Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Camaro ZL1 by the Numbers

CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 09:  General Motors introdu...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 184 mph. Starting at $54,995, including Performance Traction Management and Magnetic Ride suspension, the ZL1 delivers supercar levels of performance and technology for the price of a sports car.
“From the original Camaro to the current Corvette ZR1, Chevrolet has a long history of delivering world-class cars that outperformed competitors at several times the price,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Global Chevrolet Marketing. “The ZL1 is no exception. There are very few cars at any price that can match the power, features, and track-capability of the Camaro ZL1.”
For the $54,995 price, including a $900 delivery fee, the ZL1 compares favorably to much more expensive cars:

Base price
Magnetic Ride
Camaro ZL1
Audi R8 GT
Maserati GranTurismo
Not available
Mercedes SLS AMG
Not available

Supercar Performance
The heart of the Camaro ZL1 is a supercharged 6.2L engine is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm) – making it the most-powerful production Camaro ever.
The LSA features a Roots-style blower with an efficient four-lobe rotor set and compact intercooler The ZL1 also features a standard dual-mode exhaust system, with vacuum-actuated valves in the exhaust pipes for a refined exhaust note at low speeds as well as a free-flowing system for peak performance.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. With either transmission, the Camaro ZL1 delivers impressive performance:

0 – 60 mph (from rolling start)
4.0 seconds
3.9 seconds
1/4-mile (from a rolling start)
12.1 sec at 119 mph
12.0 sec at 119 mph
Top speed
180 mph
184 mph
Max lateral grip
1.0 g
1.0 g

“With 0 to 60 taking less than four seconds, and a top speed in excess of 180 mph, the power and acceleration of the Camaro ZL1 rivals many supercars,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “And, horsepower is only half of the story, as the most significant measurement of the ZL1’s potential is lapping the Nurburgring in 7:41.27. That is a great testament to the power, braking, grip, and balance of the Camaro ZL1, and to the well-rounded performance of the ZL1 that sets the bar for the sports-car segment.”
Exclusive, track-capable technologies
To deliver that well-rounded performance, the Camaro ZL1 comes standard with several track-capable technologies that are exclusive to the segment.
For example, the Camaro ZL1 is the first sports car to feature the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. This advanced suspension system employs valve-less damping and Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid technology to varies the suspension firmness to match the road and driving conditions.
“Traditional suspension systems at some point compromise ride quality for road-holding grip and body control,” said Oppenheiser. “With Magnetic Ride Control, we can offer customers the best of both worlds: A comfortable ride that makes the ZL1 appropriate as a daily driver and the incredibly precise body control that makes the ZL1 so enjoyable on the track.”
Also standard on the Camaro ZL1 is Performance Traction Management, which integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power steering response to enhance performance.  The technology was first introduced on the Corvette ZR1. With Performance Traction Management, the launch control feature (manual transmission only) automatically modulates engine torque for the best-possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 1,000 times per second to maximize the available traction. Similarly, on a road course, the driver can apply full throttle when exiting a corner and Performance Traction Management will automatically manage acceleration dynamics to maximize exit speed based on available traction.
In addition, the Camaro ZL1 has been engineered to be track-capable from the factory, including a rear-differential cooler, an integrated engine- and transmission-oil cooler, and brake-cooling ducts as standard equipment. As such, the ZL1 offers many technologies and features not available on the 2012 Ford Shelby GT500:

Camaro ZL1
2012 GT500
Magnetic Ride
Not available
Performance Traction Management
Not available
Factory engine and transmission coolers
Dealer-installed option
Factory brake cooling ducts
Dealer-installed option
Factory rear differential cooler
Dealer-installed option

Additional features and options
The interior of the Camaro ZL1 features standard leather seating surfaces with suede microfiber inserts and heated, powered-adjustable front seats. Standard technologies include a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics® audio system; USB and Bluetooth connectivity; and rear-park assist with a rear-view camera display integrated in the center rear-view mirror.
The Camaro ZL1 is available with six options:
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift controls is $1,185
  • 20-inch, bright aluminum wheel package is $470
  • Power sunroof is $900
  • Stripe package is $470
  • Exposed-weave carbon fiber hood insert is $600
  • The suede package, including suede microfiber accents on the steering wheel, shift knob, and shift boot is $500
The Camaro ZL1 Coupe will go on sale in the spring of 2012, as a 2012 model. The Camaro ZL1 Convertible will go on sale in the summer of 2012, as a 2013 model. Pricing for the Camaro ZL1 Convertible will be announced later.

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Chevrolet Equinox Raises Content Bar for 2012

Chevrolet Equinox
Image by Sebastian Bergmann via Flickr

The 2012 Equinox isn’t resting on its laurels despite a 52 percent increase in retail sales for the first 10 months of the year.  New equipment available for 2012 includes Chevrolet MyLink in-vehicle wireless connectivity, customized infotainment options and new safety-enhancing features.
“Since this generation went on sale in mid-2009 we have sold every Equinox we can build, but we aren’t counting on that momentum to carry us,” said Russ Clark, director, Chevrolet marketing. “We have carefully selected technologies that our customers will find valuable and are able to offer them at very attractive prices.”
Chevrolet MyLink is an in-car infotainment package that builds on the safety and security of OnStar. It seamlessly integrates online services such as Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio® using hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via Bluetooth-enabled phones.
MyLink adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smartphones, building on the voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevy vehicles. MyLink also includes a seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display that makes media selection easy to navigate.
MyLink also retains all the capabilities of today’s entertainment functions, including AM/FM/Sirius XM tuners, CD player with MP3 playback, auxiliary and USB inputs.
The 2012 Equinox features a General Motors’ exclusive crash- avoidance system that uses a single camera to help drivers avoid front-end and unsignalled lane departure crashes. The $295 option on LTZ trim levels is much less than systems that offer the same functions for more money.
This new active safety system uses a high-resolution digital camera mounted on the windshield ahead of the rearview mirror that looks for shapes of vehicles and lane markings. The system uses audible warnings and a high-mounted visual display to warn the driver if he or she is following another vehicle too closely, when a collision is imminent, or when departing a lane without signaling first.
Equinox’s warning display contains green “vehicle ahead” and “lanes detected” icons, as well as flashing red “forward collision alert” and amber “lane departure warning” icons that are accompanied by warning chimes. Forward collision alert operates at speeds above 25 mph and warns a driver if he or she is following too closely or in imminent danger of a front-end crash.  When a collision is predicted to be imminent, vehicle brakes are pre-charged to help drivers quickly reach maximum braking.
In addition to searching for other vehicles, the image processor also looks for lane markings to provide lane departure alerts. Available at speeds above 35 mph, the lane departure warning icon shines green when lane markings are detected to indicate the system is active. If the vehicle drifts out of the lane without a turn signal, the lamp switches to flashing amber and is augmented by warning beeps.
The 2012 Equinox is a Top Safety Pick based on testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and was a Consumer Guide Best Buy for 2011 and 2010.  

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2013 Chevrolet Spark Mini Car is the Key to the City

Chevrolet Spark
Image via Wikipedia

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark mini car, to be revealed Wednesday, November 16th at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, is the only car in its segment to offer a seven-inch color touch screen radio capable of displaying smart phone-based navigation, media and contacts for hands-free calling.
A sporty four-passenger, five-door hatch updated for United States and Canadian consumers, Spark is designed to excite first-time buyers and city dwellers with its bold styling and colors, affordability, the safety of 10 standard air bags, fuel efficiency and maneuverability.
Though compact, Spark offers more passenger and cargo room than other mini cars such as the Fiat 500, Smartfortwo and the Scion iQ. Equipped with the 1.2L four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, Spark will offer competitive fuel economy.
Chevrolet’s exclusive MyLink infotainment system, which features the personalized connectivity of Pandora and Stitcher internet radio, will be offered on 1LT and 2LT models when Spark goes on sale in the United States and Canada in mid-2012.
In addition to MyLink, Spark is the only car in its segment to provide the added value of a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the safety and security of OnStar.
“Spark is for buyers who want much more than a ‘cute’ small car – they want a car that can be personalized, is dynamic and fashionable, and delivers a lot of value for the money,” said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy. “Spark’s vibrant exterior and interior colors make a fashion statement, but it is also affordable, safe, maneuverable and very fuel-efficient.”
The original version of the Spark is already on sale in Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico and South America, where it has received several styling and safety awards.
Designed for those who live large and loud
Just as the Chevrolet Cruze helped strengthen Chevrolet’s position in the small car segment with its more-than-expected value, the Spark is designed to challenge preconceived notions of how an affordable mini car can look, feel and drive.
While the Spark looks like a three-door hatch, designers cleverly disguised the rear doors by integrating the handles into the C-pillar area. The technique gives Spark its sporty appearance without sacrificing four-door comfort and utility. An integrated spoiler over the rear hatch door enhances Spark’s dynamic appearance while also improving the car’s aerodynamics, for fuel efficiency.
Spark’s wheels-at-the-corners stance is further emphasized by standard 15-inch alloy wheels. Other exterior styling enhancements include a new grille and front fascia, a longer rear fascia, and modified headlamps and taillamps. Redesigned outside rearview mirrors also improve aerodynamics.
Uplevel features include matching rocker panel moulding, chrome brightwork at the beltline and liftgate handle trim, detail around the poke-through exhaust outlet and around the fog lamps.
Attention-grabbing exterior finishes include Salsa, Jalapeno, Denim, Lemonade and Techno Pink, as well traditional hues such as Grey Area, Black Granite, Silver Ice and Summit White.
Inside, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, included on 1LT and 2LT Spark models, provides a seven-inch color touch screen. With MyLink, Spark buyers can bring their customized music libraries into the vehicle and use their smart phones and Bluetooth connectivity to access both Pandora and Stitcher internet radio and navigation. When the vehicle is stopped, owners can project video and even personal photo albums onto the screen.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio also is available on uplevel Spark models
“This level of infotainment and connectivity was unheard of in this segment, until now,” said Perry. “We know Spark buyers do not want to give up personalization just because they drive a smaller car.”
Air conditioning and power windows are standard across the Spark lineup. Color-coordinated interiors feature a lower instrument panel – with a motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster – and lower center console for maximum visibility and storage. Decorative inserts in the front door and instrument panel add a premium touch, as does the ice blue ambient lighting and faceplates across the door pockets and dash. Heated leatherette seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel are included on Spark 2LT.
Efficient powertrain saves fuel, money
In the United States and Canada, the Spark will be powered by a 1.2L dual-overhead cam four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing that delivers an estimated 85 horsepower (63 kW). It is mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission for competitive city and highway fuel economy. A four-speed automatic transmission will also be available.
The dual-overhead cam 1. 2 L was developed using best practices from GM Powertrain technical centers.
It combines competitive performance with sophisticated technologies such as dual continuous variable cam phasing, electronically controlled thermostat and low-friction engine oil to give customers an engine that is low- m aintenance, with reduced emissions and outstanding fuel economy.
Ride and handling
Spark’s body-frame integral structure is tight and stiff for improved driving dynamics. The electronic power steering, MacPherson strut-type front suspension and anti-lock braking systems are designed to deliver taut, tight handling characteristics that better connect the driver with the road and provide outstanding overall stability. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard.
Spark is equipped with vented front disc and rear drum brakes with low-compressibility brake pads for optimal stopping performance and good pedal feel. Low-rolling resistance tires use a silica compound and revised tread design for a solid road feel and improved fuel efficiency.
Safety features include 10 air bags
Spark was designed with occupant safety in mind, and has won safety awards in both Europe and Korea.
Its safe design begins with a structure composed of 60 percent high-strength steel.
In addition to crash-avoidance technologies such as StabiliTrak and ABS, Spark is equipped with 10 standard air bags, including both driver and passenger front knee air bags to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries in frontal crashes. Dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and side curtain air bags that extend over the front and rear seating rows are also standard.
Other safety technologies include rollover sensing system; three-point safety belts in all four seating positions; seat belt pretensioners in the front driver and passenger seats; the LATCH child seat attachment system; releasable pedals; adjustable head restraints; and a collapsible steering column.
Spark also is equipped with the OnStar safety and security system, which uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash.

Chevrolet Spark
Body style / driveline:
five-door, four-passenger, front-engine; front-wheel drive
body-frame integral
EPA vehicle class:
mini car
Manufacturing location:
South Korea
Key competitors:
Fiat 500, Smartfortwo, Scion iQ
  Ecotec 1.2L I4 DOHC VVT
transverse-mounted, four-cylinder dual overhead cam gasoline engine with variable valve timing
Displacement (cc):
Bore & stroke (in / mm):
70.50 x 80.00
Block material:
cast iron
Cylinder head material:
overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable intake manifold
Fuel delivery:
multi-port fuel injection
Ignition system:
coil-on-plug with long-life (100,000-mile) spark plugs
Compression ratio:
Horsepower (hp / kW):
85.2 / 63.5 @ 6400 (est)*
Torque (lb-ft / Nm):
81.7 / 110.8 @ 4200 (est)*
Recommended fuel:
regular unleaded
Max. engine speed (rpm):
6500 (man)
6850 (auto)
Emissions controls:
close-coupled catalytic converter
  5-speed manual (std)
4-speed automatic (opt)
Gear ratios (:1)
Front-wheel-drive five-speed with integrated differential
four-speed front-wheel-drive, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive transaxle with an electronically controlled torque converter clutch
Chassis / Suspension
MacPherson strut-type
Compound crank rear suspension
Steering type:
electronic power steering
Steering ratio:
Steer wheel turns, lock-to-lock:
Turning circle, curb-to-curb
(ft / m):
32.5 / 9.9
front: vented disc
rear: drum
Rotor diameter (in / mm):
front: 9.3 / 256
rear: 7.9 / 200
Anti-lock braking system (ABS):
four-channel w/ brake assist
Wheels / Tires
Wheel size and type:
15-inch aluminum alloy (std)
15-inch aluminum machined gray painted (opt)
Tire size and type:
185/55R15 all-season
Wheelbase (in / mm):
93.5 / 2375
Overall length (in / mm):
144.7 / 3673
Overall width (in / mm):
62.9 / 1597
Overall height (in / mm):
61/ 1522
Front (in / mm):
55.7 / 1405
Rear (in / mm):
55.5 / 1405
Seating capacity:
Front (in /mm):
39.4 / 1010
Rear (in / mm):
37.3 / 947
Front (in / mm):
42 / 1067
Rear (in / mm):
35.2 / 893
Shoulder room
Front (in / mm):
50.7 / 1295/
Rear (in / mm):
49.7 / 1255
Hip room
Front (in / mm):
48 / 1198
Rear (in / mm):
47.5 / 1207
Cargo volume
Behind rear seat (cu ft / L):
11.4 / 323
Behind front seat, rear seat (cu ft / L):
31.2 / 883
EPA passenger volume (cu ft / L):
86.3 / 2444
Fuel tank (gal / L):
9.25 / 35
Engine oil (qt / L):
Transmission fluid (qt / L):
2.11 / 2.0 (man)
4.97 / 4.7 (auto)
Cooling system (qt / L):
Curb weight base (lb / kg):
2269 / 1029 (man)
2337 / 1060 (auto)
*Pending SAE certification.

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Cadillac XTS: Advanced Tech Systems Enhance Vision

Chicago Auto Show - 03
Image by benhinc via Flickr

Using a strategy it calls control and alert, Cadillac will debut a network of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors on the all-new 2013 XTS to bolster driver vision and awareness of road hazards and intervene to help avert potential crashes.
In some cases, Cadillac’s enhanced vision and sensing systems will act without the driver, such as though automatic braking based on information indicating potential obstacles.
“New technology in the XTS is intended to extend the vision around the car, helping drivers identify obstacles and, when necessary, take action to assist them in avoiding a collision,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. “Cadillac expands its lineup dramatically in 2012, led by the new XTS, and this suite of technologies is a central component of it.”
The new XTS contains several features using visual and audible alerts  designed to identify potential threats with sufficient warning for the driver to react and make changes. One example is the Safety Alert Seat feature, which vibrates either the left or right side of the driver’s seat cushion depending on the location of the impending concern. Intervening features, such as automatic braking, take action automatically if the driver is slow to initially react.
The advanced safety features and benefits include:
Front and Rear Automatic Brakes – Using “virtual bumpers” that rely on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors, this feature helps prevent front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extends to complete braking if necessary. For example: If the vehicle is headed toward a small pillar inside a garage or a lamppost on a city street, the system will alert about the hard-to-spot item and stop the vehicle to help prevent an impact.
Adaptive Cruise Control – Using radar technology, this feature can apply limited braking or acceleration to maintain a selected following distance to the vehicle ahead.
Intelligent Brake Assist – Detects a panic-braking situation and assists the driver by applying brake force more quickly to help stop sooner.
Forward Collision Alert – Radar and camera technology detects a possible collision threat and alerts the driver, giving him or her time to stop and/or change course.
Safety Alert Seat A vibration on either the left or right side of the driver’s seat cushion, depending on the location of the impending concern, alerts the driver to a potential collision threat.
Automatic Collision Preparation – When the XTS senses a collision is imminent, braking is applied to lessen the severity or perhaps even enable the driver to avoid the incident.
Lane Departure Warning – A camera-based lane detection system that warns the driver of unsignaled lane changes. The camera, mounted near the inside rearview mirror, identifies traffic lane markings and provides audible alerts or activates the Safety Alert Seat.
Side Blind Zone Alert – Using radar sensors on both sides of the vehicle, the system “looks” for other vehicles in the blind zone areas of the XTS and indicates their presence with LED-lit symbols in the outside mirrors.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert – Using radar sensors of the side blind zone alert system, it warns the driver of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot – including angled parking. Visual and audible alerts are triggered if moving vehicles are detected.
Adaptive Forward Lighting – With adaptive forward lighting, the headlamps swivel with direction of the front wheels to maintain forward lighting in concert with vehicle steering.
Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines – With a display in the center stack, the camera provides a view of objects directly behind the XTS, with dynamic guide lines laid over the video image to assist in parking maneuvers.
Behind the new technology, XTS has a strong body structure and 10 standard air bags. Other standard safety features include:
  • Dual-stage frontal driver air bag
  • Dual-stage frontal passenger air bag with passenger sensing system
  • Driver and front passenger side-impact air bars
  • Driver and front passenger knee air bags
  • Outboard head curtain air bags, front and rear, with rollover sensing
  • Outboard rear thorax air bags
  • Safety belt pretensioners and load limiters
  • Child seat LATCH system
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control
  • Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock brakes.
Standard OnStar
XTS features OnStar as standard. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of collision. OnStar service also includes myCadillac and OnStar myLink mobile apps, which offer vehicle information and OnStar services via the customer’s smartphone.

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro Coupe Aces NHTSA Crash Tests

Current (2008) logo for the United States Nati...
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The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro Coupe is the first vehicle to receive the highest possible five-star score in every individual safety rating segment of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program since the federal testing procedures were revised for 2011.
“Camaro has always been about performance, and that includes safety performance,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “We always strive for five-star ratings, and the fact that we achieved them under more rigorous requirements is a great accomplishment.”
The Camaro is designed to help drivers avoid crashes, while protecting occupants in the event a crash occurs. Standard safety features include:
  • New Rear Vision Package, which includes a new rearview camera system (standard on 2LT and 2SS; available on 1LT and 1SS).
  • Six standard air bags include head curtain side air bags, which provide added head and torso protection for outboard passengers in the event of a side-impact crash.
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control helps the driver maintain control by comparing the path being steered by the driver with the actual response and, when necessary, applying the brakes or adjusting the throttle or a combination of both.
  • Standard four-wheel disc brake system featuring smooth, quiet operation and more resistance to brake fade.
  • Pretensioners to reduce forward movement and load-limiting retractors to help manage forces during a collision are standard on front safety belts.
  • Standard remote keyless entry system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use it to locate their cars without sounding the panic alarm.
Starting with 2011 models, NHTSA introduced tougher tests and more rigorous requirements for its five-star ratings that provide more information about safety feature performance and crash-avoidance technologies. Changes included a new side pole test simulating a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.
In addition, new overall ratings which combine the results from the various tests, are provided. Under the revised program, the 2012 Camaro Coupe is the first vehicle to receive five stars in each individual rating segment and also receives five stars in the combined categories such as overall vehicle score.
The Camaro Convertible is not rated for the various crash segments since it has not yet been tested under the revised NCAP program, but it has received a five-star rollover rating.                                              

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GM Plant Sites Certifiably Kind to Their Habitats

Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 20...
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Six General Motors facilities globally are joining 15 others in earning the Wildlife Habitat Council certification for creating or enhancing wildlife habitats on their grounds. With 21 certified programs, GM leads all automotive manufacturers.
GM incorporates elements like walking trails, native tree plantings, butterfly gardens, rain gardens to control storm water runoff, restored prairie and wetlands, and bat and duck nesting boxes. It works with the nonprofit WHC to encourage habitat management and environmental education at its sites.
The  Wildlife at WorkSM and Corporate Lands for LearningSM certification programs recognize companies that establish community education about conservation. Features of GM’s new certifications include:
  • Inviting local schools to educational activities, creating habitats for amphibians and small mammals, and planting 1,800 trees and 1,500 bushes at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, where the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are produced.
  • Encouraging community members to participate in conservation activities, such as constructing and installing bird nesting boxes for Eastern Blue Birds at the Arlington, Texas Assembly plant, home of full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.
  • Incorporating site-based conservation education and planting native trees at Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Md., where electric motors will be produced next year in addition to two-mode hybrid drivetrains.
  • Reusing Chevrolet Volt battery covers for wood duck nesting boxes and involving local experts in their efforts at Milford, Mich. Proving Ground.
  • Inviting local schools to participate in site-based events such as planting native trees at the Gravataí, Brazil Plant, which builds the Chevrolet Celta and Prisma.
  • Teaching students about environmental issues through music, theater, and lectures, and offering employees bi-weekly environmental education at the São José dos Campos, Brazil Plant, where the Chevrolet Corsa, Classic, Blazer, S10 pickup, Meriva and Zafira are built.
“We find General Motors’ environmental leadership commendable and hope other companies follow their lead,” said Wildlife Habitat Council President Robert Johnson. “WHC congratulates GM for its commitment and contributions to wildlife habitat enhancement, community outreach, and conservation education.”
WHC’s program recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management and environmental education efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Certification requirements are strict and require that sites apply for periodic renewal.
Six other GM facilities achieved Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning recertification, having continued their successful wildlife habitat management programs.
“This commitment presents significant benefits to the environment, as well as our employees,” said Susan Kelsey, a GM Environmental Group facilities manager. “It gives them a place to find relaxation, harness creativity and have a tangible, positive impact on the local community.”

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Buick, WIRED Bring Tech Showcase to Times Square

2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS photographed in Clarks...
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Buick will present the largest WIRED Store ever to Times Square this holiday season, with more than 10,000 square feet devoted to consumer gadgets and advanced technology displays, including a Human Wind Tunnel.
Located at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, the seventh annual brick-and-mortar spin-off of the tech-savvy Conde Nast publication will be open noon to 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, from Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. The store will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
At the WIRED Store, holiday shoppers can experience 200 of the hottest new products, including the new 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, one of the most fuel-efficient luxury sedans on the road today, through innovative interactive displays. This week, Popular Science magazine named eAssist a 2012 Best of What's New technology.
Visitors can test their own aerodynamics in the Buick Human Wind Tunnel, with winds up to 40 mph. Each participant’s drag coefficient will be displayed on the in-store leader board, along with a list the top 10 most-aerodynamic individuals of the day. “Wind Tunnel Face” photos will be posted at Facebook.com/Buick.
“Buick will offer WIRED Store visitors an entertaining and engaging way to discover the new LaCrosse and learn about its fuel-saving technologies,” said Craig Bierley, director, Buick Advertising and Promotions. “The Human Wind Tunnel and LaCrosse eAssist interactive display truly demonstrate what the WIRED Store is all about – they bring technology to life.”
LaCrosse with eAssist, available at dealerships now, uses regenerative braking, lithium-ion battery technology, optimized aerodynamics, engine start-stop and fuel shut-off features to deliver an estimated 36 mpg on the highway without compromising ride quality.
WIRED Store visitors will be able to learn about the vehicle and its technologies through tablet computers positioned around the LaCrosse that will play informational videos at the touch of a virtual button. The content is made available through Aurasma, an platform technology that uses real-world visual cues to deliver relevant content to mobile devices. Buick is the first automaker in North America to take advantage of Aurasma.
“Buick is an iconic brand that has embraced technology and truly understands today’s modern consumer,” said Jennifer Rapp, general manager at Aurasma. “Together, we have created a tailored mobile experience that truly bridges the physical and virtual worlds. Buick and Aurasma give attendees an innovative way to shop the WIRED Store and learn more about Buick’s eAssist technology.”
This is Buick’s second year as presenting sponsor of the WIRED Store.

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Chevrolet Volt to be Sold in Eight Chinese Cities

2008 Chevrolet Volt hatchback (concept), photo...
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The Chevrolet Volt electric car will go on sale at 13 Shanghai GM Chevrolet dealerships in eight Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan. It will be priced at RMB 498,000 ($75,533).
The announcement was made Monday as part of General Motors’ participation in Auto Guangzhou 2011. Two of GM’s joint ventures, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, are displaying more than 30 vehicles from the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Baojun brands.
China will be among the first global markets to offer the Volt, which provides up to 80 kilometers of pure electric driving. With its onboard engine-generator, it has a total driving range of 570 kilometers in extended-range mode. It produces peak torque of 370 Nm and maximum power of 111 kW and has a 0-100 km/h time of about nine seconds along with a top speed of 160 km/h.
The Volt earned a five-star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Its battery carries a warranty of six years/150,000 kilometers. The Volt’s introduction is part of Shanghai GM’s Drive to Green strategy, which is focused on delivering products that offer higher fuel economy and lower emissions.
Volt buyers will be eligible to join the V+ Club. By calling a bilingual 24-hour hotline, members will receive one-on-one service. In addition, they will be invited to participate in a series of member activities that match their eco-friendly lifestyles.

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco Priced Under $26,000

2013 Chevrolet Malibu (US preproduction)
Image by skinnylawyer via Flickr

The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco midsize sedan will start at $25,995 when it arrives in dealerships in the first quarter next year, reinforcing the value proposition of the midsize segment’s longest-running nameplate.
The suggested retail price includes a $760 destination charge but excludes tax, title, license and dealer fees.
The 2013 Malibu Eco is Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient Malibu ever. It is the first Chevrolet to feature General Motors’ eAssist battery electric/gas propulsion system, which uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking, electric assist and start-stop functionality. That helps deliver a GM-estimated 26 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.
Malibu Eco’s highway efficiency is comparable the segment’s popular full hybrids and diesels, but delivered at a lower price:
  • 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid – $29,395 / 36 mpg
  • 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE Diesel (with automatic) – $27,895 / 40 mpg
  • 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid – $26,660 / 39 mpg
  • 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – $26,545 / 40 mpg
Malibu Eco is part of the all-new, 2013 Malibu lineup – Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan – designed to give customers more style, fuel efficiency, content and features, along with the craftsmanship and dynamic capabilities rivaling high-end sedans. It has a more powerful engine – 182 hp / 134 kW – than the Fusion (156 hp / 116 kW), Camry (178 hp / 132 kW) or Passat (140 hp / 104 kW).
Product highlights for North American models include:
  • Expressive exterior designed to stand out, with a wide, athletic stance
  • Aerodynamically optimized exterior, including underbody aero enhancements and electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille that close at higher speeds to push more air over and around the vehicle
  • All-new, Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit interior that is more spacious, features premium materials and is engineered to be the quietest in the midsize segment
  • First Chevrolet car to offer new Chevrolet MyLink connectivity, which integrates online services such as Pandora® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®
  • European-influenced ride and handling traits
  • More safety features and technologies, including eight standard air bags, ultra-high-strength steel and rearview camera system.
Additional fuel-saving features include:
  • Eco-specific lightweight components and systems, including an aluminum hood, aluminum rear bumper beam, low-mass carpet and dash mat and more, which save approximately 130 pounds (58 kg) over a comparably equipped non-ECO model
  • An Eco gauge in the cluster that continuously responds to driving behavior, encouraging fuel-efficient driving. An Auto Stop Indicator on the tachometer informs the driver when the engine is in start-stop mode
  • Seventeen-inch low-rolling-resistance all-season Goodyear tires
  • The eAssist system mated to a fuel-efficient 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L engine, a variant of the same engine that was recognized as one of Ward's Ten Best Engines in 2010, is lightweight and features dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control. It also has a lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head.
A five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty is standard on the Malibu Eco. Certain eAssist components are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, including the electric motor generator, three-phase electric power cables and high-voltage lithium-ion battery.
The Malibu Eco is offered with cloth or leather seats in eight exterior and three interior color choices. It is well-equipped in standard form and available with four equipment packages: Package 1 – Power Convenience; Package 2 – Premium Audio; Package 3 – Leather; and Package 4 – Navigation.
Standard powertrain and chassis content:
  • Ecotec 2.4L direct injection with continuously variable valve timing and eAssist technology, rated at 182 horsepower (135 kW)
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift control
  • 2.64:1 axle ratio
  • Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
  • Regenerative braking
  • Grade braking control
  • Panic brake assist
  • Electronic park brake with push button
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system
  • Electric power steering (rack-mounted)
  • MacPherson strut front suspension
  • Four-link rear suspension
  • Seventeen-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels
  • P225/55R17 all-season low-rolling-resistance Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires
Standard exterior content:
  • Active front lower grille aero shutters and aerodynamic underbody panels
  • Projector-beam headlamps with automatic exterior lamp control
  • Heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors (body color)
  • Fin-type combined OnStar/SiriusXM Satellite Radio antenna (body color)
  • Acoustic-laminated, solar-absorbing glass
  • Intermittent windshield wipers with structureless blades
Standard interior content:
  • Chevrolet MyLink
  • Six-inch-deep illuminated (when headlamps are on) hidden storage behind articulating touch screen radio face
  • Air conditioning – dual zone automatic climate control with odor filter
  • Audio system: AM/FM stereo with CD with MP3 playback and auxiliary input jack
  • Seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen for the audio system
  • USB port for the audio system
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity
  • Cruise control
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power windows with express down feature
  • Power door and window locks
  • Driver information center
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column
  • Steering wheel audio and cruise controls
  • Ice blue ambient lighting
  • Driver’s footrest
  • Overhead console
  • Compass display
  • Two auxiliary power outlets
  • Rear center armrest with storage
Standard safety content:
  • OnStar with six months of Directions and Connections plan, including Automatic Crash Response, Crisis Assist, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Remote Door Unlock, and more.
  • Dual-stage frontal air bags
  • Driver and front passenger thorax side-impact air bags
  • Driver and front passenger knee air bags
  • Head curtain side-impact air bags (front and rear outboard seating positions)
  • Safety belt pretensioners
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
Package 1 – Power Convenience includes all standard equipment plus:
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar control
  • Rearview backup camera system
  • Remote start
  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
  • Universal garage door opener
Package 2 – Premium Audio includes all content in Package 1 plus:
  • Pioneer nine-speaker audio system with high-output amplifier
  • Fog lamps
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel
Package 3 – Leather includes all content in Package 2 plus:
  • Leather-trimmed seating
  • Eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat with lumbar control
  • Heated front seats
Package 4 – Navigation includes all content in Package 3 plus:
  • Navigation system
  • Memory seats and mirrors
  • Auto-up driver’s window
A power-operated sunroof is available on Packages 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Exterior Color Choices:
  • Silver Ice Metallic
  • Black Granite Metallic
  • Summit White
  • Crystal Red Tintcoat
  • White Diamond Tricoat
  • Taupe Gray Metallic
  • Steel Blue Metallic (late availability)
  • Champagne Silver Metallic (late availability)
Interior Color/Trim Choices:
  • Jet Black
  • Jet Black/Titanium
  • Cocoa/Light Neutral
The Eco is the first trim level of an all-new Malibu lineup to launch in the United States. Other Malibu trim levels including LS, LT and LTZ are scheduled to begin production next summer in Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck. The 2013 Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents and will serve as a flagship Chevrolet midsize in many parts of the world. The Malibu is built in multiple locations including the United States, China and Korea.

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Nothing Left On The Table

Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...
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Carl Edwards did virtually everything right in the Ford 400 Sunday in pursuit of his first Sprint Cup championship.
He led 119 laps, 54 more than anyone else. He led 90 of the first 112 laps without a serious challenge. He drove a mostly flawless race. He scored a second-place race finish for the third consecutive event.
Yet he fell short of the big prize by a margin so narrow that it really wasn’t a margin. Edwards and Tony Stewart tied for the championship at 2,403 points, but Stewart won the title using the first tiebreaker, race wins (five to one).
It was the first end-of-season tie atop the point standings in the history of NASCAR after a final race that already has been labeled as one of the greatest in the sport’s six decades.
Stewart won the race despite a laundry list of problems during the event, finishing 1.30 seconds ahead of Edwards. It was a tough loss after an eventful season, but a defeat that Edwards absorbed with class.
He was among the first in a long line to congratulate Stewart after the race.
"Whether we won tonight or we lost, I mean, tomorrow is the start of the next season," Edwards said. "I was prepared before this race began to do exactly what I'm going to go do, and that's to be even better next year and to apply what I've learned here.
"We knew we could come into this thing and we knew that of all of the circumstances that could happen, this one [the tie] was the least probable. I mean, for us to finish like that, tied, fighting for the win. That is the least probable outcome.
"And so I was prepared for anything. I knew that this was a possibility, though, and I was prepared for this. And I told myself, I told my family that the one thing I'm going to do is I'm going to walk back to that motor home, win, lose or draw, and I'm going to be a good example for my kids and work hard and go be better next season. Because, you know, we talked about it before the race, even if we won this thing, you go halfway through next season and struggle, that's quickly forgotten.
"As painful as this is right now, I know that we have—we are fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Daytona [in February] and just start all over again and go race."
After the race, Edwards met briefly with crew chief Bob Osborne, who seemed particularly shaken by the night’s results. They shook hands before Edwards continued with a raft of post-race media responsibilities.
"I just wanted to make sure that Bob knew that I believe he's the best crew chief here, and that he will be my crew chief for as long as he wants to be, and I'm behind him and his decisions 100 percent," Edwards said.
"As tough as it is for me, you know, it's tougher, I think, for those guys, the guys that prepare these cars and determine which things we are going to work on throughout the year and what strategies we are going to use. They make some very, very big decisions that they can't turn around."
Aside from the obvious disappointment of falling short of the championship, Edwards said the run through the Chase will make him a better racer for future title opportunities.
"There are lessons that I learned and things that I learned about myself, about competition, about failure and things about success; things that I could not have learned any other way," he said. "If there weren't any pressure, there wouldn’t be any diamonds, that's what my trainer says.
"We dealt with a lot of pressure, and I feel very proud of the way our team and myself and everyone has handled everything through this, and I feel that we made it all the way through, and although we didn't come out with the outcome that we wanted, that we are better because of it, you know, and I'm not trying to be philosophical or anything.
"I'm truly telling you, if I'm in this position next year, I'm going to be better at it. I'm going to be—I'll be better. So that's cool. That's something you don't get every day is a lesson like this."

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All-new Ford Escape ushers in era of the smarter utility vehicle

Taiwan-built Ford Escape intended for Russian ...
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Debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the all-new Ford Escape offers versatility and value. The 2013 Escape brings clever features designed to make life easier, and – thanks to EcoBoost® engine technology – superior fuel economy. Escape arrives next year with a wealth of technology including a hands-free liftgate and upgraded MyFord Touch® that makes connecting with digital devices on the go even easier.
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Total Powertrain Portfolio Upgrade to Support Aggressive Growth Plan in China

Ford Motor Company of Argentina
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Ford is introducing 20 new engines and transmissions in China by 2015 in a comprehensive strategy to upgrade its entire powertrain portfolio in the world's largest auto market. This upgrade aims to support its aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.
Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies such as turbocharging, direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and six-speed transmissions, the upgraded powertrain portfolio will deliver over 20% in fuel economy improvement to Ford's passenger vehicle fleet in China by 2015 while reducing tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.
Ford also announced that it will produce its latest all-new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, the smallest in the EcoBoost engine family, in China to equip its vehicles produced and sold in the market.
"Ford is committed to be a fuel economy leader in every segment that we compete by utilizing advanced powertrain technologies. These technologies represent a core part of our near-term sustainability goals in China," said Kumar Galhotra, vice president, Product Development, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.
"Earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show, Ford announced a plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015. All these new vehicles will launch with the latest Ford-developed powertrains which will improve fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions, offering our customers a more environment-friendly ride without compromising vehicle performance."
Universal application of EcoBoost Engine
Ford holds more than 125 patents for its high-performance and fuel-saving EcoBoost technology in the United States. EcoBoost, which uses turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output and reduce emissions without sacrificing fuel economy, marks a major milestone in the Ford strategy to deliver technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains.
The integration of three advanced technologies – turbocharging, direct injection and Ti-VCT – into the EcoBoost powertrain delivers significant customer benefits:
  • Optimized engine efficiency: delivers up to a 20% improvement in fuel economy, 15% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with conventional gasoline engine
  • Superior driving performance: strong low-end torque and responsive performance across the full rev range
  • Advantages of small displacement: large-engine performance, but with the size, weight and fuel economy of a much smaller unit
A key advantage of the Ford EcoBoost approach is the ability to downsize engine capacity, so that larger naturally-aspirated engines can be replaced by much smaller units without sacrificing power output.
The performance boost offered by turbocharging typically results in a 50% increase in torque, so there is a significant opportunity to downsize capacity while still providing a potential performance benefit.
The advantages of downsizing include improved efficiency through reduced internal friction, lower pumping losses, and lighter weight – which also makes the engine warm up more quickly. This helps to ensure that the real-world fuel economy benefits of Ford EcoBoost engines are delivered in all driving conditions, including both city and highway driving.
The global EcoBoost engine family is the cornerstone of Ford’s near-term sustainability plan to deliver high-volume, affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles that customers around the world want and value.
By 2013, the company plans globally to produce 1.5 million EcoBoost engines annually. Also, by 2013, nearly 80 percent of Ford’s global nameplates will be available with EcoBoost.
Ford launched the 2.0L EcoBoost-equipped Mondeo-Zhisheng in China earlier this year.. According to the certification issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the vehicle's 7.9L/100km fuel consumption is one of the best in the segment.
Ford will offer the 1.0L EcoBoost engine on small-to-medium vehicles, and the engine will be built in China, with a plan to introduce more EcoBoost engines based on market demand. By 2015, EcoBoost engines will be available on most Ford branded passenger cars in China.
Upgrading conventional engines
Ford will introduce an advanced non-turbocharged engine in China that combines the technology of gasoline direct injection technology (GDI) and Ti-VCT to offer vehicles with more dynamic performance and better fuel efficiency.
At the heart of this is a high-pressure direct injection system which injects fuel into each cylinder in small, precise amounts at a pressure of up to 200 bar – the droplet size is typically smaller than 0.02mm, one-fifth the width of human hair. Compared to conventional fuel injection, direct injection produces a cooler, denser charge, delivering improved fuel economy and performance.
The system could inject highly pressurized fuel into the combustion chamber of each cylinder rather than traditional mixing with the incoming air in the inlet port. Advantages include more precise delivery of fuel for lower emissions, improved volumetric efficiency and avoidance of knock for better performance and fuel efficiency.
The Ti-VCT technology allows extremely precise, variable control of “valve overlap,” or the window of time in which both the intake and exhaust valves in an engine are open at the same time. By adjusting overlap continuously, an engine can operate at optimum settings for peak fuel economy or peak power output as conditions demand. It could reach up to a 7% improvement in peak power and a 5% improvement in low-speed torque for better acceleration, passing and merging performance and up to a 4.5% improvement in fuel economy. Ti-VCT also facilitates an “internal EGR” effect, reducing NOx (a contributor to smog) and hydrocarbon emissions throughout the engine’s operating range.
Six-speed transmissions for a smoother drive
As part of its powertrain upgrade, Ford plans to replace the current four-speed automatic transmission with advanced six-speed transmissions which will not only provide smoother gear shifts but also improved fuel economy.
Leading the way is Ford’s innovative PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission that combines the efficiency and driving dynamics of a manual gearbox with the convenience of a conventional automatic transmission. Unlike regular hydraulically operated automatic transmissions, which use power-sapping torque converters, wet clutches and pumps, the PowerShift automatic consists of two manual transmissions (in the same case) working in parallel. The dual clutches engage and disengage in a way that provides seamless delivery of torque to the wheels, even during gear changes.
The transmission also features Hill Launch Assist that prevents the vehicle from rolling back by maintaining enough brake pressure until the engine delivers enough torque to move the vehicle up the hill providing improved driver confidence, comfort and clutch robustness
Other than the PowerShift transmission, Ford also plans to introduce a full range of six-speed transmissions to satisfy market demand. Compared to the current four-speed automatic transmission, the new six-speeds will deliver smoother gear shifts, seamless torque delivery and superior fuel economy.
Expanding production capacity
In line with Ford’s strategy to overhaul its powertrain lineup in China, most of these new powertrains will be manufactured in the country for use in future vehicles. Currently, Ford’s joint venture in China, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. (CFMA), is building a new engine plant and a new transmission plant, with initial annual capacity of up to 400,000 in each plant.

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