Branding

CEO Mary Barra entertains the possibility of changing the General Motors company name

The Renaissance Center In Detroit is the home of General Motors.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Imagine telling Walter Chrysler and the Dodge brothers that their namesake companies would one day be ruled by a corporate overlord with a name sounding like a character from the Marvel Universe or a new erectile dysfunction medication - Stellantis.

Now, imagine telling William C. Durant that the horsepower conglomerate he founded could be getting a name with a moniker that could be confused for a mythical planet or a protective metal that helps Superman combat the effects of kryptonite - Ultium.

That's exactly the proposition General Motors CEO Mary Barra admitted that she has entertained during a company earnings call today

2021 Cadillac Lyriq Cadillac will debut its new electric SUV in August, the Lyriq. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

On the call, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones asked Barra why GM doesn't change isn't name to Ultium, the name it has given its new battery pack. GM has promised 20 new electric vehicles will debut by 2023.

In response, Barra had what some may call a Freudian slip, saying, "We're going to make any change necessary to drive shareholder value," before going on to explain that she "so strongly" believes in the "technology and our future product plans as it relates to electrification. That's something that we evaluate and look at, when's the right time and what are the proof points that ... make it real. We believe strongly in our EV future."

What just yesterday seemed like an almost preposterous idea, has apparently been worked on by GM executives who have studied ways to add a little luster to the GM brand identity.

Barra and other GM executives have continually pushed electrification as a strategy for success in a mobility-rich future.

Certainly stock prices and investment opportunities drive automakers. Ford is continuously discussed as having a low stock price while Tesla’s is soaring despite the fact that Ford has the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. and Tesla is the subject of Reddit pages filled with quality control issues and brand apologists making excuses.

Despite this, it looks, for now, like the General Motors name is safe. But, like the market for electric vehicles, its future remains uncertain.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The SCC Tautara is now the world's fastest car.

Photo courtesy of SCC North America

He's an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and car enthusiast. He's also the new King of Speed. Dr. Larry Caplin's SSC Tuatara recently became the fastest production car ever with a set of of records during an October 10 event in Pahrump, Nevada along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160.

With professional racing driver Oliver Webb at the wheel, the Tuatara hit an average of 316.11 mph following two consecutive high-speed test runs. To comply with test regulations, the car traveled first in one direction down the road clocking 301.07 mph then turned around and went the other direction on the same road getting to 331.15 mph, consecutively, within one hour.

SCC Tautara Shelby Webb sign Jerod Shelby, CEO of SSC (left) and driver Oliver Webb (right) celebrate the car's record.Photo courtesy of SCC North America

The times were then averaged. Officials were on site to verify all world record criteria was met and even reviewed Dewetron GPS measurements, which tracked the speed runs using 15 satellites. The Tuatara earned the title of the "Fastest Production Vehicle".

The car also earned three other titles: "Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road" at 313.12 mph, "Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road" at 321.35 mph (517.16 km/h), and "Highest Speed Achieved on a Public Road" at 331.15 mph.

Caplin is celebrating the milestone by donating community programs that support children, youth, and military families worldwide. His $316,000 donations will support health and wellness programs in underserved schools, provide college scholarships to first-generation students, and help military communities and families nationwide.

Larry Caplin SCC Tautara record car Dr. Larry Caplin celebrates the record set by his car.Photo courtesy of Dr. Larry Caplin

"I am beyond thrilled to own the World's fastest car because it's another opportunity to shine a light on important issues that support local communities and serve military families," said Caplin. "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be the owner of a historic vehicle, but I recognize that I have a responsibility to use this opportunity to help those who need support in a tangible way."

SSC North America is producing 100 SSC Tuatara hypercars. High-speed,high-downforce, and track versions are now available to customers.

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Ford has launched its new Bronco configuration tool.

Photo by AutomotiveMap with screen image courtesy of Ford Motor Company
How would you build it? Now you can find out. The new 2021 Ford Bronco build-and-price configurator is live on the Ford website giving buyers the opportunity to customize their pick without having to commit to a deposit or trip to the dealership. Ford has received over 190,000 reservations for the Bronco to date.
It's also a great way to kill some time between Zooms.

"The color and material offerings of the all-new Bronco and Bronco Sport are genuine and trusted, and establish a visceral connection between nature and the authenticity of this new family of rugged SUVs," said Missy Coolsaet, Bronco color and materials designer. "They motivate our customers to return to the wilderness and challenge themselves – and Bronco takes them there in a carefree, spontaneous way."

2021 Ford Bronco configurator options

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The configurator works in a traditional sense, asking users to first enter their ZIP code then taking them to a menu where they choose a trim level. Ford offers the Bronco in seven trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition.

Buyers are then asked to choose a two- or four-door model. The 2021 Bronco is available in a wide variety of colors, including some with deep Ford heritage, and wheel varieties.

Powertrains components are trim level-dependent and some paint and wheel color combinations are not compatible with the seven-speed manual transmission or the Sasquatch Package.

All-terrain, mud, or all-season tires are either standard or available depending on trim level and wheel choice.

Buyers can check options boxes for a hard top, sound-deadening headliner, roof rails with crossbar, splash guards, an upgraded bash plate, paint protection film, brush guard, keyless entry keypad, wireless charging pad, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, a 12.0-inch infotainment touch screen, 10-speaker B&O sound system, and LED headlights, depending on trim level. Higher Bronco grades get much of these features as standard.

Cloth, vinyl, or leather-trimmed seats are available. An Ebony black or Medium Sandstone interior are the only options, but Medium Sandstone is not available in all trim levels.

A variety of equipment groups and packages are available as well, including a graphics package that will put the profile of rolling hills on the lower quarter of your Bronco's door panels.

Check out the configurator now at Ford.com/Bronco.

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