Monday, September 25, 2017

Cruise Automation Department at GM Claims Self-driving Bolt is Ready for Mass-production

The residents of St Louis have always been tech-savvy, and when they come to ask us questions about cars here on the lot at Jim Butler, it seems lately that the future truly is already here. Many companies have shifted their focus to developing self-driving cars, but most have temporarily lost their way a bit, and over-compensate on sensors and software. This has left a bit to be desired in the actual outcomes of the car themselves. The automation subsidiary at GM has been working hard on its autonomous-driving software for quite some time, and now is giving attention to the actual cars that will put it to use.

The third-generation self-driving prototype has just been slated as ready for mass production, and it just so happens to be the funky and fun-to-drive Chevy Bolt. This updated version has new safety features that deem it able to operate in the real world without a driver, and our sales and service staff are watching this progress closely. The first Bolt autonomous prototypes began to be built and tested on public roads last year, and these were the first-generation attempts. The second-generation prototype was unveiled earlier this year, and they featured a greater sense of integration between the software and stock components of the car.

This car was created under the strong guise that relying on a human driver at any point was not an option, and for that reason, the electrical makeup is very different from a stock Bolt. It is said to closely resemble that of a spacecraft or commercial airplane. The 3rd-generation version can still be built on the same Michigan assembly line as its predecessors, which means that thousands of them could be produced in the very near future. This excites us greatly, because it would thrust Chevy way ahead of their rivals in the industry.

Ford is planning to launch their own self-driving cars, but at this point, production-ready designs are not completed yet. Waymo, Uber, and Lyft are working around the clock to develop autonomous systems, but some of their red tape involves the partnerships needed by automakers to really get things off the ground. The constant debate over what type of regulations will be put in place is definitely making some progress, but we will now see a new level of urgency as a whole. 

As new ways of thinking start to trickle into the entire industry, some may be a bit hesitant to embrace models that drive themselves. Things will begin to now change at a pace faster than ever, and we are constantly amazed at the present potential for the driver-less car to emerge someday soon! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mid-Engine Corvette C8 Zora Poised To be Offered Alongside C7 ZR1 Next year

An important news flash gleaned from The Drive last week attempted to clear the air on a bit of confusion in regards to the release of the 2019 Chevy Corvette. There has been speculation and multiple rumors about this release for decades, and at this point, the legendary sports car is all but last-rung confirmed to make the switch to a mid-engine configuration. The C7 ZR1 is slated to be the king of the pack, and being capable of producing over 700 horsepower. Back in April, we took a close-up look at how it had the masterful ability to set a Nurburgring record, conquering the 12.9-mile course in less than 7:30.

Both of these high-octane and very high-profile cars are expected to be paired together and sold as 2019 models, and continue to do so before the C7 is eventually phased out entirely. The C7 ZR1 will most likely be the last chance for drivers to experience the front-engine that is classically configured, in a patented rear-drive corvette that has led the pack for the last 60 years. The C8 Zora is the result of a long-standing strategy to go head-to-head with cars such as the Audi R8, and the Mclaren 570S, while potentially out-performing one of the most prominent names in sports cars: the Porsche 911.

There is a rumor among many that with the production of two different Corvettes during the same year, GM may begin to produce Corvettes away from the umbrella of the Chevy namesake. This would ultimately become its own brand of high-performance auto, and it is absolutely not something that we can confirm in any way, but raises many questions. Would our beloved customers at Jim Butler Chevy enjoy this iconic car line as much if it broke away and became its own entity? Whatever does happen, the new Corvettes are slated to go on sale during mid-to-late 2018.

Later down the road during the life of the Zora C8, the engine bay may even flirt with housing a twin-turbo V6, and many are disagreeing a bit about the general appearance regarding the rear of the vehicle. It does seem like there has been a pretty serious attempt to imitate a Ferrari when looking at proposed finished products, and everyone here on the lot seems to love it.

There is a bit of disdain as you scour the many auto blogs and articles available on this issue, and some feel that the techniques used to make the newer Corvettes modern were so drastic, that they lost a bit of the original aesthetic and soul along the way. All of us here in St Louis have been highly infatuated and engrossed with this brand for quite some time now, and couldn't be more excited to see just how the offering of this pair pans out. astronomical changes in the auto industry don't come without perseverance and much research: Our level of anticipation is at fever pitch to see these new Corvette's unveiled and dominating the track! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Consistently Bold and Trail-Bound: Blazer Slated to Return During 2019

The Blazer was in all ways a hit with many who wanted a hardtop and durable vehicle, and a horse that was also able to lug around a sizable cargo. Many elements of the Blazer have been modernized as of late, but the vibe of a true trekker that is able to jump off road when needed is still the same. We have so many great locations near St Louis to have outdoor adventures: Elephant Rocks State Park is just under an hour and 45 minutes away. Here you can climb on and jump across boulders, and admire the otherworldly appearance and abundance of red granite.

Automotive News Reports stated over the last week that Chevy will revive this much-love name next year, with the addition of a new midsize crossover set to directly compete with the Nissan Murano, as well as the Ford Edge. We recognize that these are sleek and savvy new vehicles that are a bit reminiscent of what you would expect if you let an old school Tyco slot racing track model series collide with something from the “Tron” movie reboot a few years back. When you get a first glance at vehicles such as the Edge, it seems like they aren't really suitable for rugged use, but numerous test drivers claim otherwise.

The shared platform is going to be with the very latest GMC Acadia, and take its illustrious and noted place in line within the Chevy lineup between the Equinox and the Traverse. The Acadia is currently the best-selling model behind the Sierra pickup, and prototypes of the Chevy under thick camouflage have been spotted traveling on many public roads. The last Blazer was one that existed before the full-fledged Trailblazer, which had a strong run with consumers until 2009.

The original S-10 Blazers and S15 Jimmy were based heavily on the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC S-15 pickup trucks, and many were sad to see the two-door Blazer model sales end in 2004. After a bit of confusion with flow and backend in models around 1994, Playboy Magazine hailed the 1995 model as it's hands down truck of the year, and it also took top honors in Motor Trend for their heralded truck of the year. This all-new 5-passenger midsize will be the first time the Blazer namesake has been offered since 2005, and should immediately cultivate memories of steep-inclined jaunts, as well as excited drummers: this was the vehicle of choice for percussionists' valuable cargo for decades.

At an estimated 194 inches, the new Blazer will sit at about ten inches shorter than the Traverse, and will also compete directly with vehicles such as the Honda Pilot. Come pay us a visit at Jim Butler to check out the front-wheel drive and all-wheel configurations, and see whether the 4-cylinder or V-6 option is best for you. We expect this new Blazer to share Chevy's current trim level options, including base LS, midlevel LT, and high-end Premier. We are excited to be a part of a classic this epic roaring back to life, and agree that the timing couldn't be better for the Blazer to rumble on to the lot.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Camaro ZL1 to be Monster Energy's NASCAR Cup Chevy Contender

"Nine days in February" 2018 is when the very long-awaited kickoff to NASCAR takes place, and next year the 60th anniversary of the event is being commemorated. During the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup events, a showcase of speed, skill, and determination will ensure, as drivers have to brave the 2.5-mile tri-oval, and master turns on 31-degree banks at high speed. The coveted Daytona 500 title is one that scores of avid fans are interested in seeing: it has completely sold out the past two years.

Replacing the Chevy SS which has been used for NASCAR events the past four years, cup champion Jimmie Johnson fired the car up and roared down a vacant Jefferson Avenue last week, right in front of GM Headquarters. Stating that it looked "amazing" and how exhilarated he was over how much fun it was to drive on the street, this dominating rear-wheel drive set will be on sale in the States by year's end 2017. The new ZL1 model has been in development for the past 18 months, and many tools and astringent wind-tunnel testing were incorporated to give the contender a large boost in aerodynamic performance.

Now sporting an incredibly supercharged, 650-horsepower engine, the Camaro ZL1 has similarities to the 90-degree V-8 configuration found in many ultra-high performing race engines. Back in 1969, some Chevy dealers used a unique ordering system to have ZL1 engines installed into the Camaros on the 69 production line, and they were, by and large, the hits of various dragstrips during the years to come. Car and Driver billed the ZL1 as "track tuned and ready to rumble", and much nationwide are going to be thrilled while watching it leave its competitors in the dust. GM employed the trusty services of Goodyear in the tire department, and they provided the Eagle F1 Supercar 3R, which is the largest and most able set to grace a Camaro yet.

During the vehicle's proud debut at GM, representatives from Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, JTG Daughterty Racing, and Leavine Family Racing were all onhand to observe the car and driver's announcement. Bringing a very track-focused and aggressive ride to NASCAR, the ZL1 now returns more than 40 years after its first introduction. The Chevy Camaro SS had scored 70 Cup Series wins to date, and contributed to Chevrolet winning a staggering 39 NASCAR manufacturer titles. Among these were 13 consecutive titles from 2003-2015. Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself tweeted later that day that "This is something every Chevy fan can be excited about", and here at Jim Butler in St Louis, we'll be happy to show you just how utterly commanding and cool the ZL1 is looking for next year!