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Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

Several years ago, on April 15, 2013, Ford and General Motors signed an agreement to jointly use automatic transmissions that both automakers had developed. This was developed mainly for models like the F-150 and the Mustang. For the former, their part of the deal was to share its own 10 speed gearbox to rear wheel drive cars with GM, and in return, they will be able to use the 9 speed gearbox which they can use in front wheel drive crossovers, for a smoother and more efficient drive.

The gearbox seen in this photo, the Hydra-Matic 9T50, which was originally introduced in Chevy models with the 2017 Malibu, 2017 Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Equinox will not find its way inside a Ford model. Rather, the automaker opted to use an eight speed box for models like the Edge and the MKX that replaces the Lincoln Nautilus.

So what made them change their mind? Well, Ford believes that GM’s transmission is not good enough to handle the extra weight that comes from the new gear. That is not all, because it also argues that it does not justify the increased cost required for it to adapt to the Ford models. AutoPacific Inc. analyst, Dave Sullivan, even joked that if he was offered a transmission that did not require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, he would take it and run.

Read the entire article Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.

GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.

Read the entire article GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.

Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.

Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.

LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.

Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.

BMW documents suggest that there will not be a manual Toyota Supra

Earlier this week, some internal documents from BMW have been leaked. And naturally, car enthusiasts would be curious to know what juicy details they would find in these files. So what has been revealed are some info on the models that will replace the BMW Z4 and the Toyota Supra’s future successor.

The 177-page long document suggest it to be a list of the German automaker’s designation for cars and motorcycles. This also includes details of BMW’s partners including Rolls Royce, Land Rover, and Toyota. We do not know whether the document is original or a fraud, but a spokesperson of BMW Australia refused to comment when asked regarding its authenticity.

The documents confirm that the Supra will only be available in automatic transmission. This is not fresh news regarding the Japanese sports coupe, but what’s new is the fact that the company will not be giving it a manual transmission at all. United States customers will only be getting two engine options for the Supra which are: the four-cylinder unit with 248 horsepower (185 kilowatts) and the 335 horsepower (250 kilowatts) six-cylinder unit. Luckily, European customers will get another option that is the four-cylinder unit. The automatic gearbox will give power to the rear wheels only.

Read the entire article BMW documents suggest that there will not be a manual Toyota Supra

Not only is the 2017 Honda Civic Type R new in the North American market, it recently got labelled the fastest car with a front-wheel drive setup at the Green Hell. Now, the Civic Type R will exclusively be given a six-speed manual transmission, just because an automatic gearbox would make the car weigh too much.

This was explained by the company during an interview between Yuji Matsumochi, Assistant Large Project Leader of the Civic Powertrain, and Australian publication Car Advice. So the Civic will come standard with the manual, with no option to get an automatic variant. This is because the Type R now weighs at 62.5 percent to 37.5 (that's front to rear axle). So a dual-clutch transmission will only make it much heavier, with its 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), which will definitely affect the car's performance.

Matsumochi explained that a front wheel drive will naturally need a lighter powertrain, and since the Type R already has a heavier engine, it will only work with a lightweight transmission. Thus, only the manual will work.

Read the entire article 2017 Honda Civic Type R gets exclusive 6-speed manual transmission, no automatic option

The BMW M model, as of today, offers their buyers two transmission options: either a six-speed manual or a seven speed dual-clutch automatic. But rumours have been circulating that these models will be the last few of its kind. Don’t worry though, the BMW M model will not be abandoned, but just the transmission options they are currently offering.

In fact, Peter Quintus, vice-president of sales and marketing of the said model supported the rumours regarding the manuals and DCTs when asked about transmissions as he stated “It’s more of a question of how long has the DCT got to go, how long will it last?” in an interview with Australian magazine The Drive. From what we know, this only applies to the M models, since he did not specify.

According to Quintus, what concerns them the most is the durability of the three-pedal and DCT options in the M portfolio. Specifically, the manual can only hold up to 450 horsepower (335 kilowatts) and 443 pound feet (600 Newton-metres) of torque. If power goes past that, then durability and longevity cannot be promised.

Read the entire article BMW: Time to say goodbye to manual and dual-clutch gearboxes

The ride-sharing fleet of sharing Lyft Inc. will soon include thousands of specially fitted self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, courtesy of General Motors. If plans push through, Lyft’s clients would be riding in autonomous EVs as early as start of 2018, according to a report by Reuters, citing sources privy to GM’s plans.

This brings the partnership between GM and Lyft to a new level – a technologically advanced collaboration that involves not just innovative electric vehicles, but also ground-breaking autonomous ones. Deploying thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV to Lyft would allow the United States-based carmaker to accelerate tests of its autonomous technology on its zero-emission cars. One of Reuters’ sources divulged that Lyft is planning to deploy these autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs for testing in a number of states across the US.

GM’s plans are in line with pronouncements of its executives and with its investor presentations in 2016 that it intends to build a high volume of self-driving vehicles and then deploy them in ride sharing services like Lyft. Despite these pronouncements ad presentations, details are still vague as to how many autonomous vehicles will be built or when the US carmaker is specifically planning to deploy them. In fact, GM has only said in recent statement that its autonomous vehicle technology will be featured in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than people have expected. It should be noted that the GM acquired a minority stake in Lyft in 2016 for around $500 million.

Read the entire article GM to deploy thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs to Lyft’s ride-sharing service

It looks like Opel/Vauxhall will have a new owner soon. This comes as the PSA Group and General Motors are currently holding talks over the possibility of GM selling its Opel unit to the French carmaker.

The discussions were first reported by Reuters and Bloomberg News, citing sources. In a recent statement, GM confirmed that the two carmakers are exploring several strategic initiatives with the objective of improving profitability as well as operational efficiency. GM added that the discussions included a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by the PSA Group. GM also noted that the carmakers have been in alliance since 2012, with the partnership covering three projects in Europe.

Selling Opel to the PSA Group wouldn’t be an easy thing to do for GM. There are quite a number of financial, industrial and political considerations that needed to be factored in. That said, both GM and PSA could also earn some benefits from such transaction.

Read the entire article GM confirms holding talks to sell Opel to the PSA Group

A definitive fruit of a 2013 master collaboration agreement between American carmaker General Motors and Japanese auto company Honda has finally been realized.

Considered as two of the leaders of in fuel cell technology among carmakers, GM and Honda inked in 2013 a long-term agreement to co-develop the next-generation fuel cell system as well as hydrogen storage technologies. The two carmakers also aimed to advance refueling infrastructure to improve the viability of fuel cell vehicles. To achieve this, GM and Honda planned to share expertise and economies of scale as well as pursue common sourcing strategies – thereby making fuel cell systems less costly to produce for the carmaker and more affordable to end consumers.

The agreement resulted in the establishment of the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), a manufacturing joint venture – as its name obviously indicates -- that will focus on the mass production of an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be employed in the upcoming products from GM and Honda. The two carmakers will invest in equal amounts a total of $85 million in the joint venture – the first in the auto industry – with an aim to commence mass production operations by the end of the decade (2020). FCSM will be based within GM’s battery pack production site located in Brownstown, Michigan.

Read the entire article GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

It seems that the much publicized breakfast meeting between the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler was a success, given the optimistic attitudes of the carmakers’ top honchos after the discussions.

Also present in the meeting – which GM CEO Mary Barra called as “very constructive” – Matt Blunt, a former Republican governor of Missouri who now serves as head of a US automaker trade association, Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other senior administration officials.

Basically, the meeting centered on bringing more jobs back to the US, which is one of the primary promises that Trump made during the presidential campaign. Discussions also included the possible policies that Trump intends to implement in the auto industry and how he plans to make it more enticing for carmakers to build more assembly plants in the US to create more jobs, thereby keeping jobs in the country.

Read the entire article President Trump meets with Big Three CEOs over efforts to open jobs in the US

If there is something to look out for from General Motors aside from its new vehicles and engines, it is its new nine-speed transmission. Yes, you’re reading it right, GM now has a new nine-speed transmission for its passenger vehicles, and it will make its first appearance in the new Chevrolet Malibu.

In particular, this new nine-speed transverse Hydra-Matic planetary automatic transmission Hydra-Matic 9T50 – developed by GM itself – will debut on the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier that is powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It will also be available on the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze that is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine and the 2018 Equinox with a 2.0-liter turbo powerplant. Also, GM’s Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed transmission will be available to seven more models by the end of 2017.

This new Hydra-Matic 9T50 is derived from GM’s existing six-speed transverse automatic gearbox. GM will manufacture the Hydra-Matic 9T50 at its San Luis Potosi site in Mexico. While GM developed the Hydra-Matic 9T50 to be employed in front-wheel-drive passenger vehicles – both gasoline and diesel-powered – this nine-speed automatic transmission is also ready to be used in four-wheel-drive units.

Read the entire article GM to use Hydra-Matic 9T50 9-speed transmission on the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier

A forum post in Mustang6G and a succeeding blog post have revealed some interesting details regarding the 2018 Ford Mustang. While there may not be a lot of details divulged, there is enough to get an idea of what to expect. We get for instance an idea of what colors to expected for the regular version and the Shelby.

In terms of transmissions though, it will still use the automatic version but instead of the 6-speed unit, it is fitted with a 10-speed one. This is the same one inside the Raptor and even some of the F-150 models. The shift is not that surprising considering that this can be seen as the best next step and if equipped correctly, can enhance not only performance but efficiency as well.

On the outside, there is the possibility that the 2018 Ford Mustang will have new headlights and new taillights too. There is also the chance that the bumpers will be redesigned. At the rear portion, Ford is likely to make a dual exhaust available, though the post does not show on what engine it will be paired with.

Read the entire article 2018 Ford Mustang loses V6 engine but gains 10-speed auto and some interesting upgrades

General Motors has teamed up with OnStar and IBM to create another technological innovation in the automotive world. The OnStar Go, General Motor’s new cognitive mobility platform, aims to help its customers “connect and interact” and purchase items even when on the go.

OnStar Go will make use of the IBM Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence software and tech platform that reveals various requested data with the use of natural language processing and machine learning. It will then go through the data to identify patterns in the driver’s preferences including their decisions and habits; this information will then be sent to brand and marketing professionals who work with IBM and OnStar for them to provide individualized location-based interactions with their target audience and customers. In short, OnStar Go will provide in-car advertising in each GM model.

This new technology will be making its way in future GM models, and will be the equivalent of a Google Assistant or Siri. It will serve the same purpose as these smartphone assistants, suggesting nearby restaurant offers and even locate the nearest gas station.

Read the entire article GM teams with IBM to create new OnStar Go cognitive mobility platform in 2017

It seems that German carmaker Volkswagen Group is running into more trouble in the United States as it has been accused of employing a different cheating software to earn good fuel consumption and emission ratings.

This comes as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found around four months ago that one of Audi’s automatic transmissions employs a special software that could artificially lower emissions during testing, according to a report by German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Just recently, Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to an agreement that would settle the differences between the carmaker and private plaintiffs affected by the so-called “Dieselgate” scandal that involves its 2.0-liter TDI engine. This agreement – reached between the carmaker, its affiliates entered US Department of Justice (DOJ) and regulatory agencies -- meant that owners could opt for either a buyback or a modification subject to government approval.

Read the entire article Another emissions-cheating software discovered in Audi's automatic transmission

Pickup trucks are usually known for their gas-guzzling nature, especially when they are powered by high-output engines. The new Ford F-150 changes this game for the 2017 model year, with both its rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models posting impressive gains not only in terms of max power output and peak torque, but also in the area of fuel efficiency (city, highway and combined).

The core of this improvement on the new 2017 Ford F-150 is none other than the terrific combination of a more powerful yet more efficient new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine (second generation) and the first volume-production 10-speed automatic transmission that allows for further enhancements in performance (especially acceleration) and efficiency, as well as towing and hauling control. Thanks to this combo, the new Ford F-150 is able to provide better low-end and peak performance, making it suitable for towing heavy trailers as well as hauling heavy payloads.

Ford expects that its EcoBoost-equipped F-150 trucks will account for over a million units running on the road over the next year. This means that over 110 million gallons of gas could be saved by F-150 owners over the next year, while still out-hauling its truck rivals.

Read the entire article 2017 Ford F-150: better fuel economy, new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission

The new 2017 Dacia Duster is furthering its already appealing proposition with an array of upgrades. Starting October this year, the Duster – the Lauréate and flagship Prestige 4x2 models in particular -- could be availed with an automatic six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) gearbox. This EDC transmission fuses the comfort and smoothness of an automatic gearbox with the low fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions of a manual gearbox – while still allowing the Duster to be as affordable as it has been.

With this gearbox, drivers could expect a simpler and smoother drive. This system features Hill Start Assist which could hold the brakes for a limited period during a start on a sloping terrain, thereby giving drivers enough time to step on the brakes.

This means drivers won’t roll back unintentionally as the SUV moves away. When paired to the EDC transmission, the models’ 1.5 dCi 110 turbodiesel engine could return 62.8mpg (NEDC combined) and emit 116 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Dacia will commence sales of the Duster EDC in the United Kingdom at a starting price of £14,895 on-the-road.

Read the entire article Dacia Duster greets 2017 with numerous upgrades including automatic EDC transmission

In a bid to streamline its various processes in racing engine design enhancements and its eventual application to production car models, General Motors recently announced the opening of its all new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center. Located in the Pontiac, Michigan campus, the new facility will house the soon-to-be relocated Performance and Racing team currently housed in their Racing Center in Wixom, Michigan facility.

The new center is part of the $200 million investment of the Pontiac campus and is now directly connected to GM’s Global Powertrain Engineering Center. Comprised of nearly 100 engineers, engine builders and support staff, the Performance and Racing team is mainly responsible for developing new engine designs for NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, and IMSA, among others. On the other hand, the Global Powertrain Engineering group is in charge for the production of powertrains for production vehicles.

Dan Nicholson, VP for General Motors Global Powertrain applauds the move. Nicholson observes that with the two divisions within easy reach, the set up offers faster communication between racing engineers and powertrain engineers allowing faster integration of racing tested new technologies to mainstream vehicle production. Nicholson added that “we race to win and learn” which means that racing ultimately benefits the end customers with better performing and safer vehicles.

Read the entire article GM opens performance and racing center

According to a General Motors (GM) Company executive, the automobile manufacturer will raise the production rate of its Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup, which has suffered from low supply since it was launched for customer sales 18 months ago.

Production and assembly of the Chevrolet Colorado are being held at GM's plant in Wentzville, Missouri, where its sibling vehicle GMC Canyon is also produced. According to Chevrolet Director of Truck Marketing Sandor Piszar, there is a "hard tooling capacity on the line.”

To meet the demand for the trucks, Piszar said that the company will increase the production capacity at its Wentzville plant. Additionally, GM Wentzville plant spokesman Darin Copeland confirmed that the company is working on the line speed to produce more trucks.

Read the entire article GM expands production of Chevrolet Colorado, Canyon at Wentzville Plant to meet global demand

General Motors and Lyft Inc. have entered into a long-term strategic alliance to establish an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the United States. As part of the agreement, GM will make a $500-million investment in Lyft and will hold a seat on the ridesharing service company’s board of directors.

The alliance between GM and Lyft has four key elements: Autonomous On-Demand Network; Rental Hub; Connectivity; and Joint Mobility Offerings. Under the agreement, GM and Lyft will jointly develop a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.

This project will leverage the carmaker's already deep knowledge of autonomous technology and Lyft’s capabilities in providing ride-sharing services. Likewise, with immediate effectivity, the carmaker will become a preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers through a number of rental hubs spread across various cities in the US.

Read the entire article GM and Lyft ink long-term cooperation deal to build US autonomous vehicle network

A prototype of the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup that’s meant to run on a commercially made hydrogen fuel cell propulsion cell is currently in the works. However, it’s not meant for the consumers just yet.

This Colorado prototype is a collaboration between General Motors and the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC). According to Charlie Freese, who is executive director for Global Fuel Cell Engineering Activities at GM, the collaboration is meant to test GM’s hydrogen fuel cell technology to its limits.

Freese said that collaborating with the military creates an opportunity for the company to use heavy military usage as a means to gauge the performance of the technology. As for TARDEC, its director Paul Rogers stated that the collaboration will give the outfit the opportunity to gauge the potential that hydrogen fuel cell technology can bring to the military.

Read the entire article Hydrogen Fuel Cell Chevrolet Colorado on its way thanks to US Army TARDEC and GM