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Auto blogTue, 06 Aug 2013
General Motors has announced a large investment in its Spring Hill, Tennessee facility. The former home of Saturn production will be getting a $167 million addition to a previously announced $183 million, to cover a pair of new midsize vehicles. The investment is expected to create 1,800 jobs at the factory.
That $350 million is being divvied up for a pair of programs at Spring Hill. The first will take the bulk of the money ($223 million) and create 1,000 of the 1,800 jobs, while the other will take the remaining $127 million and generate the leftover 800 positions. But GM says the investment will cover "midsize vehicle programs." So what could they be?
The leading candidate in our minds is a new crossover for Buick, called the Anthem, that will slot between the Encore and Enclave, but will be slightly smaller than the Equinox and Terrain. As we've explained, the new model will likely be the first product to sport GM's new D2UX platform, which will eventually replace both the Delta and Theta platforms. Spring Hill is already building the Equinox, so there could be some credence to this theory.
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.
2010 Buick Enclave - Click above for high-res image gallery
The summer of 2010's recall hit parade continues unabated today, with General Motors having just announced that it is asking 243,403 owners of its 2009-2010 Lambda crossovers to bring their three-row haulers in for inspection. The culprit? Second-row seat belts in select Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook CUVs have "failed to perform properly in a crash."
According to GM, a second-row seat-side trim piece is to blame, as it can impede the upward rotation of the buckle after the seat is folded flat. As a result, if the buckle makes contact with the seat frame, cosmetic damage can occur, potentially requiring additional force to operate the buckle properly. So far, no great shakes, but in the process of applying that additional force, the occupant may push the buckle cover down to the strap, potentially revealing and depressing the red release button. As a result of this, the belt may not latch, or in certain cases, it may actually appear to be latched when, in fact, it isn't.