Auto News for April 16

The old GM, that is the company before bankruptcy, cannot be sued for death and injures from defective ignition switches, a New York judge has ruled. He said the bankruptcy order in 2009 that created the new GM protects the company from those law suits. An attorney said the ruling protects GM from up to $10 billion in possible injury claims. An appeal may be in the works.

Toyota has made it official, that it will construct a state of the art plant in central Mexico to produce the Corolla. It will employ 2,000 workers and have the capacity produce 200,000 cars a year. The Canadian plant that now produces the Corolla will switch to making mid-sized, higher value, vehicles.


Toyota will bring its Mirai to Earth Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington. The car combines hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity that powers the electric motor. Water vapor is the only emission. It will go on sale in California later this year.

Cadillac has upped the power and features of its slow selling ELR plug-in hybrid and cut the price by $10,000 to $65,995. It sold only 1,310 of the Chevy Volt based cars in 2014.

Tesla may pick up another state in its efforts to sell directly to customers and bypass the traditional dealer network. The governor of Maryland has on his desk legislation that would allow a company to sell direct only if it is offering non fossil-fuel burning vehicles.

It will be called the Bolt, and that is now official. That is Chevy’s upcoming electric car that it said will have a range of at least 200 miles and will be sold in all 50 states. Some were concerned that the name was too close to the Chevy Volt. The Bolt is expected to appear in showrooms in 2017 with an MSRP of about $30,000 after the fed tax credit, according to the Detroit News. Certainly, that is an impressive range for an electric. Look for more on GM’s electrics in the Saturday road test column.

Ever wonder how safe that new aluminum bodied Ford F-150 is? The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford will announce today that the truck has received the highest possible safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – a full five stars. That is a higher crash test score than the older model.

BMW’s i3 electric has been named top Green Car by Kelley Blue Book for the second year in a row. BMW was cited for making a car that can post a 0-60 run in just 7 seconds in a factory powered by four wind turbines. Rounding out the KBB top five were the Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, and the Honda Accord Hybrid.

How many miles do you think you drive in a day? Triple A said it is 29.2 miles in two trips lasting 46 minutes. The data is based on telephone interviews with 3,319 drivers around the country. But I would question the time element here, given the experience of a 2 hour trip from the Maryland suburbs to downtown Washington in morning rush hour recently. Even cutting that in half, that would still three hours on the road per day.



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