The Safety of SUVs
On January 23, 2000, a famed American football player, Derrick Thomas, lost control of his 1999 Chevy Suburban on a main road that was covered with snow and ice, and the car rolled. His friend, Michael D. Tellis, was declared dead at the scene, while Thomas died two weeks after from a pulmonary embolism.
Thomas’ mother initiated a lawsuit against General Motors, claiming that flaws of the Surburban’s design were at fault. In 2004, a jury declared the Thomas family to be due no money. Neither Thomas nor Tellis had been wearing seatbelts, while a third passenger, John C. Hagebusch, had used a seatbelt and suffered only minor injuries. Witnesses attested that Thomas had been driving excessively fast and weaving between traffic.
While the SUV was surely clearly not at fault in this instance, it caused “SUV” and “safety” to be mentioned in the same sentence. The scandal of the tyres of the Ford Explorer SUV from 2000 to 2002 was firmer cause for concern over the safety of SUVs. People came to believe that SUVs were unsafe, which is something anyone contemplating which are the best SUVs will wish to settle conclusively.
The Safest SUV
The Ford Ranger, arguably the safest SUV around
It can be strongly argued that the Ford Ranger is the safest SUV. It made motoring history when it received a five star rating from both the European New Car Assessment Programme and the Australian New Car Assessment Programme. A Ford Ranger review by Motoring will provide full details.
The Safety of SUVs
Figures released by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that large and mid-size SUVs are safer than regular cars. An SUV’s size and weight entail that any car with which one collides will probably be more at risk. Car makers have greatly changed SUV design, making the centre of gravity lower. Some safety features are as desirable in SUVs as in any car, but three are particularly useful.
Rollovers, and One Way to Prevent Them
According to another US body, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in excess of 10,000 people – over a third of fatalities – die yearly from rollover-related crashes, and most occur in SUVs. Technology, however, has improved this, and the fatality rate of SUVs has fallen by two thirds in the space of a decade.
Electronic stability systems can prevent some of the circumstances that cause rollovers by applying anti-lock brakes when control of the SUV is lost. The IIHS reported that these can reduce the risk of rollover by as much as 75 percent. Manufacturers proliferated this safety feature even before the US government made it compulsory in all vehicles for models built from 2012 onwards.
Rollover Prevention Systems
Dedicated rollover prevention systems are also available. These are widely considered to be the Holy Grail of SUV safety. They detect an impending rollover and trigger the electronic stability system to avoid the prospect.
Side Curtain Airbags
Side curtain airbags deploy downwards from the ceiling to cover side windows. While other vehicles are more likely to strike the doors of an SUV, these airbags protect occupants in the event of a rollover over several rolls. To be worthwhile, the airbags should be designed to deploy during a rollover, and the third row of seats should also be protected, if one is present.
Anyone wishing their SUV to be safe should ensure that the SUV they purchase possesses these features.
GM CEO takes off the gloves in swipe at Lincoln’s viability
Things are heating up again between the General and the Blue Oval as GM CEO Akerson takes a hard swipe at the slumping Lincoln brand. GM must be very confident in the new Cadillac models coming very soon and flat out unimpressed on the new Lincoln’s coming to showroom floors. It’s time both brands look at targeting the real sales leaders in the luxury market and at this point I have to say the new Cadillac XTS and ATS are good starts.
From Auto Blog:
“They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It’s over.”
So says General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, speaking to reporters from The Detroit News. Fightin’ words to be sure, though it seems the suits at Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand that competes with Cadillac here in the United States, have declined to comment on Akerson’s statement.
The dismissal of the Lincoln brand seems especially interesting given Akerson’s reported take on the current state of Cadillac. Akerson is said to believe that Cadillac isn’t yet where it needs to be, saying the brand needs another 12 to 24 months of gestation. By that time, there ought to be bookends to the current CTS in place in the form of the ATS (smaller) and XTS (larger, replacing the STS and DTS).
Still, Akerson doesn’t expect to “blow the doors off” Cadillac’s competition, saying instead that “they will be very competitive.” We’d think Caddy would be aiming squarely at something more like “class leading,” but what do we know?
Read the full article.
Posted in: Cars, GM, Lincoln
Tags: Cadillac ATS, Cadillac XTS, Dan Akerson news, GM, GM CEO, GM Lincoln, GM news, GM rumors, Lincoln
Chevy Volt sales are picking up
I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for the Chevy Volt, and this advertising blitz might be paying off. The Chevy Volt outsold the Nissan Leaf for the first time in October. In October GM sold 1,108 units of the Volt, which is a significant increase over the 723 units sold in September.
The Volt is still running behind GM’s sales targets, and it seems like the company was banking on all the PR buzz around the vehicle to drive sales. Perhaps a marketing push was also needed. The commercials are pretty good. They stress the gas savings of an electric car with some humorous situations at gas stations.
As more and more automakers go electric and introduce plug-in hybrids, it will be interesting to see if this segment really takes off. Right now the sales numbers are miniscule but that could change quickly.
Posted in: Cars, New Cars, News
Tags: auto sales, auto sales news, auto sales numbers, Automobile sales, car sales, car sales numbers, Chevy Volt, Chevy Volt vs Nissan Leaf, GM, Nissan, Nissan LEAF, plug-in cars, plug-in hybrids, plug-in vehicles
GM clocks in with a $3.2 Billion first quarter profit!
From the Detroit News:
Detroit— General Motors Co. posted a $3.2 billion profit during the first quarter – its fifth consecutive quarterly profit, and further evidence the automaker continues to build momentum after its 2009 bailout.
“It’s a solid quarter,” GM’s Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said this morning. “It’s good progress. It sets up a good foundation for the rest of the year.”
Revenue from January through March was $36.2 billion.
The first-quarter results also included a number of one-time gains, including $1.6 billion from the sale of its interest in Delphi Automotive, and $300 million for the sale of preferred shares in Ally Financial, Inc., the financial arm formerly known as GMAC. Excluding special items, interest payments and taxes, GM earned $2 billion, compared to $1.7 billion in the first-quarter last year.
The financial results – GM’s best first-quarter results in more than a decade — benefited from growing demand its fuel-efficient vehicles, like the all-new Chevrolet Cruze, and robust sales in China, where GM is a market-leader.
Read the full article.
Can GM get on track and attract new investors?
Hopes for a really quick buck on GM stock has faded along with a huge sales month in February. Rising gas prices may fuel the General into bringing back big incentives to move those trucks and SUV’s.
DETROIT (Bloomberg) — The new General Motors made its Wall Street debut with much fanfare last November. The initial public offering that was supposed to max out at about $10 billion ended up raising more than double that amount.
CEO Dan Akerson had a good story to tell: The Detroit automaker had posted a $4.8 billion profit for the nine months ended Sept. 30, and new models like the Chevrolet Equinox and Cadillac SRX SUV were selling well. Two weeks after the IPO, GM was worth just $1.6 billion less than Ford Motor Co., and by mid-January the stock ran up 20 percent, to almost $40 a share, giving GM a value of $59.3 billion.
GM’s feel-good moment didn’t last. Since the beginning of January the stock has fallen more than 18 percent, to close Friday at $30.24 a share, which is $2.76 below its IPO price. GM’s market valuation now trails Ford’s by almost $8 billion. Analysts fret about the churn in GM’s management ranks, the aggressive use of incentives to sell its cars, ongoing losses in Europe, and a softening in the Chinese market, where GM is the leader.
Read the entire article.
Ford vs. GM
The Ford vs. GM battle is going strong even after 100 years!
FORTUNE — It’s the mother of all corporate rivalries, bigger than Coke vs. Pepsi, older than Nike vs. Reebok, and more compelling than Pampers vs. Huggies. It’s fought with billion-dollar budgets for new models and marketing, and it is subject to more ups and downs than the stock market.
While it may be temporarily overshadowed by the troubles of Japanese auto makers, and imperiled long-term by the rise in oil prices, one constant remains in Detroit: General Motors vs. Ford. The two companies have been battling it out for profits, market share, and hometown bragging rights almost from the time GM (GM) was founded in Flint, Michigan in 1908, five years after Ford (F, Fortune 500) got started in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
Keeping score means watching three major indicators: annual profit, market capitalization, and U.S. market share — both retail share to private customers and overall share that includes fleet buyers.
Read the full article.
GM Owns February 2011 with a 46% Gain!
The General came in big last month with a whopping 46% gain compared to February 2010. We’ll be watching to see if GM can keep up the pace or if another leader will rise in 2011.
From Detroit News:
February marked the strongest U.S. car and truck sales pace since August 2009, according to figures compiled by AutoData Corp.
Should the pace keep up, the year’s sales would total 13.4 million.
The Detroit Three automakers today all reported double-digit sales gains in February from a year ago, led by General Motors Co.’s healthy 46 percent gain.
GM totaled 207,028 cars and trucks sold under the Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick brands and fared much better than crosstown rival Chrysler Group LLC, which reported a 13 percent increase in its February sales at 95,102 vehicles.
Read the full article.
A Closer Look at GM’s Chapter 11 Restructuring
The GM you knew last year, at the core of the auto-industry meltdown doesn’t exist anymore. In it’s place is a much more trim and nimble GM that is poised for success. Today, with the help of our friends from the CarInsurance Blog we take a look at GM, before and after its restructuring.
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Has Chevy dropped the ball with the Cruze?
GM has its new Chevrolet Cruze rolling off the assembly line and before you see the first commercial they might have dropped the ball. They have the sedan heading to dealer lots in the U.S. but where is the five door hatchback? AutoNews has pointed this out and I totally agree for a few reasons. First, you have a hatchback going on sale in other markets across the globe so why not sell it here? Your competitors in the likes of Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Nissan Versa and many others are selling well. Secondly, GM is touting the Cruze as one of its most important launches for the survival of this company and they don’t give customers a choice with a hatchback? I can’t see Mulally, Ghosn or Marchionne leaving a big hole in the center of a huge launch like this? Could you?
I also feel the look of the hatchback takes the Cruze further away from looking like a reduced Malibu and with that it stands on its own more. Let’s hope that the sedan sells well but even with solid sales let’s pray that the suits at Chevrolet wake up and get the hatchback here in the U.S. in showrooms asap. The Cruze might be the best small car that GM has built but that doesn’t mean customers considering a Fiesta, Corolla or Civic will think it’s one of the best to choose from in a very competitive field.
Posted in: Car Reviews, Cars, New Cars, News
Tags: 5 door hatchback, assembly line, AutoNews, Chevrolet Cruze, Civic, Corolla, dealer lots, Fiesta, Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Ghosn, GM, Headlines, Malibu, Marchionne, Mazda 2, Mulally, Nissan Versa
Chevrolet Orlando set to go on sale in Europe
Soon the Chevrolet Orlando will go on sale in Europe but not in the U.S. as reported again by our friends at CarandDriver.com. We posted on this vehicle a few months back hoping the folks making the calls at GM would wisely reconsider selling the 3 row and hyper fuel efficient Orlando in the U.S., Canada and anywhere they can ship this vehicle. The Orlando is exactly the type of vehicle that GM should be designing for all the North American market regardless of what other current offering they have. Nothing, I repeat nothing in their stable is a direct competitor with this product. The Traverse offers 3 rows but is much larger and consumes way more fuel than the Orlando and the Equinox only offers 2 rows. A current design with 3 rows and great fuel economy is what many consumers are looking for in this market.
Precisely two years after its debut at the 2008 Paris show in concept form, the production-ready Chevrolet Orlando will bow at this year’s Paris auto show. It will go on sale across Europe early next year. Despite earlier confirmation that the Orlando was destined for the U.S., GM has since decided the Orlando will not be sold here.
The Orlando is a seven-seat mini-minivan based on an elongated version of the Chevrolet Cruze’s platform. It’s easy to see similarities to the Cruze in the bold front grille with massive Chevy bowtie, although the rest of the vehicle diverges, especially the upswept beltline and subtly sloped roof. Wheel sizes will range from 16 to 18 inches.
It will be sold with a choice of three engines: a 141-hp, 1.8-liter gasoline four-cylinder; a 131-hp, 2.0-liter diesel; and a 163-hp, 2.0-liter diesel. Standard equipment includes stability control, six airbags, air conditioning, power mirrors, and a USB audio input.
Read the full article here.
Posted in: Car Reviews, Cars, Chevrolet, News
Tags: A current design, CarandDriver.com, Chevrolet Orlando, Equinox, fuel efficient Orlando, GM, North American market, on sale in Europe, Traverse