For Today: CFA on fuel efficient light-duty trucks, Bolt wins IIHS top safety pick

Fuel efficient light-duty trucks:  Consumer Federation of America has found out more about consumer interest in fuel efficient vehicles – this time from owners of SUVs, crossovers, and pickups. CFA found that between 2011 and 2016, light-duty trucks with mpg increases over 10% saw a surge of 59% in sales during that five-year period. It was less for light-duty trucks with less than 10% increase in fuel economy, with 41% seeing an increase in sales during that period. The Toyota RAV4 is a clear example of the trend by increasing in mileage by 10 percent in that time – with a nearly 220,000 unit increase, a 166% gain, in annual vehicle sales. The consumer group sees the federal fuel economy standards moving truck fuel efficiency forward and sales of pickups, crossovers, and SUVs. “This analysis completely debunks automaker claims that consumers don’t value good gas mileage,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s director of public affairs. “Clearly, the more improvement in MPG, the better the sales.”

GAC Motor coming to America: GAC Motor president Yu Jun announced that seven “new energy vehicle” models – battery electric and plug-in hybrid – will be launched this year. Speaking last week at Michelin’s sustainable mobility summit in Montreal, Yu said that the Chinese automaker plans to enter the U.S. market by 2019. The automaker’s target is to sell one million units annually by 2020, with 20 percent being new energy vehicles. The company has already opened a research and development office in Silicon Valley. The company has set up a global sales and service network for 14 countries.

Bolt wins IIHS top safety pick:  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 Chevy Bolt a Top Safety Pick award on Tuesday. The electric car the highest score of “Good” on all crash tests and a “Superior” score for front crash prevention. The institute said that the Bolt was the first all-electric vehicle to earn the pick for 2017. Among small cars, the Bolt joins 11 other nameplates as Top Safety Picks, including the 2017 Chevy Volt. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will still need to crash test the Bolt.

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