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Automakers Doing Better Job of Satisfying Customers, Finds New JD Power Study

by on Mar.16, 2017

Lexus topped the 2017 CSI, but has growing competition, notably including U.S. brands like Buick.

While consumers have had to suffer through a modest increase in quality and reliability issues in recent years – most in the form of balky electronics – automakers appear to be doing a better job of keeping their owners happy, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

When it comes to servicing the vehicles they sell, Power shows a “significant” uptick in the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Index. The CSI focuses on how owners feel things went at franchised dealer and independent service facilities. The latest study calls out Lexus as tops among luxury brands, Buick among mainstream marques.

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“The quality of work—doing the job right the first time—can noticeably affect customer satisfaction and loyalty, but it shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum,” said Chris Sutton, vice president, U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “Proactive communication with the customer, especially while the car is being serviced, is one element that has a direct influence on loyalty.”

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Opel Insignia Offers Strong Hint of Next Buick Regal

Plans could be complicated by sale of Opel to PSA.

by on Mar.08, 2017

Opel designer Mark Adams rehearses his line before the Geneva debut of the Opel Insignia.

Opel could definitely use a lift. The once-grand European automaker has been struggling for years, and it didn’t help when General Motors announced last month that it was likely to sell the German-based brand to France’s PSA.

That deal was announced just a day before the opening of the annual Geneva Motor Show, but as far as Opel was concerned, the big news was the launch of two critical new products, the Crossland X crossover, and the newly redesigned Insignia.

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The latter sedan is, in itself, particularly important because it not only lands a new family sedan in product-hungry Opel showrooms, but it also offers a strong hint of what’s to come when GM’s Buick brand unveils its own Regal sedan at the New York International Auto Show next month.

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Buick Under Fire From UAW for Super Bowl Ad

Automaker shows two non-U.S.-made vehicles in Cam Newton/Miranda Kerr ad.

by on Feb.06, 2017

UAW's Cindy Estrada chastised General Motors for running a Super Bowl ad featuring two Buicks that are not made in the U.S.

General Motors is under fire after a tweet by a key United Auto Workers official, who knocked the company for showing off two “foreign-made” in a high-profile Super Bowl ad.

Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president in charge of the union’s GM department, tweeted, ”Can’t believe GM would feature foreign-made vehicles on all-American Super Bowl.”

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Estrada’s tweet came after Buick aired a Super Bowl ad starring NFL MVP Cam Newton and supermodel Miranda Kerr. The spot invites fans to “Experience the New Buick” by resetting expectations about the brand’s modern vehicles. (more…)

Buick Breaks Streak, Takes Third on Consumer Reports’ Most Reliable List

Brand's small line-up helps push rankings.

by on Oct.24, 2016

The Buick Encore's strong finish was matched by the rest of the brand's line-up, giving it a third-place result in this year's Consumer Reports survey.

Consumer Reports regularly puts all of the automakers through their paces trying to determine which brands should be deemed most reliable.

And reliably, Asian brands tend to dominate the top 10 list – except this year.

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Buick hatched a surprise and finished third in this year’s listing of the Most Reliable Brands behind Lexus and Toyota. The result marked the first time in three decades that a Detroit-based brand make the top 10 list. (more…)

Buick on Target for New Sales Record with 2 Months to Go

Global sales up 23% for the year.

by on Oct.18, 2016

The Buick Envision is the first Chinese-made vehicles sold by a major automaker in the U.S.

For a brand that came close to being shut down six years ago, Buick is showing solid signs of good health, the maker today reporting it has topped the 1 million sales mark in record time with more than two months of the year left to continue burnishing the total.

Worldwide, Buick sales are up 23% so far this year – but the numbers can be a misleading. While there is no question Buick is on a record pace, the maker still lags behind prior peaks in the U.S. What’s driving the Buick build-up is the brand’s continuing momentum in China, now its largest single market.

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In fact, General Motors officials have told TheDetroitBureau.com that the only reason Buick was not cast aside – along with Saab, Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac – when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 was because of the damage that would have caused in China.

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Buick Launching All-New Avenir Sub-Brand

Patterned on company’s “Denali” label, it arrives in 2018.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Coming in 2018, Buick hopes Avenir will bring the same returns that Denali does for GMC.

Buick, an automaker long associated with smooth, “boulevard” driving is about to launch a new sub-brand dubbed “Avenir.”

The name means “future,” in French, and is meant to cover the most exclusive of Buick’s future models. Avenir first appeared on a wildly popular Buick concept vehicle that made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“Through the first half of 2016, Buick has been the industry’s fastest-growing major international brand, and Avenir is key to future growth and delivering on the high expectations of new customers coming to our showrooms,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick sales, service and marketing. “Avenir will be Buick’s signature.” (more…)

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.

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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.

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First Look: 2017 Buick Encore

Utes expected to make up ¾ of Buick sales.

by on Mar.22, 2016

The 2017 Buick Encore makes its NY debut.

Buick is set to give a new face and more to the best-selling model in it line-up. And if the 2017 Buick Encore only does as well as the current model, General Motors’ “premium” brand is betting that crossovers will soon account for as much as three-quarters of its U.S. sales.

First launched in 2013, the Encore is not only the number one model in the Buick line-up but the leader in its market segment, a key reason why the brand has so much riding on the debut of the 2017 update at the New York International Auto Show this week.

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“The Buick Encore created the premium small SUV segment and remains the top choice for customers seeking premium features and dependability coupled with timeless design,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick Sales, Service and Marketing.

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Reliability Woes Worsen, Warns New J.D. Power Study

Tech issues now make up 20% of reported problems.

by on Feb.24, 2016

Lexus topped the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, the 2013 GS also a segment winner.

Two things seem to be true about the newest cars coming to market these days: they’re likely to have lots more high-tech features than the vehicles they replace. But they’re also likely to have more reliability issues, largely as a result of problems with those new tech features, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study.

The VDS queried owners of 2013 model-year vehicles and found that, on average, dependability dropped 3% year-over-year. It found that one in five of the problems owners reported involved audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technology. Collectively known by the acronym ACEN, these systems are, collectively, the single largest source of trouble owners reported.

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“The increase in technology-related problems has two sources,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive research at J.D. Power. “Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers. At the same time, the penetration of these features has increased year over year.”

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