GM Defies the Odds and Sells Plenty of Tahoes, Yukons, and Suburbans

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LT Midnight Edition

Perhaps the last third of 2016 will be remembered for the theme, “Expect the Unexpected.”

Tuesday night’s election results shocked the world as President-elect Trump overcame astronomical odds to secure the nation’s highest office. That’s as far as our political commentary will go on this blog, but rest assured the significance of the election isn’t lost on us. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on the election’s effects on the auto industry.

Slightly less significant, October’s car sales report had a few unexpected twists too. In a time of slowing sales, when we might expect passenger cars and full-size trucks to maintain the status quo, something else has happened.

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Should New GM Pay for Old GM’s Mistakes?

GM-ignition-recall

General Motors knew about a fault in some ignition switches as far back as 2001, but didn’t issue a recall until early 2014.

The fault, which can cause a vehicle to turn off while being driven, has been linked to at least 124 deaths and has already cost the company $2 billion in settlements.

That’s just the beginning, though, as another $10 billion in lawsuits looms on the horizon. GM doesn’t want to pay up and is using its 2009 bankruptcy as a shield against taking responsibility for the fatalities.

An appeals court ruling last month said the U.S. automaker can’t do that, but GM disagrees.

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GM Hires New Design Chief, but Don’t Expect Much Change

2010_Chevy_Camaro

A change will happen at General Motors on May 1. It’s a change that could potentially send GM down an entirely new path while creating an all-new look for the company and its vehicles around the globe.

More than likely, though, the change will happen without anybody taking notice.

On May 1, Mike Simcoe, an Australian with decades of automotive experience, will replace current GM VP of Design, Ed Welburn.

Oftentimes when a new design chief comes on board at a car company, there’s a big hullabaloo because he or she left a post at another prestigious automaker to take the reigns at the new place. The new designer provides auto writers with plenty of speculation and excitement about how the designer’s past might meld with his or her future, while the automaker that scored the hire touts an upcoming revolution in design.

GM didn’t do that.

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GM Offers Best Rewards for Military Service

Corvette convertible

Memorial Day weekend fast approaches. It’s a great time for new and used car shopping with summer just around the corner. More importantly, it’s an important time to recognize the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Some automotive manufacturers extend special discounts to military personnel (and sometimes retired veterans) that might be worth considering if you’re shopping for a new car. Check their websites to find the models you might want. (The website MilitaryRates.com has a list of companies offering discounts.)

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Aluminum: Best for Beer Cans or Trucks?

Did it collapse like a beer can?

Did it collapse like a beer can?

News of Ford’s use of aluminum in the body of the new F-150 shook the auto world in 2014. Some saw it as a revolutionary step in the evolution of the pickup truck, while others mocked the decision as an expensive experiment that would end poorly.

Competing brands touted the strength of steel and took issue with the high cost and questionable durability of aluminum. In an interview with Car and Driver, Michael Cairns, vehicle line executive for Ram, said,

It’s the best material to use for beer cans.

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Corvette Stop-Sale Raises New Questions

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

When you build cars, it’s kind of important to attach all the pieces.

Major automakers have figured out how to do this with impressive precision, while smaller companies can be forgiven for overlooking a small part.

But when the world’s largest automaker misses parts on its most important car, you just have to wonder what’s going on internally. Especially right on the heels of the company’s biggest recall ever.

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Chevrolet Wants to Be More Like Ford

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

Talk about being ahead of its time.

There’s nothing better for a company than introducing a new product so revolutionary that your closest competitor can’t touch it for about 4 years.

Even better is when the competition’s product chief wants to get his hands on your product and examine how it was done so it can be copied. That’s called hitting a home run.

That is what Ford has done to GM. It’s not a knockout punch by any means, but the blow has effectively left the General staggering and grasping for ways to catch up. Round 1 goes to Ford.

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The Worst Idea of 2014

1969 Opel GT

We’re only 8 days into the new year, and already they worst idea of the year has surfaced.

This idea will surely outlast all other bad automotive ideas to come during the remaining 357 days of this year. Nothing good or productive or profitable can possibly come from this idea, and I’m left shaking my head at the very thought of it.

The idea probably won’t ever see the light of day, but even sitting in the dark, behind closed doors, it’s truly awful.

What could be so abhorrent that the very possibility makes me wonder if third graders are running car companies now?

Opel coming to America.

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Will GM Finally Change the Car Buying Process?

Connection Center

I’ve been a longtime proponent of changing the way cars are sold. The dealer system has worked for many years, but I’d love to see manufacturers sell directly to consumers online.

Tesla is dealing with this issue right now, as it tries to build new company-owned stores across the United States and experiences pushback from traditional dealers in the form of lawsuits. That’s unfortunate, but sometimes old ways are hard to change.

That’s why I was more than a little surprised to read that General Motors, a stalwart in the old ways of doing things, has come up with a plan to begin the process of selling vehicles online.

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Miss Pontiac? Blame Obama

2009-Pontiac-G8-GXP

I like the Blame Obama jokes. Politics aside, I love to hear about minuscule problems blamed on our president.

Tired of Nigerian e-mail scams? Blame Obama.

Burn your toast this morning? Blame Obama.

Hate the fact that you can no longer buy a new Pontiac G8 GXP, or any other new Pontiac? Blame Obama.

That last one might actually have some truth to it, if the president’s name is synonymous with the federal government and if former GM exec Bob Lutz is to be believed.

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