Day one of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (or NAIAS, or the Detroit Auto Show) is behind us, and we’ve racked up a significant number of steps on our FitBit (13,462 and counting as of this writing) and have seen some awesome cars. You can get details from the press releases and other sites on your own, but I thought I’d take time to add some in-person impressions of a few of the more significant vehicles at the show. Also, follow us on Facebook () throughout the day for more frequent, live content as we hit the floor for day two tomorrow.
In a giant blow to the ethanol/corn belt lobby, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to reduce the congressionally-mandated requirement of incorporating 14 billion gallons of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. Due to lower overall fuel consumption from a more efficient vehicle fleet since 2007, the EPA would have in effect required higher than 10% ethanol blends in gasoline for 2014, which automakers believe could cause damage to fuel system parts. The new EPA requirement is between 12.7 and 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol for 2014.
We’ve thrown a few barbs at Cadillac over the years for the brand’s slippage from the true Standard of the World to a brand that eventually sold a barely-upgraded version of the lousy Chevrolet Cavalier during the 1980s. Cadillac is in a better place today than it has been in decades, but it’s still a luxury-brand als0-ran. The 2008-2013 CTS helped, and the ATS is a credible entry-level offering, but to really take on the world’s best, it needs more than a midsize 5 Series competitor.
Yesterday’s news that GM had topped the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey (IQS) came as a surprise to many observers. GM earned a well-deserved reputation over the past several decades as a seller of crappy cars littered with quality problems (though 1990s Buicks tended to do pretty well in this same survey). Had someone told me a few years ago that in 2013 GM would occupy the top spot in the survey, I would have found it hard to believe. Well, pigs are flying and GM is on top. Now let’s look at some of the reasons why.
If you’re a car industry fanatic like many of us are, you may recall that in the early days of the U.S. auto industry, there were far more than only three companies (or a few more if you count startups like Tesla) selling new cars in the U.S. Long-forgotten nameplates like Maxwell, Pierce-Arrow, Studebaker, Rambler, Packard, Nash, and others eventually either consolidated their operations into a larger automaker, or shut their doors outright. China’s auto industry today in many ways parallels the early days of its U.S. counterpart – many players, not all strong, and not all good, vying for ever-growing pieces of a pie that’s not growing as quickly as everyone there would like. On top of that, pollution in many Chinese cities is abysmal. Thanks to more and more cars, motorbikes, factories, and electricity generation, air quality in places like Shanghai is almost un-breathable. So what’s the solution?
Several of us at Techshake use Waze, the popular crowd-sourced navigation and traffic app for smartphones. We were among the first to talk about Waze, way back in March 2012. A few months ago, there were rumors that to improve its lousy Apple Maps application. Then it was , and now it appears that . With Waze going to Google – a company that succeeds, as does Facebook, by convincing you to trust it with your private data so that it can tailor ads to your and your friends – I thought we might look at some of the more interesting privacy-related aspects of Waze in its current form.