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Consumer Reports Gives Buick Regal Thumbs Up

Buyers echoing sentiment as sales up 40% this year.

by on Jul.23, 2014

Consumer Reports recently gave the Buick Regal a glowing review, putting it in a tie for second-best vehicle in its segment.

Buick was at death’s door just a few years ago. A staid image and a mandate to cut down the number of brands in its portfolio, it looked like General Motors’ oldest nameplate would be heading to the scrap heap of automotive history.

However, GM surprised everyone by keeping Buick and repositioning the brand. And now those efforts are paying off in spades as Consumer Reports recently gave the Buick Regal a big pat on the back and sales of the Regal and the brand are both up double digits.

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Consumer Reports, after testing the Regal and the new Volvo S60, described both cars as serious competition for the more prestigious competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Apparently, the magazine was a bit late to the party as Regal sales are up nearly 40% through the first half of this year. Buick’s overall sales are up 12.5% in the first half of the year. (more…)

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.”


Is This Buick’s New Convertible?

GM offers tease of new Vauxhall Cascada.

by on Sep.07, 2012

The first new midsize convertible for Vauxhall since the 1930s might also become a new droptop in the Buick line-up.

There are some definite benefits to going global, especially if you’re a small brand long starved of product.  So is the case with Buick, which not all that long ago had to suffer through life with just three aging product lines but is now rapidly fleshing out its showroom.

And there are signs that the next model to come aboard will be a Buick droptop.

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That, at least is the speculation surrounding what will first appear in the form of the Vauxhall Cascada Convertible.  Though not scheduled for showing at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, General Motors is offering up a teaser image of the new droptop – perhaps to offset growing calls for the maker to sell off its money-losing Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and show there really is a turnaround plan in place.

(For more on that story, Click Here.)

But why should Buick celebrate?


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 Makes eAssist Standard on Compact Regal

Also introduces automatic option on sporty GS.

by on Feb.07, 2012

The 2012 Buick Regal shown with Regals past.

Buick will drop the conventionally-powered I-4 version of its Regal model, making the “mild” hybrid eAssist the standard powertrain for the compact sedan starting in 2013.

That’s the same strategy that the maker has taken with the midsize Buick LaCrosse.  In the smaller Regal, the gas-electric driveline delivers as much as 36 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

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Meanwhile, the mid-luxury General Motors brand has announced it will introduce a new automatic gearbox for the sporty, turbocharged version of the compact sedan, the Regal GS.  Until now, it has only been available with a six-speed stick, a sales-limiting factor in today’s U.S. market.


Chevrolet Offers Tease of New Malibu

Classic American sedan getting Shanghai preview.

by on Mar.31, 2011

Chevrolet offers a hint of what's coming with the launch of the all-new Malibu sedan.

Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out an all-new version of its Malibu sedan – but in an interesting turn reflecting the realities of the new automotive world order, the new 2012 model will be making its formal debut not at the upcoming New York Auto Show but at the year’s big motor show in Shanghai – with an appearance at the Big Apple’s Jacob Javits convention center to follow.

The teaser shot shown here provides a glimpse of the new car’s taillights, which also reflect some of the realities of the new GM, a more intriguing, squared-off shape, influenced by the Camaro, populated by what appear to be LED bulbs.

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Along with a more modern and – one hopes – more visually appealing design, General Motors reveals that the new sedan will be a bit wider than the outgoing Malibu.  That’s all the more noteworthy considering it will ride on the smaller Epsilon II platform which, for those familiar with GM nomenclature, is shared with several other global models, including the new Buick Regal.


Buick Verano Aims to Expand Brand’s Reach

Third new Buick sedan in three year.

by on Jan.12, 2011

The 2012 Buick Verano rolls onto the stage during its Detroit Auto Show unveiling.

It’s a Cruze, it’s a Regal….no, it’s the Verano.

The 2012 Buick Verano shares its platform with the Chevrolet Cruze and its engines with the larger Buick Regal, but despite those facts, Buick folks are quick to point out that the Verano isn’t just an exercise in badge engineering, a la the old GM.

They’ll tell you that the Verano offers more amenities than the Cruze, along with a quieter cabin and more luxurious ride. And while we haven’t driven it yet — meaning we can’t verify the latter two claims — we have to admit that the proffered amenities list is deeper than that of the Cruze.

That doesn’t mean customers won’t need convincing. It’s true that Lexus ES 350 customers, for example, often know that they’re buying a more-opulent Camry, but they don’t seem to care.

With GM, it’s a different story. The “old GM” often took heat for having too many badge-engineered vehicles – for the uninitiated, products that are virtually identical but for the nameplates bolted to their trunks. To that end, the company has worked hard to differentiate vehicles that share platforms, and the Verano represents the latest effort.


First Drive: Buick Regal

This is what Buicks should have been for a long time.

by on Jan.07, 2011

The Buick Regal was supposed to be the next Saturn Aura. Instead, it becomes an Acura TSX-fighting Buick.

Isn’t this what Buick always should have been, or at least could have been? Instead General Motors was content to build a series of velour-encrusted boulevardiers, content with the 60-and-over set, never offering anything that a young professional would even consider.

Buick’s new Regal promises to single-handledly bring the marquee’s average age down by decades. It finally gives General Motors a legitimate competitor for such small near-luxury cars as Acura TSX and Audi A4.

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There’s a lot to like here. Even though this car started life as the acclaimed Opel Insignia, and GM initially planned to sell it as the second-generation Saturn Aura, it actually fits right in as a Buick. With just changes to details such as the grille and lights, the Opel gives Buick a perfect entry in what is sure to a burgeoning category in coming years. (more…)

AWD or Stability Control: Which Is More Important?

Stability control may be the most important auto safety technology in a generation, but there's still a place for AWD.

by on Dec.16, 2010

Subaru's WRX STi puts its power to all four wheels.

The day after this week’s blizzard, a co-worker asked if I had driven my all-wheel-drive Subaru or the 2011 Buick Regal I happened to be testing.

AWD traction would seem to be a big advantage, and considering that I have a 55-mile commute, I’ll take all the advantages I can get.


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But the Subaru is a 10-year-old warrior, so, while it does have anti-lock brakes, it doesn’t have the latest safety devices such as traction control or stability control. So, even thought the Regal puts power down through its front wheels only, I’ll take the modern car in most circumstances over the older one, even if it is driving all four wheels.

Traction control and stability control are that important. In the old days, you wanted a limited-slip differential to keep the wheel with the least amount of traction from spinning. But traction control effectively replaces the limited slip, in many respects. By selectively braking the wheel with the least traction, the wheel that can get the best bite gets some of the power.

Buick Clones The Highway

A video “game” that helps develop better cars.

by on Oct.15, 2010

Buick clones the road for a better ride.

There was a time when an automaker like Buick would have to build scores of sheet metal prototypes for no other reason than to run them into a wall – or, more precisely, a barrier used for running safety tests.

These days, however, manufacturers have transferred most of their initial safety testing to digital simulators that are so accurate only a few of these hand-built prototypes, which often cost several $100 thousand each, are needed – and then only to prove to cautious government regulators the data are accurate.

So, if you can build a car that’s safer while rolling down the road, what about building a virtual road that will help make the car not just safer but quieter, more comfortable and more fun to drive?


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That’s what Buick claims to have done with a new digital system that can simulate much of what normally requires months of driving at a test track.  Want to see what happens when that new model hits some Belgian blocks?  How about a patch of Michigan potholes?  Just tap the keyboard and sit back as the simulation begins.

“Just like a photo scanner, we can scan the surface of a road to create a three-dimensional digital representation,” explains Mine Tasci, a Turkish native, who has worked with a team to come up with an innovative system using lasers and cameras to create a 3D model of all sorts of road surfaces.

A trip to the General Motors Proving Grounds, in Milford, Michigan will reveal that the maker has long tried to simulate what motorists might face on a daily basis, from some of the potholed stretches that give Michigan a bad name to the nearly impassible road leading up to the Cerro del Cubilete shrine, in Mexico.