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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.
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
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
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
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
You may have heard about specific car models that have sold a little above $100,000 or, at most, $200,000. Very impressive figures, but these figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how expensive cars can be when it comes to auctions where everyone tries to outbid each other by raising offers.
Yes, the Tesla Model S P85D and the new Ford GT are, without a doubt, excellent models of American cars. However, they are not the priciest, so to speak. If you’ve been avidly following auto news, you’ll find that prices for the most expensive cars in America have been skyrocketing beginning in 2004.
The bar is actually at $4 million and higher! These are not your ordinary cars either; these include historic examples that are decades older than the first car you’ve driven. Of course, European cars have always fetched an auspicious price when it comes to auctions, especially Ferraris, but it would be interesting to look at what prices American cars have been auctioned for.Read the entire article Top 10 American classic cars and the staggering prices they fetch at auctions
Chevrolet and General Motors announced that its employees, dealers, and even customers, are joining the fight against breast cancer for October. This will be the fifth year in a row that the two companies have joined in this commemoration.
For this year, the aim is to surpass the $1.2 million it managed to raise in 2014 for the American Cancer Society (ACS). This will be primarily done through the nationwide grassroots support of Chevrolet for the ACS’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks.
The company and its many participating dealers across the U.S. will also be supporting the walk through various activities like customer engagement, sponsorship, and team participation, among many others.Read the entire article Chevrolet and GM support fight against breast cancer with #IDriveFor campaign
Even as General Motors reported a 4% drop year-on-year in July for its sales in China, the company insists that it is still on track to reach an optimistic goal for profit margins for 2015 in this country, which is its second biggest market. In a statement posted on its website, we learned that GM and its joint ventures in China sold 229,175 cars.
It said that the drop in sales is due to the model changeovers. In June, the company reported a 0.2% increase while in May, it had a 4% decline. For the period from January to July, GM posted a 3.3% increase in sales compared to the same period in 2014.
China’s economy has been growing at its slowest pace in 25 years and the auto industry has been faltering. However, GM spokeswoman Irene Shen said that the automaker is keeping its prediction of achieving strong margins of about 9-10%, a goal that GM China chief Matt Tsien confirmed last May to be its target for this year.Read the entire article GM remains upbeat in China even as sales fall 4% in July 2015
The steep drop in the demand for vehicles in China has had a major impact on many global automakers, particularly Volkswagen and General Motors. China is where a huge chunk of the profits of these two brands come from. VW and GM are heavily exposed to the Chinese market.
While it continues to grow, Barclays (a prominent trade group) has downgraded its forecast for 2015 sales throughout the auto industry. Both VW and GM fail to provide a convincing plan on how they will offset the sluggish growth in the Chinese market with other business segments.
Last Thursday, Barclays reduced GM's stock to "equal weight" from "overweight” because it was expected to be the worst hit among the U.S. automakers of the drop in Chinese demand. Its analysts downgraded the entire U.S. sector to "negative.” They wrote that GM has “a lot to lose” and that there are “few catalysts” in the vicinity.Read the entire article Drop in China auto demand will hurt VW and GM the most
Buick has launched the “24 Hours of Happiness" – a test-drive program that allows customers to take test-drive vehicles home overnight. The automaker has planned a national advertising campaign that includes TV ads. The automaker is urging dealerships to enrol in this program. But rather than being a promotion that’s short-term, Buick actually intends for this to be a long-term strategy.
This offer is a “long-term brand promise,” according to Buick brand chief Duncan Aldred. He made the decision to push through with this program on the national level after he received positive customer feedback from a pilot program that was recently conducted in the Phoenix area. When interviewed, Aldred said that this move proves to customers that they’re really confident in their vehicles.
This concept of a 24-hour test drive isn’t a new one. In 2003 to 2004, GM had a similar campaign across its brands. GM went beyond and offered to give $250 to anyone who had test-driven a GM vehicle but decided to later on buy from a rival. GM had focused on boosting sales. For the 8-month period of the promotion in 2003, it recorded more than 500,000 extended test drives.Read the entire article Buick lets you test-drive their vehicles for 24 hours
Even when demand for small cars has been slowing down, there are no plans for General Motors to relocate its production, according to CEO Mary Barra. She said that GM won’t be mirroring Ford’s plan to shift production somewhere else. Barra was the speaker at a ceremonial event to start discussions with the UAW on a new four-year labor deal.
She said that GM was able to increase the profitability of its cars even as demand has fallen with the drop in gasoline prices and the trend towards crossovers. Barra also said that its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit produces “some very important small cars," which include the Chevrolet Sonic.
Last week, Ford announced that the production of the Focus and C-Max at its Michigan plant will be stopped in 2018. Ford didn’t say where its compact vehicles will be built but according to plant workers, they were told that it will be at a foreign country.Read the entire article GM will not move production overseas amid drop in small-car sales
Now that Chevrolet is near to launching the second-generation Volt for 2016, it’s high time to explore what can be done with the batteries from the first-generation units. It turns out that it still has a lot of use. For instance, five of these batteries are currently helping sustain the lights at the new General Motors Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground.
There are plenty of applications for these repurposed scrap Volt batteries including bat houses and nesting boxes for certain duck species. Typically, the Volt gets its power from a band of energy in the battery pack so there’s an ample supply of power for stationary use. The circuit breaker panel of the administration building receives power from a new solar array and two wind turbines.
This panel holds five Volt batteries, which work together with the main power supply and deliver net-zero energy use on an annual basis. Pablo Valencia, senior manager, Battery Life Cycle Management, said that as much as 80% of the battery’s storage capacity is left even after it has come to the end of its life in a Chevrolet Volt.Read the entire article Used Chevrolet Volt batteries help power GM Data Center
Amid the sluggish demand in the U.S. for small cars, about 100 General Motors workers will be laid off as the automaker plans to reduce the output of the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano by 21%. The factory workers at its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit were told that plant production will be adjusted “to better align with market demand."
The workers will be laid off in phases starting in July and until the end of the year. Sources say that the output will be cut from the current 33 cars per hour at the plant, down to about 26 cars – a 21% drop. Over the past year, the factory’s production has been cut several times as gasoline prices continue to be low and as the market now favors crossovers and trucks over cars.
In January, March, and April, single weeks of downtime were scheduled at the Orion plant. Last November, GM said that 160 workers will be laid off and that the line rate will be slowed down. In addition, it wants to have one more week of downtime close to the July 4 holiday, extending it from the usual two weeks to a total of three.Read the entire article GM to lay off workers as it cuts production of Chevy Sonic, Buick Verano
For the second straight month, General Motors reported a decline in sales in China, its biggest market, even when it reduced prices on 40 models of its Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. In May 2015, a 4% drop from the previous year was reported by GM and its China joint ventures with a total of 252,567 vehicles sold.
GM said that the decline is attributed to the phasing out of outdated models and a changeover. Economic growth in China has slowed down. As a result, foreign automakers are struggling while local brands are able to widen their market share by offering more affordable SUVs. The increase in passenger-vehicle sales has been at its slowest pace in five months in April.
Majority of the expansion has been contributed by local brands. Janet Lewis, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, said that consumer sentiment is “at a low point.” She explained that there’s a tendency to postpone buying when 80% of the consumers are looking for their first car. She said that GM isn’t in an especially good place in its model cycle.Read the entire article General Motors’ price reductions in China fail to stop sales decline
General Motors had a pleasant surprise when its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups sold very quickly but with it comes the dilemma of having to meet demand. Its latest move to add production at its St. Louis-area truck plant was to cut an unpaid lunch break. GM had reshuffled its schedule to eliminate the production lull between shifts of 6 minutes.
In a day with three shifts, doing this translates to an extra 18 minutes of production. In a year, that’s 3,500 more trucks built. This is just one example of how car companies are finding creative ways to boost production from their plants instead of pouring more investment into new factories.
GM has been vigorously working to fill the high demand for the midsize pickups and the Chevy Express and GMC Savana commercial vans, which also roll out from Wentzville. A plant worker said that GM is hiring up to 1,000 "flex" workers. Most of them will fill shifts on Saturday and Sunday.Read the entire article GM cuts lunch break to boost output of Colorado, Canyon pickups
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