The press days at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show end today, so it’s time to focus on the second auto show of the month: the 2013 New York Auto Show. General Motors announced a lineup of five world premieres, plus one North American debut.
While the North American debut will obviously be the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible, as for the five world premieres things aren’t very clear. We do know that Chevrolet has prepared a revision for the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro that, according to the first details "advances the design and performance attributes." This may be one of the five world premieres.
We expect three of them to consist of two Buick models and one Cadillac. The two Buick models will most like be redesigned 2014 Regal and LaCrosse sedans, while the Cadillac model is believed to be the new generation CTS luxury saloon. So, that leaves just one model lingering and your guess is as good as ours on that one. There are reports that this will be the Chevy SS, but that was already displayed to the public in February.
Full details will revealed during the car’s official debuts in New York.
Do you remember the Chevrolet Code 130R Concept that was unveiled last year at the Detroit Auto Show? If you liked it, you’ll be happy to know that General Motors is considering a rear-wheel-drive sports car inspired by it.
The potential new model would target the new Toyota GT-86 sports car and its derivatives. Though it hasn’t been confirmed for production just yet, "it is on the wish list of the former Holden boss."
General Motors North America boss Mark Reuss confirmed in a recent interview that the car is on GM’s list and that indeed it will be "a great entry" for the company.
A production version of the 130R would be based on a shrunken version of Cadillac’s freshly-developed Alpha rear-wheel drive platform. Reuss did not provide any other details on this possible car, but did confirm they will try to keep it as cheap as possible.
A final decision on such a car will be made in the upcoming months, so stay to see if such a car will really happen!
Back in September, Los Angeles Auto Show organizers announced the theme for this year’s Design Challenge contest: contenders needed to design a law enforcement car for the year 2025. Today, they have finally announced the six competitors coming from BMW, General Motors, Honda (two entries), Mercedes-Benz and Subaru.
BMW’s entry will be the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle), which is a concept built on a modular structure with three different drones. In the case of a pursuit in heavy traffic, the patrol officer can deploy either the flying drone or one of the single-wheel drones to chase the suspect and report back to the officer.
General Motors entered the contest with a Volt Squad — a three-vehicle fleet designed around the concept of observe, pursue and engage. Honda has two entries for 2012: the CHP Drone Squad, a vehicle-based-system for 2025, which is designed to work efficiently and seamlessly in the harsh environment of California highways. Honda’s second entry is the "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler, a vehicle that has the ability to adjust to changes in the traffic environment.
Mercedes is entering the contest with Ener-G-Force, a vehicle based on the G-Class and designed as an environmentally friendly SUV. And finally Subaru’s entry is the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) highway patrol vehicles. They are capable of providing an innovative, affordable and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection and rapid emergency response.
The winner of the contest will be announced on November 25.
Click past the jump to read the press release on each vehicle.
A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.
Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.
The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker, GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.
All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.
We’ll keep you updated.
Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.
So you may have never heard of QNX, but you likely interface with it on a daily basis, given you have a car with a computer-based infotainment system (Toyota Entune, BMW ConnectedDrive, GM’s OnStar, etc.). QNX is essentially to a car what Windows is to a PC – it allows the software and hardware to do their delicate exchange of ones and zeros to turn them into what you see on the screen.
QNX is actually in development of its second-generation operating system, which it has dubbed QNX CAR 2. This may sound like just another small and meaningless software changeover, but CAR 2 will include something that may revolutionize automotive infotainment systems – an HTML 5-based interface.
As it sits now, QNX builds the OS, but the manufacturer works the front end of its software in its own way, leaving the customer out of the equation. The HTML 5 interface will allow the manufacturer to set up the basic functions of the infotainment systems, but ultimately allow you to customize it as you see fit.
Additionally, the usage of HTML 5 will also help lower the gap between consumer electronics and automotive electronics, which currently have a 7- to 10-year gap between product cycles. Heck, your laptop is obsolete before you ever walk out of the store, yet some cars run the same cruddy infotainment systems they did in 2005.
Another huge relief that HTML 5 would bring to the automotive world would be the development of apps. As it stands now, cars are much like the iPhone – you have to buy licensed apps from the app store, which cost loads of money over time. With the introduction of HTML 5, you get the option of more open-source apps, like you do with an Android-based smartphone or tablet. No, we’re not trying to start a Mac vs. Android war; we’re just stating the obvious.
In turn, all of this should – theoretically – make bringing more advanced infotainment systems to the consumer at a lower price.
QNX expects to see CAR 2 start being used sometime in 2013 or 2014. We’ll keep an eye on this and bring you more information as it becomes available.
Check out the above video to see QNX CAR 2 in action, it’s pretty awesome.
Electric cars are certainly beginning to take flight lately, with Tesla becoming the unlikely leader of the whole revolution. Okay, maybe it’s not quite a revolution yet, but it’s at least starting to gain a little more traction. It has gained enough traction to garner the attention of UK coach builder, Prindiville.
Prindiville, being the creative company that it is, couldn’t just make any run-of-the-mill EV. Nope, its engineers and designers came up with a near mock up of the latest Hummer H3 – you know, one of the many defunct GM brands – only miniaturize and electric driven. What a concept!
Prindiville has now begun production and released a slew of specifications, so we felt it was time to give it the appropriate TopSpeed once over via a full review. So is this new custom EV in a shrunk-down Hummer body a good buy for the average driver?
To find out the answer to that and more, click past the jump. Full story
General Motors does some pretty weird things, but also some really fantastic things. One of the latter is that GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson, will be auctioning off his 1958 Corvette, which holds a value of somewhere between $50,000 and $135,000, for charity. All of the proceeds of this auction will go directly to Habitat for Humanity Detroit, an area that truly needs the help.
We’d like to give Akerson nothing but praise here, but we can’t quite do that. Around the same time this report of generosity came out, we found out that GM is in the midst of playing Russian roulette with taxpayer dollars.
GM is the only automaker not to pay back its bailout loan, and it is now considering using this bailout money to buy international operations from Ally, the only bailed out financial institution not to repay its bail-out loan. In a fit of irony, Ally needs this bail out from the bailed-out GM in order to try and pay off its own unpaid bailout loan ... You got all of that?
So on one hand, GM is showing its compassionate side and carefully pulling the wool over our eyes, while the other hand is greedily reaching in our wallets and purses to grab a little more money. Granted, GM “paid back” the government in stock, but that is a losing effort to date and it will likely never turn into a breakeven deal for taxpayers.
In addition, if Ally needs to sell these operations to get the money together to pay back its bailout, what does GM expect to make with these operations? But that’s okay, Akerson is donating his `Vette! So pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
Protests can be a great way to get a point across peacefully. Typically, they occur without any pain and suffering and an agreement is met at some point. In Columbia, we guess they do things a little differently.
Several ex-workers at GM plants in Columbia started protesting in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to settle a grievance. The charges that the ex-workers are seeking reparation for are being fired after getting injured on the job and failure of the company to cover the resulting medical expenses. These workers now want GM to pay the medical bills and provide help to ousted workers in finding new employers.
Both requests seem typical of a protest, but recently the protest has taken an eerie turn, as the workers have gone on a hunger strike. How are they proving they aren’t eating? Well, they have literally sewn their mounts shut with needle and thread.
Their mouths are bound just tight enough to not allow food through, but loose enough for them to mumble out their points. Today would mark the 20th day these workers have gone without food and, according to the protesters, they are willing to die for their cause. If you look closely at the images, these guys have IVs in their hands and arms, so we are curious if they are getting nutrition and liquids fed to them intravenously. Regardless, they have to be getting fluids somehow, as you cannot survive 21 days without water.
The amount of time you can live without food varies, depending on your body, but somber examples – Northern Ireland protests in 1981 – have shown you can live up to 73 days without food.
GM’s response to these protests? "GM Colmotores is respectful of the law and has never put the health or the well-being of its employees at risk," GM said. "Furthermore, the company would like to reassure and reaffirm that no employee has been discharged for health reasons."
The protesting workers state that GM is taking advantage of the country’s lenient labor laws to get away with not providing compensation for medical costs and firing them. Some of the protestors have undergone years of injuries and costly surgeries and now find themselves without a job and drowning in medical debt.
Let’s just hope this gets itself sorted out by GM stepping up or the ex-workers putting a stop to this starvation protest. Are medical bills and unemployment really worth losing your life?
Holden has official re-released the Holden Thunder Ute, which we all assume will eventually makes its way to the U.S. as the resurrection of the El Camino. With its reintroduction, Holden needed a new advertising campaign. With an advertising campaign comes the need for a new slogan, and “The Ute, Americans are begging us to let ’em use it’” is just too long.
Well, Holden turned to its fans to come up with the new slogan, via everyone’s favorite medium, Facebook. Fortunately, those Aussie blokes are rather creative, as they came up with the slogan “No backseat drivers.” That makes perfect sense, as the Thunder Ute has only two seats and a truck bed. It would have been a little more difficult had GM chosen to go the Subaru Brat route and put two seats in the bed. Then, you technical would have backseat drivers. You can even see the new ad slogan in use in the above Thunder Ute commercial.
For a refresher, the Ute Thunder comes standard with a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 standard and has an optional 360-horsepowerpower 6.0-liter V-8. It also has a special charcoal-colored 19-inch rims and a slew of other standard features.
Now the only question remaining is when will GM officially start “leaking” information about the Thunder Ute coming to the U.S. as the El Camino? We are willing to put a dollar on it being here within five years. Then again, it was rumored to be returning with the previous Ute rendition, so we could be in for just a bunch of teasing and jealousy.
The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?
Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.
A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.
This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper’s engine.
We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.