Justin Hyde at Motoramic 3 days ago
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen has one of the tougher jobs in the auto industry — making General Motors luxury brand a global success. Despite billions in spending over the past decade, Cadillac still trails its major German competition at home and abroad; last year, sales fell in the United States even as the rest of the market grew, and Mercedes-Benz outsold it 2-to-1.
Armed with a fresh plan for $12 billion in new models — including a top-line CT6 flagship sedan set to be unveiled in April, along with new SUVs — de Nysschen has been unveiling a revamp of Cadillac, including upgrading many of its 900 U.S. dealers (who sell far fewer vehicles per store than the 200-300 dealers its competition uses.) In an interview with Yahoo Autos, de Nysschen answered several questions about where Cadillac goes from here, and how. The responses have been edited for space.
Q: What's the sales outlook for 2015?
Q: Would you like to reduce the number of Cadillac dealers in the United States?
Q: What will this future Cadillac dealer look like?
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 9 days ago
BMW ended 2014 as the most popular luxury car brand in America, a position it's held now for three of the past four years. Much of that has come from growing into every heard-of type of vehicle and a few unheard-of ones as well; the lineup now stretches from a $30,000 X1 crossover to a $111,000 M6 sedan. The largest BMW factory in the world sits in South Carolina, and every model BMW sells in Europe it sells here as well — with one fast exception.
Today, BMW unveiled new versions of its 1-Series hatchbacks, rear-wheel-drive cars the size of the Ford Focus that serve as entry-level vehicles in Europe. BMW sold the coupe and convertible versions of the 1-Series in the United States from 2011 to 2013, but now uses the more expressive 2-Series coupe and convertibles in their place. If it tried to sell some of the lower trim levels of the new 1-Series here, like those with cloth seats and a 136-hp engine, there would be cross-shopping with cars like the $27,000 Ford Focus Titanium, and that's just not worth the tiny profit, if any, BMW could make.
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 11 days ago
It will be at least another 18 months before the new Ford GT and the upcoming Acura NSX supercars can run the same track — but at this year's Detroit auto show, no question sparked more conversations, and occasional arguments, than "Which one is faster?"
The lack of major details about the GT, and even final horsepower figures for either car, has posed no hurdle to the experienced bench racers around Detroit, including many who build fast machines for a living. After hearing both sides over the past couple of days, here's a snapshot of each case for which will be the king of American-built supercars.
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 11 days ago
The Detroit auto show's press preview days have wound down, but now comes the hard part: Sorting out what was real, and what was just gloss for the thousands of reporters who came to see the latest new vehicles. Sure, who can stop looking at cars like the Ford Mustang 350GTR track toy, or even the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup — but when we paused to put things in context, we saw three distinct trends coursing through the show.
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 12 days ago
To an audience full of auto-industry executives in Detroit, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk made a few bold statements on Tuesday: Tesla is growing, will turn a profit eventually, and was doing so in large part because the rest of the industry didn't want to build electric cars — at least ones that people would buy.
In a rare question and answer session at the Automotive News World Congress, Musk said he envisioned Tesla building "a few million vehicles" per year by 2025 — compared to less than 100,000 today. He said Tesla was only unprofitable because it was ramping up production for one new model, designing another and building a $5 billion battery factory, with regular profits expected by the time it launched a new small vehicle in 2020.
Musk added that Tesla was already sold out of the forthcoming Model X SUV through 2015, even though production had been delayed while the company perfected its "falcon wing" doors.
Tesla was founded in part, he said, because it was "very important for there to be an example of an electric car that was great. There were no great electric cars."
When Honda's Acura luxury division announced it was bringing back the iconic NSX sports car in 2012 — as a mid-engined, Ohio-built hybrid supercar — there was a sizable amount of doubt around the industry about Honda's wherewithal to complete such a leap. Today, Acura revealed the finished NSX, and indeed, it's a supercar with more than 550 hp, three electric motors and a price that begins around $150,000 that will roll out of Ohio in a matter of months.
The previous generation NSX holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts; a lithe, affordable (by supercar standards) handling machine, tuned with input from the great Ayrton Senna, that could embarass the Italian machinery of its time. While the 21st century NSX retains the basic layout and some of the styling cues of the original, in all other respects it's become a far more substantial vehicle — five inches wider, with a wheelbase that's 11 inches longer.
This is the Chevrolet Bolt, a concept of an all-electric sedan/wagon that General Motors will likely produce in two years that can travel 200 miles on a single charge for a price of roughly $30,000 after any federal incentives — an embrace of electric-powered driving that will put GM in head-to-head competition with Tesla Motors.
Unlike the tiny Spark EV that GM sells today in two states, GM executives said the production version of the Bolt was meant to be sold nationwide, as an affordable daily driver that doubles as a tech statement.
"This is no stripped-down science project," said GM CEO Mary Barra, adding later: " Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers."
Alan Batey, Chevrolet's global sales chief, said GM would consider whether to sell the Bolt overseas, adding that the car was advanced but not out of reach for the automaker after several years of building the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, a new version of which was revealed today with a 50-mile electric range.
Batey said as of today, Tesla wasn't a competitor to the Bolt.
Eight years ago, General Motors shocked not just the automotive business but the world at large with an audacious plug-in hybrid car that aimed to combine the best traits of gas and electric vehicles. Executives dubbed it the "iCar" while under development and saw it not just as a vehicle but a flagship, a way to demonstrate the heights of GM engineering while leapfrogging Toyota's Prius hybrids. GM Chairman Rick Wagoner even called it "the reinvention of the automobile."
Today, GM revealed the second-generation of the Chevrolet Volt. It's better, by all dimensions, with an all-electric range of 50 miles and a total range of 420 miles. It can seat five instead of four, it looks sharper and goes further on a unit of energy. Yet if the past eight years have taught GM anything, it's that there's no easy route to reinventing the car.
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 14 days ago
Nothing explains the luxury car world quite like that old Little Richard lyric: Keep a knockin' but you can't come in. Inside live the brands, mostly European, whose names are a global shorthand for success and wealth. On the doorstep stand the strivers from Detroit and Japan, who haven't quite got a foot in, despite a few billion dollars worth of knocking.
Today, Infiniti knocks again with this: the Q60 Concept, a near-preview of a car it will build in 2016, part of a global reboot meant to elevate Nissan's long-suffering luxury experiment into a major player. While there's a new engine under the hood — a 3-liter V-6 with twin turbos and a 7-speed automatic — Infiniti withheld other details that would differentiate it from the styrofoam in a clay mock-up. What matters as far as the Detroit auto show goes is the Q60's exterior and interior look.
Justin Hyde at Motoramic 16 days ago
Starting the only known street-legal, jet-engined Corvette is easy. Push the buttons on the console to turn on the igniters inside the Pratt & Whitney turbine (assuming you've put jet A fuel into the tank, although it will run on nearly anything that burns.) Engage the starter so the turbines begin spinning up to 30,000 rpm. Push in a T-handle that looks like a choke from a 1940s sedan, and once the engine's at speed, turn the igniters off. Don't worry — you'll know when it's running by the sound of a jet surrounding you.
The Jet Vette was the creation of Andy and Vince Granatelli, created in 1978 a decade after Andy Granatelli had nearly won the Indianapolis 500 with the most radical race car of its age: four-wheel-drive, Lotus-built turbine cars. The only turbine Lotus in private hands — the 1968 Lotus 56-3 — and the Jet Vette will go up for sale on Jan. 17 at Barrett-Jackson's auction in Scottsdale, and even amid an event numbering 1,400 cars, the Granatelli turbine duo stands out.