Transformers 2 Cars Revealed at Chicago Auto Show

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Check out Bumblebee, Volt, Sideswipe and all the new vehicles in Transformers 2 from the floor of the Chicago Auto Show


How GM’s Six Speed Transmission Works

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

One of the most recent advances for GMs transmission portfolio is the large scale availability of six-speed automatic transmissions across a wide range of GM cars and trucks. Learn more about this technology and the cars that will use it.


GMC Terrain – design explanation

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

With 30 mpg fuel economy, thanks in part to GM’s direct injection technology, and a strong, confident design, the 2010 GMC Terrain is a multi-purpose crossover vehicle. Go behind the scenes with the designers and engineers of the GMC Terrain to learn more.


Koenigsegg backs out of Saab deal

November 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Saab 9-5 fq

After being the hero, Koenigsegg Group AB has just withdrawn from negotiations to buy Saab from General Motors, leaving the Swedish automaker’s future very much in doubt. In a brief statement issued by GM (available after the jump), president and CEO Fritz Henderson says that the company is “very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase.”

The survival of the Saab brand is looking shaky, but there may be some hope for fans with GM saying it will “take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week.” There was at least one other serious bidder interested in purchasing Saab previous to Koenigsegg becoming the preferred purchaser, but it isn’t immediately clear if they are still interested, or if they had the correct financial credentials.

Speculation is that even if Saab is unable to survive as a brand, someone will step in and purchase the assets to the production ready forthcoming 9-5 sedan and potentially the newish 9-3/9-3X models as well.

Hummer developing H4 and H5 models

November 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hummer H4 concept s

Troubled brand Hummer is stuck in limbo pending its sale to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd. with speculation that the sale could be completed as early as December 1. For now, everything is on hold pending approval from GM and the Chinese government, while that happens new Hummer CEO Jim Taylor is busy planning the future of the iconic American firm.

First on the “to do” list is to restore Hummer sales. Currently, sales are down 64% on the year to about 8,500 units, but Hummer is seeking 25,000 sales in 2010. That’s a big ask but recent reports state that the company is optimistic about reaching that goal thanks to some aggressive marketing. But ultimately, new product will be required to get dealerships buzzing with customers again. Till then, Hummer’s 154 U.S. dealers need more inventory in the showrooms to help shift stock. Apparently dealers only have 1,300 units in stock, compared to the 7,400 vehicles at the same time in 2008.

The final area of the Hummer restoration project is adding on those new models. When Tengzhong finally takes control of Hummer, it will also receive engineering plans for the H4, a new smaller model that is reportedly based on the HX Concept vehicle from the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The new Jeep Wrangler competitor could arrive within the next three years. Also possible is an even smaller Hummer H5, which would help the SUV automaker to meet future American emissions requirements. It’s possible that one day the smaller H4 and H5 could replace the brand’s heavier and thirstier H2 and H3 mainstays.

The next hurdle for Hummer once the sale is completed is to find a manufacturing partner to build these vehicles. GM will reportedly shut down Hummer production as early as the end of this year.

Cash for Clunkers helps Japanese brands most

November 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Rusty beetle

There’s no question that American President Obama’s Cash-for-Clunkers program has accelerated vehicle sales in the States, a new report has just shown that the big winners were from Japan, not Detroit. A slight back-fire perhaps.

According to the study, nearly 85 percent of the trade-ins were from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, yet they only sold 39 percent of the new cars that replaced them. On the Japanese side, 8 percent of the trade-ins came from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, manufacturers who accounted for 41 percent of the resulting new car purchases.

While these numbers may be justified by the large quantity of inefficient domestic trucks and SUVs that were deemed clunkers, customer loyalty also seems to have seen a shift. About 68 percent of owners who traded in Toyota, Honda, or Nissan vehicles replaced them with another from one of those Japanese brands, while only 43 percent of consumers who traded in Detroit steel purchased another General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler product.

The program reportedly cost the U.S. taxpayers about $3 billion USD. Nice one.

Hummer sale to Tengzhong finally confirmed

October 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hummer

General Motors has finally reached an agreement to sell Hummer onto China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery. Tengzhong is set to take an 80 percent stake and a private investor grabbing the rest.

Details on the deal include Hummer contracting back vehicle manufacturing to GM, with the GM’s Shrevport and Mishawaka plants continuing to produce vehicles through June of 2011, with a possible extension until 2012. A recent report says the sale will get GM around $150 million, although the transaction still has to be approved by both U.S. and Chinese regulatory agencies.

Tengzhong, which only produces commercial trucks and industrial equipment, has never entered into consumer vehicles before, but chief executive Yang Yi is confident saying, “we are excited about some of the initiatives already underway at Hummer that we believe our investment will be able to accelerate, particularly related to the creation of the next generation of more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet not only future regulations but also customer expectations.”

Jay Leno’s jet-powered Corvette (+video)

September 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jay Leno EcoJet 1

When you’ve as cashed-up as US talk show host, Jay Leno, you’ve got to do something with all the money. Leno’s choice of spend comes in the form of cars. Recently, wanting something different to the norm, Leno employed the services of the guys at GM to design and produce the EcoJet.

A one-of-a-kind build, the EcoJet is a carbon fibre skin over an aluminium chassis — one that traces its roots to a Chevrolet Corvette.

Like its name says, the EcoJet is powered by nothing but a jet engine — a Honeywell LT101 jet turbine engine that produces 750hp and 700lb/ft of torque at 48,000rpm. However, to bring this back down to road levels, a custom gearbox reduces the engine speed down to 6,000rpm. Add to this, carbon fibre brakes and Brembo 6-pot calipers, a Microsoft-built dash — running Windows Vista and internet capabilities — Leno’s EcoJet is a trick piece of kit.

To see how the EcoJet performs, Leno took the car to the airstrip to run it against a private jet. Watch the video below for a full rundown of the EcoJet and its race against the jet plane.