No. 992
April 17, 2019
 

About The UjianNasional@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Ujian-nasional.info.

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On The Surface


Monday
Apr012019

APRIL 3, 2019

Editors' Note: Our background comments for today's Rant to help you remember. -WG and PMD

1. Endless Green Horizon. Yes, this is when AE readers were first introduced to the infamous James "Jimmy" Fu and S.L. "Sunny" King, the reclusive Chinese billionaires with wild lifestyles who were hell bent on taking over the automotive world.

2. Rick Wagoner. The Obama administration needed a head on a platter - a scapegoat - and "The Rick" fit the bill nicely. Was it justified? No. But it was done.

3. Fritz Henderson. The GM lifer with a wealth of experience, Henderson got caught in the crossfire of GM's downward spiral. His tenure as CEO was short-lived (March 31 - December 1, 2009). He is now a principal of Hawksbill Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm.

4. Jason Vines. The decorated PR veteran who was an up-close witness to some of the most pivotal crises in modern automotive history still consults to this day.

5. Steve Harris. The consummate big-time PR pro who was first hired at GM PR by my father, Anthony G. DeLorenzo. Steve famously said, after Ujian-nasional.info became GM's chief irritant, "Anyone with access to a keyboard and an axe to grind can become an irritant... " or something like that.

6. Robert Nardelli. Or, as I famously referred to him, "Minimum Bob" Nardelli, the serially incompetent Private Equity scammer who was placed by Cerberus at the top of Chrysler, with disastrous results. The Cerberus churn-and-burn strategy blew up in their faces as Nardelli ran the once-proud company into the ground.

7. Ron Gettlefinger. The UAW honcho who never accomplished much.

8. Kent Kresa. The placeholder board chairman is now Chairman of the Board at Mannkind Corporation.

9. Angus McPherson. An inside joke for one of our media colleagues who played bagpipes at the time.

10. Robert Gibbs. The former White House Press Secretary is now Chief Communications Officer and EVP of Corporate Relations at McDonald's.

11. Monica Conyers. The disgraced former Detroit city council woman who ended up in jail for a pay-to-play scheme.

12: Fu-King Motors. The visionary car company is said to be hard at work on a full lineup of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, the first of which is said to be the size of an Escalade with a 600-mile range. Peter has no comment at this time.

13. Keith Crain. If anyone has followed Keith Crain's editorials in Automotive News over the years, this is a classic Keith comment if you've ever seen one.

14. The Reporters. All made up names, but perfectly believable to many on that April Fool's Day.

 

(Ford images)
Ford has announced an all-new 2020 Escape. Ford PR minions say that the new Escape features the best-ever performance, flexibility and smart new technology for the small SUV and that Ford is "reinventing the model that helped drive the popularity of the segment." 
Ford says that to create a sportier look for the all-new Escape, designers turned to some of the most high-profile sports cars in the Ford showroom. The shield-shaped trapezoidal grille is "inspired" by the sixth-generation Mustang (sort of), while the lower front end borrows from Ford GT (if you squint). And, ta-dah! The all-new Escape stands lower, wider and longer! Most important is that it is 200 pounds lighter due in part to the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steel.
Due to new powertrains and transmission systems, the reduction in weight, improved aerodynamics and updated suspension system, Ford is calling the new Escape "the best-performing, most fun-to-drive Escape ever." The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, available on Titanium, is projected to produce 250 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel, while turning in a 0-60 mph time "up to 10 percent faster than the outgoing Escape 2.0-liter." (What, Ford couldn't come up with an exact time?) The all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine, standard on S, SE and SEL, is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel. To help conserve fuel, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost debuts cylinder deactivation, a Ford first for North America, which senses when one cylinder isn’t needed and shuts it down automatically. The system can activate or deactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds. 
Every model in the lineup, whether powered by one of two EcoBoost® engines or the all-new hybrid powertrains, targets an EPA-estimated range of at least 400 miles per tank. The standard hybrid with front-wheel drive targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles. Gas engine-powered models as well as the standard hybrid are available with all-wheel drive. EcoBoost-equipped models get a new, quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, while every Escape receives an all-new suspension with a new isolated rear sub-frame.
SE Sport and Titanium models come standard with Ford’s innovative fourth-generation hybrid propulsion system, which includes an all-new 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The front-wheel-drive hybrid model is projected to produce a combined system horsepower of 198, and a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode. The new Escape will be available beginning next fall.
 

(Chevrolet/IMS Images)
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26 for the 103rd running of the legendary race. It marks the 16th time a Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 30th time a Chevrolet has led the field dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other brand or vehicle has served as the 500 Pace Car more than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively. Indianapolis 500 fans also will see 33 2019 Corvette Stingrays on the roads of Central Indiana this spring and in the IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 25 in downtown Indianapolis. The popular cars are provided to central Indiana business leaders and dignitaries and serve an important promotional role for the race, Chevrolet and Corvette. This is the first time since 2007 that matching Corvettes are serving as the 500 Pace Car and festival cars.
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car features:
 
· Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat with unique GM Design Indy 500 decal package.
 
· Full Length Racing Blade Silver Dual Stripes.
 
· LT1 6.2-liter V-8 DI aluminum engine with 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque.
 
· 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
 
· Dry-sump oil system.
 
· Performance suspension with Magnetic Ride Control.
 
· Brembo® carbon ceramic brakes.
 
· Grand Sport aluminum wheels: 19-inch front and 20-inch rear.
 
· Carbon Flash painted Carbon Fiber Ground Effects Package.
 
· Competition Sport Bucket Seats. 
 
· Performance Data Recorder.
Chevrolet has a long, storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur competed in the 1911 race and Gaston won in 1920. Eight drivers have combined to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” ten times with Chevrolet power: Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr., Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power. The race will be televised live on NBC for the first time, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. EDT on May 26. Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 216, XM 209, ,  and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Visit  to purchase tickets for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26 and for more information on the complete Month of May schedule at IMS.

 

It's all in the drive, Part II.

Editor-in-Chief's Note: 
It's feast or famine when it comes to getting press fleet cars here at AE. Well, mostly famine, since when it comes right down to it we go for months on end between getting cars to drive. So, it's somewhat of a shock to have two cars in three weeks, especially when this week has us in the 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD. Full disclosure, I had a Cadillac DTS as a personal driver for a couple of years, and even though it was classic "yestertech" at the time, I enjoyed it, particularly when dealing with the urban--freeway slog. So I was looking forward to the CT6 Sport, especially since it was designed and engineered back in the days when Cadillac had its sights on the luxury-performance German machines from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 
As I've said before, the CT6 looks great coming at you on the road, especially with the Sport grille, as our tester had. And the look of the front lighting at night is borderline spectacular. In total the CT6 design is crisp and purposeful from the front, too elongated from the side, and fairly nondescript from the back. The Red Horizon Tintcoat paint is an interesting look on the CT6, especially in the sea of black and the various shades of gray seen on most luxury cars, but it wouldn't be my first choice. I get the "Sport" connotation, but it didn't seem quite appropriate for the $83,215 sticker price. 
I found the interior to be better than I expected it would be, looking sleek and seamless in all the right places. The instrumentation was superb, and Cadillac's move to more control knobs and clear-read graphics was welcome. If you notice in the specs below, this CT6 Sport AWD was super-loaded with $15,000+ of options. I should pause right here and say that I didn't try even 20 percent of the technology in this car, including the vaunted Super Cruise. Why? I am not technology averse, but to me it's all about the drive. And too much of the technology available on cars in this era has little to do with enhancing the way they drive. I didn't want to overdose on the technology, when I could spend more time concentrating on the driving (although to be fair, plenty of the technology intruded on the driving anyway).

I will say that when it comes to the driving, the CT6 Sport acquits itself well, especially with the "sport" mode on. Not having been in a big sedan in a while, but very familiar with them, the CT6 Sport felt slightly big and ponderous at first, especially at slow urban speeds. But as with its competitive set of German sedans, the CT6 comes to life when the speeds come up. The ponderousness goes away, it gets lighter on its feet and no surprise, it feels slightly Germanic, although with a crisper, engineered-in-Detroit feel. And the Twin-Turbo V6 performed flawlessly, with an enjoyable level of response and notable thrust. Yes, the ride is slightly on the harsh side, but it is not overly rough or objectionable in the least, even on Michigan's now traditional - and monumentally shitty - roads. 

The CT6 Sport was surprisingly much better than I thought it would be, certainly better than the criticism leveled at it. But at the same time, in a SUV/crossover obsessed world, the CT6 is destined to operate on the margins. Not Cadillac enough for the traditional - and dying out - Cadillac intenders, and not elevated enough for the logo-obsessed, flavor-of-the-moment auto grazers. Would I consider a CT6 Sport AWD if I was shopping competitors from Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz? I would. But then again, I think this loaded tester should sticker for just under $70,000, all-in. That's what happens when a brand's image doesn't live up to its obviously well-executed, real-world presence. -PMD UPDATE: With more time spent in the CT6 Sport AWD, the more I realized the kind of effort the True Believers at GM/Cadillac put into this car. In sport mode and at higher speeds, the chassis feels planted, capable and really good. And the Twin-Turbo V6, as I said, provides plenty of thrust, especially in the 70-100 mph range needed to get around sluggish traffic on the freeway. So, as a driver-oriented machine the CT6 acquits itself quite well for a big sedan. I did try out Super Cruise, and I have to say that although it worked as advertised, i found it to be eerie and more than a little disconcerting. If this is a limited preview of our driving future, I think I will enjoy working the steering wheel for a long time to come. I do appreciate the technology displayed in the Super Cruise system, however, it's just not appealing to me. -PMD
2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD: $83,215 ($66,595 Base Price; Red Horizon Tintcoat, $1225; Jet Black interior; 3.0-liter, Direct Injected, Twin Turbocharged V6 with 404HP and 400 lbs-ft of torque; 10-speed automatic transmission, Electronic Precision Shift; All-Wheel-Drive; 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS; Four-wheel independent suspension; 19" multi-spoke alloy wheels; LED headlights and tail lamps; Intellibeam headlights; Sport grille; Black finish window moldings; Leather seating surfaces, 16-way power bucket seats, front; Driver and front passenger memory seats; Heated front seats; Power rear window sunshade with manual rear side sunshades; Heated steering wheel; Auto-dim inside rear view mirror;  Automatic climate control, dual zone; Power adjustable and heated body color outside mirrors; 8" gauge cluster; Cadillac User Experience with 10" diagonal color display; Navigation, Apple Carplay and Android capability provided by Apple and Google; Bose premium ten speakers audio; Wireless charging; SiriusXM and HD radio (first three months free); Ultraview sunroof; Auto parking assist; Power deck lid, hands free; Super Cruise Package - Super Cruise driver assistance feature includes the first three years of OnStar to support Super Cruise functionality, Forward and reverse automatic braking, Advanced adaptive cruise control, Night vision, Magnetic ride control, Active rear steering, 20" multi-spoke alloy wheels - $6,000; Bose Panaray sound system including 34 speakers, $3700; Rear Seat Package - Rear seat infotainment, HDMI module, Quad-zone climate control, ionizing air cleaner - $2,700; Comfort and Technology Package - 12" color gauge cluster including driver personalization, Rear camera mirror (with washer), Head-up display, Ventilated driver and front passenger seat backs, Heated rear outboard seats - $2,000; Destination charge, $995)

 

Editor-in-Chief's Note: In honor of opening day for the Tigers here in Detroit (4/4), we thought you'd enjoy our movie quote of the week. -PMD
 

"And you know Steve you get the feeling that Billy Chapel isn't pitching against left-handers, he isn't pitching against pinch hitters, he isn't pitching against the Yankees. He's pitching against time. He's pitching against the future, against age, and even when you think about his career, against ending. And tonight I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time to push the sun back up in the sky and give us one more day of summer."
 
- Vin Scully playing himself, talking about Kevin Costner as Detroit Tiger pitcher "Billy Chapel" in "For Love of the Game"
 

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