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Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:38

A Christmas Present From GM

Photo: GM DETROIT (WWJ) - General Motors says it will unveil its long awaited next generation of pickup trucks on December 13. The complete revamping of GM's full-size pickupline-up was delayed by the company's 2009 bankruptcy. That makes the current generation older than the competition, forcing the company to offer deeper discounts. Specific details of the new trucks are hard to come by. But, General Motors is promising significant improvements. "The bold exterior design of the new Silverado reflects the enhanced capabilities of the truck while features such as jewel-like, projector beam headlamps showcase the careful attention given to every detail," read a GM statement, that came with a photo of a front headlight attached. That company statement only mentioned the Chevy Silverado. But, it's very likely that a new GMC Sierra pickup will be shown at, or around the same time. The Silverado, and possibly the Sierra will be on display at the January North American International Auto Show. GM scheduled the official reveal of the pickup trucks a month earlier, as not to compete with another important unveiling at the Detroit show, a 7th generation Corvette. With these two important products, that makes the 2013 show a very…
Monday, 22 October 2012 15:31

Gas Prices Dropping Even More

DETROIT (WWJ) – There's welcome news for drivers as the work week gets under way, with DetroitGasPrices.com reporting the average price for a gallon of gas has fallen 22 cents in the past week. As of Sunday, prices were averaging $3.45 per gallon. And as of Monday morning, a station at Seven Mile and Inkster roads in Redford Township was selling gas for $3.27 per gallon. Including the change in gas prices in Detroit during the past week, DetroitGasPrices.com says prices on Sunday were 8.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago. But they're currently 48.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 14.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. "Only one other time in the last few years have we seen the national average drop so significantly in the course of just a week, and that other time was in May 2011," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Looking back at our data, we only see that prices dropped considerably more in autumn 2008 when the economy slipped into a recession. Given the circumstances…
Thursday, 18 October 2012 14:20

New Chevy Corvette set for Jan. 13 debut

Corvette fans should make a note on their calendar--the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Corvette will debut Jan. 13, on the eve of press preview days for the Detroit auto show. To generate interest in advance of the new Corvette's debut, Chevrolet on Thursday released an image of the sports car's redesigned Crossed Flags emblem. The new emblem is "much more modern, more technical and more detailed than before, underscoring the comprehensive redesign of the entire car," General Motors design chief Ed Welburn said in a statement. Also on Thursday, Chevrolet dealers were told that Corvette production will stop for six months, beginning in February, while the assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky., is retooled to build the new car. Production of the 2014 Corvette will start in August or September. Dealers were told the factory will stop accepting guaranteed specific orders for the 2013 Corvette at the end of October. Dealers can continue to submit orders for the 2013 Corvette until the end of December but GM won't guarantee that a specific combination of trim level and options will be built. Production of the 2013 Corvette, the last of the sixth-generation of the car, is set to end in February. Last…
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 15:46

Buick: lowering age, increasing sales

BIRMINGHAM, MI- Amid an aggressive product overhaul, Buick is on pace for its highest retail sales in more than five years, officials said Tuesday. The General Motors Co. luxury brand has sold 122,490 vehicles through September, a 3 percent increase from its first nine months of 2007. "You can see through the tough economic times -- through the '09 period and back up -- the brand has more than rebounded now," said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick and GMC marketing, Tuesday morning during a media event in Birmingham. "(The brand) has quite frankly re-emerged as a very different Buick." In 2009, Buick hit a recent low of 102,306 vehicles sold. Total Buick sales -- retail and fleet -- remain slightly down from last year, but officials earlier in the year said the brand "dramatically reduced fleet sales" to improve residual values for its retail customer base, which has drastically declined in age. According to DiSalle, the average customer age for the brand has dropped to 57, a seven-year decline from five years ago. "We're seeing a younger buyer," he said, adding styling is now one of the first reasons buyers are coming to Buick. "If you look across a…
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 16:22

GM To Build New Cadillac

General Motors will invest $35 million at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to build the Cadillac ELR, a luxury coupe featuring extended-range electric technology. The car is the production version of Cadillac's Converj which was first shown as a concept vehicle in 2009. "The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology," General Motors North America President Mark Reuss said in a keynote address at the SAE Convergence Conference in Detroit. "People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design." GM says the ELR "will advance the design theme of the Converj while featuring an electric propulsion system made up of a T-shaped lithium-ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. It will use electricity as its primary power source to drive the car without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the battery's energy is low, the ELR seamlessly switches to a gasoline-powered electric generator to allow hundreds of additional driving miles." The lithium-ion battery will be built at GM's Brownstown Battery Assembly plant in Brownstown Township. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2013. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/10/16/gm-to-build-new-cadillac-at-detroit-plant/
Monday, 15 October 2012 15:51

Quadski Set For US Release

The vehicle first unveiled in 2006 is scheduled to go on sale in the US by the end of this year for about $US40,000 each, the Associated Press reported. A standard all terrain vehicle costs between $US4400 and $US10,000 in the US. Michigan-based Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc hopes to sell the Quadski worldwide by 2014. The vehicle is a jet ski with four wheels that travels on both land and sea. It is powered by a four-cylinder BMW-supplied engine and can drive up to 72km/h on land. The Quadski features a lightweight, fibreglass hull and front wheels that rise mechanically when the vehicle hits the water. One of his amphibious vehicles is featured on the cover of a biography about Mr Gibbs written by Paul Goldsmith released earlier this year. Mr Gibbs is one of New Zealand's wealthiest men and the book tells how he regarded the purchase of Telecom New Zealand from the government in 1990 as the deal of a lifetime. The one-time died-in-the-wool socialist became a free-market advocate and dealmaker in the 1980s. His private company also developed the Aquada, an amphibious car which debuted in 2003 and goes 160km/h on land and 48km/h in the water.Virgin…
Friday, 12 October 2012 16:26

Selecting Car Color Choices

TROY, MI — (WWJ) While white remains the most popular car color, Americans are getting more adventurous in their choices. In fact, today's white car isn't the same color car your parents may have driven. "We don't have like plain white vanilla," said Jane Harrington, PPG's manager for color styling for the auto industry. "We have anything from a creamy white to white's that are tri-coats or pearl, more of an avalanche white. Whites that have a fine sparkle to them, which give them a whole different look." The other top colors are also familiar, black and silver. But, we're seeing other trends emerging. "The up and coming colors we see are more oranges and browns," said Harrington. "You're starting to see this globally. It's really interesting. You're seeing it in interior design. You're and also in a lot of consumer products." PPG forecasts car colors by looking at the colors that are being used in other areas, like fashion and home interior decoration. Harrington also expects "niche colors"—like purple—to become more popular on a limited number of vehicles. PPG is showing off three different shades of purple. "One might be bluer cast. One might be more chromatic. One might…
Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:46

Ford: C-Max tops Prius

DEARBORN, MI- Ford Motor Co. Thursday announced its new C-Max Energi as America's most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. According to the Dearborn-based automaker, the vehicle achieves an EPA-certified 108 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) city rating and 100 MPGe combined rating. The rating tops its largest PHEV competitor, the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV, by five combined MPGe. Ford has consistently gone after the Toyota vehicle with the C-Max series, which includes a Hybrid and PHEV. "Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose," John Davis, chief nameplate engineer, C-Max Energi, said in a statement. The C-Max Energi, which starts at $29,995 following a federal tax credit, joins the C-Max Hybrid as part of Ford's first hybrid-only dedicated lineup of vehicles. The hybrid model starts at $25,995. The C-Max series, along with a host of other electrified vehicles from Ford, including the Ford Focus Electric and the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, due out in early 2013, are part of the automaker's plan to have 10 to 25 percent of its global fleet electrified by 2020. C-Max Energi customers, according to Ford, could save nearly $7,000 compared with…
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 14:52

Massive Toyota Recall

DETROIT (WWJ) - Toyota is recalling 7.43 million vehicles globally, about a third of them in the U.S., because smoke can come out of the side windows. Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday the power-window switch on the driver's side didn't have grease applied evenly during production, causing friction in the switch and sometimes smoke. "The driver's side (switch) may experience a "notchy" or sticky feel during operation," read a statement from Toyota. "If commercially available lubricants are applied to the switch in an attempt to address the "notchy" or sticky feel, melting of the switch assembly or smoke could occur and lead to a fire under some circumstances." While it has happened about 200 times in the U.S. alone, no crashes or injuries have been reported related to the problem. WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert said about 2.5 million vehicles are being recalled are in the U.S. The recalled vehicles include: 2007 to 2008 Yaris 2007 to 2009 RAV4 2007 to 2009 Tundra 2007 to 2009 Camry 2007 to 2009 Camry Hybrid 2008 to 2009 Scion xD 2008 to 2009 Scion xA 2008 to 2009 Sequoia 2008 Highlander 2008 Highlander Hybrid 2009 Corolla 2009 Matrix Toyota said they will…
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 14:54

GM Creating More New Jobs

DETROIT (WWJ) – General Motors announced Monday details on 2,000 new high-tech jobs being created by GM, with 1,500 of those jobs coming to the Warren Tech Center. Officials said GM is out to bring more of its information technology operations in-house. Right now, most of the company's IT is handled outside the automaker. To that end, GM is spending $300 million on new IT innovationcenters in Warren and in Austin, Texas. GM said its recruiters are visiting U.S. college campuses this fall and participating in local job fairs targeting IT professionals. Governor Rick Snyder said he's happy about the new developments, seeing how it will make Michigan a bigger player in high-tech, keep younger workers from moving away and even attract younger workers to the state. "GM's impressive recent growth can only be enhanced by the new Innovation Center going into the Warren Tech Center campus and we applaud this world-class auto company for tapping the technology talents of the world's premier manufacturing work force," Snyder said. "Our strength in engineering, research and development is a core Michigan asset that will mean good jobs in an innovative and exciting industry for all who pursue careers in scientific and technology…
Monday, 08 October 2012 15:53

Gas Up 3 Cents

DETROIT (WWJ) – The average price for a gallon of gas in Michigan is 3.1 cents higher this week than it was last week. According to AAA Michigan, the statewide average is now $3.91 per gallon. That's 52.8 cents more than it was at the same time last year. Following is a list of average gas prices in several cities across Michigan: Ann Arbor$3.924 Benton Harbor$3.874 Detroit$3.888 Flint$3.928 Grand Rapids$3.935 Lansing/E. Lansing$3.928 Marquette$3.764 Saginaw/Bay City$3.93 Traverse City$3.908 AAA surveys 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. To find the cheapest gas nationwide, go to AAA.com and look for AAA Fuel Price Finder. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/10/08/gas-prices-up-3-cents-in-michigan/
Friday, 05 October 2012 15:14

Ford Targets Toyota Prius

DEARBORN, MI- Ford Motor Co. is going after the Toyota Prius in a new ad campaign for its C-Max lineup. "C-Max has lots more horsepower than Prius v, a hybrid that C-Max also bests in mpg," says the announcer in one TV commercial called "Says Wheeee." The C-Max Hybrid has 188 total system horsepower compared to the Prius' 134 and delivers an EPA-certified 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway ratings – 7 mpg better than Prius v on the highway. The national ad campaign, which the Dearborn-based automaker launched Thursday, features the Italian "La Linea" character popularized in the U.S. in the 1970s and 80s. "La Linea" – Italian for "the line" – follows the adventures of a nameless and speechless character traversing a never-ending line and often frustrated by obstacles encountered. In the Ford campaign, the character constantly being frustrated by the limitations of the Toyota Prius v, but is saved by the C-Max – available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid. "The 'La Linea' C-MAX Hybrid ads are simple, unique spots that will introduce our first all-hybrid line in North America to Americans by hand-drawing the vehicle's silhouette and showing how it beats Prius v, especially in fuel economy,"…
Thursday, 04 October 2012 14:07

GM Aims to Raise More

Chevrolet, along with General Motors employees, dealers, and customers, are renewing their commitment to fight breast cancer for 2012. The groups are looking to surpass the nearly $1.1 million raised by the American Cancer Society via Chevy's nationwide grassroots assistance. The Bow Tie brand is launching several October events to drum up financial support for the cause, starting with GM's worldwide headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit being lit with pink bands to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For the first time, the Chevy Spark will be present and accounted for: a special "Pink Out" Spark wears a production-spec Techno Pink hue and is decorated with custom pink elements inside and out. Designed to honor breast cancer survivors and supporters, the "Pink Out" Spark will visit community walks throughout October. In 2011, The Bow Tie brand's support raised $1,079,633 in contributions to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the American Cancer Society. The funds go to funding research, wellness, and breast cancer awareness education, as well as support for break cancer patients and their families.Planned Chevy-sponsored events in October in support of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Chevrolet and GM Employee Walks All month, General Motors facilities, plants and warehouses across…
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 15:36

Chrysler Leads Detroit 3

Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG's VW brand continued to post robust U.S. sales increases while deliveries at General Motors and Ford Motor Co. were flat in September, a month that is expected to generate more steady gains for the industry. Toyota said combined sales at Toyota, Lexus and Scion jumped 42 percent. It was the second consecutive month deliveries rose 40 percent or more as the automaker continues to rebound strongly from last year's earthquake in Japan. The Toyota division posted a 41 percent increase, helped by passenger car sales, while Scion demand rose 76 percent and Lexus deliveries advanced 36 percent. Sales were strong all month beginning with the Labor Day holiday, Toyota said. "The auto industry had another very encouraging month in September," Bill Fay, Toyota group vice president and general manager, said in a statement. At Honda, sales jumped 31 percent, with the Honda brand up 29 percent and Acura posting a 44 percent increase in volume last month. Demand for the Honda Civic and Accord soared 57 percent, Honda said, while CR-V deliveries advanced 14 percent. It was the fifth straight month that Honda's U.S. sales gain topped 30 percent. "Honda is…
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