Auto blogFri, 18 Apr 2014 08:01:00 EST
Chevrolet and GMC have clued us in to pricing of the bi-fuel option for the 2015 Silverado and Sierra 2500HD CNG and 3500HD CNG pickups: it starts at $9,500; we're still missing the rest of the pricing inferred by the word "starts," however. If you remember from the Chicago Auto Show introduction, the 6.0-liter V8 puts out 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque when drinking gas, 301 hp and 333 lb-ft when inhaling CNG.
Chevrolet figures that a bi-fuel Silverado HD is worth $2,000 in savings if driven 19,500 miles on CNG and 7,500 miles on gasoline in the span of a year, a recoup rate easily attainable to high-mileage fleet owners. It can be specced on double- and crew-cab pickups with single rear wheels, not on dualies.
The 2015 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana short-wheelbase passenger and cargo vans also get CNG options, starting at $10,825 for the three-tank system, and $12,090 for the four-tank system that can only be had on the cargo hauler. You'll find a bit more info on all of the permutations in the press release below.
Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten percent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.
Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?
You can find details on those and more findings in the press release below.
While we're still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend's Car of the Year and Car and Driver's Ten Best are named, that doesn't mean there aren't trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward's 10 Best Interiors being one of them.
As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward's considers them - the only requirement is that a vehicle has a "new or significantly redesigned interior."
Ward's offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same:
General Motors can't seem to get its name out of the "bad news" column. Two more recalls were announced late Friday evening that will see The General calling in 490,200 fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs, along with 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze models.
For those keeping track, General Motors has issued recalls for an alarming 4.8 million vehicles so far since last month.
The Chevy Silverado 1500, Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Sierra 1500 and Yukon models from the 2014 and 2015 model years are being recalled for a flaw in their transmissions wherein loose oil cooler lines may cause a fire. The automaker said in a statement (see below) that it knows of three incidents of loose transmission lines causing problems, but no injuries. We can't confirm whether it was this transmission issue that caused the widely publicized blaze that consumed a 2015 GMC Yukon that was being test driven in California.
Automotive enthusiasts often wonder aloud - ourselves included - why General Motors would choose to keep GMC while sending Pontiac (and Saturn, and even Oldsmobile before it) into the great automotive graveyard in the sky. The answer, as is so often the case, is profit. It's much easier for GM to rake in money hand over fist by rejiggering the trucks, crossovers and SUVs that it would already be developing for Chevrolet and making them a bit more luxurious and *ahem* "Professional Grade" with new grilles, badges and unique packaging for GMC.
While it may sound like we're being cynical, we totally approve of GM's fullsize SUV strategy. The least-expensive way to get into the fold is with the Chevrolet Tahoe, which starts at $45,595 with a 5.3-liter V8 engine and a cloth interior. Bumping that same Chevy to LTZ trim and its $59,995 sticker price lands a much nicer leather-clad interior and more techno-bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at. But it still looks like a Tahoe, and it still comes with the smaller 5.3-liter engine. Or, you could do what we'd do: Walk into your GMC dealer and take a look at the Yukon Denali. Here's why.
A 2015 GMC Yukon burst into flames while on a test drive in Anaheim, CA on Sunday after smoke filled the cabin. Residents of the neighborhood where the driver abandoned the redesigned Yukon reported hearing a series of small explosions (likely the tires, based on the video), according to a report from KTLA and The Los Angeles Times.
No one was injured in the incident, which The Times reports occurred after a possible oil or fluid leak. As you can see in the image above, the Yukon was engulfed in flames, although the Anaheim Fire Department was able to put out the blaze in about 15 minutes.
"We're very lucky that no one got hurt, and it was in an area that... was safe," Lt. Tim Schmidt of the Anaheim Police Department told KTLA reporters. "If there was any place that was going to be safe, it would be this area. It's very open. It worked out for us."
The Denali trim that GMC uses to denote its top-of-the-line vehicles was introduced back in 1999, partly as a way to challenge the recently introduced Lincoln Navigator. Fifteen years later, and with GMC the tenth-largest US automotive brand by itself Denali has become a sub-brand that keeps the cash registers ringing at the Renaissance Center HQ. While GMC increased sales by 9 percent in 2013, TheDetroitBureau.com reports that that Denali sales rose by 20 percent.
There are currently five Denali models in the GMC line, with the Denali trim available on all but its commercial vans. In 2010, when the now-discontinued Yukon XL Hybrid was also on sale, GMC sold 32,886 units of its top trim. Last year, that number had increased to 75,558, with almost no help from traditional marketing spends. Go to YouTube and search for "GMC Denali commercials" - the few actual commercial results are from years ago. GMC marketing director Roger McCormack tells TheDetroitBureau.com, "It's largely all been organic."
As sales have grown, so has the tide of money GMC rakes in from the additional luxury features on Denali models. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $44,600, yet its 2014 Yukon Denali doppelganger starts at $58,320, pricing that includes additional features like the larger 6.2-liter V8, nicer interior, head-up display and magnetic ride control suspension. The Yukon XL Denali starts at $60,965, but the article says the "average customer" likely to spend "up and above $70,000" to take one home. How does that happen? On a top-trim Tahoe LTZ, the top-tier wheel option is a set of 20-inch chrome wheels for $400; on the 'base' Yukon Denali you can swap for a set of 22-inch chrome alloys for $2,995. Add it up, and an analyst at AutoTrends Consulting said that kind of margin "epitomizes the concept of obscene profitability." We say when it comes to Denali, GMC appears to stand for "Grabbing More Cash."
Wed, 26 Feb 2014 10:39:00 EST
General Motors has been enduring some serious problems with recalls recently, and it is hoping to avoid launching another major safety campaign. 200,921 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups are under the microscope due to a rare problem with their instruments, an issue GM calls calls "inconsequential to motor vehicle safety." The Detroit-based automaker believes that the glitch is so minor that it has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking the government safety watchdog for permission to pass on recalling the vehicles.
The fault at issue can occasionally cause the instrument cluster to reset when drivers use the steering wheel controls to browse songs from an external media device connected to the truck's USB ports. If a song's title information exceeds 2,000 bytes, according to The Detroit News, then the instrument panel can reset, which in turn causes the gauges, shift position indicator and cruise control telltale to turn off briefly. When rebooting, other instrument panel lights may briefly illuminate without their functions actually being activated. GM claims that if this does happen, the instrument display lights go out for about 1.5 seconds and the bulb check lasts a further five seconds. However, this snafu has no actual affect on the truck's operation. The glitch is present in trucks built between January 29, 2013, and October 28, 2013.
We met the redesigned 2015 versions of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL at the 2013 LA Auto Show. Improved gas mileage numbers have been announced to go along with the improved exteriors and interiors, with city mileage improving by seven percent and highway mileage going up by nearly ten percent; you'll now get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway.
The only applies to models with the 5.3-liter engine, though, not the premium Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali SUVs with the 6.2-liter motor. Still, the 5.3 gets you more power than previously, with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque underfoot, on top of the improved fuel economy numbers. The 6.2-liter sticks with official mpg ratings of 15 highway, 21 city. There's a brief press release below with words straight from the horse's mouth.
The guys behind Motor Trend's monthly Roadkill series have collected nine of their favorite project cars from their videos and pitted them against each other in a battle royale to determine a winner. It's 44 minutes long, but it's completely worth the investment of time.
The cars run the gamut from a 1973 Chevrolet Ramp Truck, a 1975 AMC Pacer and a legitimately impressive 1967 Chevy Camaro, and they are pitted against each other to see which is the fastest around an autocross course. The drivers include Roadkill's two hosts and Motor Trend's Johnny Lieberman and Carlos Lago. It's reminiscent of the best episodes of Top Gear and worth a watch.
So it's the weekend - the perfect time to relax. Grab your preferred beverage, get comfortable and enjoy 44 minutes of some seriously ratty but utterly cool project cars as they are throttled within an inch of their lives (or past it). Scroll down to check out the video.