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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Goes Official

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

After a couple of teaser images, General Motors has finally revealed the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and I have to say that it looks great, especially on the inside. Considered as being one of the most important models in the company’s recent history, the all-new mid-size sedan will be a global model, as GM said that it plans to sell the new Malibu in almost 100 countries worldwide. In addition, the car will be manufactured at several factories, including China. The U.S.-spec version will roll out from the Fairfax Assembly factory in Kansas City and from the Hamtramck plant in Detroit.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

As you can see, the Malibu has been redesigned from ground up and now features a new exterior look that borrowed a couple of styling cues from the Cruze (in the front) and the Camaro (LED dual tail lamps).

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

As I’ve said in the beginning, the cabin looks great, the best I’ve seen in a mid-size sedan in recent months. It features a more fluid design with an instrument panel that has circular gauges that look a little bit like the ones in the Camaro, set in squared-off housings. The new flat panel display located on the center console articulates up and down, revealing a 6-inch deep hidden, illuminated storage location. For the U.S. market, Chevy will offer the Malibu with the MyLink infotainment package that consists of wireless connectivity through Bluetooth.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is based on GM’s Epsilon II platform that has been used on the Opel Insignia / Buick Regal and the new version of the Saab 9-5. The car’s 107.8-inch wheelbase is 4.5-inches shorter than the outgoing model, but this doesn’t mean that there is less space inside the cabin.  The 62-inch front and rear tracks are now 2 inches wider than before, which means that the Malibu offers almost 4 cubic ft. of additional interior space, as well as increased front and rear shoulder and hip room, along with more than 1 cubic ft. of luggage space at 16.3 cubic ft. Measuring 191.3 inches in length, 73 inches in width and 57.6 inches in height, the car is now 0.5 inches shorter, 3 inches wider and 0.5 inches taller in comparison to the outgoing model.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

In the beginning, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will be powered by a new 4-cylinder 2.5-liter Ecotec engine with direct injection, which will be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. General Motors says that this engine can produce more than 190 hp and a peak torque of 180 lb.-ft (245 Nm).

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The model features an updated MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear configuration. Behind the wheels are ventilated front and rear discs that are clamped by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum brake calipers.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The North American version of the new Malibu will be offered in three levels of trims: LS, LT and the top-spec LTZ, and customers will be able to choose from one of the 10 exterior paint finishes available, along with four colors for the cabin.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will go into production in the United States in Q1 2012.

The Chinese version will be available at first with a choice of two naturally-aspirated gasoline engines, a 2.0-liter and a more powerful 2.4-liter, both of them being mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The international versions will be offered with a 1.6-liter turbocharged power plant, but GM didn’t say anything about its performances.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

In China, the car will hit the dealerships before the end of this year.

Source: General Motors via Carscoop

Chevrolet Sells 1.1 Million Cars in Q1 2011, All-time Record

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

GM’s Chevrolet division had a very good start this year as they’ve managed to sell 1.1 million cars worldwide, thanks mostly to the success of the Cruze sedan and the globalization of the company’s name. This is the best first quarter in the automaker’s history, managing to sell 15% more cars in comparison to the same period of 2010.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

General Motors said that Chevy has managed to post double-digit sales gains in comparison to the same period of the last year in four of its five top markets. For example, in the United States they’ve managed to deliver 416,505 units in the first quarter, a 23% increase over 2010. In China, sales reached an all-time record of 159,303 units, which is 17% more than last year. They also did very good in Mexico, with 37,291 cars (a 12% increase), Argentina with 34,103 units (a 21% increase) and Europe, where they’ve increased their sales by 7% to 112,482 vehicles.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

In addition, in Turkey and Denmark, Chevrolet doubled sales, while in France they’ve managed to sell 80% more cars, and in the Russian market they’ve had an increase of 51% as far as sales are concerned.

One of the most significant factors that lead to the increase of sales for Chevrolet is its Cruze model, which was sold in 150,652 units in Q1 2011, representing a whopping 117% increase over the same period of last year. The Cruze was introduced in Europe in 2009 and since then the company has managed to deliver almost 600,000 units worldwide.

The automaker expects that this trend will continue and even grow after the launch of the hatchback version of the Cruze, a model that will hit the European dealerships this summer. After the Cruze, Chevrolet will introduce the tiny Spark, along with the Aveo/Sonic, both of which are already on sale in some countries and they will continue to be introduced in other markets throughout this year and in 2012. In addition, with the introduction of its all-new Malibum model, General Motors hopes to increase the sales figures of its Chevrolet subdivision even further.

Source: General Motors via Carscoop

General Motors Recalls 2,100 Chevrolet Cruze Sedans

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Because of a single incident that occurred on March 1st this year, when General Motors was notified that one 2011MY Chevrolet Cruze was brought to one of the dealerships due to a steering wheel that had come loose from the steering column, GM has decided to issue a voluntary recall on certain Cruze units. According to the automaker, during the manufacturing process, the car’s steering wheel might have been improperly fastened and there is a possibility that it could detach from the steering column.
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Seoul Motor Show – Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept

Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept

At this week’s Seoul Motor Show, GM unveiled the Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept. This attractive car pays tribute to Chevrolet’s sports car heritage and GM said that the concept is “small and open” just like the 1963 Monza SS, while at the same time being “light and purposeful” like the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder. Regardless of its resemblances to classic cars, the Mi-ray (Korean for “future”) looks awesome from every single angle you look at it.
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53.3% Of Pontiac Owners Bought A GM Car In 2010

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP

In 2010, of the 57,641 Pontiac owners that purchased a car, 53.3% of them bought a vehicle from General Motors, according to a survey conducted by RL Polk & Co. It seems that 33.5% bought a Chevrolet, 11.7% a GMC, 6.7% a Buick and the last 1.5% got behind the wheel of a Cadillac. Within the rest of the Big Three, Ford grabbed 10.5% of former Pontiac buyers, Dodge caught 3.2% while Jeep and Chrysler together totaled 1.7%.

Those Pontiac owners that decided to buy a non-GM car went overseas, and 31% chose an import: Toyota 7.7%; Honda 7.5%, while Nissan and Hyundai were not far behind these figures. These numbers show us that the customers that chose a Pontiac in the past stuck with a big name / high volume car manufacturer when time came to buy a new car.

Source: RL Polk via Kicking Tires via Autoblog

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U.S.-spec 2013 Cruze To Get Diesel Engine

US-spec 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

According to a recent report, General Motors might offer a diesel engine for the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, the North American model. Although details are rather limited at the moment, GM Inside News is reporting several sources have already confirmed that a diesel power unit will make its way into the 2013 model year.

They also said that this engine will most likely be a 2.0-liter, probably borrowed from the Holden Cruze CDX. If this turns out to be true, the power unit will output 148 hp (150 PS / 110 kW) and 236 lb.-ft (320 Nm) of torque. With this engine the car will do about 34 mpg, which is considerably better than the petrol-powered Cruze Eco. The engine will be mated to the same 6-speed automatic gearbox.

I for one really doubt that General Motors is planning on introducing a diesel engine for the Chevrolet Cruze, because very few people in North America enjoy diesel engines.

Source: GM Inside News via WCF

GM Working On Rear Drive Chevy Sport Sedan

Cadillac Xts Platinum Concept

GM’s next-generation Zeta RWD platform will be heavily updated and will benefit from lots of high-strength steel in order to reduce the weight. This will be possible thanks to the price point of the cars that will benefit from this updated platform. An example of a model is a new Chevrolet sport sedan – which will be like a 4-door Camaro.

General Motors is still working very hard on a flagship for the brand, a Sixteen-inspired low-volume model, with a small-block V8 power unit, created in order to bring Cadillac street reputation in Asia and Europe as the resurgent Standard of the World.

Cadillac Xts Platinum Concept

According to some sources, GM is preparing a large Cadillac based on the Zeta platform. The price tag for this model is expected to be somewhere around $125,000 – $140,000, pretty close to a Bentley Continental and way more affordable than a Maybach or a Rolls Royce.

This new flagship will support the Cadillac lineup which will also include a new Zeta sedan and the 2014 CTS. The next generation of the Zeta platform will be considerably lighter in comparison to the one available on the Chevrolet Camaro, the Pontiac G8 and the big Holdens. Thanks to the fact that this platform will be designed for premium models, General Motors will be able to use a lot of high-strength steel for the new line which will include the new generation of the Holden Statesman.

Cadillac Xts Platinum Concept

The current version of the Commodore platform which is mostly available for large rear-wheel drive Holdens, will be ditched in favor of the Epsilon II platform while the aforementioned Statesman and the more expensive Commodore models will benefit from the new Zeta platform. The rear-drive Commodore and the Chevy sedan will run on the shorter of two Zeta wheelbases. The long wheelbase will be used for the Holden Statesman, Cadillac and probably a Chinese-market Buick.

We’ll let you know once more info is revealed about the new Zeta platform.

Source: MotorTrend.com

General Motors Launches ‘Inside The Vault’ Syndicated TV series

Inside The Vault

GM is joining other companies at the “Inside the Vault”, which is a brand new web special dedicated to all of the info regarding travel, gadgetry, sports and food relevant to the modern man. General Motors will be joined by companies like Starcom, Tribune, Telepictures, Conde Nast and Source Interlink to create the show, which will be available from a number of venues.

The episodes will be uploaded on the official website (InsideTheVault.tv) as well as on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Get Glue and Vimeo. General Motors said that this 30-minute show will be broadcast on WGN American as well as 18 Tribune affiliate stations. Needless to say, that each program will have many ads for Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC.

The show will be hosted by Cris Collinsworth, who is Showtime’s “Inside the NFL”. From time to time, big names like Jill Wagner and Alonzo Bodden will appear in the program. The show will have its debut this Friday, February 4th and the first season will consist of 10 episodes.

A good marketing idea coming from GM as the program will bring plenty of exposure, if it is successful of course. It promises to be an interesting show; we’ll let you know more about it once the first episodes are aired.

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Toyota Is Still World’s Largest Automaker

Toyota was the world’s biggest car manufacturer in 2010, for the third year in a row, as a recovery in global car demand outweighed a decline US sales. Toyota managed to sell 8% more cars in 2010, reaching 8.42 million units (including Lexus and deliveries from affiliates Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor). General Motors grabbed the second place, reaching 8.39 million units, 12% more in comparison to 2009.

Toyota sold 0.4% less cars in the United States in 2010, managing to deliver 1.76 million units. They did better in China where sales boosted by 19% but General Motors managed to sell 29% more cars in that same period.

Rounding up the top three is Volkswagen AG who managed to sell 7.14 million cars last year which is 14% more than 2009 and according to sale chief Christian Klinger, sells will grow in 2011 by 5%.

On December 21, Toyota officials stated that they expect to sell approximately 8.6 million cars this year. Without the Daihatsu and Hino units, Toyota managed to sell 7.53 million cars last year which is an 8% increase over 2009. Daihatsu’s sales rose by 4% to 783,000 units last year while Hino, which makes trucks, sold 107,000 units, 35% more than in 2009, according to Toyota.

Source: Bloomberg.com

GM Will Be Dropping The Daewoo Name

Back in the early 90s, Daewoo was one of the largest companies in South Korea, bigger than both Samsung and LG, and close to Hyundai. Those days are now only a memory. In 1999 the Korean government disbanded the Daewoo Group and at that point General Motors already owned about 50% of the Daewoo Motors corporation, a stake that varied over the time.

Ever since then, GM used the resources of Daewoo in order to develop and produce a range of cars sold under other General Motors divisions, especially Chevrolet, which has already replaced the “Daewoo” name in most of the markets.

Korea was one of the few exceptions where the “Daewoo” badge still meant something, but this isn’t an entirely good thing because General Motors is planning on getting rid of the name in the brand’s own country. As a consequence, by the end of the first quarter, the GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. will be known as GM Korea Co.

In its history, the company was called GM-Korea, right after Detroit stepped in to take over 50% of the company from Toyota, which then collaborated with what was known back then as Shinjin Motor, until 1972.

Top 50 Worst Cars In All History PART 5

Here we are at the final part of our extensive article where we will conclude the top 50 of the worst cars in all history. If you aren’t up to date with the first 40, you will find the others parts here: 1, 2, 3 and 4. In the first parts we have seen them all: some big cars, some small cars, others were very beautiful, others not so much. Keep reading to find the other ten left; there are a couple of surprises.

Ford Explorer

Speaking of, you never thought that the Ford Explorer was eligible for this top. Most of you will disagree with the reason why we included it here. First of all, remember that the Explorer is the best-selling passenger vehicle in North America for over 14 years. It is a car very beloved especially by moms who enjoy picking up their kids with this popular SUV. The reason for including it is not because of the Firestone tire controversy as some of you might expect. The reason is because the Ford Explorer is responsible for setting United States on the spiral of automotive obesity that we are very much still contending it today. After the Explorer, cars got bigger and bigger as most of us believe that a big bad car is safer (which is not entirely true). We now have cars that haven’t heard about the term fuel-efficiency and some of them are just too big, like the Hummer, both the H2 and the H3.

GM EV1

The EV1 was introduced by General Motors back in 1997 and it was without exaggerating, a marvel of engineering. It was by far the best electric car of those times and it promised that pretty soon, electric cars will going to replace our piston-powered engine vehicles. First of all, the reason why it is worthy of a place here is because it didn’t live up to that promise as it was very expensive to make, the battery technology in the late 90s was nowhere near ready to replace our conventional cars. In addition, the EV1 was an uberlight 2-seater, not to the liking of the Americans.

Plymouth Prowler

While some of you make like the design, we hate it – the Plymouth Prowler was the project of mid 90s new powerful computer tools that were capable of high-zoot projects that in the past wouldn’t have recovered the development costs. The design of the Plymouth was inspired (or even stolen) by a retro-roadster design by Chip Foose and made this car look like a dry-lake speedster from the 22nd century. We mentioned hotrod, well it wasn’t. Packing a run-of-the-mill 3.5-liter V6 engine that churned 250 hp, it wasn’t fast at all. In addition, this power unit was linked to an automatic transmission, which means that it wasn’t able to lay down the requisite stripes of hot rubber.

Fiat Multipla

Here is in my opinion one of the ugliest cars in the world – the Fiat Multipla. The name was used by the Italian company for the first time in the 1950s and 1960s for a microvan which was based on the lovely 600 model. The one that was launched in 1998 was nothing like its predecessors. With its very strange front appearance that looks like it had several sets of eyes, the Multipla also had a very bulky cabin.

Ford Excursion

General Motors had the Hummer H2 while Ford had the Excursion, which was (and still is in production), a gigantic sport utility vehicle that is based on the firm’s Super Duty truck platform. It has a weight of 7,000 lbs and measures almost 19 ft. long and 6.5 ft. tall! Enough said.

Jaguar X-Type

Jaguar needed a car to compete against the Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3-Series. Based on the Ford Mondeo platform, the company launched an entry-level model – the X-Type. In their struggle to turn a FWD compact car into an AWD sports sedan, the British ran smack into the limits of platform engineering. The car that resulted after this project is the British version of the Cadillac Cimarron, a financial disaster for Jaguar. The car wasn’t that bad but ruined the Jaguar name.

Pontiac Aztek

Here is another ugly car, the Pontiac Aztek. In the concept version, the car looked very cool but the production model was reduced to a bulky, plastic-clad automotive mess. The car was a pretty good crossover but judging by its appearance, you had to be pretty insane to buy one.

BMW 7-Series

Here is another one that most of you will not agree with us, the BMW 7-Series. Why? Because of that annoying iDrive rotary dial/joystick controller located on the center console that made BMW owners pull out their hair. This thing was very hard to work with and sometimes, borderline impossible. Its second flaw was that awful-looking bubble butt. Other than that, the car was astonishing! Good thing that with the new generation they have redesigned the back of the car which looks great and they also updated the iDrive system.

Hummer H2

We mentioned the Hummer before; it had to make it into our list. The H2 deserves a spot in our top because of its awful looks and the fact that it does about 10 miles per gallon. If you are looking for a road-eligible tank, the Hummer H2 is the solution.

Chevy SSR

The last car from our article is the Chevy SSR. Although Chrysler and General Motors are in the same town, the latter didn’t learn from the Prowler disaster. GM decided to make the Chevy SSR, which was an awesome-looking hotrod slash pickup that had a composite body as well as a cool convertible top. Due to the fact that the car borrowed the mechanicals and the chassis from GM’s corporate midsize sport utility vehicle program, the car was very heavy and underpowered, making it very lazy on the road. Although Chevrolet upgraded the SSR in the years to come, it was too late.

This concludes our extensive article about 50 of the worst cars ever made. We hope that you liked it.

10 Cars That Went Out Of Production Last Year

Each and every year, almost all of the major manufacturers phase out some models without making a big fuss and concentrate on their new models that hopefully will do better than the outgoing models. Let’s face it, not many of us remember the day when the Ford Five Hundred was rebadged as the Taurus. This is just one example, there are dozens more, but this isn’t a history lesson.

In 2010, there were many models that went out of production; some of them had a significant impact in the North American automobile market. The reasons behind these decisions can be found in their low sales figures while some models were just filling a niche. Regardless of the reasons, here are the 10 models that you won’t be seeing anymore:

body-on-frame Ford Explorer

The body-on-frame Ford Explorer was manufactured between 1991 and 2010. The car itself created a category and started a real craze. It managed to survive during the harsh Firestone tire scandal as well as being able to face the demand of even larger vehicles. Most of you don’t know but this car was rebranded as a Mazda Navajo. It was also covered in body cladding and commercialized as a Mercury car. It was even deconstructed back into a pickup form and was sold as the Sport-Trac. Thankfully, the Explorer name is not dead as Ford introduced a 2011 model, but without the body-on-frame construction.

Kia Boreggo

At number nine we find the Kia Boreggo, one of the most unpopular sport utility vehicles in the last decade. It was sold between 2008 and 2010 and although reviews were generally positive, the low sales figures are most likely due to the bad timing. The Korean automaker Kia decided that the ideal time to launch a body-on-frame sport utility vehicle was when customers were looking for crossovers, hybrids and subcompacts because the gas prices reached and surpassed the $3 mark. For this reason, Kia managed to sell only a few Boreggo SUVs and stopped importing them in the US for 2010, leaving the dealerships with the 2009 models. Although the car is still being produced in Korea as the Mohave, the Boreggo has the same fate as the Rondo.

Mercury Grand Marquis

We mentioned Mercury before, they too also axed one of their models, we are talking about the Grand Marquis which was introduced back in 1983 and 2010 was its last year of production. Ford made a lot of RWD full-size body-on-frame sedans, but this is the one that we will all miss. Let’s face it; the Town Car was for going to the airport, funerals and weddings. The Crown Vic was basically a police car and a cab. Although both of these were suitable for specific jobs, the Grand Marquis however was a deliberate choice made by the car’s owner, which tells us a lot.

Toyota Corolla (NUMMI-built)

The Toyota Corolla (NUMMI-built) production has ended last year, after 16 years of long and prolific history. Although most of the car’s customers wouldn’t notice any significant changes, the final Corolla model that was made in the now defunct General Motors – Toyota factory located in Fermont, California, rolled out on April 1st last year.

The NUMMI – New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. was just what General Motors needed to increase efficiency and reduce defects. However, there were a lot of reasons that led to the downfall of the factory which was sold to Tesla Motors.

Chrysler PT Cruiser

Finally, the awful-looking Chrysler PT Cruiser is officially dead. After 10 years of service to God knows who, the car was officially pulled off the production line. If you didn’t know, the automaker launched this model so that it could be classified as a light truck in order to lower the average fuel economy for light trucks. It did the exact opposite; it came with a gas mileage that befitted the light truck.

Honda Element

Between 2002 and 2010 Honda produced the odd-looking Element and they announced it in an official press release, unlike other companies that didn’t say a word. The reason behind the failure of the Element is very simple as Honda marketed the car for an active twenty-something audience, but forgetting that only very few people of that age could afford a new car.

Lexus SC

Here is a car that we considered to be a looker and we were shocked to find out that Lexus pulled the plug on it. We are talking about the sexy SC model which was introduced back in 1991. The most recent generation was launched in 2001 and in 2005 it received a well-deserved facelift. This hardtop convertible couldn’t live up to its sales expectations and in 2009, Lexus managed to sell only 720 units, in comparison to 2002 when they sold about 14,400 in the United States.

Volvo V70

It is family time as we are talking about the Volvo V70, a car that was introduced in 1998. The reason for this should be obvious; nobody would buy a new Volvo station wagon, except the Stockholm police department.

Chrysler Sebring

Between 1995 and 2010 Chrysler manufactured the Sebring model which started off quite nicely as a LeBaron replacement. It offered lots of options for its price and the handling was surprisingly good. Because of the company’s lack of funds to invest in the car, the Sebring stuck around well past its prime. The latest generation of the model was a total flop, although rebate buyers and rental fleets saw them a very good deal.

Chevrolet Coblat

The last car mentioned in this article is the Chevrolet Coblat which was launched by the American automaker in 2004. It was introduced in order to replace the awful Cavalier and was advertised as the next import compact-killer. The car looked good in our opinion, but didn’t stand a chance in front of the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla.

All things considered, some were bad while some were awful. We hope that automakers will learn from these mistakes and improve their current and future models so that they could avoid these automotive disasters.

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Automakers Target Weight Reduction

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

It seems that the vast majority of the automakers are aiming to reduce the weight of pickup trucks in their attempt of meeting the new very restrictive standards for fuel economy, without having to sacrifice the towing capabilities and strength of the vehicles. The new restrictions will be applicable starting with 2016, which means that Ford and General Motors (along with the rest of the automakers) will have just one design cycle in order to make important changes to their pickups lineup, meaning that they will have to use costly steel substitutes like aluminum, magnesium and other steel alloys.

Pickup manufacturers will have to pass on these higher costs to customers who have come to associate mass with performance. According to Dick Schultz who is a consultant at Ducker Worldwide as well as an expert regarding the use of metals in cars, “there is a lot of hand-wringing in the industry right now. You can’t afford to be on the wrong side of this thing.”

The new restrictions will require for automakers to reach an average fleet fuel economy of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Light trucks must be able to do 30 miles per gallon starting with 2016. The CAFE – corporate average fuel economy standard for this year is 29.2 miles per gallon and for light trucks alone it is 24.9 mpg, according to government data.

These new more restrictive standard comes at a time when most of the important automakers launch a bundle of battery-electric, hybrid and plug-in cars, which all will definitely help the sector to meet these new requirements. Automakers say that reducing the weight of their trucks is also important to meeting the new guidelines. This weight reduction issue is going to be a very important challenge for most of the manufacturers taking into consideration the average size of these trucks along with the high demand that they are able to handle big and heavy loads and towing in the most difficult conditions available.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

In order to attract more customers and increase profits, truck makers have added significant electronic, safety and comfort features in the last ten years. As a direct consequence to these changes, the average weight of trucks has risen 22% from 2000 to 2010, according to federal data. Despite this significant weight increase, the fuel economy rose by a healthy 2% in these 10 years.

The very first automaker that will roll out a pickup truck capable of meeting the 2016 requirements will be General Motors with its 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. Rick Spina, who is in charge of the full-size truck development for GM said that it will be a tough task to meet, but they will do everything they can so that the customers will understand the fundamental changes that had to be made.

Besides the 2016 standards, all automakers may have to achieve CAFE standards of 62 mpg for the entire fleet by 2025, according to a scenario thought by the United States government. Spina added that General Motors is targeting to shave off 500 pounds from its trucks by 2016 and by 2020 or so; they might be able to cut 1,000 pounds / truck. He stated that by using blown-in foam instead of a more affordable, yet heavier, pad to buffer noise in specific areas of the trucks could become more common in future trucks developed by General Motors.

During this time, it seems that Ford is looking to use a magnesium alloy frame for the upcoming generation of the popular and very successful F-150 pick-up truck and they might use aluminum for the body panels of the same model. By replacing the old-fashioned steel with aluminum, Ford might be able to shave off about 800 pounds per truck. Spina told Reuters that General Motors is thinking about using magnesium and aluminum for the frames of future models of its GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado trucks.

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GM CEO, Aiming To Triple EV Sales

Chevrolet Volt

Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors, is aiming to triple the company’s electric-car deliveries by expanding the market for the already popular Chevrolet Volt and also by adding other models that would share a similar technology. Akerson became the CEO on September 1st and told the executive team at General Motors to find methods to sell 3-4 as many EVs as planned for 2012 by mid-decade. For 2011, GM is hoping to sell 10,000 units of the Volt and 45,000 for 2012, when the capacity will reach about 60,000 units.

Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., a consulting company located in Birmingham, Michigan, said that by increasing the Chevrolet Volt sales along with developing other similar models, the cost of developing this technology will spread onto other future cars. This method also carries a substantial risk, taking into consideration the fact that electric and hybrid vehicles are not very popular at the moment and the level of sales for these cars still remains quite low, making them unprofitable in the present.

With this bold plan, Akerson is aiming to differentiate GM’s strategy by making the company a technology leader, following an initial public offering that managed to raise more than $20 billion last month, exactly 16 months after the automaker escaped from bankruptcy. Akerson also told the executives at GM that he wants to search for new markets and prepare the company for higher fuel prices.

This December, the Chevrolet Volt went on sale in the United States, at a starting price of $41,000. Running only on the batteries, the car is capable of doing 50 miles. Starting with the second half of next year, the Volt will be commercialized in China and last month the company began making reservations for the Opel Ampera which will be sold in Europe in 2011, at a higher price in comparison to its American sibling. The Ampera will feature a gasoline engine that will extend the car’s driving range to more than 370 miles.

Dave Darovitz who is a spokesman at General Motors said that the company will look to develop other models that are based on the Volt system.

The United States federal government is offering Volt buyers a 7,500$ tax credit. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, after the manufacturer produces over 200,000 eligible plug-in electric cars, the credit begins to phase out.

Rumors say that General Motors will be implementing Volt’s technology into several models that will be launched under multiple brands; most of these cars will be bigger than the Volt, including here sport utility vehicles. Back in April at the Beijing Motor Show, Chevrolet brought a 5-passenger sport utility vehicle that was capable of driving in all-electric mode for 32 miles. The SUV used the Volt’s powertrain system.

However, it will be quite difficult for General Motors to create an SUV based on the powertrain used for the Volt, because these vehicles have more features and passenger space which will make them not only heavier but also less aerodynamic. In addition, a regular SUV is considerably more expensive than a Volt and there are serious chances that a big price tag will make the car unattractive. Of course, once the electric powertrain technology will evolve, the likelihood of using this type of powertrain in SUVs and other large vehicles will be very high.

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In Depth – 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has great chances of becoming a hit in terms of sales because the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla are at the end of their product life cycles which means that the Cruze will (probably) be more popular among customers thanks to its fresh new appearance. Another reason for a possible success is that General Motors now has the wherewithal to produce a small-sized automobile that shows they understand these types of cars. These times are very good for GM to win a couple of hundred customers from Honda or Toyota; time will tell if this is going to happen.

When you give the 2011 Cruze a closer look, you will notice that there is not much in the way of historical lineage as far as the exterior design is concerned. The car does not have anything related to a smaller Chevrolet car: you will not find a trace of the Cavalier model nor you will notice Coblat in those scowling headlamps. Regardless of tastes, the Cruze is a very good looking car, no doubt about it, at least in our humble opinion. Looking at it from the front, you will notice that the angled flying “V” language of the headlights extends to the Cruze’s interior, which is the model’s pièce de résistance.

The engineers over at Chevrolet made several updates for offering a smoother engine and used more sound deadening materials. Taking these two into consideration, it will be very hard for you to notice the engine of the sound at idle. In comparison with its main segment rivals, Chevrolet is cleverly keeping pace with the market trend if you look at the hydraulic engine mounts and the laminated windshield. Looking back five years ago, the small-sized Sentra model from Nissan was regarded as the vault of solitude, but at the moment this car (or the Corolla/Civic) is considerably noisier when put side by side with the 2011 Cruze. The situation is the same not only when the engine is idle but also when driving on the road. Another reason for this noise difference between the Cruze and the rest is because the latter are not equipped with 6-speed automatic gearboxes.

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT will cost you $18,000 (basic price) and with a few upgrades the price reaches the $20k mark. What gives the Cruze the edge over its rivals is the fact that it offers a bundle of features even on the entry-level trim levels, like USB port or Bluetooth. In most cases, such features are present on pricier trims. The inside space and rooms for legs is very generous for a car in this class. The driver has all the space he wants for his knees and both front and back passengers can get full circulation through their extremities, even after sitting in the car for 1-2 hours. The quality of the interior components and the finish of it are good, but not great, definitely there is place for improvements. There is a contrast in quality of the interior parts because the material used for the steering wheel is great, and so is the pattern on the seats, but the plastic insert in the cell phone cubby looks and feels rather cheap. The same contrast can be seen on the plastics used on the dashboard and doors.

The 1LT trim level of the Cruze is the most affordable one that allows you to get the 1.4-liter turbo; the LS entry-level trim is equipped with a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated four. All of the trims come as standard with 6-speed gearboxes (the manual gearbox is available on the LS and ECO trims). As far as the safety features are concerned, all of the trims come with traction and stability control. The LT gets four-wheel disc brakes (optional on the 2LT). There aren’t many cars in this segment that feature four-wheel disc brakes; the only exception we can think of is the Suzuki SX4.

The era of newly developed cars has begun with the Cruze, Focus, Elantra and the Fiesta, we will have to wait and see how takes the first place in this battle.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

The people over at AutoBlog.com, managed to drive the Cruze 1LT and consider that the strongest point of the car regarding the actual driving situation, is the low noise level. However, the Mazda 3 is quicker and lighter than the Chevy and there are other cars that have a more direct steering feel. Plus, there are a bunch of cars under the 3,000-pound mark that give more confidence when braking. A major downside of the Cruze is the fact that similar with other General Motors cars, it does not feature a direct injection power unit.

The 1.4-liter turbo is a very good engine, but not for a car that has a weight similar to the Chevrolet Colorado. Maybe later on Chevrolet will introduce other engines, more powerful, that will be able to make the car a little bit quicker and agile, because although this car wasn’t designed to be fast, it needs some power under that attractive hood.

Without any doubt, the 2011 Cruze is better than the Toyota Corolla, but this does not mean that it will sell better than the Japanese rival. The Corolla is a very popular car despite its flaws (the design would be the major one), so the Cruze will have to struggle to get customers that are very well acquainted to the Corolla, although it is at the end of its lifecycle.

All things considered, the Cruze is significantly better in comparison to the outgoing model, but there is still a lot of room for improvements. Some of the most important minuses of the car are the lack of more powerful engines, a more direct steering feel and higher quality interior components. However, it still looks great and has plenty of features even on the cheaper trim levels, making it a very attractive option.

Source: AutoBlog.com


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