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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The concept has been extensively modified for a life lived off the beaten path.

GMC

Overlanding has become a world of its own, with several parts and vehicle customization companies, media publications, and guide services popping up all over the place. GMC realizes this, and to capitalize on the overlanding craze, the automaker built a Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX off-road concept to show off at the Overland Expo Mountain West 2021, which took place last week.


GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Concept The OVRLANDX concept carries a kitchenette, solar panels, and more.GMC


Some of the upgrades on the truck include:

  • Cast-iron control arms
  • A heavy-duty front bumper with winch
  • Front and rear electronic locking differentials
  • An off-road jack and mount
  • Multimatic DSSV dampers
  • Off-road rocker panel protectors


Listing the rest of the upgrades would take more words than anybody cares to read but rest assured that they are plentiful and impressive. GMC says that the concept truck gained legitimate capability from the upgrades. The approach angle is 27.7 degrees, and the truck can ford water up to 32.1 inches, which come thanks to a ground clearance of 10 inches and a custom-built snorkel system. The truck rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires.

Since it's an overlanding concept, the truck needs the ability to support its passengers well off the beaten path. To do that, GMC gave the Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX a cooler and kitchenette, solar panel, and a truck bed storage system with drawers.



GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Concept You can build something similar to the concept with off-the-shelf parts.GMC


As a concept truck, it's unlikely the AT4 overlanding rig will make it into production as it sits. That said, it's an interesting idea for an intrepid Canyon owner to use as a blueprint. Outside of the chassis work, most of the parts and upgrades can be purchased and installed without a major hassle, but if you're in the market to build a rig, it's best to research your truck's payload capacity and capabilities before overloading for overlanding.

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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