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More New Debuts Announced for LA Auto Show

50 unveilings planned from Porsche, Nissan, Range Rover, Ford, others.

by on Oct.21, 2015

Expect the production version of the Infiniti QX30 to make its formal debut in L.A. next month.

The 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show is shaping up to be a big event, with at least 50 new products set to make their U.S. or global debuts during the two-day media preview.

The LA show also expects to put a premium on technology, with a third day devoted specifically to new connected car technology. And the annual “Green Car of the Year” will be unveiled, as well, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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Porsche, Buick, Ford, Range Rover, Nissan, Infiniti and Jaguar are among the manufacturers who’ve already scheduled more than 30 separate product unveilings during the annual media preview. Volvo, Hyundai and a variety of industry suppliers will also hold news conferences to discuss technology breakthroughs.


Buyers Showing Love for All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles

Sales have increased five points in five years.

by on Dec.13, 2013

Subaru's sales jump this year is helping to push sales of all-wheel-drive-equipped vehicles to new highs.

With nasty winter weather dominating the headlines the past few years, it would seem people are buying vehicles better equipped to handle the elements: sales of all-wheel-drive vehicles have risen five percentage points in five years.

Nearly one-third – 31.3% – of new vehicles sold through September were equipped with either all- or four-wheel drive. This is up from 26.3% during the same nine-month span of 2008, according to data from Polk, an automotive research firm in Southfield, Mich.

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While Mother Nature may have played a small role in the increase, more likely it’s the rising sales of crossovers and small sport-utilities as well as companies that feature AWD vehicles, such as Audi and Subaru, that have spurred the change. (more…)

Big Changes for 2014 Buick LaCrosse

Bigger is better for Buick.

by on Mar.25, 2013

Buick's 2014 LaCrosse update.

Few models have done more to change the image of a brand than the big Buick LaCrosse. Along with the Enclave SUV, the sedan marked a critical turning point for the General Motors marque which, many had come to expect, wouldn’t survive GM’s 2009 bankruptcy.

The LaCrosse injected Buick with a healthy dose of youthful style and showed that it actually understood that it was possible to deliver a bit of sporty performance without completely abandoning the quite, “boulevard” ride that once made Buick a star in the near-luxury market segment.

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We’ve seen Buick roll out updates to the Enclave and several other key models but the debut of the new 2014 LaCrosse at the New York Auto Show – where it’s also previewing the updated Regal – could prove a critical moment for the marque.

“We evolved the interior and exterior design, increased luxury amenities and materials, and enhanced the safety and personal technologies to give customers more reasons than ever to rediscover Buick,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing.


GM: Yes to E-REV and eAssist, No to Traditional Hybrids

Automaker wants to build 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017.

by on Nov.15, 2012

General Motors expects to build 500,000 vehicles with some level of electrification in the next five years. Many of them will have GM's eAssist light electrification system.

Despite poor sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle, GM says it is committed to building hundreds of thousands of electrified vehicles in the next five years.

Mary Barra, senior vice president of global product development for GM, said besides plug-in technology such as in the Volt, GM will also add its eAssist mild hybrid system to more models. In fact, by 2017, GM expects to have as many as 500,000 vehicles on the road with some form of electrification.

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“The plug-in offers a unique opportunity to change the way people commute,” Mary Barra, senior vice president of Global Product Development told media attending the GM Electrification Experience in San Francisco. “Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward.”


Return of the Riviera?

GM trademarks classic name, but is it scheduled for a revival?

by on May.10, 2012

The 2007 Buick Riviera concept at its Chinese debut.

Despite its long absence, perhaps no Buick nameplate has better name recognition than the old Riviera, in its day one of the most widely celebrated of General Motors models.

The last model died an ignominious death.  But could GM be planning to bring the Riviera back?  The fact that the maker has filed to trademark the name suggests that just might be what it has in mind.  It could be a perfect fit in a brand that in the midst of a once-unlikely revival.

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And it wouldn’t be the first time Buick has dropped hints that the Riviera still has a place in the line-up.  A concept model was introduced in China, five years ago, generating significant praise.  But the timing couldn’t have been worse, coming just as GM started its head-long plunge into a 2009 bankruptcy.


Buick Encore Does a Slow Striptease

Maker slowly reveals new crossover ahead of NAIAS debut.

by on Dec.28, 2011

Buick continues to reveal more of the new Encore crossover scheduled for debut next month.

Like the most skilled ecdysiast the Buick Encore is performing a slow and seductive striptease in advance of its January 10 debut at the North American International Auto Show.

The latest pictures – along with a close-up released earlier — confirm what we already know: that the Encore will be the newest and smallest crossover in the Buick line-up, and that it will feature not only the brand’s trademark waterfall grille but the classic Buick portholes, here on the Encore’s hood.

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What else?  Here’s what else we can reveal:

The 2013 Encore is 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.


Buick Revealing New CUV at Detroit Auto Show

2013 model expected to carry Encore nameplate.

by on Dec.07, 2011

Buick will add a new small crossover to its rapidly expanding line-up.

What can Buick do for an Encore?

The once-terminal General Motors brand has been given a new lease on life with products like the Enclave, LaCrosse and, most recently, the Verano.  But in today’s crowded market you’re only as good as your latest product.

Which means Buick will be coming to the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, next month with what company officials acknowledge will be a new small crossover vehicle.  While details are scarce, expect it to be dubbed the Buick Encore and go on sale in the 2013 model-year.

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The new CUV will be one of a number of new General Motors products scheduled to make their debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.  As reported Monday, that will include the new Cadillac ATS, a compact sedan taking aim at the fastest-growing niche in the luxury car market.  The maker also plans to show the production version of the sporty Chevrolet Sonic RS and two Chevy concept vehicles.


First Look: 2012 Buick Verano

GM division takes aim at Audi and Lexus.

by on Jan.06, 2011

The 2012 Buick Verano will be the brand's third new sedan in three years.

When General Motors emerged from bankruptcy last year, after agreeing to eliminate half of its eight North American brands many observers were surprised to see Pontiac and Saturn, rather than Buick, on the list.  The once popular brand had steadily declined, over the decades, and seemed to have little chance for a turnaround.

Or so went the conventional wisdom – which, as so often happens, has again proved wrong.  The big Buick Enclave SUV was the first sign of life, with the LaCrosse sedan adding further spark to the nascent Buick revival.  The recently launched Regal has received strongly positive reviews.  But can Buick hit another one out of the park?

It’s hoping so, and will reveal what’s next at the Detroit Auto Show’s media preview day, on Monday, Jan. 7, in the form of the all-new, 2012 Buick Verano, the brand’s first-ever entry into the compact luxury segment – and it’s third all-new sedan in three years.

“It’s really about product-driven momentum,” said Roger McCormack, the long-struggling brand’s product marketing director.


Buick Getting Verano Compact

More product for a brand on the mend.

by on Oct.08, 2010

Buick is offering only this teaser image - for now - of its new small car, the Verano.

General Motors plans to spend $145 million to re-tool an assembly plant outside Detroit to build a new compact car, dubbed the Verano, that will help nudge forward the apparent revival of its long moribund Buick brand,

The $145 million dollars spent on re-tooling the Orion plant is part of a $500 million investment to produce a compact Buick that could be sold in both the U.S. and China. The Chinese version of the compact
Buick – which is based on the same architecture as the Chevrolet Cruze — will be built in China, GM President Mark Reuss said.

“Verano will bring premium styling, performance and content to Buick buyers wanting a smaller car than Regal” said Reuss.

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“The investment in Orion Assembly also extends GM’s local small car footprint, again increasing the number of U.S.-made small vehicles available in showrooms,” Reuss added.  The Orion plant is also being prepared to build the new Chevrolet Aveo, starting in August 2011.


First Drive: 2011 Buick Regal

Reinventing a stodgy old brand.

by on Jun.01, 2010

Once written off for dead, the launch of the 2011 Buick Regal could continue rebuilding the brand's momentum.

There were plenty of surprises when General Motors made it through bankruptcy, last year, including not only the demise of the Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab divisions – but the decision to keep Buick.

Founded in 1899 as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company, it was sold, in 1903, by David Dunbar Buick and his partners to the company that would become GM.  Today the oldest surviving Amerian auto brand, the once-powerful Buick is but a shadow of its former self, sales plunging 90% over the last two decades.

Yet there have been recent signs of life, new products such as the Enclave crossover and LaCrosse sedan not only surging in sales but bringing in the sort of young, affluent buyers who long steered clear of the stodgy old marque.  Could Buick be hip again?  The real test is likely to come with the launch of the 2011 Buick Regal.

Ironically, the new midsize sedan wasn’t originally supposed to be a Buick.  What’s now badged Regal was originally a joint development pairing GM’s European brand, Opel, and North America’s Saturn.  When the latter division was abandoned by GM, the sedan got a new nameplate and grille, much to Buick’s good fortune.

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While the American sedan is just getting ready to roll into showrooms, the European version has been on sale for the better part of a year under the Opel Insignia badge, and has been winning rave reviews and plenty of new buyers.  If our first long drive of the 2011 Buick Regal is any indication, the same thing may soon happen here.