Auto News for March 1 – Corvette Grand Sport Returns!

The new 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport combines a lightweight architecture, a track-honed aerodynamics package, Michelin tires and a naturally aspirated engine to deliver exceptional performance. The Grand Sport Collector Edition features an exclusive Watkins Glen Gray Metallic exterior with Tension Blue hash-mark graphics, satin black full-length stripes and black wheels. the new Grand Sport combines a lightweight architecture, a track-honed aerodynamics package, Michelin tires and a naturally aspirated engine.

Behold the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport introduced today at the Geneva Auto Show. It is slated to go on sale this summer in both coupe and convertible form. Chevy claims it will turn an estimated 1.05g in cornering capability and up to 1.2g with the Z07 package. If the name rings a bell, it harks back to the Grand Sport racers of the 1960’s. The new one gets an upgraded suspension, bigger tires, and five extra horsepower, to 460 over the stock 6.2-liter V8 thanks to its dual-mode exhaust. An optional Z07 package adds, among other things, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and carbon-ceramic brakes. No word yet on prices.

Pumped up by demand for its Edge, Explorer and Escape utility vehicles, Ford said sales rose 20 percent last month versus a year earlier. Sales of the F-150 pickup rose 10 percent. “We saw a solid industry last month …” said Vice President Mark LaNeve adding that average transaction prices at the Blue Oval almost doubled the industry average.

Year-over-year average transaction prices rose 2.2 percent to $33,781, according to Kelley Blue Book. That is a gain of $739. “Increased incentives are helping offset part of this growth, as incentive spend is nearing pre-recession levels in recent month,” said Tim Fleming, a Blue Book analyst. “Low gas prices are attracting consumers toward pickup trucks, with average transaction up a combined 6 percent for the segment,” he said.

Fiat Chrysler reported a 12 percent sales gain in February with demand remaining strong for Jeeps and Ram trucks. Jeep sales increased 23 percent.

February was a mixed bag at General Motors with overall sales down 1.5 percent while retail sales rose 7 percent. The decline, GM said, was caused by a planned reduction in sales to rental companies. “Our strategy is simple: grow profitable retail share while maintaining discipline with inventory levels and incentive spending, while reducing rental deliveries,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations. “The economy is growing, Millennials are becoming a major force in the market and we’re doing everything we can to meet retail demand, including increased production of mid-size pickups and investing in additional V8 capacity,” McNeil said.

Demand rose 2.3 percent at Audi for its best-ever February sales. With 11,718 vehicles rolling out of showrooms, Audi claims February was the 62nd straight month of record U.S. sales.

Super Tuesday was not so super at Mazda. The company said February sales fell 16 percent year-over-year. Demand slowed for the Mazda 3 and 6 models, but rose 48.5 percent for the MX-5 Miata. Overall, car sales fell 29 percent, but demand increased almost 8 percent for what Mazda brands as trucks.

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