I spoke to Auto Expert Chris Duke, the creator, executive producer and host of Motorz TV, a half hour syndicated television series geared toward car enthusiasts. Chris is attending the 2018 New York International Auto Show and we chatted with him there.
Derrel Johnson: Americans are looking to save money. When purchasing a new car, what is the best way to do so? Tell us about the GM BuyPower Card.
Chris Duke: The average cost of a vehicle in February was $32,200, and that is $500 more than last year. The increased cost of the features consumers demand is driving the cost of vehicles up. More safety features, and more technology for the connected car. This requires a lot of R&D expenses, plus the cost of the actual materials, parts, etc.
So, naturally, more and more Americans are saving for their next vehicle. They want to ditch their sedans for larger vehicles (crossovers, SUVs, trucks). An easy way to do this is to use the GM BuyPower Card. You can earn 5% off the first $5,000 spent, and 2% unlimited earnings on everything thereafter. Plus, on your annual anniversary date, the percentage resets back to 5% again. This is a huge amount, and these earnings can be used to purchase or lease a new GM vehicle (Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, or Buick). You can learn more and apply at BuyPowerCard.com.
Derrel: There is a trend for families wanting more room in vehicles. Why is that?
Chris: Families have always wanted more room in their vehicles, but gas prices and big gas-guzzling engines kept them in smaller sedans. Now there are a lot of different options available from crossovers (in different sizes), SUVs, and pickup trucks that are all more fuel efficient with 4- or 6- cylinder engines. Turbos are commonplace, providing way more power to these engines than ever before. Lighter materials are being used in the form of steel composites, aluminum, carbon fiber, and more. Gas prices have also stabilized. Low unemployment rate is giving consumers more confidence in buying vehicles that are larger, and more expensive. The two top-selling vehicles in 2017 were pickup trucks. The trend in recent auto shows (Los Angeles, Detroit, New York) is more introductions of crossovers, SUVs, and trucks than ever. This reflects consumer demand.
Derrel: What are some of the best things to see at the 2018 NYIAS?
Cadillac introduced a brand-new SUV called the XT4. This is a beautiful new SUV (or consider it a full-size crossover) that starts at $35k. This is an incredible price for a Cadillac SUV. It has all the creature comforts that you expect from Cadillac, including surround cameras (not just a simple backup camera), their infotainment system with GM Marketplace, and so much more.
Cadillac also refreshed CT6. This is a beautiful sedan that also features Cadillac’s “Super Cruise” lane-keeping system that’s currently exclusive to the CT6. Super Cruise is a semi-autonomous system that works in tandem with ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control). It works on 130,000 highway miles in the US and Canada, using LIDAR road maps. This allows the CT6 to stay centered within a lane with 4” accuracy, hands-free driving. It still requires your attention looking forward. A camera monitors where you are looking, and if you look away, you will get visual cues (a LED light bar at the top of the steering wheel), haptic feedback in your seat, audio cues, and if you become totally unresponsive, OnStar will call you, and worst case scenario, the vehicle will slow to a stop. Very, very cool tech.
GMC introduced the Sierra AT4, it’s new off-road full-size truck. It features an industry first carbon fiber bed called CarbonPro, as well as a 6-position Transformers-like tailgate. Incredible truck. Definitely worth checking out what GMC is doing with the truck segment. Huge innovations.
And finally, while not possible to see on the vehicle, Buick has introduced a new safety feature called Active Hood on the new Buick Regal. In a pedestrian collision situation, the back of the hood (closest to the windshield) will pop up, essentially creating a glove or cradle effect to lessen the blow to the pedestrian. Again, incredible new innovative tech from GM.
Derrel Johnson: Tell us about Motorz TV.
Chris Duke: Motorz (www.motorz.tv) is an Automotive Improvement® DIY television series available in over 200 million television households. It is also available online at www.motorz.tv website, YouTube, iTunes podcast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and more. TV distribution: //www.motorz.tv/tv Internet: //www.motorz.tv/distribution
I created Motorz 10 years ago and have remained the host and executive producer since. Now in its eighth season, 95 episodes have been produced to date.
(Photos: Chris Duke at the New York International