Cruise Automation: GM Steps Up Autonomous Driving Efforts

The Generation 3, designed and built by Cruise Automation.

Cruise Automation

GM and its subsidiary, Cruise Automation, have just announced the first mass production, fully-autonomous vehicle.

“Today, we’re announcing the first production design of a self-driving car that can be built at massive scale. And more importantly, these vehicles can operate without a driver,” says Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation. What Vogt is acknowledging, is that competitors have created self-driving vehicles, but most are largely built by hand which is both financially and temporally exhaustive. The self-driving vehicle, called Generation 3.

That’s partly because it will share a platform of the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt (one’s a hybrid and one’s an electric vehicle, but could ever remember which). However, a full 40% of the Generation 3’s parts are entirely different from those with which GM constructs the Bolt. It’s unclear who built the steering wheel, but, apparently, Cruise has only included it as a result of current legislation restricting completely driverless cars.

These legislative hurdles, in addition to the pressure added by Tesla’s fatal failures, and the market’s fierce competitiveness, have also made Cruise reticent to hand its vehicles off to consumers just yet. Instead, the Generation 3s, fifty of which has produced already at its Orion plant in Michigan, will head straight into fleets. Specifically, the self-driving Bolt imitators Cruise Automations own Cruise Anywhere ride-sharing service.

What does it mean for consumers?

As it stands, the future seems far away – least at first glance. While the Generation 3 won’t be going to the showroom floor, that doesn’t mean autonomous technology isn’t. If you even take a look at the current crop of GM vehicles.

The 2017 GMC Terrain, for example, has available Side Blind Zone Alert & rear Cross-Traffic Alert. While some might not consider this to be self-driving tech, it automates part of driving. Plus it’s only part of the Terrain’s safety suite. You can also add Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert that use sophisticated imaging technology to keep you safe.

The Buick Lacrosse, meanwhile offers even more sophisticated autonomous technology. Available Forward Collision Alert and Pedestrian Detection work together to prevent collisions with objects the driver cannot see or predict. If the LaCrosse detects a vehicle or pedestrian in front, it visually and aurally alerts the driver. If the driver fails to react, the system can even automatically apply the brakes.

Of course, the GMC Denali lineup offers similar technology. In the Yukon Denali, for example, you’ll find Collision Avoidance Braking, Intelligent Brake Assist, and available Adaptive Cruise Control. With Adaptive Cruise Control, you can set your cruising speed like you would with regular cruise control. However, when sensors detect a slow-moving vehicle in the front, the system will automatically reduce your speed to ensure you remain a safe distance behind it. Once the vehicle leaves your path, or you leave it,

Lease or Finance? The New Car Question

Lease or Finance?

To Lease or Finance?

You’re shopping for a new vehicle. You find the perfect model and trim in the right colour. Now, you need to decide whether to lease or finance (assuming you don’t have the luxury of dropping a briefcase full of cash on the showroom floor). There are pros and cons to both methods of payment. Here is a quick comparison of leasing vs financing.

Lease

Leasing is the best option for people who like the experience of driving a new vehicle. When you lease you get to experience the latest vehicles more often. Enjoy the latest features and technology, as well as the sensation of driving a vehicle in perfect condition.

Also, with most lease options lasting only one or two years, you can continuously drive the latest iteration of your favourite model. Or, you can drive a new GMC Sierra one year, and a new Buick LaCrosse the next. The point is, you aren’t locked into a lengthy financing plan for a car or truck you might fall out of love with after a couple years. As a bonus, when your lease expires, you don’t have to go through the tiresome process of selling – the dealer just retakes possession.

Lower monthly payments

When you choose to lease your new vehicle, in almost all cases, you choose lower payments. Considering you aren’t paying to own, you can secure great monthly payments.

Also you won’t actually lose anything. If you fall in love with your leased vehicle, you can choose to buy it outright at the end of the lease term.

Maintenance Costs

When you lease you usually get the benefit of a comprehensive warranty. If you encounter mechanical problems, your dealer will usually take care of everything for you. After all, they’ll be retaking possession of the vehicle when your lease expires, so it’s in their best interest to keep the vehicle in perfect condition.

The same thing goes for maintenance. Your lease payments will usually cover things like oil changes and fluid flushes/fill-ups. Again, the dealership wants your vehicle to remain in perfect condition. They have to sell it again once you return it, so they don’t want an engine that’s been running with low oil.

Finance

The primary downside to leasing becomes clear when you replace the word “lease” with its synonym, “rent”. Renting a house is fine, but paying into a mortgage is an investment in property that retains equity. Instead of paying a landlord, you’re paying yourself. Of course, cars are not a comparable investment, given their rate of depreciation, but the principle is the same. At the end of your lease, you have nothing to show for it. At the end of your financing term, you have a vehicle with persistent value and no more monthly payments.

On the topic of depreciation…

When you lease a vehicle, you are essentially covering the cost of its depreciation over the course of the term. The problem with that is that depreciation rates aren’t linear. In other words, a new vehicle doesn’t lose the same amount of value each year. The majority of depreciation takes place in the first three years of ownership. When you drive a new vehicle off the lot, it depreciates 10%. After the first three years it will have depreciated by nearly 50% total. Obviously, the depreciation rate slows down afterward; otherwise, vehicles would be worthless after seven years. So, as a lessee, you’re pay for the most expensive period of ownership.

Drive It Like You Stole Own It

Driving someone else’s vehicle will always feel a bit like walking around in a china shop with your hands behind your back. Driving your own vehicle give you a little extra peace of mind. If you scratch it, bump it, or drive it hard, you’re accountable only to yourself. You don’t have to worry about mileage restrictions. So, if you suddenly find yourself travelling for work, you don’t have to worry about exceeding your limit. And if you spill some coffee on the floor mat, your life won’t end.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both leasing and financing. But Capital GMC Buick’s dedicated finance team will help you find the solution that fits your life.