to get their hands on the efficient, 23-miles per gallon 5.3-liter V8.
Chevrolet has thrown down the next hand in the pickup truck poker wars and revealed at least a couple of potential aces - depending on which numbers matter most to you. The 2014 2014 Silverado 1500 with its 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 gets 335 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed automatic, can tow 11,500 pounds with the optional Max Trailer Package and costs the same as the outgoing Silverado, $24,585 (*including $995 destination fee). Chevy says the Silverado also stands atop the fuel economy charts when comparing any competitor with a V8 engine - and some competitors with V6 engines. The two-wheel drive model returns 16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway, 19 mpg combined in two-wheel drive guise and 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined as a four-wheel drive.
For context around those numbers, the most fuel efficient V8-powered 2013 Ford F-150 pickups lose about two mpg in every metric compared to the Silverado, the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost returning 16 city, 18 highway and 22 combined in two-wheel drive. However, that EcoBoost does have 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. You can get a Ram 1500 with a 3.6-liter V6 that gets 25 mpg highway, but it has 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The 2013 Ram with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and its 395 hp and 407 lb-ft drops one mpg in every category to the Silverado. Its tow rating is 200 pounds beyond its nearest competitor, the F-150 with the Max Trailer Tow Package.
Elsewhere, the new Silverado gets a quieter cab with a redesigned interior, a new bed with improved load-management possibilities, disc brakes all around, tweaked steering and suspension, along with free standard scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.
During the economic downturn, many car dealerships counteracted their slowing income by focusing on things that would set them apart from competition - things like the quality of customer service they provide. When the economy picked up and more sales and service followed, many also first invested those funds back into the business, improving their dealership facilities and service centers.
It looks like those investments are paying off, as J.D. Power and Associates' latest Customer Service Index Study shows that overall consumer satisfaction with dealer service has increased to 797 (on a 1,000-point scale), up from 787 in 2012 and 29 points higher than the score in 2011. The study also finds that people are more satisfied with the service they get at dealerships compared to independent service providers, despite the much higher average out-of-pocket cost per visit ($118 vs. $44).
Note, however, that this study only looks at how people are treated by a dealer's service department during the first three years of ownership (the survey is based on responses from 91,000 owners and lessees of 2008 to 2012 model year vehicles), so we're talking about the experience had when bringing a car in for repair or maintenance work, most likely under warranty. In fact, maintenance work is increasing in share and accounted for 77 percent of service visits (up from 72 percent in 2012 and 63 percent in 2011). This helps explain why customer satisfaction has also risen, since a properly maintained car is one that's less likely to require a dealer visit for an unexpected repair.
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 18:31:00 EST
You know, people, getting through this life from one end to the other in one piece really does require just one rule: don't be a prick. If you ever find yourself in a situation of dubious moral standing, take a step back and ask yourself, "Am I being a prick to any person or thing?" If the answer is "yes," then stop what you're doing, apologize and go home. One dealership in Wisconsin could possibly have benefitted from that course of action when it reportedly helped David McMurray con his elderly and disabled parents into buying a brand-new $42,000 GMC Terrain for his use.
According to local news reports, a representative from Palmen Motors visited Harold and Christen Thomsen's home to collect signatures for a loan agreement three weeks before the 89-year-old, legally blind Harold passed away. The World War II veteran was on morphine and in hospice when he signed for the GMC, and his 90-year-old wife suffers from dementia. Even so, upon being discovered, the dealer initially said everything was done "legally." According to Barb Tinkler, McMurray's sister, the sale was a scam that remained hidden until he was busted for an unrelated criminal charge.
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.")
Domestic manufacturers enjoyed a good year for heavy-duty pickup sales in 2012. PickupTrucks.com has taken a close look at exactly how those sales broke down between each manufacturer and between three-quarter and one-ton pickups. Ford sold some 67,786 F-250 Super Duty models last year with the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD falling just behind at 56,359 units. The Ram 2500 HD came in third at 41,918, while the GMC Sierra 2500 HD earned itself fourth place with 27,616 deliveries. While Ford held onto the top spot in the one-ton market, Ram easily nailed down second place by selling more 3500 HD models last year than General Motors sold Silverado 3500 HD and Sierra 3500 HD trucks combined.
So, did GM manage to sell more trucks than Ford with its two brands? Very nearly. Ford sold a total of 119,338 heavy-duty pickups to GM's 111,555. Ram, meanwhile, moved a distant 77,583. But perhaps more interesting is the diesel take rate in this segment. PickupTrucks.com says 80 percent of all domestic one-ton trucks roll from the dealer lot with a turbo-diesel under the hood. Head over to the site for a closer look at the breakdown.
General Motors isn't the first automaker to deliver in-car Internet access, but a proposed plan announced today could make the technology more widespread than any of its competitors have offered. By the 2015 model year, most Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC products in the US and Canada will offer 4G LTE mobile broadband access. Initially, GM will just be pairing with AT&T to deliver this service, but additional carriers will be revealed in the future.
Current in-car Wi-Fi hot spots are limited to 3G, but GM says that 4G LTE is 10 times faster than 3G service and will allow for full Internet access, including streaming video for entertainment as well as services like real-time traffic updates and navigation driving directions. There is also no need for a paired smartphone with this new system, which should make it easier to use, and GM and AT&T will also be working together to develop new apps for customers.
Buyers can expect to start seeing 4G LTE in their cars starting next year, and GM is already planning to expand the service to other global markets as well. All of the information from GM's announcement is posted in a press release below.
Judging by your continued enthusiastic response to configurator notices, dear reader, you enjoy speccing out new cars as much as we do. Better still, there tends to be even more ways to personalize, configure and bloat theoretical MSRPs on full-size trucks as there are with more ordinary passenger cars. In addition to trim level, engine and transmission choices, truck buyers usually have to specify items like cab configuration, bed length, number of driven axles, tow packages, gear ratios and all sorts of bits and bobs.
That's why we're pleased to see the DIY specification utility for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado come alive so soon after this week's Detroit Auto Show debut. While the configurator lacks pricing (General Motors hasn't announced numbers yet) and full options, you can still spec out your half-ton rig, and even print it out or email it to your friends. Beyond the configurator, the new model-specific site is pretty cool, too, with various videos and closer looks at the truck's new features.
The new Chevrolet pickup range won't be on dealer lots until sometime this summer, so whether you're a building contractor, an avid sportsman or just a guy or gal that loves full-size trucks, you might want to check out the link below to keep your appetite whetted. If you're more of a Sierra fan, well, it looks like you're going to have to wait a while - GMC hasn't updated its site yet.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall notice for a small number of General Motors fullsize vans due to possible rollaway concerns. On certain 2013 Chevrolet Express and 2013 GMC Savana models, it is possible to remove the key from the ignition without the shifter being in park.
Only 980 total units are being affected by this recall, and GM is fixing the issue by replacing the ignition cylinder and associated keys. Affected Chevy vans were built during most of November and December while its GMC counterpart was only built for a week in November. The recall goes into effect on January 23, and to find out if your vehicle applies to the recall, the GM and NHTSA contact numbers can be found on the official recall notice, which is posted below.
There could hardly be more riding on the next-generation General Motors full-size pickup trucks, so the automaker has wisely made sure to have a selection of different models on hand at the Detroit Auto Show to show off. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra were both officially introduced last month at a stand-alone reveal, and now they'll be on display for the public to see in various body configurations and trim levels.
The Silverado LTZ Crew Cab and Sierra SLE Extended Cab are aimed at providing more of a high-end pickup experience, while the Silverado LT Z71 Extended Cab and Sierra SLT Z71 Crew Cab should have off-road fans scouting out their favorite trails. The crew cab trucks won't go into production until sometime during the second quarter of this year - with other bodystyles coming later in the year - but we have plenty of live images from Detroit for you to enjoy.