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First Drive: 2018 Cadillac Escalade

Once an add-on to the line-up, the luxury ute is now the icon.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Once almost an afterthought in Cadillac's line-up, the Escalade is now the brand's centerpiece.

It seems the Escalade has been the heart and soul of Cadillac’s line-up of luxury vehicles forever.

No other car or sport-utility vehicle comes close, in the mind of the broad public anyway, to representing Cadillac’s nameplate in any kind of meaningful way.

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I suspect this has caused no end of consternation in General Motors headquarters over the years because the Escalade seems to have been an afterthought by GM product planners who were thinking along the lines of up-level Chevrolet Suburban with a bright Cadillac badge. (more…)

General Motors Reports Flat Earnings for Second Quarter

Rising incentives on pickups drain profits.

by on Jul.25, 2018

GM's profits were hurt by increased incentives on its full-size pickups during the second quarter.

General Motors posted earnings for the second quarter that were basically flat as rising incentives and lower prices on its pickup trucks took a bite out of the company’s profits.

GM’s income from continuing operations of $2.4 billion, down $0.1 billion, compared to the second quarter of 2017 due to a driven primarily by the decline pricing and trim mix for the company’s the current-generation full-size pickup truck models, which is due to be replaced next year, and increased commodity costs.

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The decline in the profitability of the company’s pick-up truck business was partially offset by improved performance in GM Financial and China. (more…)

Maven to Let GM Vehicle Owners Profit from Car-Sharing

Vehicles from '15 model-year on can be used in new peer-to-peer test.

by on Jul.24, 2018

GM owners will be able to make money renting their vehicles when they'd normally be sitting idle.

We’ve entered the “sharing economy,” the experts tell us, with home-sharing operations such as AIRBNB, ride-sharing companies like Uber and car-sharing ventures like Car2Go becoming increasingly popular with American travelers and commuters. But now, General Motors’ own sharing service, Maven, is testing a program that could give GM owners a way to profit from this trend.

Maven has launched what it calls a “peer-to-peer car-sharing beta” that allows owners of relatively recent GM products to list their own cars through the service and pocket some of rental fees. If the program takes off, it would join other peer-to-peer car-sharing services such as Turo. And French automaker PSA, in its bid to return to the U.S., has launched a similar program in Los Angeles.

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“Your car is one of the most expensive things you own. Sitting idle, it is a wasted asset,” said Julia Steyn, vice president, General Motors Urban Mobility and Maven. “It’s time to put your car to work. Maven’s peer-to-peer offering is a smart way for owners to offset their vehicle investment.”

(more…)

GM Sales Rise as Ford’s Fall in China

Ford sales likely to suffer until next year.

by on Jul.12, 2018

While Ford's Mustang is still selling well, the rest of its line-up is not, contributing to a double-digit decline in the first half of 2018.

General Motors posted a slight gain in sales in China during the second quarter, but Ford Motor Co. continued to stumble with a double-digit decline that deepened its woes in the world’s largest market for new vehicles.

In what is described as a slow market, GM and its joint venture partners delivered 858,344 vehicles in China during the second quarter of 2018 as sales grew 0.7% from a year earlier.

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Ford’s China slump intensified, as vehicle sales tumbled 38% in June and the automaker recorded its worst-ever first half. Ford sold 62,057 vehicles in China in June, taking its sales for the first half of the year to 400,443, down 25% compared with the year-ago period. (more…)

GM Revamps Responsibilities for Ammann, Reuss

Ammann focusing on autonomous vehicles, Reuss leads products, Cadillac

by on Jun.21, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).

Two of General Motors top executives are getting new responsibilities with GM President Dan Ammann focusing on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles and Executive Vice President Mark Reuss taking on oversight of Cadillac and GM’s product portfolio planning.

Ammann will now be able to focus his efforts on the company’s ever-growing collection of autonomous vehicle subsidiaries, such as GM Cruise, as well as the deployment of these vehicles through a variety of outlets, such as Lyft.

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In the meantime, Reuss will bear down on the company’s global enterprises, product development as well as Cadillac. The luxury brand’s oversight comes a critical time as the company parted ways with Johann de Nysschen and replaced him with long-time GM executive Steve Carlisle. (more…)

Cadillac Culling Sedan Line-Up, New Plant Investment Emphasizing Shift to SUVs

ATS, XTS going away as passenger car sales slide.

by on Jun.18, 2018

Cadillac is planning to end production of the slow-selling ATS by 2021.

General Motors will invest $175 million in a Lansing, Michigan assembly plant to support production of two new Cadillac sedans, but in the process, Caddy is expected to dump drop the slow-selling ATS compact coupe and XTS full-size sedan.

Early in the new decade, those two models, as well as the midsize Cadillac CTS, will be replaced by just two all-new sedans, the automaker said. The cutback reflects both the overall U.S. market shift from passenger cars to utility vehicles and, more specifically, the poor sales performance of those three Caddy models.

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It is not clear when the three current sedans will be dropped, but Cadillac isn’t expected to have the two replacement models ready to roll out of GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant until late in 2021, according to a spokesman. They will likely debut as 2022 models. (more…)

GM Expanding Super Cruise to All Cadillac Models

Move to cover entire brand happens by 2020.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Cadillac will expand the availability of Super Cruise across the entire line-up by 2020.

Cadillac plans to expand the rollout of Super Cruise from just the 2018 CT6 to the brand’s entire line-up by 2020.

Super Cruise is the brand’s hands-free driver assistance technology. Executive Vice President Mark Reuss made the announcement during Detroit-area event. He added that after 2020, the technology will be made available on other products within the General Motors family.

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Cadillac also plans to offer V2X communications in a high-volume crossover by 2023 and eventually expand the technology across Cadillac’s portfolio.  (more…)

Safety Groups Want Tesla Autopilot Name Banned

Groups argue it is “deceptive and misleading.”

by on May.23, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

It’s called Autopilot but, at least for now, Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology is a not completely reliable co-pilot, it can require rapid human intervention to avert a crash. And that, two consumer groups argue, makes the use of the Autopilot name “deceptive and misleading.”

The Center for Auto Safety, or CAS, and Consumer Watchdog aren’t the first to raise concerns about the Tesla technology. German regulators briefly considered banning the name, Autopilot. But the American non-profit safety groups have taken their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to initiate an investigation of how Tesla not only has named, but also how it promotes its semi-autonomous system.

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In a letter to the federal agency, they claim Tesla has taken steps to “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.” (more…)

Earnings Down, GM Still Beats Q1 Forecast

Automaker plans “significantly lower investments” in passenger car models.

by on Apr.26, 2018

"We are on plan to deliver another strong year," says GM CEO Mary Barra.

General  Motors net earnings dipped 60% to $1.05 billion during the first quarter but still managed to beat Wall Street expectations thanks to strong demand for its North American light truck line-up.

The announcement by the nation’s largest automaker came less than a day after Ford Motor Co. also topped earnings forecasts by riding a wave of demand for pickups, SUVs and CUVs. Ford yesterday said it was going to all but abandon traditional passenger cars in North America and GM is also expected to trim its sedan line-up, though not nearly as drastically as its cross-town rival.

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“Results this quarter were in line with our expectations with planned, lower production in North America related to the transition to our all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in a statement accompanying the earnings report. “We are on plan to deliver another strong year in 2018.”

(more…)

GM Puts Third Shift Back in Place in Spring Hill Plant

New shift will add 700 jobs in September.

by on Apr.25, 2018

GM is adding 700 jobs at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to build more Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia crossovers.

The on-again, off-again third shift at General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, is on again, this time producing more crossovers as well as an Acadia vehicle for the company’s Australian brand, Holden.

The third shift is expected to begin production in September 2018 and add 700 new jobs. Industry wide, customers are increasingly purchasing crossovers, trucks and SUVs over sedans. Crossovers make up nearly half of the U.S. retail market (48.5%), according to GM.

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Crossovers are booming for GM too as the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 are posting strong results. Acadia retail sales were up more than 15% for the first quarter of 2018 on a year-over-year basis. Total Acadia sales were up 3%, marking the best first quarter ever for Acadia sales for both retail and total. (more…)

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