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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 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 Adding Turbo Performance to Verano

Boosting Buick’s sporty shift.

by on Jun.14, 2012

Buick bumps up the power of its new Verano with an even newer turbo model.

Those who have traditionally used derogatives like “soft,” and “flabby” to describe Buick products might be in for a surprise if they check out some of the General Motors brand’s latest offerings.

And Buick hopes to continue shifting gears with the launch of a performance-oriented version of its new Verano model later this year.  It will get a new 250-horsepower inline-four pumping out 260 pound-feet of torque by just 2,000 RPMs. The turbocharged package will let the front-drive Buick Verano charge from 0 to 60 in just 6.5 seconds, on a par with European competitors like the Audi A3 or BMW 1-Series.

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“The way it sounds, the power delivery and the refined character are all fitting of a luxury sedan with a fun side,” said Amy Joss, who oversaw development of the 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo.

The new model will make only minimal sacrifice on the mileage front, meanwhile, Buick promising that the turbocharged version of the small Verano will still deliver at least 30 mpg on the highway once official figures are released by the EPA.


First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX

Maker announces $25,900 base price.

by on Apr.20, 2012

Acura adds an entry-lux model with the new ILX.

It can be a challenge to explain Acura to those unfamiliar with the brand – perhaps the reason why it has slipped under the radar for so many potential buyers.  The first of the Japanese luxury brands, the Honda division quickly earned a reputation for style and sportiness with products such as the original Legend flagship and the smaller Integra.

But, in a head-scratching move, Acura  responded to newcomers Lexus and Infiniti by abandoning those well-known nameplates in favor of indistinguishable alphanumeric designations.  Worse, all too many of its products became dull and lackluster, sales tumbling in response.

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To its credit, Acura has finally recognized the errors of its way. And while it has yet to finally abandon the naming strategy, which leaves motorists struggling to determine the difference between an RL, TL and RLX, it has toned down the ungainly “beak” grille.  Now, more importantly, it is also fleshing out a thin line-up, adding the new “flagship” RLX and, at the other market extreme, the 2013 Acura ILX.


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.


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.


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.


Awards Aside, GM Facing Product Problems

Maker’s bankruptcy leaves it scrambling for new models.

by on Jan.12, 2011

GM product chief Tom Stephens celebrates Chevy Volt's win as North American Car of the Year, on Monday. Photo by Len Katz.

Where’s the sheet metal?

It’s been a good week for General Motors, which opened the annual Detroit Auto Show by winning the coveted North American Car of the Year trophy, something you’ll readily find reference to as you wander through the maker’s sprawling stand at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

But things looked a bit different during an early morning visit to the Detroit Auto Show — now that the media hordes have largely left town and before the public files in.  There’s surprisingly little new sheet metal to see.  And that suggests that while GM may have come through the NAIAS with flying colors it could face a little more trouble during the rest of auto show season.

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No question, things looked a lot better than they did in 2009 and 2010, when the maker was dealing with financial collapse and then struggling to rebuild itself as a new company. Volt’s victory only enhanced the perceived momentum of GM’s record IPO, in November.  But the Detroit maker traditionally buried the Detroit Auto Show under an avalanche of new products and concept vehicles – including past-year offerings like the Volt and Camaro show cars.


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.