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2012 Buick Regal with eAssist to start at $29,530, Regal GS at $35,310

Buick just announced pricing on the 2012 Regal with eAssist, and the sportier 2012 Regal GS.

The Regal with eAssist will start at $29,530. The eAssist system is actually a $2,000 option on the Regal base model, mated to a 2.4L Ecotec engine. According to Buick, the base model without eAssist will continue to be available along with the 2.0L turbo.

The Regal GS will start at $35,310. Both prices include $860 in destination charges.

"Regal with eAssist and Regal GS offer distinct advantages to midsize luxury sport sedan customers," Tony DiSalle, U.… Read more

GM dealerships plug into solar canopies

Solar power is coming to General Motors dealerships in an initiative to highlight GM's plug-in Chevy Volt and spiff up dealers' green credentials.

GM said today that 24 dealerships will receive a solar canopy in its Green Zone initiative. The solar arrays will be installed by Sunlogics, a solar company in which GM Ventures has invested $7.5 million.

The solar canopies will generate enough electricity to fully charge 12 Chevy Volts per day. The solar arrays will also offset dealership's electricity bills by generating on-site power.

In a GM video, two of the first dealers with the … Read more

Remote unlock and start for cars hacked

The convenience offered by mobile apps for unlocking car doors and remotely starting their engines is also a weakness, as two hackers will demonstrate at the upcoming Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Researchers Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik managed to use a laptop to hack the mobile app connection in two different car brands.

The researchers discovered that, when a user pushed the unlock or remote engine start buttons on the app, the phone sends a signal to a service center, which then sends a signal to the car telling it what to do. The researchers intercepted and duplicated … Read more

GM buys into solar EV charging through Sunlogics

General Motor's venture arm said today it has invested $7.5 million in solar company Sunlogics and will purchase its solar arrays for GM facilities and dealerships.

Sunlogics will use the money to ramp up its operations, including solar panel production in Michigan and Ontario. The company, based in Rochester Hills, Mich., makes panels using thin-film amorphous silicon solar cells. It also installs and owns solar projects for corporations using its panels.

As part of the investment, GM will install solar canopies at its dealerships and business. It also signed a power purchase agreement in which it will buy … Read more

GMC plans to add Granite subcompact crossover

GMC dealers will get a shot at a new set of buyers starting in 2013, when General Motors is expected to launch its GMC Granite subcompact crossover.

That will diversify GMC beyond its core truck buyers, building on momentum from hot sales of its Terrain crossover. For the first time, GMC dealers will have a vehicle to fit urban lifestyles, one that can compete for shoppers with the Scion xB and Kia Soul.

Not that the brand is ignoring its core truck buyers. The Sierra 1500 full-sized pickup and Yukon SUV account for almost half of GMC's sales. Redesigned … Read more

Chevy Cruze diesel comes to U.S. in 2013

Chevy announced today that it will bring a diesel variant of its Cruze sedan to the U.S. in 2013. Currently, the base model comes with a 1.8-liter four cylinder, and higher trim versions come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine.

A special version, the Cruze Eco, is tuned and lightened to achieve 42 mpg on the highway.

GM currently sells a diesel version of the Cruze in other parts of the world. It uses a turbocharged 2-liter engine producing 161 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. To bring this diesel engine to the U.S., Chevrolet would most … Read more

Educating engineers for the EV era

DETROIT--The nearly 200 students in Wayne State University's electric vehicle engineering master's program may have taken different routes to get here, but they have the same goal: capitalize on the auto industry's growing need for EV engineers.

About half are returning to school. Alan Dry, 63, for instance, was laid off from his job as an engineering supervisor at parts supplier International Automotive Components Group. Dry wants to rejoin the industry in the EV sector.

Chrysler engineer Kevin Snyder, 40, was transferred to the automaker's electrified hybrid power-train group in May. Snyder said the Wayne State … Read more

GM, ABB rewire Volt battery for backup power

General Motors and grid equipment supplier ABB this week showed an early version of an energy storage system using battery packs from the Chevy Volt electric car.

The two companies are partnering to build a prototype which they say can be used either for large-scale grid storage or backup power for consumers. They estimate that 33 repurposed Volt battery packs could supply 50 U.S. homes for four hours during an outage or brownout.

Batteries lose their storage capacity over time, but used car batteries are still viable for grid storage. GM estimates that once used car batteries have 70 … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1513: The FBI is coming after Anonymous. Run and tell that. (Podcast)

The FBI rolls out a massive raid across the United States in connection with the "Anonymous" hacking investigation. Google's Eric Schmidt will defend HTC at all costs and if you can't wait for the inevitable Mac OS X Lion release, it's already out on the internet. Because that won't get you in trouble at all.

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Imagine Apple with an MBA at top, no Steve Jobs

By-the-numbers MBAs are not always a good fit for U.S. companies. Particularly those in the business of product innovation. Just imagine a bean-counting mathematical-model-driven MBA running Apple.

Instead of the iPad, we might have an Apple Netbook. Instead of the iPhone, a Rokr. In short, products that are low risk, devoid of inspiration, and easy on the balance sheet.

MBA-as-CEO is a point eloquently made by Bob Lutz, the former Vice Chairman of General Motors. While MBAs have a role to play, the by-the-numbers, post-1970s variety sitting at the top of the corporate chain of command can be devastating … Read more