July 2015 - Auto Notes

Volvo plant USA. Volvo has announced that it will build its first U.S. manufacturing plant in South Carolina. A $500 million facility north of Charleston will begin construction in late 2015 with first production runs expected for 2018.

Volvo officials said initially the plant will produce about 100,000 vehicles (models not disclosed) for the U.S. market and for export. The plant will employ about 2,000 workers with anticipation of up to 4,000 when in full production.

Owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding, Volvo has four other manufacturing plants worldwide, two in Europe and two in China.

Camaro debut. It was a big party on Detroit’s Belle Isle when more than 1,000 invited guests were on hand, May 16, for the premier of the totally new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. With hundreds of Camaro enthusiasts on hand with their cars from 35 states and several Canadian provinces, the day-long event began with a caravan of 350 Camaros driving around the Belle Isle Grand Prix course.

Available spots to attend the event were claimed within hours of the public invitation, Chevrolet officials said. “The response really speaks to the passion owners have for Camaro,” said Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. “I wish we could have accommodated more people on Belle Isle, but we were limited on space for the reveal itself.”

The all-new sixth generation Camaro, first introduced in 1967 in Detroit, features the use of lightweight aluminum suspension components, extended technologies inside and out, plus three powertrain options: 2.9-l turbo, 3.6-L V-6, and a 6.2-L LT1 V-8. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Interior Spectrum Lighting offers 24 different ambient lighting effects on the dash, door panels, and center console.

Alabama Honda. On May 21, more than 1,500 associates of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) celebrated the mass production of the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot that is now on sale at dealerships across the country. HMA is the exclusive worldwide manufacturing facility for the eight-passenger Pilot that features an advanced direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine.

All three generations of the Pilot have been designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. Design and development have come from Honda R&D Americas Inc. in Los Angeles and Raymond, Ohio. The totally redesigned 2016 model offers new styling, a more spacious cabin, more advanced technology and premium features, plus a new more powerful and efficient powertrain.

“Our U.S.-based development team lives with the midsize family SUV every day and we have applied our deep understanding into the development of this best-ever, third-generation Pilot,” said Marc Ernst, chief engineer and development leaders for the Pilot at the Ohio R&D center.

At HMA, the Pilot is produced alongside the Honda Odyssey, the leading minivan seller in America for 2015. The all-new Honda Ridgeline pickup will also be manufactured at HMA beginning in early 2017. Honda has been producing vehicles in the U.S. for 30 years and operates 16 auto manufacturing facilities in North America, including four auto plants in the U.S.

Quick Notes. With almost 700,000 vehicles sold in the first five months of 2015, Audi said it is on target to surpass its record sales of 1.74 million units in 2014. Additions of the new Q7 and A4 models are expected to boost sales ... The 2016 model year Ford Mustang reverts to turn signals in the hood vents (a heritage cue from the 1967 models) and an exclusive California Special Package for the GT is available this fall (a Pony Package for the EcoBoost Premium available by the end of the year) ... Mazda announced in late May that worldwide production of its CX-5 crossover SUV, which began in November 2011, marked production of one million units by late April at its five global plants. The CX-5 is the second fastest Mazda model to reach the millionth milestone following the Mazda3 ... Hyundai has announced it will be the first automaker to offer Android Auto on its 2015 Sonata model. The unique system allows drivers to connect android phones into the vehicle’s infotainment system and obtain navigation, message, and other technology data instantly ... Volkswagen has released its Golf Sportwagen in the U.S. market that replaces the aging Jetta wagon. The Golf has been in European markets for two years and offers up to 67 cubic feet of cargo space ... At the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park, solar panels are generating renewable electricity being stored within 208 used Toyota Camry Hybrid battery packs collected from U.S. dealerships. The first-of-its-kind system is expected to increase dramatically in the next three years.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.