GM plans $100 million outlay to create premium import platform for ‘iconic’ products

General Motors is forming a separate business unit in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area to expand Chinese imports of some of its most popular and profitable vehicles built and sold mostly in North America.

The Detroit automaker signed a letter of intent with the Pudong New Area government to invest $100 million in the new business, GM’s China unit said

“The new Premium Import business, tailored for China, will present a curated collection of iconic GM products through an innovative platform-based business model,” GM China said.

The import business, with a product portfolio comprised of full-size SUVs, pickup trucks and performance cars, will “address evolving demand in the niche market, complementing GM’s locally produced model and brand lineup,” GM China said. 

GM produces and markets Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet cars and light trucks at SAIC-GM, a joint venture it established with SAIC Motor Corp. in Shanghai in 1997.

Additional details on the import business were not available. 

The 2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Crazy Quirky EV From the Future


2023 Genesis GV60 review! The 2023 Genesis GV60 is a crazy, quirky electric vehicle from the future — and today I’m reviewing it. I’m going to show you all the weird quirks of the GV60, and I’ll show you everything you need to know. I’m also going to drive the GV60 and show you what it’s like behind the wheel of the new GV60.


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Tesla uses its electric semi truck to deliver Superchargers to Laguna Seca racetrack

One of the rare Tesla Semi electric trucks came out of hiding this week to deliver pre-assembled Superchargers to the Laguna Seca racetrack in California.

With the Tesla Semi program being delayed by 3 years at this point, the automaker rarely publicly uses the electric semi-truck.

The company only produced a handful of them at a facility in Nevada and it has yet to bring it to volume production as it waits on higher volume availability of its 4680 battery cells.

However, Tesla has always said that it would be its own best customer when it comes to the Tesla Semi and it is already putting the few electric trucks it has to good use.

We have seen the automaker use its Tesla Semi electric truck to deliver Model 3 vehicles to customers in the past.

Now Tesla shared footage of using the electric truck to deliver pre-assembled Superchargers at the Laguna Seca racetrack in California:

Earlier this year, we reported on Tesla using pre-fabricated Supercharger stations to accelerate the deployment of the fast-charging stations.

In one case, Tesla managed to deploy a new Supercharger in just 8 days thanks to delivering the chargers in a pre-fabricated system with both the charging stalls and cabinets on concrete footings.

Also, it’s interesting that the automaker is building a station at the Laguna Seca racetrack.

The track is popular with EV owners and especially owners of performance Tesla vehicles in California who can’t push their vehicles to their limits on public streets.

Tesla owners have often used the racetrack as a benchmark for the top performance versions of the electric vehicles, like breaking the EV record with the Model S Plaid last year.

It will be super useful to have a fast-charging station at the track since electric vehicles perform best when they have a high state of charge.

And now for what might have been the first time, the charging station to charge electric vehicles was delivered by an electric vehicle: the Tesla Semi electric truck.

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Land Rover’s Bowler division reveals Extreme conversion for original Defender

Land Rover’s Bowler division reveals Extreme conversion for original Defender

Off-road racing specialist Bowler, which was acquired by Jaguar Land Rover in 2019, is offering a new upgrade package for the original Land Rover Defender.

While Bowler offers individual upgrades for Land Rover SUVs, it also offers curated upgrades grouped into packages the company refers to as conversions. Bowler’s first conversion was a street performance package, known as Fast Road, and now the company has revealed an off-road performance package, dubbed Extreme.

Unveiled late on Wednesday, the Extreme package is designed to fit 90, 110 or 130 Defender models and adds an assortment of off-road gear including 16-inch bead-lock wheels, 35-inch BFGoodrich tires, flared wheel arches, and custom suspension providing a 2.0-inch lift. Bowler also adds side rails, a custom lightweight front bumper, and a roof rack with extra lighting.

The original Defender’s turbocharged inline-4 diesel engine also gets a boost to deliver 175 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The brakes are also improved with the addition of an Alcon brake package featuring four-piston calipers with 13.15 inch rotors up front and 11.7-inch rotors at the rear.

Bowler Extreme conversion for the Land Rover Defender

Bowler Extreme conversion for the Land Rover Defender

The interior is also given a makeover. The list of upgrades include a leather-lined Momo steering wheel, Recaro seats up front, custom gear shifters, navigation, and a new audio system. Buyers can choose between fabric or leather trim for the seats.

Customers can supply their own Defender or have Bowler source one. The conversion work is handled at Bowler’s facility in Belper, U.K., and availability is limited.

The price will be dependant on the level of work down, as well as the year and condition of the donor vehicle, Bowler said.

For buyers with extra-deep pockets, Bowler can build an original Defender from scratch using a bespoke platform of Bowler’s own design. The platform is capable of supporting Jaguar Land Rover’s familiar supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 which Bowler installs in a 567-hp configuration.

Tesla lays off 200 Autopilot workers, report says

Tesla Inc. has laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as the electric-vehicle maker shuttered a California facility, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Surprisingly, the majority of those who were let go were hourly workers, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. As recently as last week, CEO Elon Musk had outlined plans to cut 10 percent of salaried staff but said he would be increasing hourly jobs.

Teams at the San Mateo office were employed in evaluating customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performing so-called data labeling. Many of the staff members were data annotation specialists, all of which are hourly positions, one of the people said.

About 200 workers were let go in total, according to the people. Prior to the cuts, the office had about 350 employees, although some had been transferred to a nearby facility in recent weeks.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla is trimming its ranks after a surge in hiring in recent years. The company, now based in Austin, Texas, had grown to about 100,000 employees globally as it built new factories in Austin and Berlin.

Musk caught workers by surprise earlier this month when he said layoffs would be necessary in an increasingly shaky economic environment. He clarified in an interview with Bloomberg that about 10 percent of salaried employees would lose their jobs over the next three months, though the overall headcount could be higher in a year.

The EV market leader’s downsizing efforts have focused on areas that grew too quickly. Some human resources workers and software engineers are among those who have been laid off, and in some cases, the cuts have hit employees who had worked at the company for just a few weeks.

Those affected by the latest move worked on one of the higher-profile features in Tesla vehicles. In job postings, Tesla has said that labeled data is the “critical ingredient for training powerful Deep Neural Networks, which help drive the Tesla vehicles autonomously.” Staffers in Buffalo, N.Y., and San Mateo spent hours labeling images for cars and the environment they navigate, such as street signs and traffic lanes.

In Buffalo, Tesla has continued to expand its Autopilot data-labeling teams, a person familiar with the matter said. But staff at that location, who are doing the same role, are paid a lower hourly rate than in San Mateo, the person said.