Plug-in hybrid cars are said to be more fuel efficient and of course cheaper to operate compared to the regular vehicles using conventional combustion engines. It is not a free lunch though since charging these hybrids will mean consuming energy too, and money to pay for the electric bill.
The OnStar service of General Motors has an application that can tell owners of the Chevrolet Volt about the real cost of plugging their hybrid vehicles to an outlet at home. The app is called EcoHub and has the function of comparing the energy used by the Volt against the total consumption of the household on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis.
The new app will be using the energy data that can come from a utility company or a smart meter to get the info on overall usage. It also collects information from the Volt owners about the charging information of the vehicle.
The marketing team of Chevrolet pointed out that owners of the Volt have the good habit of keeping tract of their stats and compare their driving stats like the number of miles driven for a single charge. The app is a perfect combo to the technology of the Volt to provide very useful information to Volt owners. The EcoHub will be made available to a demo project in Austin, Texas initially.
You can click on the video below to learn more about the EcoHub app:
General Motors is negotiating with Facebook to resume their advertising via the social media platform. GM put on halt their advertising on the website amounting to $10 million a day before the IPO of Facebook. GM is among the biggest advertiser on the site.
The previous withdrawal of the automotive company somehow embarrassed the social media giant and raised some doubts about the benefits of advertisements on Facebook that currently has 800 million registered users across the globe.
The chief executive of GM, Daniel Akerson, met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and other executives to discuss the possible comeback of the car brand. GM has not made any decision as yet and wants proof of the benefits of Facebook’s paid advertising.
Last May, GM said that the advertising on Facebook has been ineffective, but the brand maintained its presence on the site thru several fan pages. The automotive giant has been spending $10 million every year for the ad placements on Facebook while allotting $30 million for their fan pages. The budget though is just a fraction of what the company spends for their advertisements across the global market amounting to $4 billion.
Facebook is still working hard to convince Wall Street of the effectiveness of their advertisements.
Ford Motor meanwhile has been known as a strong backer of Facebook and has been pouring their budget for ads on the website. Ford has about 10 million followers across the world for its fan pages. The main page alone has more than 1.5 million followers while the Mustang has 4.2 million.
Chrysler also does not plan to stop their ads on Facebook. The Jeep fan page has more than 2.7 million followers while the Dodge page has about 1.3 million. The Chevrolet page is being followed by 1.2 million people; the GMC page by 685,000; and the Buick fan page by 420,000 uses. The corporate page of GM has more than 300,000 followers.
General Motors Co. is adding a little something to their Cadillacs which no other car model has at the moments: a collision alert system. The said system is said to be installed in the GM’s ATS, SRX, and SRX models. These work with sensors and allow the driver to privately get warning signals just in case they’re about to collide with another vehicle. Privacy is a key to these alarm systems as no consumer would like to cause panic among passengers. This way, drivers can avoid accidents without scaring everyone in the car.
Exactly how does this collision alarm system work? A part of the whole collision alarm system is the haptic vibrating seats. Whenever the vehicle is about to crash into another object or vehicle, the driver’s seat vibrates. This way, the driver is given time to think and to make sure that the collision won’t happen. While it hasn’t been strictly tested, the car manufacturer is positive this idea would be well accepted by their clients.
Models carrying this collision alert system will be released very soon. The 2013 XTS is slated to be out in the market by May, the 2013 ATS will be out by August, and the 2013 XRS by the first part of next year. The alarm collision system is actually just a part of the bigger Driver’s Assist Package. Aside from the collision alert system, there is also an alert system for blind zones, rear cross-traffic, lane-departure, and so much more.
The car manufacturer also showed off an attractive feature of its automated test SRX. This is the SuperCruise allows the cruise to be “adapted” according to the steering habits of the driver, and the feedback coming from the cameras and sensors.
The pricing of these vehicles has not yet been released to the public.
Apart from the badges, there is a very small difference between the current editions of the GMS Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado. This will not be the case anymore when GM releases the new version of the GMC Sierra which will be positioned in the more upscale market compared to the Silverado which shares the same platform.
Although the GMC Sierra is being marketed as a more high-end alternative to the Silverado, there is only a mere difference of $500 between some models. The incentives too during the purchase are similar for the Sierra and the Silverado.
So the market may distinguish the two trucks, GM will inject into the next gen Sierra more standard features compared to its sibling Silverado. The pricing will also be higher. According to a GM insider, the different models and equipment will have different approaches and the company is determined to widen the distance between the two brands.
GM will also implement styling changes that will contribute to the needed gap between the Silverado and the Sierra. .
The Chevrolet Silvarado and the GMC Sierra will be rolling out in 2013.
The small electric vehicle concept EN-V of General Motors which was originally designed for the the 2010 World Shanghai Expo produced in collaboration with Shanghai Auto and Segway has recently morphed to become the EN-V concept under the Chevrolet brand that will be used for pilot projects in chosen megacities across the globe.
The EN-V is still true to its original purpose of meeting the bigger demand and stronger clamor for greener and safer personal transportation. It was first unveiled in 2010 with GM describing it as an ideal urban mobility device for the future which may help address problems in air pollution, lack of parking spaces, and heavy traffic.
EN-V by the way stands for Electric Networked Vehicle. The EN-V is considered an ultra compact mode of transportation weighing only 1,100 pounds and measuring not more than 5 feet long. Comparing it to the conventional car, the EN-V is just a third of its size in terms of length and weight. The small configuration of the EN—V makes it extra maneuverable with an ability to park in very tight spaces in the city.
The vehicle depends on electric motors which runs on lithium ion battery that can be charged using a normal household electric current. The driving range of this car is about 25 miles.
GM recently announced that the EN-V will be re-badged under the Chevrolet brand and will have new features like climate control, have a storage space, and be operable in all weather conditions. The Chevrolet EN-V will also be retaining the original capabilities of the concept like its connectivity, autonomous driving features, and electric propulsion technology.
The car manufacturer sees the EN-V to re-invent transportation in major cities by effectively merging connectivity and electrification. Aside from doing test runs in emerging markets, the EN-V will also have a test run in New York.
Two years from now, General Motors India’s combined business project with China’s SAIC will bring a line of three passenger vehicles and two mini-trucks to India which will bear the Chevrolet brand. This is what India’s General Motor executive Karl Slym.
Slym explained that in the next three to four years, the popularity of light commercial vehicles will rise up to 24%, a rate wherein a foreseeable market growth is expected and wherein mini trucks in the sub-one ton and one ton categories, can be priced aggressively.
India manufactures a very small quantity of light trucks. So far, Tata is the only brand who dominates the light truck market by almost 90%. The others, namely Force Motors Trumpas, Bajaj Auto GC Max, Piaggio Ape, and Mahindra & Mahindra Gio, have small shares in the market. Soon, General Motors will join in the light trucks markets of India too.
After many years of trying to get out of its own hole, General Motors finally wraps up its payment to the US Treasury and Export Development in Canada. The company was also able to invest $257 million to prepare its Malibu plants in Kansas (primary), Fairfax and Detroit Hamtramck (secondary). GM paid a total of $5.8 billion, with $4.7 billion owing to loans made from the US and the remaining $1.1 billion to Canada. According to Automotive News reports, the US government still holds equity stakes in GM.
The company’s ability to pay back ahead of time is a sign that GM’s financial plan is working, says GM CEO Ed Whitacre. This is definitely good news for GM investors around the globe. Whitacre also stressed on the importance of letting their investors reduce their equity investments.
GM’s sales shot up to 36%, though, compared to the previous year. The popular crossover models including the 5th generation Camaro, the mid-sized Malibu and Lacross, and the range vehicles Equinox, Traverse, Acadia, and SRX all contributed to the increase in sales growth.
General Motors returns to leasing some of their luxury vehicles after exiting about a year back. The program was recently re-launched to include some models from their 2010 and 2009 fleet. Consumers can check out some units from Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC.
The program is operated in collaboration with U.S. Bank. Pilot runs of the leasing program include vehicles of GM sold in Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. The new gen Cadillac SRX is being offered for lease nationally by the bank. The initial run will go through August 31, 2009.
GM was forced to cut their leasing program last year due to the drop in profits. Consumers also showed low demand for vehicles because of the recession. The economy is starting to fix itself and the demand for cars has been up recently. According to statistics that monitors the demand in the leasing market, there was a 22% jump in the market demand for the Escalade of Cadillac. The Enclave from Buick has an 18% rise.
Although GM sales was doing okay without the leasing program, the car manufacturer believes that they have a sector which really needs it. The crossover Cadillac SRX really adds excitement to the luxury leasing program since it is offered nationwide.
Last weekend, a bankruptcy court judge gives a nod for the sale of assets for the most valuable assets of GM to end bankruptcy protection from the ownership of the government. This means that the car manufacturer is a step closer from getting out of bankruptcy.
Robert Gerber, the judge who ruled on the case, described it as a necessary step to prevent the death of a critically ill patient. The court has given a stay of four days which permits a close as early as July 10.
The sale will transfer in essence all of the properties of General Motors to the NGMCO Inc. which was established by the Department of Treasury. NGMCO will be known as General Motors Company once the sale is completed and will operate through the corporate GM and all of its sub brands.
Fritz Henderson will be the CEO of the newly established GM. The cost of operations will also be competitive in terms of its structure with standing agreements with the UAW and CAW, organizations of Auto Workers in United States and Canada, respectively.
The new status of GM will allow it to operate and gain profits at lower volume of productions. GM attributes this foresight to the cleaner debt sheet and better balance sheet post bankruptcy.
About a week ago, General Motors denied that it will be licensing the Synergy Drive hybrid system of Toyota. Over the weekend, there are rumors that Toyota might be pushing the Prius over to the GM camp and be re-branded wearing a GM badge.
The picture is not that clear especially when one considers the effort of GM in developing the Volt and the Buick crossover. But with the announcement of General Motors that it will be withdrawing from its partnership with Toyota at the NUMMI or New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated, the move of re-branding the Prius may be a logical move.
The withdrawal was made after a final agreement as to which future product line up should be developed cannot be made between the two parties.
A spokesperson from GM North America informed the press that the joint venture between Toyota and their company has no future units planned for production.