Wed, 12 Nov 2014
General Motors is laying off about 510 workers from two factories beginning in January, and it could be months before the automaker needs some of that latent capacity to come back on line. A combination of poor sales and high dealer inventories are prompting the cutbacks, according to Automotive News.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014
The largest changes come at GM's Lansing Grand River plant, where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are made. An entire shift of about 350 workers is being laid off, but the automaker hopes to find positions for some of them at other nearby factories. The decision leaves just a single shift building vehicles there. According to Automotive News, the move is partially spurred by Johan de Nysschen's plan to make Cadillac a more exclusive brand.
The lost shift will likely return for production of the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro at the plant, according to the report, but GM isn't saying when that will be. A previous announcement from the Canadian Auto Workers union indicated that the Oshawa, Ontario, factory would lose the coupe in late 2015 or early 2016.
Considering that crossovers are a rapidly growing portion of the US auto market, it's not surprising to hear that General Motors is preparing to build even more of them. The company is investing $63 million to expand its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant that builds Lambda platform CUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.
Mon, 27 Oct 2014
According to GM, the expansion will add roughly 263,000 extra square feet of space to the plant. Of that, 181,000 square feet will be for an updated body shop with cutting-edge robots. There will also be 54,000 square feet of additional room in the paint shop and 28,000 square feet of more area for general assembly.
GM isn't saying as much, but there is the possibility that this extra space could allow for additional models produced at the factory. Cadillac reportedly dropped plans to build a three-row SUV on the Lambda platform earlier this year, however, dealers for the luxury brand were recently pitched the possibility of adding large and small CUVs, an ATS convertible or a sedan below the ATS.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Wed, 15 Oct 2014
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
Generation Gap generally tries to adhere to a theme for each episode, and for the final video from the Lingenfelter collection, the series might have its best idea yet - limited-production muscle cars from General Motors.
Wed, 15 Oct 2014
On one side you get a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle COPO, and it's an absolute sleeper. Other than the SS wheels, this classic coupe looks practically bone stock, at least until the engine fires up. Under the hood is a 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 making a claimed 425 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This was the sole year for the COPO package on the Chevelle, and Chevy only made about 323 of them.
The Chevelle's challenger is almost as rare and arguably just as cool. The 1987 Buick Grand National GNX looks just as mean today as when new. It eschews a traditional muscular V8 in favor of a 3.8-liter turbo V6 making a claimed 276 hp and 360 lb-ft, although that number is supposedly a bit underrated. Also, just 547 examples of the GNX version were ever built making it quite a collector's item too.
People are a weird sort. Even after registering over 70 recalls through the first three-quarters of 2014, General Motors saw its best Q3 results since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, registering over 2.4 million global sales between June and September on the back of strong results in the US and China.
Mon, 06 Oct 2014
US sales were marshaled by good results for GM's pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, which bumped the manufacturer's truck market share to 35.6 percent, up nearly three points from Q1 2014. Buick has seen healthy growth as well, with the Encore dominating its segment for the sixth month running.
It was China, though, that really bolstered GM's sales, as the company's efforts to top last year's record-setting 3.16 million units continued apace. Small SUV sales saw massive growth, with Encore, Chevrolet Trax and Captiva figures jumping 90 percent in Q3. Brand-wise, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick all saw sales gains in the PRC, with each recording double-digit year-over-year jumps. Cadillac sales alone were up 63 percent compared to the first nine months of 2013.
Ever look at a concept car from a foreign auto marque like Opel and wonder what relevance it will have to you as an American consumer? Well, we'll tell you: at least as far as the Opel Monza concept goes, it could mean a lot.
Mon, 06 Oct 2014
Speaking with Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show, Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann said, "You will see the Monza when you see the next Insignia." And the Insignia, we needn't point out, is essentially ported over to American showrooms as the Buick Regal.
The relationship between the Regal and Insignia only stands to grow closer as Opel design chief Mark Adams has also been charged with tightening the bonds between the two automakers positioned on opposite shores of the Atlantic. Adams also intends to imbue the next Insignia with more "premium brand values" in order to "add polish to the brand." Which in turn means that the Regal will be designed to look more upscale, too.
Following an earlier concept and successive teasers, Buick revealed the new Envision crossover a little over a month ago. The thing is, it was launched in China, for China. The question, then, is whether it will make the jump to the North American market. And the answer is: quite possibly.
Tue, 16 Sep 2014
According to division sales chief Duncan Aldred in speaking to Edmunds, Buick is looking into the prospect of bringing the Envision to the US: "We can't confirm anything, but clearly it is a very nicely designed and executed product that is very much a Buick," said Aldred.
If and when the compact crossover would appear in US showrooms, it would slot in between the smaller Encore and the larger Enclave. It would likely be offered in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and mild hybrid configurations. Sources expect it to arrive in the third quarter of 2015 as a competitor to the likes of the Mercedes GLA, Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC.
At this point, Bob Seger feels like the living embodiment of old-school rock 'n' roll. The Michigan native has been strumming out classic records like Night Moves for decades, and he just released a new single called Detroit Made. It sounds like a future staple of just about every classic car show within the next few years, and the video is dedicated to the Motor City, past and future.
Wed, 03 Sep 2014
Detroit Made is all about cruising in the city in a classic Buick Electra 225, perhaps better known as a "deuce and a quarter." It's straight-down-the-middle rock and could just as easily be from a decades-old Seger album as something new.
The video for the new single mixes shots of American classics cruising along Woodward Avenue with a contemporary look at the city. Sure, there are the well-known dilapidated buildings falling into rubble, but the people there aren't just letting the city die. Other parts show the attempts to clean things up and rebuild. Check out the video if you need a few minutes of old school rockin' in your life.
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
Fri, 29 Aug 2014
Unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show, this rally machine is based on (or at least billed as) an Opel Mokka - the name that GM's European brand applies to the vehicle Americans know as the Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover. Only it's obviously been extensively modified. It's got a ten-inch raised suspension, a 137-gallon fuel tank, carbon-fiber bodywork and... hold on, we're sure we're missing something here. Oh, right: a 6.2-liter V8 kicking out 340 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
In other words, this is not the same Encore (or Mokka) you can pick up at your local Buick, Opel or Vauxhall dealership. It's not even close. It's not even recognizable as such, really. It was unveiled alongside a more sedate Opel Mokka Moscow Edition and a slew of other local debuts for the Opel brand that you can read more about in the (translated and original) Russian press release below.
Buick is launching its new midsize Envision crossover in China at the Chengdu Motor Show, where it will slot between the subcompact Encore and larger Enclave. While it might be hard to muster too much excitement about a Chinese-market crossover, don't completely ignore this one. There's a very good chance it could be on sale in North America to fill the same hole in the brand's lineup over here, possibly as a 2016 model.
We recently spied the Envision completely undisguised as it was arriving at the Chengdu show for its debut. The CUV still looks like a stretched Encore from some front angles, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's got a similar oversized grille, hood vents (presumably faux) and large greenhouse as its little brother. Where the midsize CUV differs is its prominent crease running down the side and the different rear treatment, with wing-shaped trim cutting into the taillights.
The interior looks like a pretty nice place to spend time, too, with a predictable mix of leather, wood and metal, and it should be quiet in there with its active noise cancelation system. Infotainment is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen with a touchpad and voice controls.