Auto blogThu, 23 Oct 2014
Lego cars are among our favorite toys. They're fun for play, and if built properly, great to display. With that in mind, we've crafted a list of some of the best creations we've seen. Some are on sale now, while others are merely the work of fanciful enthusiasts. There are even a couple that you definitely cannot buy (we'll explain).
Our choices are diverse, including everything from a diminutive 1969 Chevy Corvette to a fullsize Ferrari Formula One racecar. These are just five projects that caught our eye - there are many more out there - so if you don't see your favorite Lego car on the list (or if you have your own creation), please tell us about it, in Comments.
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.
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.
Cadillac's new President Johan de Nysschen has faced a fair amount of criticism since assuming his position at the head of the American luxury manufacturer. From the company's move to New York City to a controversial new naming scheme, the first few months of his tenure have not been smooth sailing. Now, the embattled exec is firing back against his critics, notably Automotive News Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain, in a new column running in AN.
De Nysschen countered Crain's claim that the move to the Big Apple, "can only mean that someone wants to live in New York."
"The relocation decision is entirely unrelated to the personal living preferences of any Cadillac executive. No corporation would tolerate such indulgence by its leadership," de Nysschen wrote. "It is about structurally entrenching a challenge to the status quo by reinforcing the psychological and physical separation in business philosophy between the mainstream brands and GM's luxury brand."
Cadillac has certainly been a hot topic as of late, what with Johan de Nysschen now running the joint, moving its headquarters to New York, and overhauling the company's naming structure (only to later publicly defend all of these drastic decisions). Now, looking ahead, de Nysschen is already revealing some details about what's in store for the future, including a raft of new products that include a large, long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival positioned above the recently announced CT6, along with a successor to the slow-selling ELR coupe.
In an interview with Reuters, de Nysschen says his company has "just signed off on" a new flagship tipped to be called CT8 or CT9. It will compete with the long-wheelbase versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series, and should come to market by the end of this decade.
Among other news, the South African executive said a followup to the ELR plug-in hybrid is in development, though it may not be a two-door coupe like the current car. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since the ELR has garnered nothing but slow sales and poor reviews since its launch.
The two big American luxury brands of Cadillac and Lincoln are on surprisingly similar paths at the moment with both divisions hoping to redefine themselves and grow popularity. They're still early in the process with no clear winner yet, but things might actually be looking up for Lincoln's latest model, according to a monthly sales analysis from The Motley Fool. It seems, at least early on, that the new MKC crossover might be taking a bite out of the Cadillac SRX's growth.
The MKC launched just a few months ago and has been getting a big marketing push from a series of oft-mocked ads starring the smooth-talking Matthew McConaughey. The luxury CUV has been the popular, new kid on the block with growing sales since its introduction. While smaller than the SRX, the Lincoln starts at a lower price and offers better fuel economy.
Through June, the SRX performed well with sales up over 20 percent on average through June, according to The Motley Fool. However, July and August saw things plummet with year-over-year drops of 7 percent and 37 percent, respectively. It still far outsold the MKC in terms of actual units in a given month, but the Caddy's continued growth has appeared to stagnate.
Cadillac is suddenly one of the most talked about automakers in the US with Johan de Nysschen taking control. The brand claims that it eventually wants to become, once again, the standard of the world. One of the first vehicles to actually prove whether that's possible is its upcoming CT6 flagship sedan. We still don't know what the production version looks like undisguised, but other important details are falling into place. The latest big news sheds some light on the Caddy's powertrain and some estimates of its weight and size.
General Motors product chief Mark Reuss dropped the details at the automaker's Global Business Conference. According to The Detroit News, he revealed that the CT6 would use a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a plug-in hybrid would be an additional option. He reportedly claimed it would be the most "powerful six-cylinder gas engine in the segment" and said the hybrid could get around 70 miles per gallon.
Reuss also revealed that the CT6 would be about 53 pounds lighter than the current CTS, despite being about 8 inches longer, according to The Detroit News. If that's the case, the new flagship is about 203.5-inches long, which is 1.5-inches more than the XTS.
Following a stop-delivery order for its new midsize trucks and a rash of recent recalls, General Motors is issuing three more campaigns covering 60,575 vehicles in North America with 57,182 of them in the US. As of October 1, the automaker has issued a total of 74 recalls (see the ridiculously long chart to the right) this year covering 26,495,070 units in the US.
The largest campaign covers 46,873 examples in the US of the 2008-2009 Pontiac G8 and 2011-2013 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle imported from Australia. It's possible for the driver's knee to hit the key and make it move from the "Run" to "ACC" position while driving. GM says its Holden division is developing a fixed-blade key that's supposed to fix the problem by only allowing it to rotate toward the "On" position. There has been one crash caused by this fault but no injuries or fatalities.
The second recall is for 10,005 units of the 2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V and 2006-2007 Cadillac STS-V because "the fuel pump module electrical terminal may overheat." This can cause a flange to melt and allow the pump to leak fuel. GM specifies that the remedy for the CTS-V is replacing the fuel module and fuel tank jumper harness, but it doesn't specify how the STS-V is being repaired.
Just hours after confirming to Autoblog its intention to recall 97,540 vehicles in the US (117,651 in North America) for a possible manufacturing defect in the chassis control module of several models, General Motors is issuing two more campaigns that affect another 379,401 units in the US (524,384 in North America).
One campaign covers 290,107 US examples of the 2010-2015 Cadillac SRX and the 2011-2012 Saab 9-4X because the "rear toe link adjuster lock nuts" may be improperly torqued. If not up to spec, the toe adjuster link could separate and allow the wheel to shift while driving, making the handling unstable. GM says that it knows of three crashes and two injuries as a result of this problem. Dealers are inspecting the nuts and installing a new link assembly, if necessary. Autoblog first reported about this potential issue when it showed up on a list of recalls from Transport Canada.
The second recall is for 89,294 examples of the 2013-2015 Chevrolet Spark in the US manufactured from January 17, 2012, through July 29, 2014. According to GM, "corrosion can cause the secondary hood latch striker to stick in the open position." If this happens, and the primary latch also isn't engaged for some reason, the hood could fly open while driving. About 13,000 of these affected Sparks are at dealers and are being held until repaired. The fix requires replacing the hood striker. GM isn't aware of crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by this problem.
When reporting on recalls, Autoblog generally tries to focus on the US market. However, a recent campaign in Canada seems important enough to be worth mentioning because it could eventually affect American drivers. General Motors is repairing 17,481 Canadian examples of the Cadillac SRX from the 2010-2015 model years because of the possibility of a loose nut in the rear suspension. For the moment, the automaker hasn't yet announced whether the CUV in the US would require a similar campaign.
The notice was dated September 18, 2014, on the website for Transport Canada, similar to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US. It says, "the rear suspension toe link jam nuts" might not have been sufficiency tightened, which could allow a rear wheel to turn "inboard or outboard" while driving. If this happens, it could cause a sudden change in handling. Canadian Cadillac dealers are inspecting the parts and replacing the toe link if necessary.
This campaign isn't listed on the GM's running recall tally from September, which includes exported models, but it does list four other campaigns for the SRX this year - three in this range of years and one for the 2004-2006 model. Autoblog reached out to the company to ask about the possibility of this recall expanding to the US and were told "We have not publicly announced US recalls" for the issues affecting the SRX. The New York Times was given a similar quote. Scroll down to read the notice from Transport Canada.
General Motors has issued a stop-sale to dealers and has notified the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration of its intention to recall 117,000 vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Of those vehicles, only 4,500 are at dealerships.
The affected vehicles include the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Impala sedans, fullsize SUVs (Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL), Lambda-platform crossovers (Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia), heavy-duty pickups (Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD) and fullsize vans (Chevy Express and GMC Savana). The sedans and body-on-frame SUVs include model years 2013 and 2014, while the CUVs, heavy-duty pickups and vans are limited to MY2014.
GM confirmed the recall to Autoblog via an emailed statement (which we've included below). According to the statement, the issue at hand in what is the company's 69th recall of 2014 covers the chassis-control module. Automotive News is reporting that a problem in the chassis-control system could cause a short in the module, which could cause the engine to stall or fail to start. The fault could also affect the trailer-brake control, provided it's equipped.