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Mark Phelan: GMC adds luxury, new looks to buff brand's image and boost sales

Automotive / Automotive News /

General Motors is feeding its golden goose.

The automaker, which once behaved as if "brand strategy" were another term for wringing every penny from its brands today with little thought of the future, is investing in new vehicles and features to strengthen its low profile but hot-selling and highly profitable GMC brand.

"We have huge ambitions...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Cadillac Escalade full-size SUV comes up short

Automotive / Automotive News /

Getting the Cadillac of SUVs for an epic camping trip with seven other families over Labor Day weekend promised certain safeguards: We could help bring stuff other families couldn't fit; we could sleep in it should inclement weather or creatures descend on our site; we wouldn't need to make bathroom breaks on the way without filling up for gas. ...Read more

Under the Hood: Are new, more-efficient engines built for the long haul?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: Automobile manufacturers, in order to save weight, seem to be favoring 4-cylinder engines over 6- and 8-cylinder versions. How will these 4-cylinder engines, especially those powering larger vehicles, stand up over the long haul compared to larger 6- and 8-cylinder models?

--Fred Ford, Walnut Creek, Calif.

A: You can count me among the ...Read more

Polaris' electric GEM vehicles go driverless in Detroit

Automotive / Automotive News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two electric vehicles made by Polaris Industries that have been outfitted with autonomous-driving software and sensors are headed to Detroit, where they will roll their way along city streets for a week.

The test, by robotics firm May Mobility and Bedrock LLC, a Detroit commercial real estate firm owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert...Read more

45 years and 914 miles later, 'dream' Corvette a rare find

Automotive / Automotive News /

PITTSBURGH -- Jim Kevan paid $6,000 for his Bryar Blue 1972 Chevrolet Corvette convertible with white top, 454 block engine and four-speed transmission.

He was 21, and the muscle-car scene was big back then.

"I would race my 1967 (Pontiac) GTO across the McKees Rocks Bridge, and the only thing that would beat me was a Corvette," the Pittsburgh...Read more

What sells a car? Durability, says Subaru of America exec, and lots of phone connectivity

Automotive / Automotive News /

PHILADELPHIA -- What sells a car?

Number one: Safety, which ranks right up there with reliability for cars, said Thomas Doll, president of Subaru of America, sitting in Subaru's cooperate office in Cherry Hill, N.J., during a recent Q-and-A with The Philadelphia Inquirer.

But then, "for the younger buyer the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto ...Read more

Suit: Tesla, other automakers used illegal foreign workers to build plants

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Widening earlier claims of immigration fraud at a Tesla factory, a recently unsealed whistleblower suit says several other major automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen, illegally used foreign construction workers to build their U.S. factories.

The charges expand on an investigation by The Mercury News last ...Read more

General Motors workers on strike at assembly plant in Ontario

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Workers at a General Motors plant in Ontario where the popular Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV is made went on strike late Sunday as negotiators failed to reach agreement on a new contract.

The union, Unifor Local 88, posted an announcement on its website about the strike:

"Your master bargaining committee has not been successful in ...Read more

Auto review: Best affordable sports car? 2017 Honda Civic Si

Automotive / Automotive News /

The sign indicated curves ahead. The road was so newly paved it didn't have a dividing line. The asphalt undulated left and right, with an occasional dip before the far-off turn. There were no houses or driveways, just woods on one side, a meadow on the other. It was the perfect road for the Honda Civic Si.

At another time in another place, the...Read more

Mark Phelan: Ford Ranger Raptor breaks cover in Australian desert tests

Automotive / Automotive News /

Can you say "Ford Ranger Raptor?"

Now try it with an Australian accent: "No worries, mate. I'll pick you up for the barbie in me Ranger Raptor. G'day."

That's as close as Ford's legions of American truck fans may to get to the Blue Oval's latest road warrior for the foreseeable future. Ford has announced it will sell a high-performance Raptor ...Read more

Should utilities build charging stations for electric cars?

Automotive / Automotive News /

WASHINGTON -- Faced with deadlines to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, states are being asked to decide whether utility companies can build electric vehicle charging stations -- and pass on the cost to their customers.

Building more charging stations could help alleviate "range anxiety," the fear of running out of charge ...Read more

Driverless-car rules loosen: US regulator stops demanding safety assessments

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Go for it! In essence, that's the Trump administration's new directive on driverless-car development.

Under that directive, automakers and technology companies will be asked to voluntarily submit safety assessments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, but they don't have to do it.

And states are being advised to use a ...Read more

Tesla should let drivers use Autopilot only on some roads, federal panel indicates

Automotive / Automotive News /

WASHINGTON -- The driver of a Tesla sedan who died in a 2016 crash while using Autopilot relied too much on the car's technology, and sensing a driver's hands on the wheel is not an effective way to tell whether the driver is paying attention, a federal safety panel indicated Tuesday.

Also, makers of semiautonomous vehicles could prevent the ...Read more

Global executive picks LA as world center for urban mobility

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- John Rossant is founder and chairman of the nonprofit NewCities foundation and creator of LA CoMotion, a big urban mobility conference and festival that's attracting an international crowd to the city Nov. 15-19.

A former journalist who has organized and produced conferences around the world, including the World Economic Forum in...Read more

People are still wary of self-driving cars, but reluctance drops after they try driver-assist features, study says

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Most people still say they wouldn't buy a self-driving vehicle, but they become far more open to the idea after they try cars with automatic driver-assist features.

That's according to a survey conducted by global consulting firm AlixPartners.

Only 18 percent of those surveyed reported personal experience with driver-assist ...Read more

Under the Hood: Lots to consider with frequently stalling truck

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I hope you can solve my problem. I have a 1994 Dodge Dakota with 190,000 miles on it. The engine has never given me a problem until recently.

It starts great and, at the beginning of each drive, runs nice and smooth. But, for some reason, after driving about 10-15 miles, it stalls. It usually happens when I stop at a stop sign or when I let ...Read more

Auto review: Chevy's Colorado ZR2 is a big boy truck toy

Automotive / Automotive News /

In the Colorado ZR2, Chevrolet has fielded a purpose-built pickup truck that boasts a number of exclusives.

It's the only midsize truck available with a diesel engine, the only one to come standard with true "off-road" suspension and the only one with locking front and rear differentials.

So, who cares?

Chevrolet engineers made a splash at ...Read more

Auto review: Honda's CRF250 Rally: Bigger, better than it looks

Automotive / Automotive News /

The last couple of years have seen interesting developments in the "adventure riding" motorcycle segment. It's the fastest-growing niche and seems to be attracting increasing numbers of older riders.

But both beginners and older riders may have issues with the size, weight and power of the class-leading adventure bikes, which often have 1000cc ...Read more

Trump self-driving car policy is said to alter course from Obama's

Automotive / Automotive News /

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration will alter the course set by the Obama administration on autonomous vehicle policy after industry raised concerns about elements of that initial proposal.

The revised guidance -- to be unveiled Tuesday in Michigan by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao -- drops a proposal issued under President Barack ...Read more

Motorcycle maker Royal Enfield gearing up for North American sales from Milwaukee

Automotive / Automotive News /

MILWAUKEE -- Its North American sales are still minuscule, not even a blip on the radar screen of Harley-Davidson Inc., but motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield is settling into the U.S. marketplace via Milwaukee, Harley's hometown.

A year after opening its flagship North American dealership in the city, India-based Royal Enfield says it's ...Read more