Auto blogSat, 26 Jul 2014
Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?
Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to the premium segment, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that.
A recent study by Polk and IHS Automotive looked at what models had the highest rates of buyers upgrading from a non-luxury segment. The information comes from its new vehicle registration data through April 2014. All ten top models boasted conquest rates of over 50 percent, but the Volvo C70 led the field with 68.01 percent of its customers coming from non-premium brands.
Wed, 23 Jul 2014
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
General Motors has announced yet another sprawling recall campaign, with six separate elements covering 717,950 vehicles on US roads. At this point in 2014, it's starting to seem like there are more days with a GM recall than without. Perhaps most troubling about this latest volley, though, is that every vehicle is from the past few years, indicating that GM's quality woes may not be limited to pre-bankruptcy vehicles.
The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, and includes the 2011 to 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2010 to 2012 Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and the 2011 to 2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Only vehicles with powered, height-adjustable seats are covered. In these particular cars and crossovers, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may loosen of its own accord and in some cases fall out completely. If this happens, the seats will be able to move both up and down. GM claims the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers don't vertically adjust their seats. This particular issue has caused one crash and three injuries.
The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.
General Motors has issued a stop-sale order on the Cadillac CTS and SRX, both of which were recalled late last month. Why the stop-sale after all this time? Well, um, GM apparently doesn't know how to fix them.
The stop-sale covers all used Cadillac CTS sedans, coupes and wagons from model years 2003 to 2013, as well as new 2014 coupes and wagons. The SRX crossover stop-sale, meanwhile, only covers used vehicles from model years 2004 to 2006.
Automotive News reached out to GM spokesperson Alan Adler, who told the news pub that the company's engineers were "looking at one common solution" for the affected vehicles, although "they don't have it yet."
The world needs crazy inventors with wild dreams. While we might not long for the things that they create, their contraptions certainly make the day a little more enjoyable. Take the Carpool Deville as an example. Nobody (well, almost nobody) is asking for a hot tub fashioned from a 1969 Cadillac that is still drivable. But now that you know that such a beast exists, don't try to tell us you aren't at least intrigued.
The team behind the six-year-long project has a pretty ingenious setup worked out. The Caddy's original 472-cubic-inch (7.7-liter) V8 both provides propulsion and heats the water. The interior is entirely replaced with a watertight, fiberglass tub that includes working jets, and the controls are all done by hand.
As if just building a mobile hot tub isn't enough, the team behind the Carpool Deville plans to take it racing too. Specifically, they intend to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats later this year to make a top speed run while immersed in water at over 100 degrees. They even have a roll cage all set to install to meet the safety requirements there.
Want to roll in the latest Cadillac Escalade? You can get it with a 6.2-liter V8... or a 6.2-liter V8. Cadillac only offers the one engine option. But that may soon change.
According to the latest from Automotive News, Cadillac is contemplating a couple of new powertrain options for its blingin' big ute. The report suggests a twin-turbo V6 and a V6 turbodiesel could be offered, and that Cadillac could create a Vsport version of the Escalade like it offers on the new CTS sedan.
The more diverse engine offerings would help attract buyers from the new Lincoln Navigator, its prime competitor, which switched from a 5.4-liter V8 this year to a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. The turbo V6 engines (both gasoline and diesel) would also help Cadillac market the Escalade overseas - particularly in Europe, where higher fuel prices preclude the prospect of driving a big V8 SUV for many buyers. Escalade sales have dropped from 35-40k units in the mid-2000s to around 12,000 the past couple of years.
It was a big deal back in 2008 when the original Cadillac CTS-V clocked a lap time of 7:59 at the Nürburgring, making it the fastest sedan ever to lap the Nordschleife to that date. Not many four-doors have bested that time since - the list consisting pretty much only of the Porsche Panamera Turbo - but now hot hatches are lapping faster than that, so you can bet that the new one will manage an even better time.
Now we've spotted the upcoming new CTS-based performance sedan several times before undergoing testing in locations around the world, but this is the first time we've seen it at the Nürburgring, apparently using the Goodyear Dunlop test facility as its base of operations (and still wearing Michigan manufacturer plates, incidentally). Considering how well the outgoing CTS-V performed and how much further you can bet Cadillac will push the envelop this time around, a new sedan lap record is almost a certainty - and we can only hope for an all-out war between Europe's performance sedan power houses to ensue.
Johan de Nysschen, the (now former) president of Infiniti, has officially jumped ship. The 54-year-old, who also spent time as the chief executive for Audi USA, has taken the position of president at Cadillac, following a two-year stint at the Nissan-owned luxury brand. In his new role, the 54-year-old will be responsible "for all aspects of Cadillac globally," according to a statement from General Motors.
"Johan brings to our company vast experience in the development and proper execution of luxury automotive brands," said GM President Dan Ammann, de Nysschen's new boss. "With over 20 years in this exact space, especially in the development of the Audi brand, his track record proves he is the perfect executive to lead Cadillac for the long term."
"I have for some time now been impressed by how the new General Motors has been transformed into a formidable force in the industry," de Nysschen said in a statement. "The combination of strong corporate leadership and exceptional engineering resources presents the perfect combination to restore Cadillac to its place among global premium brands."
The big news when it comes to the Cadillac ATS for 2015 is surely the addition of the new coupe model, but that doesn't mean that Cadillac has forgotten about the sedan as well. In fact GM's luxury brand has rolled out a few choice enhancements for the four-door to bring it more in line with the new coupe.
Among those changes that we spotted a couple of weeks ago is a new front fascia that incorporates the brand's new wreath-less emblem, and a sleeker front bumper. The interior has been upgraded as well with new trim options as well as some new tech including Siri Eyes Free functionality, dictated text messaging and optional inductive smartphone charging.
Though the ATS Coupe does away with the base engine, sedan buyers can still opt for the 2.0-liter four with 202 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. The 3.6-liter V6 carries over unchanged at 321 hp and 275 lb-ft, but the 2.0-liter turbo four gets the upgraded torque rating of 295 lb-ft (the highest in the range) to go with its 272 hp. Some new color choices are also among the upgrades you can read more about in the press release below.