Chevy News: The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse sports a New Design

The restyled 2013 Chevrolet Traverse will bow at the New York auto show in early April. The crossover is similar in size to the outgoing model and mechanically identical.

It gets Chevy’s new corporate face for crossovers and some safety upgrades for the model year. General Motors announced details about the vehicle today.

The first thing buyers will notice is the new front end. It has a variation of the power dome hood seen on the Malibu and the Camaro, with a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design. Gone is the split mesh. New headlights, chrome accents and fog lights complete the look, with sculpted front corners similar to those on the Malibu sedan.

There’s a bit less plastic cladding and the fog lights look sportier than those on the outgoing model.

At the rear, Chevy redesigned the taillights and the license-plate pocket for a cleaner look.   Inside, the 2013 Chevy Traverse has more soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and front-door uppers than the current model. The seats have contrast stitching, while blue light accents flow through the cabin.

A new center stack includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen display with Chevy’s MyLink system. MyLink lets drivers integrate their cell phones for hands-free dialing and audio capabilities. Larger controls were added, which Chevy says have a more upscale feel. The front seats now have articulating headrests and eight-way power.

Power flows to either the front wheel or to all wheels from a direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 making 281 hp. Ride and handling were improved with the use of rebound springs in the front struts for increased roll control. New shock valving helps deliver a better ride at slower speeds.

The 2013 Traverse gets all of the safety features of the current model plus the new front-center airbag to keep occupants safe during side impacts.

GM is in the process of freshening all of its crossovers built on its Lambda platform. The Traverse was launched in late 2008 for the 2009 model year.

On Tuesday, Buick will unveil a reskinned Enclave, ahead of the New York auto show. Last month, GMC showed a reskinned Acadia at the Chicago auto show.

Chris Perry, vice president of global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet, said he’s hopeful that the changes will help lift Traverse sales, which have been stagnant.

In 2011, sales were virtually flat at 107,131 units vs. 2010. They dropped 20 percent in the first two months of this year to 14,606.

“I’ll be honest, we’ve done OK with the current vehicle,” Perry said. “We can do better.”

Perry said the restyled front end of the Traverse “is more modern and brings it in line with the overall Chevrolet design.” He believes the interior improvements will be the strongest new selling point.

Pricing hasn’t yet been announced. The 2013 Chevy Traverse will go into production later this year.

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Chevy News: Malibu Eco Scores – Inside and Out

Quiet and beautiful, Chevy’s new hybrid turns heads with 37 mpg on the highway

GM’s aggressive advertising campaign for the midsized car during March Madness broadcasts suggests it’s playing catch-up with competitors, but the Malibu Eco rolling into dealerships now is unhurried and refined.

In fact, it’s beautiful.

The crystal red and tastefully chromed car turned heads as I drove around Metro Detroit — perhaps because it didn’t look so much like the Malibu people have come to expect from rental fleets.

The familiar Chevy family badge-shaped grill is bracketed by aggressive-looking halogen projector headlights. The fenders and hood feature more deeply sculpted lines. The rear deck and rectangular tail lights were inspired by Chevy’s Camaro.

The all-new interior of the Malibu Eco iscomfortable, quiet and stylish.

Its eAssist lithium-ion battery and small electric motor generate fuel economy by engaging without the driver’s notice, replacing the need to apply as much gas to counter an incline or make routine traffic maneuvers. It also saves fuel with a smooth operating automatic start-and-stop function. The engine falls silent a second after the car comes to a full stop. Using stored energy, the engine springs back to life a second after the brake is released.

Very quiet

The purpose of the electric motor isn’t to act as a mini turbocharger substitute. It gives the Malibu its best fuel economy in the model’s 35-year history. This system earns an outstanding midsized EPA-estimated 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. A 2012 Malibu with the same engine got an EPA estimated 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Chevrolet needed to make this bold play with the Malibu Eco, even if it meant bringing the most expensive in the lineup to market first. The base model and other trim levels, including one with an optional 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, won’t be available until July.

Though priced higher than the base models of its competitors, the well-appointed Eco is the first Malibu ready to go up against the new Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. While sales in the overall midsized market grew in February, Chevy’s share fell behind its competitors, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Interior spectacular

New materials give the dashboard a soft-to-the-touch, heavily pebbled texture. A small canopy over the driver’s instrument cluster has a stitched seam.

The model I drove had a $1,300 package option that included leather seats with heaters. The passenger seat was as adjustable as the driver’s (a standard eight-way power seat with adjustable lumbar support). The two-toned cocoa and beige interior was striking. After dark, the front seats are bathed in ambient ice blue light that reflects from a horizontal band of chrome running the length of the dash.

The car is shorter in length and wheelbase than last year’s model, but 3 inches wider and claims to have more interior room. Space up front is generous with easy access to dual zone temperature controls and Chevrolet’s voice-activated MyLink, with hands-free smart phone interconnectivity.

A 7-inch color touch screen is one method of controlling access to the nine-speaker, 250-watt Pioneer audio system and its CD, XM satellite and Internet radio options. The system has auxiliary plugs for portable music devices, and a USB port for portable computer input. A video image of what’s behind the car plays on the center screen when backing up.

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Chevrolet to Produce Spark EV All-Electric Vehicle

Chevrolet recently announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car – the Spark EV. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California.
“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option,” said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet. “It complements Chevrolet’s growing range of electrified vehicles, including the Volt extended-range EV and the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist technology.”
Feedback from participants in Chevrolet’s electric vehicle demonstration fleets in Shanghai (Sail EV), Korea (Cruze EV) and India (Beat EV) are being incorporated into the Spark EV.
“Our global demo fleets continue to provide insight into the needs of electric vehicle customers living in urban environments,” said Federico. “The Spark EV is another step in Chevrolet’s plan to provide customers with a variety of electrification solutions to address the lifestyle and transportation needs of people around the world.”
A123 Systems will supply the advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. Details on specific markets, range, quantities and pricing will be announced later.

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Chevrolet News: New Chevrolet Racecar to Debut for 2013 Season

The countdown to the debut of Chevrolet’s next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecar is underway.  Chevrolet announced today that for the 2013 season, Team Chevy will be racing a vehicle based on a new nameplate to the brand’s lineup.

“We are keeping the wraps on the new car for now and will continue to prepare for next season by testing camouflaged vehicles,” said Jim Campbell, vice president, Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.  “We know that Chevrolet fans are eager to see the new racecar and we hope that the prospect of being able to own one just like it will make the wait a little more bearable.”

The current Chevrolet racecar, the Impala, took three out of top five spots at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday including the win by Tony Stewart. Since 2007, the Impala has dominated the series, taking the checkered flag 79 times.  Chevrolet drivers have also won five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championships, and Jimmie Johnson (4) and Tony Stewart (1) have collected five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver’s championships in the Impala.

“The Impala has been a critical part of Chevrolet’s success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are confident the new racecar will allow us to remain the most successful name in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history,” Campbell said.

A legacy of racing competition runs deep in Chevrolet’s 100-year history, dating to co-founder Louis Chevrolet’s passion for racing automobiles. Chevrolet has won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship 35 times. Chevrolet Corvette Racing has taken seven class trophies at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A Chevrolet-branded V-8 racing engine won the Indianapolis 500 seven times between 1988 and 2002.

As Chevrolet continues to define itself as a 21st Century global automotive leader, motorsports remain integral to the plan. The racing version of the Chevrolet Cruze, which since its 2009 debut has become the bowtie brand’s best-selling car globally, claimed the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Cup in 2010 and 2011, and is the first ever General Motors-branded vehicle to win such honors in a FIA-organized series.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality.

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Volt named Car of the Year at Geneva Motor Show

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle and its twin European version, the Opel Ampera, was named the 2012 Car of the Year by European journalists at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Volt had 330 points, defeating the Volkswagen Up! (281 points), Ford Focus (256 points), Range Rover Evoque (186 points), Fiat Panda (156 points), Citroen DS5 (144 points) and Toyota Yaris (122 points). Initially, 35 vehicles were in the contest and judges based their decision on metrics such as vehicle design, comfort, performance, technological innovations and efficiency, according to General Motors Co.

“Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners’ lifestyle,” Susan Docherty, Chevrolet’s president and managing director for Europe, said in a statement. “It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe’s leading jury of automotive journalists.”

GM’s global chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick praised the announcement.

“Chevy Volt wins European 2012 Car of Year making it a ‘Clean Sweep’ of all the major global car awards, ‘sweet’ vindication,” he wrote on Twitter.

GM last won in 2009 with the Opel Vauxhall Insignia.

The 3.6-million-square-foot Detroit Hamtramck plant, opened in 1985, operates four days a week, 10 hours a day, on one shift employing 1,200 hourly and 130 salaried workers.

Chevy is preparing to launch production of the 2013 Malibu this summer at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly.

Volt sales bounced up last month, from 603 in January to 1,023 in February. It outsold Nissan’s electric Leaf for the month. The Volt’s best sales month was December, when 1,529 cars were sold.

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