Posts from ‘General Motors’
Since the 2014 edition of the Chevrolet Corvette marks only the seventh redesign in the car’s 61-year history, it isn’t often that “America’s Only Sports Car” gets a major overhaul. As such, its designers not only have to make up ground lost to newer competitors, but vault the car far enough ahead that it won’t be terribly outdated before its next redesign – which, if history is any indication, is probably another ten years away.
A decade is nearly an eternity in car years nowadays, as technology is advancing at a stunning rate. But Chevrolet seems confident that the new Corvette can hold its own in its market, and that the car is far enough advanced that it raises the bar competitors will have to clear for years to come. So convinced are they, in fact, that they graced the car with a hallowed name from Corvette’s glory years: The new 2014 model is called, correctly, the Corvette Stingray.
New-car “sticker shock” is a well-known phenomenon. It mostly affects those who haven’t shopped for a new vehicle in recent years, as prices have been rising steadily—and in some cases, steeply. In fact, the average transaction price of a new car recently topped $30,000 for the first time.
But Chevrolet has announced that the 2014 Volt will buck that trend. Due to go on sale toward the end of this summer, it will carry a lower base price than it did for 2013—a whopping $5000 lower.
Bob Lutz has accomplished more in his golden years than most auto execs do in a lifetime. At age 69, Lutz became General Motors’ Vice Chairman of Product Development and helped create cars such as the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Enclave, Buick LaCrosse, and Pontiac Solstice. He also championed the electric/gas Chevrolet Volt before withdrawing from an active role at GM in 2009. Now at age 81, Lutz is launching a high-performance sedan, the VL Destino.
Apple recently announced that its voice-recognition application for iPhone, known as Siri, will be integrated into the cars of at least seven major manufacturers.
Siri lets a user control many of the iPhone’s functions simply by speaking the request into the phone in normal, colloquial language. Such functions include making calls, playing music, hearing and writing text messages, finding directions, and various other features, including the ability to ask a question and receive a relevant answer.
So far, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz have confirmed that they’ll incorporate Siri into their infotainment systems, and Audi and Toyota are said to be working with Apple, as well. According to an article in trade publication Automotive News, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark and Sonic will have this feature.
A new Apple iPhone application called Eyes Free makes it possible. Eyes Free will link the iPhone to a compatible car’s voice-recognition system. It will use the existing voice button on the car’s steering wheel and the car’s built-in microphone to access the Siri app. The user won’t have to handle the phone while driving, which is considered distracting. Additionally, the iPhone’s screen will remain off during the interaction to curb visual distractions. Eyes Free will debut as part of the company’s reveal of iOS 6, the new operating system for Apple mobile devices, including iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Sarcastically, it was called badge engineering. Basically, it’s the process by which an automaker amortizes development costs by retrimming an existing vehicle and selling it under another name—usually through another brand channel, or channels.
I might have just answered my own question in the title. After reading the blog about the Pontiac Aztek by my boss—CG publisher and automotive sage Tom Appel—it got me thinking about General Motors’ other vehicles that used the old Chevrolet Venture minivan platform.