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Army signs ‘Shifting Gears’ training partnership with GM, Raytheon

September 12, 2014

Shifting Gears

The Army, General Motors and Raytheon signed a proclamation Tuesday, at the Pentagon that puts new job opportunities on the table for Soldiers separating from military service.

The multi-year “Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program” will provide new job opportunities to some of the 130,000 Soldiers returning annually to civilian life. As part of the program, select Soldiers who are transitioning out of the military will be trained to fill service technician positions at GM dealerships. 

Before reading and signing the proclamation in the Pentagon center courtyard, Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, Army G-1, said the Shifting Gears program would help Soldiers gain valuable skills and industry acquire high-quality employees.

“This is one of our great Soldier for Life programs designed to help Soldiers transition to that next phase in life and to be career-ready as they leave active duty [service],” said Bromberg. “We want our Soldiers to start strong, serve strong, reintegrate strong with their families and to remain strong as they transition into civilian life.”

The Army’s “Soldier for Life” program manages education, health, retirement and employment services during every phase of a Soldier’s “life cycle” — from enlistment through the return to civilian life at the end of a career.

When the Shifting Gears program kicks off in August, at Fort Hood, Texas, it will mark the first time GM or any automaker has been invited to offer valuable training on-site at an Army post, said Steve Hill, GM North American vice president of U.S. sales and service. He said GM expects the prototype program to produce 120 graduates over the next year. GM’s network needs about 2,500 new technicians annually.

Anticipated to be highly competitive, Soldiers must first achieve qualifying scores on both Army and GM Service Technical College assessment tests to enter the Shifting Gears program.

For those accepted, the 12-week training program consists of a customized, on-base curriculum. It includes classroom, online and hands-on technical training followed by job-placement recommendations and employment assistance through the Army’s Soldier for Life centers and GM’s authorized dealer network.

“We could not be more thrilled at Raytheon than to partner with two of our most important customers: the U.S. Army and General Motors,” said Lynn A. Dugal, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services. “Young Army veterans face unemployment rates that are more than double the national average, so Raytheon sees this partnership with GM and the Army as an opportunity to reduce those alarming statistics by helping position former Soldiers for new opportunities.”

Bromberg said more than one million Soldiers will transition to the civilian community in the next 10 years.

The Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program is one of many such programs in place within the Army to help separating Soldiers prepare for civilian life. Soldiers may also choose to participate in the Veterans in Piping, Welding and HVAC program; the Veterans in Construction (Electric) program; the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades program; the Microsoft Software Engineer Academy program; the Veterans Entering Trucking program; and the National Institute of Sheet Metal Workers program.

Little Sunmobile Hints at GM’s Solar Powered Future

September 10, 2014

Sun Mobile

The smallest vehicle on display at the 1955 Powerama was the result of big hopes for a future filled with solar-powered cars.

Trains. Earthmovers. Trucks. Buses. Most vehicles on display at the 1955 General Motors Powerama show were large, massive, diesel-powered machines, but there was one exception in both size and powertrain: the GM Sunmobile.

The Powerama, held on Chicago’s waterfront, showcased General Motors’ powerful non-automotive equipment. The Euclid division showcased earthmovers and construction equipment, while the Electro-Motive Diesel division featured its sleek new Aerotrain. The exhibit’s “Previews of Progress” area, demonstrated numerous scientific advances – including the Sunmobile.





Compared to the other vehicles on display the Sunmobile was small – especially when compared to cars of the era.  Patterned after the 1955 Chevrolet Corvette, the Sunmobile measured 15 inches in length, making it essentially a 1/9th scale replica.

What the Sunmobile lacked in size, it made up in technology. Built by GM engineer William G. Cobb, the Sunmobile featured eight solar cells on its hood. These cells converted light into electricity, which in turn powered a small electric motor. Sunmobile produced the equivalent of 12 horsepower, which wasn’t quite enough to propel a full-size automobile of the era – but it was enough to propel the model across its Powerama stage.

Solar cars may not be a mass-production reality today, but that hasn’t stopped GM engineers from tinkering with the technology. In 1987, GM paired with AeroEnvironment to build a solar car for the World Solar Challenge in Australia. The result – the teardrop-shaped Sunraycer – not only finished the race two days before the competition, it also set a solar car speed record that stood until 2011.  GM also continues to sponsor the University of Michigan’s UMSolar team, which recently won the 2014 American Solar Challenge.

Power derived from the sun continues to play a role in powering our vehicles.

We currently have 88 solar electric vehicle charging stations at our facilities, including our Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, and at our Powertrain Engineering Campus in Pontiac, Michigan. And, early last year, we became a founding partner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which has a goal of increasing EV workplace charging tenfold.

Globally, GM has solar panel arrays installed at twelve of our facilities, and collectively generates an astounding 38 MW (one megawatt = 1 million watts) of energy each year. It would take a mile-long convoy, consisting of 4,247 Sunmobiles, to generate anywhere near that figure. That convoy would have to quickly grow, too: As two additional solar arrays will be installed this fall at GM facilities in Flint and Swartz Creek, Michigan, GM’s use of solar energy continues to grow.

Car Care: A College Prerequisite

September 8, 2014


As your loved one begins the new college semester, encourage them to brush up on their car maintenance knowledge. According to a recent article from,  failing to maintain your vehicle properly can result in hefty repair bills – an unwelcome notion to many college students.

In addition to unwanted costs, Bankrate explains that when you put off routine car maintenance you are not only putting yourself at risk for a wreck, but also reducing your car’s lifespan. In fact, you can reduce a vehicle’s lifespan by an estimated 50,000 miles according to Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor at

Understanding car care can be intimidating. These four basics are a good place for your co-ed to start. To remember them all, just think of CAR U!

Change the wiper blades (and fill the fluid)

Wiper blades can be easy to change and can help drivers see clearly in incremental weather conditions. And don’t forget about washer fluid! Matthew Wright, Auto Contributor at, says washer fluid plays a crucial role in keeping a windshield clean in the summer and ice-free in the winter.

Air in the tires

Keeping your tires inflated at their optimal level can help avoid flat tires and improve fuel economy. In fact, according to, gas mileage can increase over 3.3% when tires are properly inflated. The recommended pressure is commonly listed inside the driver’s door and has a great how-to guide for checking your air pressure.

Rotate the tires

Why do tires need to be rotated? advises that tire rotation helps tires wear evenly, which can improve vehicle handling and extend the life of the tires. Not sure how to tell normal tire wear from abnormal? This article from Yahoo! Autos is a great resource.

Understand YOUR maintenance schedule

A recent article by AAA notes that it’s important for college students to follow their vehicle’s maintenance schedule. Simple maintenance such as oil changes, replacing brake pads and changing the air filter can help avoid costly repairs down the road.

Remember, if you or your student has any questions or isn’t sure where to go for car maintenance, Jessup Auto Plaza is always available to help.

Rearview Camera Standard on All 2015 Buick Models

September 7, 2014


Safety and technology top the lists of important considerations for Buick customers. That’s why every 2015 Buick model will come standard with a rearview camera.

In the fall of 2013 the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute conducted a study which found that vehicles with rear backup cameras have a significantly reduced rate of backing crashes based on its analysis of crash data. Ninety-seven percent of the backing crashes in this study involved striking another vehicle, which corresponds with U.S. crash data analyses.

“Rear backup cameras have become like power windows and air conditioning,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “While they’re not standard on every car, yet, it’s rare to operate a new vehicle without them. The increased confidence these cameras provide make them a must-have feature.”

In addition to the safety and convenience of a rearview camera, the 2015 Buick lineup – including Verano, LaCrosse, Enclave, Encore with all-wheel drive, and Regal (without optional rear seat-mounted side-impact air bags) – has a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety in the New Car Assessment Program run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To help prevent a collision, each of Buick’s 2015 models are also available with active safety technologies such as Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Every Buick also comes with OnStar Automatic Crash Response, standard for six months. In a collision, a specially trained Emergency Advisor is connected to the vehicle the moment a crash is detected. If the driver requests help, or can’t answer, emergency responders are sent to the precise GPS location.

“We know our customers are very safety conscious,” said Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president of Buick and GMC. “The current Buick lineup holds many safety accolades, but we are always pushing to be at the forefront with our vehicles being among the safest available.”

Now You Can Take Your Wi-Fi With You.

August 28, 2014
OnStar with 4G LTE

OnStar with 4G LTE

Available on the 2015 GMC Terrain. OnStar with 4G LTE is bringing a whole new dimension to your vehicle and devices you carry with you.

This system is easily connected and amazingly simple. Any time your vehicle is on, your hotspot is available and ready to connect to up to 7 of your devices, so it’s easy to use.

The stronger signal means you have a fast and reliable connection. And because the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is powered by your vehicle, you don’t have to worry about your mobile device battery.

Watch this video to learn more about OnStar with 4G LTE, signal strength and the differences with vehicle Wi-Fi capabilities.


Magnetic Ride Control Enhances Attraction of Sierra Denali

August 27, 2014
2015 GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab

2015 GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab

Magnetic ride control is an all-new, exclusive feature on the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali, advancing its position as the most refined and technologically advanced truck on the market. It’s the first time the advanced, electronically controlled damping system has been offered on a full-size truck. Magnetic ride control provides more precise body motion control that correlates with a more refined ride while maintaining payload and trailering capability. It is standard on all Sierra Denali half-ton models, whether equipped with the standard 5.3L V-8 (355 hp) or the available 6.2L V-8 (420 hp) – the segment’s most powerful engine. “With magnetic ride control, the 2015 Sierra Denali delivers a smoother, more confident driving experience without sacrificing the capabilities customers expect from a GMC truck,” said Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer. “The responsiveness of the system makes this full-size truck feel and drive like a luxury vehicle – and one that’s more comfortable on long trips, especially when trailering.” The 2015 Sierra Denali’s maximum payload is 1,940 pounds (4WD with 5.3L and 5’8” box) and the max trailering capacity is 9,400 pounds (2WD with 5.3L or 6.2L and 5’8” box). The third-generation magnetic ride control’s sensors “read” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in as little as five milliseconds in electronically controlled shock absorbers that replace conventional mechanical-valve shocks. They’re filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles, and under the presence of a magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance. Changes in the magnetic charge alter the damping rate of the shocks almost instantly. Magnetic ride control complements chassis and suspension enhancements introduced across the Sierra 1500 range for 2014:

  • A stronger, fully boxed frame with the main rails and major cross members formed from high-strength steel, providing a rigid base for maximum hauling capability, great noise and vibration isolation and excellent crashworthiness.  The stiff chassis enables more precise tuning of the front and rear suspensions, for a more responsive feel with smoother performance and less vibration and shake, particularly on harsh terrain.
  • A wider rear track and half-inch wider wheels improve that stability and ride smoothness. The geometry also contributes to flatter, more confident-feeling cornering, particularly when hauling heavy cargo or towing.
  • An electric variable-assist power steering system enhances handling and reduces steering effort at low speeds. The variable assistance enhances overall handling with reduced steering effort in parking lots and a higher rate on the highway that provides a more solid, direct and on-center feel.

Denali details The Sierra Denali – offered exclusively as a crew cab – delivers unique design cues and exclusive features, starting with a signature chrome grille, projector-style headlamps with LED signature daytime running lights, unique 20-inch chrome wheels, a polished stainless steel exhaust outlet and body-color front and rear bumpers. Denali-specific interior details include script on the bright door sills and embossed into the front seats, and real aluminum trim. The high-tech cabin also features an exclusive eight-inch-diagonal Customizable Driver Display that can show relevant settings, audio and navigation information in the instrument panel, as well as a Bose audio system, heated and cooled leather front bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, front and rear park assist and a power sliding rear window with defogger. Sierra Denali’s standard eight-inch Color Touch navigation radio with IntelliLink, located above the center console, serves as the main hub for Bluetooth-connected phones and portable devices connected through five standard USB ports. Enhanced connectivity and convenience for 2015 include a new Text Messaging Alerts feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users. They’re voice-controlled to help keep phones safely stowed and hands on the wheel. Also new is OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, providing a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/3GB data trial. The Sierra Denali is backed by GMC Pro Grade Protection, with two years of scheduled maintenance, a three-year/36,000-miles bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. A heritage of distinction As GMC’s ultimate expression of its professional grade philosophy and the best of its capabilities, the Denali nameplate has become synonymous with performance, refinement and technology. It represents more than 20 percent of all GMC retail sales and is offered on Terrain, Acadia, Yukon and Sierra models. All Denali models are distinguished on the exterior by a signature chrome grille and exclusive interior trim. They are also often technology leaders for GMC, with features such as magnetic ride control offered exclusively on Sierra Denali and Yukon Denali. “Denali has earned a reputation for uncompromising refinement with capability after more than 15 years of premium vehicles that take truck and SUV ownership experiences to higher levels,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “It’s a symbol that embodies the finest of GMC’s engineering, technology and attention to detail.”

Verano & Regal two of the Most Comfortable Cars <$30k for 2014!

August 25, 2014



You heard right, two of Buick’s vehicles have been named by Kelly Blue Book to be among the most comfortable cars under $30k for model year 2014!

Here are their listings in the line-up:


14-regal 14-verano


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