GM Sets Its Sights on Autonomous Taxi Service

The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors aims to launch a public ride-sharing service across several cities that uses fully self-driving cars by 2019, potentially becoming the first traditional car maker to deploy autonomous technology at scale in the real world.

Describing self-driving cars as “the biggest thing since the internet”, the company said it eventually expected to make profit offering rides to the public for as little as $1 a mile. Car makers are racing to develop self-driving cars to use in fleets of robo-taxis in order to tap into a potentially lucrative new market and gain first-mover advantage in an industry that McKinsey says will be worth $1.5tn by 2030.

Huge hurdles remain before any manufacturer can roll out vehicles in the real world, both in developing the technology and in convincing regulators to permit vehicles without human drivers to operate alongside motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Companies seeking to operate driverless ride-sharing fleets also face stiff questions over how to make profits from such a cost-conscious service, which also sees them move beyond their traditional skills by running a network that matches customer demand with available cars, and is likely to see carmakers themselves assume significant costs such as vehicle depreciation.

GM said it had not yet decided whether to offer its own service or use a partner such as Lyft, the ride-booking app in which GM invested $500m during 2015. But in setting a 2019 start date, the car maker has claimed a lead over some of its closest competitors.

Cadillac President Makes Quarter-Million Dollar Price Tag Boast

Johann de Nysschen, President of Cadillac thinks that the company can come up with a luxury car that will sell for around 250K.

Nysschen, newly named Cadillac’s President in August, is spearheading a product overhaul that will cost GM about 2.5 billion dollars over the next six years.

Nysschen told Reuters in an interview that “It is too early today for a $250,000 Cadillac, fifteen years from now, it won’t be.” at the moment Cadillac’s flagship model, the XTS sedan, sells for 70k at most—and even those with poor math skills or lack of a calculator can see that is literally hundreds of thousands less than their current top price tag. The XTS is also tens of thousands less than best luxury models of import competitors like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Nysschen stated that their new top of the line luxury model, the CT-6 would be priced around 70k. And that by 2020 a larger, more expensive model is their goal.

Joe Victor

GM Will Stop Removing Truck Parts to Calculate Payload Ratings

It seems that General Motors and Ford have been playing with rigged dice when it comes to the way they calculate the payload ratings of some of the trucks. Maximum payload refers to the weight of all that a pickup carries; including passengers and cargo. When automakers discount truck parts, this obviously gives an inaccurate max payload calculation—it gives a higher payload rating than if they used the “standard curb weight” of the vehicle.

Ford has said that it deletes the weight of items such as the spare tire, jack, radio and center console to set the payloads only on its Super Duty pickups: the F-250, F-350 and F-450. GM excluded items on its light-weight pickups from the 2014 model year and from heavy-duty trucks from the 2015 model year.

Ford and GM pickup truck rivals—Ram, Toyota and Nissan—all claim to use standard curb weights to determine max payload capacities.

A GM spokesperson said that GM was evaluating industry standard practice and would get in line with what others were doing. While Ford said they will make no changes to their calculation practices.

Joe Victor

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 Gives Exotics a Run for Their Money

GM’s new production car, the 2015 Corvette Z06, will run alongside the fastest and most exotic cars available in America. It will keep pace with the likes of the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, the McLaren P1, the Lamborghini Aventador and the Ferrari FF.
The Z06 will also be the fastest production vehicle ever built by GM. The Z06’s LT4 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine is SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque (881 Nm) at 3,600 rpm.” The LT4 Small Block sets a new benchmark for power and torque at GM,” said Steve Kiefer, vice president, GM Powertrain Engineering.

Keeping with the engineering advances that have made other Corvettes what they are Chevy was able to create a production vehicle that out guns many competitors. For example, the new LT4 inside the Z06 engine blows away the Porsche 911 Turbo S engine’s max power levels by 90 horsepower (67 kW) and 134 lb-ft of torque (182 Nm).

Jordan Lee, chief engineer for Small Block engines, describes the achievements of the Z06 engine in detail: “The new LT4 engine builds on the design strengths of our previous supercharged engine and leverages the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray – direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing – to take Corvette performance to an all-new plateau,” said Lee. “Our new, very compact supercharger also helps the engine make power more quickly, and perhaps more importantly, it helps produce more torque earlier in the rpm band.”

Watch the roads for one of these new Corvettes, though with this kind of power you might only catch a blur of the famous Corvette logo.

More Info Here: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/06/06/2015-chevrolet-corvette-z06-650-hp-official/

Black Friday Car Deals

Curious if what has become known as “Black Friday” affects car sales, the Victor crew set about to find out what kind of deals there were out there. Here is what we found:

Houston, TX: Sterling McCall Toyota is slashing prices by thousands of dollars for their “Slicer Sale” and some hopefuls may drive away with a car as low as $1. There will be 3 sold at this price. Some people arrived early and camped out hoping for this deal.

GM: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC have deals being promoted. Cadillac is offering Black Friday cash discounts, and GMC truck is taking off $5000 on Sierra 1500 Crew Cab for example. Watch for promotions on TV.

Ford: Ford’s website has a promotion called “Black Friday Survival Guide” on their website. You can get up to a $1000 prepaid MasterCard to use toward your purchase or keep for your Christmas shopping.

Hyundai: Their Black Friday special is offering 0% financing for 72 months on four of their Elantras this week.

Totally unrelated to Black Friday, Victory Honda in Monroe Michigan is refunding the price of all Toyotas bought there between now and the big game of MSU vs OSU IF the Wolverines can shut out Buckeyes completely!

~ Joe Victor

Taking a look at Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet is bringing back the Stingray name for the 2014. This looks like a really good effort by Detroit and should garner some international attention. It has a brand new 450 hp 6.2 liter small block which will rocket you from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. It appears that the GM designers left may have had a paradigm shift it what make a ‘Vette a ‘Vette and and at least in my opinion they nailed it, this is a sharp car! This is the 7th generation Corvette and GM has high hopes for this machine and from first glance I think that hope is justified.

See the video introduction of the new 2014 Corvette Stingray

Get even more details in this 20 minute video from Chevrolet