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Buick Confirms TDB Report: Will Halt Verano Production

Brand shifting focus to SUVs.

by on May.27, 2016

Heading off into the sunset, the Buick Verano.

General Motors  will end U.S. production and sales of the compact Buick sedan, confirming a report first posted by TheDetroitBureau.com this spring.

The move reflects the broad market shift from conventional passenger cars to sport- and crossover-utility vehicles. Buick utility-vehicle line-up is expected to account for as much as 70% of its sales over the next several years, according to senior brand planners.

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Sales of the Verano were down nearly 12% for the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2015. And last year’s total sales of 31,886 of the sedans was a 27% drop from 2014.


Buick Reportedly Planning to Kill Off Verano

Move would mark another shift from cars to SUVs.

by on May.10, 2016

Buick will be dropping the Verano as it shifts from passenger cars to light trucks.

Just days after Fiat Chrysler outlined plans to phase out several of its passenger car models and shift production to its SUVs and pickups, reports have surfaced indicating General Motors’ Buick will drop the small Verano sedan model as the brand shifts its own focus to a growing line-up of sport-utility vehicles.

The move would not surprise industry observers who have been observing more and more American motorists walk away from traditional passenger cars in favor of utility vehicles, pickups and other light truck models that, in recent months, have accounted for as much as 60% of new vehicle sales in the U.S.

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The shift has forced manufacturers to rethink both manufacturing and product development strategies. And, in some cases, it has led them to cut back or even idle production at some of the plants producing slow-selling sedan and coupe models, such as Fiat Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and the Orion Assembly Plant that produces the Verano.


Buick, GMC Plan Nine New or Updated Models

Brands hope to accelerate pace of growth.

by on Sep.21, 2012

A new version of the Buick Enclave, one nine new models coming from the luxury brand and sibling GMC.

Buick and GMC will introduce nine new or significantly updated models over the next 12 months, starting this autumn with completely redone versions of the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers.

At GMC, the new additions to the product line will include the rebirth of the Canyon midsized pickup truck, which will be built in Wentzville, Missouri. Last month, General Motors closed an assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana that had been producing its smaller trucks. The timing for the all-new GMC Canyon’s launch will be announced later.

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The return of the Canyon runs counter to recent industry trends.  Ford, for example, abandoned its long-in-the-tooth Ranger, Chrysler also got out of the midsize truck market.  But, “We believe that introducing a new, agile and efficient mid-size Canyon will meet the needs of many pickup buyers,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick and GMC Marketing.


First Look: 2013 Buick Enclave

Leading the Buick renaissance, part II.

by on Apr.03, 2012

Buick makes major design changes, inside and out,with the 2013 Enclave.

There aren’t many cars that can take credit for saving an entire brand.  But the Enclave crossover-utility vehicle is arguably one of the main reasons why there’s still a Buick.

“It was essential” when originally introduced five years ago, suggests marketing chief Tony DiSalle. “The Enclave led the renaissance of Buick.”

And a significantly updated version of the now aging Buick Enclave will be rolling into the New York Auto Show this week as the General Motors “mid-luxury” division continues rebuilding the brand.

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When Enclave debuted in 2007 it was yet another crossover designed to look more like a conventional sport-utility vehicle, recalls Dave Lyon, Buick’s design chief.  “Everybody was trying make crossovers look as truck-like as possible.”  But this time, he says, “We’ve gone the other direction.”

The basic powertrain carries over for 2013.

While the 2013 model still delivers the same three-row layout – and seating for either seven or eight – Lyon’s design team has opted for a more sports sedan-like design.  It looked better planted, without the traditional high-off-the-ground stance of an SUV.  The updated Buick grille is timely and elegant, with offset chrome and satin splines.  The headlamps feature LED brows that are echoed in the taillamps.

“We wanted a design that is more assertive and aggressive,” said Lyon, noting the 20-inch relatively low-profile tires.

The 2013 Buick Enclave’s interior has also been upgraded, reflecting the general trend upmarket by the brand’s more recent entries, such as LaCrosse, Regal and Verano. There’s a soft blue ambient light that sweeps from the doors through the center of the instrument panel.  A heavily grained leather panel rides atop the IP, framing the all-new center console and contrasting the softer leather used throughout the rest of the big crossover.

The 2013 Buick Enclave's redesigned interior.

The center stack is anchored by an updated LED screen that features Buick’s all-new touch and voice-controlled infotainment system – which can remotely operate a number of smartphone apps, including Pandora and Stitcher.

One of the three top-sellers in the big crossover segments, the Enclave has shown surprising pulling power.  When it was first introduced, Buick was an also-ran that, after years of steady decline seemed destined for the automotive scrap heap.  The brand was unexpectedly retained following GM’s 2009 bankruptcy – even while the maker abandoned Saab, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac.  The strength of the Buick brand in China was one reason but, DiSalle says, Enclave was another plus.

Particular surprising, despite a steady onslaught of competitive models, Enclave sales actually rose last year, even as Buick prepared for the newly revealed remake.

The revised grille of the '13 Enclave.

The new model retains its underlying platform – as well as a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 paired with a revised 6-speed automatic.  The 2013 Buick Enclave will continue to be offered in both front and all-wheel-drive configurations, with the FWD model delivering an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the highway.

DiSalle is betting that this number should appeal to those who still want the roominess of a three-row ute but want good mileage.

Another pitch to family buyers is the world’s first front-center airbag system, which will be shared with several other GM crossovers, including the big Chevrolet Traverse.  The technology is designed to minimize injuries in the event of a size-impact collision when passengers might otherwise bang into one another.


Buick Teases NYIAS Debut of Enclave Update

Popular CUV going high(er)-tech.

by on Mar.01, 2012

Buick is going from the inside out as it teases the upcoming Enclave update.

We’ve not even punched our ticket for the Geneva Motor Show but automakers are clearly looking ahead to the next big even in auto show season, the New York International Auto Show, with Buick revealing plans to pull the wraps off the updated Enclave crossover/utility vehicle at Jacob Javits Center next month.

The Enclave has been a special product in the Buick line-up, arguably serving as the first product to begin the General Motors division’s unexpected revival after years of decline.  Surprisingly, demand for the outgoing CUV has remained strong, despite its age, hitting an all-time high in 2011.  But in today’s competitive market, nothing lasts forever – indeed, four years is a virtual lifetime – so the update of the Buick Enclave is scheduled to take its bows in the Big Apple.

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This teaser image focuses on the interior – where critics contend Buick needs the most work.  The pic suggests the new Enclave will visually move upscale, with more textured surfaces, sophisticated ambient lighting and an advanced infotainment system that uses touchscreen controls to take on many key tasks.


Buick Delivers an Encore – With New Small SUV

Maker to again expand line-up with Detroit reveal.

by on Dec.15, 2011

Buick offers a close-up tease of the new Encore CUV.

The once nearly forgotten Buick brand is on a roll and will add yet another new model to its line-up with the introduction of a small crossover-utility vehicle during next month’s Detroit Auto Show.

It’s believed to be sized to go up against more mainstream models, such as the newly redesigned Honda CR-V, though the Buick Encore will be targeted at a more luxurious segment of the market, just beneath General Motors’ highline Cadillac brand.

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It’s believed Buick will use an all-new platform for Encore, though the maker is holding back on all other details until its news conference at the annual Detroit gathering.

The unveiling of the Encore will bring the fifth new model – and third new crossover/SUV – to the Buick line-up in just five years.  That’s a significant turnaround for the long-failing brand, which until the latter part of the last decade had steadily lost most of its products due to lagging sales.


Buick Enclave: Looks Like a Lady

Big crossover is alone on the market with elegant, even feminine, good looks.

by on Oct.27, 2011

Buick's Enclave is uniquely styled compared to all other big crossovers

Crossovers and sport utility vehicles with masculine designs are commonplace. If tough is what you’re looking for, there are plenty to choose from.

That’s what makes the Buick Enclave so unique. Instead of tough and rugged or high-tech, the Enclave is curvy, elegant – and different from every other big crossover or SUV on the market. With apologies to all of the guys out there who drive one, you could even the Enclave feminine.

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Take a close look at the Enclave the next time you see one on the street. Is there another crossover on the market that has curves around its wheel wells like the Enclave? Narrows in the middle? Wears its jewelry so elegantly? Well, Mazda’s CX-9 – not to mention the smaller CX-7 – have curves, but they tend toward athleticism, not elegance.

Even though the big Buick has been on the market for more than 3 years, surprisingly no other automaker has followed Buick’s lead. And despite so much time on the market, the Enclave still looks fresh.


Buick Bets on NCAA

Maker plans to highlight athletes who reach out to community.

by on Mar.15, 2011

Buick Vice President Tony DiSalle announces the launch of the Buick Human Highlight Reel - a collection of inspiring stories about athletes' efforts in their communities.

Speeches and Powerpoint presentations are the stuff automotive news conferences are normally made of.  So it came as a bit of a surprise to find some of General Motors’ top marketing officials washing the feet of some young schoolkids and then helping the children pick out new shoes.

But it was all part of an event designed to reveal the Buick brand’s new “Human Highlight Reel,” a project that will be part of the new tie-in between the GM luxury marque and the NCAA.

The maker has signed on as the core automotive sponsor of the college sports association, but the goal is to sidestep the usual clichés that mark sports tie-ins, explains Craig Bierley, Buick’s marketing director.

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“Rather than the typical play-of-the-week highlight,” he explained to TheDetroitBureau.com, “We want to tell the story of NCAA athletes that have gone on to do good things in the community.”

Those include Avery Jukes, who was a college basketball star, in 2010, and who went on to create a charitable foundation operating in both the U.S. and his native Uganda.

Then there’s Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme, a former University of North Dakota player who’s Samaritan’s Feet charity hopes to provide 10 million children with shoes.  The news conference was followed by a program to provide shoes to 150 needy Detroit youngsters.


Will Buick Beat Lexus?

Once down-and-out, GM’s mid-lux brand now on a roll.

by on Mar.08, 2011

The new Buick Verano makes its debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

When General Motors went into bankruptcy, two years ago, the maker was pressed to eliminate its weakest North American brands.  There were few surprises when it decided to drop Saab, Hummer and even Saturn, but the choice of Pontiac came as a shock, as most observers expected the troubled GM to drop Buick, instead.

There was a time when Buick was considered, a “doctor’s car,” the brand wasn’t quite as flashy but was nearly as exclusive as Cadillac.  Indeed, it was equally popular abroad, with dedicated fans including the Bulgari family, famous for their jewelry, and even the last emperor of China.  And, indeed, that’s likely why the maker survived – and now appears to be on its way to a stunning turnaround.

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The rapidly-expanding Buick line-up is showing a surprising resilience, last month outselling the luxury market’s long-time leader, Lexus, as well as every other high-line brand but BMW – which beat Buick by only 800 units.  Obviously, one month does not a turnaround make, but considering the huge plunge the brand had taken over the last two decades, the February numbers are causing many a double-take.

All the more considering Buick nearly didn’t make it through 2009.


Chinese Buick Could Be Precursor for GM’s Reentry in U.S. Minivan Market

GM will launch new GL8 minivan on Nov. 28.

by on Nov.10, 2010

General Motors will launch the Buick GL8 for the Chinese market on Nov. 28. Could it eventually make its way to the U.S.?

Maybe General Motors’ minivans aren’t extinct. They still live in China and are about to get a makeover. Could GM also be planning a reintroduction of the boxy people movers in the U.S.?

GM isn’t talking about U.S. plans for GL8 minivan, which it continued to offer in China, even after it stopped building them for the American market in 2008.


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GM offered just two paragraphs about its planned Nov. 28 introduction of the next-generation GL8, but it’s the pictures that tell the story.