It’s not a good week for performance or green car fans of GM, as GM Canada confirmed that the V-8 SS sport sedan that debuted at Daytona last weekend won’t be available in Canada, while the Cadillac ELR plug-in and the Chevrolet Spark EV won’t be available to see at the Canadian International Auto Show, although they made their Canadian debut there just before the show opened to the public.
The Chevrolet SS sedan is a 415-hp, rear-wheel-drive, full-size sedan scheduled to go on sale in the United States late this year. The production SS’s debut coincided with the official debut of the NASCAR race version of the SS at qualifying for this weekend’s big Daytona 500 race.
Danica Patrick made history in the SS racer on Sunday, becoming the first woman to qualify on pole for the storied event, or for any top-level NASCAR Sprint Cup series race.
She was running a racer with a 5.5-litre V-8, ironically a smaller-displacement engine than the Corvette Stingray-derived 6.2-litre V-8 that will power the ’14 SS. It will compete with powerful full-size sedans like the Dodge Charger V-8 models and Ford Taurus EcoBoosts in U.S. showrooms, but GM Canada spokesperson George Saratlic said in an e-mail this week that the company had no plans to sell the SS in Canada.
As for the two GM plug-ins, both made their Canadian press debuts last week at the show’s media day on Feb. 14, but both were gone when the show opened to the public the following day. Saratlic said there were no plans to feature the plug-in cars on the public days of the show, as they both had other marketing commitments in the United States, and were loaned for that day only. Unfortunately, that latter part was not communicated, leading some plug-in enthusiasts commenting online about how disappointed they were with GM and the show in general.
Luckily, the Corvette Stingray that also made its Canadian debut last week is still there and, by all account,s is one of the stars of this year’s show, as it was in Detroit.
To be fair, there are other concepts that couldn’t stay for the entire CIAS, confirms the show’s general manager Tom Tonks, with Nissan’s Resonance concept leaving the show floor Monday night, and Acura’s latest NSX prototype leaving Wednesday night.
Acura and Honda top ALG Canadian residual awardsHonda and Acura were ranked first among mainstream and premium brands in expected resale value, respectively, according to ALG, which announced its 2013 residual value award winners just before the opening of the auto show in Toronto.
ALG ranked the mainstream and premium brands against each other as a whole, with Subaru and Mazda following Honda in the overall mainstream rankings, while Infiniti and Lexus scored the silver and bronze among luxury brands.
At the bottom of each respective list came GMC, GM’s truck division known for offering slightly blingier and pricier versions of Chevrolet trucks, and Lincoln, which has also battled to differentiate its products from the Ford models they’re based upon.
ALG also listed individual winners in 22 vehicle segments and Toyota tied Honda for the most category wins with four, even though Toyota didn’t make the top three in overall brand performance. Of the fewer premium classes, Nissan scored big with three wins, two for its Infiniti SUVs (the JX and QX56), as well as its GT-R in premium sports cars.
In contrast with the Canadian Black Book residual value award winners that were also announced at the show, in which Toyota and Lexus dominated that firm’s ranking of 2010 resale values, ALG bases its awards on an evaluation of 2013 models and their projected resale value three or four years from now. Mainstream vehicles are projected on a four-year scale, luxury vehicles on a shorter three-year one, to align with their common lease terms. A list of each winner in each class is available on alg.com, along with the other podium finishing vehicles.
Tesla and the New York Times
The storied New York Times appears to admit to shoddy auto reporting but not a purposefully malicious article, after its public editor admitted this week that Times staffer John Broder didn’t use particularly good judgement or keep good records of his long-distance drive in a Tesla Model S.
The article caused a very public storm when Tesla CEO Elon Musk branded the piece “a fake” to his many Twitter followers, and then promised to follow that up by releasing detailed logs that he said contradicted Broder’s version of events, which the company did.
In the detailed Tesla blog entry – which used charging, speed and climate control settings logged directly from the Model S provided to the NYT for the test – Musk argued that the data logs provided evidence that Broder purposely set out to create a more dramatic story by intentionally running the car out of charge. The most damaging was to question why he would head out on a 61-mile journey when the car’s onboard range indicator showed only 32 miles of range remaining.
Broder also posted a detailed response to Musk’s argument on the paper’s Wheels blog, in which he argued that he called Tesla personnel for tips and guidance on charging and extending the car’s range more than 10 times, and that a Tesla rep had told him that an hour of charging at his last stop would be sufficient. It wasn’t, unsurprisingly, given that the range indicator estimated that he had only half the distance needed, but a photo of the Model S being pulled onto a flatbed tow truck appeared with the original piece.
A group of Tesla Model S owners as well as other media outlets quickly replicated the long-distance Washington, D.C., to Boston test in the days that followed, using the same Tesla Supercharger network but at slightly warmer temperatures, and all of them successfully made the trip, no tow trucks needed.