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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…)

U.S. Auto Sales Increase In May

Large trucks, utilities pushing monthly sales jump.

by on Jun.03, 2013

Ford posted a 14% sales increase in May with trucks leading the way.

Bolstered by strong sales of pickup trucks and luxury cars, sales of new vehicles rose again in May as carmakers continued to help keep the U.S. economy growing despite the continuing concerns about deficits and job creation.

The three domestic carmakers, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group, all posted sales increases for May.

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Ford led the way as its sales increased 14% in May, with cars up 9%, utilities up 15% and trucks up 18%. Retail sales increased 17%, marking the best May retail sales results since 2005.


GM Will Halve Its Platform, Engine Count

Saving could top $1 billion annually.

by on Aug.10, 2011

New GM car czar Mary Barra.

General Motors plans to slash by half the number of underlying platforms it uses worldwide by 2018, while ordering a similar reduction in the number of engine variants in its line-up, the maker says.

It’s all part of an effort to reduce costs by as much as $1 billion annually, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson, who says the maker wastes far much time, effort – and money – on projects that either get canceled or which could share their basics with other GM programs.

“We’d be deep — halfway, two-thirds of the way through – on a project and we’d cancel it due to a weakening economy,” said the former Navy officer, who took the helm at GM early last year.  “The start-stop, on-again-off-again, herky-jerky nature of our product development process was very disruptive and it produced poor results.”

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Indeed, it has meant that many vehicles come out late and then don’t live up to customer expectations, added GM’s new product development czar Mary Barra.

“We end up being second, third, or at the back of the pack,” she said.


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.


A Halo Car Coming for Buick?

Showing strong signs of recovery, GM looks for a brand-builder.

by on May.26, 2010

Is there now room for a "halo car" in the expanding Buick line-up?

Sales of the new Buick LaCrosse will set another record for May, senior division officials tell, and the brand is hoping to keep that momentum moving with the upcoming launch of the smaller Regal sedan.

Still more product is in the pipeline, including a high-performance Regal GS, with an even smaller sedan, along with a compact crossover to follow.  But as the Buick brand struggles to not just expand its line-up but freshen its image, there may be a good opportunity to add yet another model to the line-up, one that could become an emblem for the resurgent marque.

“I think there’s an opportunity for a halo car for the brand beyond the Regal RS,” said GM Vice President John Schwegman who, in March, became Buick’s marketing chief.

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Quick to stress that, “We don’t have a timeframe,” Schwegman said a variety of possibilities are being considered, though tradition would suggest a Buick halo vehicle would fall into three likely categories: a performance car, a “highly-styled” vehicle or a convertible.


Docherty GM’s New International Sales Chief

New job covers nearly half of GM’s global sales.

by on May.24, 2010

Susan Docherty will take on sales, service and marketing for GM's International Operations.

Susan Docherty, former marketing chief for General Motors’ core North American operations has been given a new assignment as head of sales, service and marketing for the maker’s International Operations.

Promotion or demotion?  That depends on how you look at GM’s long-term prospects.  Reporting to International Operations (IO) Chief Tim Lee, Docherty will be responsible for some of the fastest growing markets in the automaker’s empire.  This year, places like China, Brazil and Russia will be responsible for nearly half of the vehicles GM sells and eventually that is forecast to reach 75% of the company’s volume.

“We are fortunate to have Susan joining us at this important time in GMIO’s history, as we focus on growth throughout the region” said Lee.  “She brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience with a fresh perspective to the way we approach our business.”

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The 47-year-old Docherty is a Canadian native who earned two degrees from the University of Windsor – a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration with a major in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Economics.  Docherty also spent 2004 on a year-long Sloan Fellowship at Stanford University, where she studied under Eric Schmidt, then the relatively unknown head of rising Internet powerhouse Google.


Buick Back From the Dead

Maker planning three more models.

by on May.06, 2010

With sales of the 2010 LaCrosse up 214%, so far this year, Buick officials are betting the brand can double its overall volume.

“I just don’t understand why General Motors kept Buick and killed Pontiac,” suggested the gentleman sitting next to me on the flight back from Los Angeles, yesterday.  There are a lot of folks who echo that sentiment, though they might substitute Saturn or even long-gone Oldsmobile as the brand that should have survived GM’s bankruptcy.

Until recently, there was really just one reason why thye long-troubled Buick brand remained part of the automaker’s shrinking line-up.  In a word, said GM design czar Ed Welburn, “China.”  While Buick has shrunk to little more than an asterisk on the sales charts in the U.S., it is one of the top sellers in what is now the world’s largest and fastest-growing auto market.

But those who’ve written off the Buick brand for dead, at least here in the States may be in for a surprise.  Indeed, the once-grand nameplate is not just treading water but looking to grow, with three new models on tap.

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Signs of a turnaround began to appear, several years ago, with the launch of the big Buick Enclave crossover. Last year brought the launch of an all-new LaCrosse, and the midsize sedan has been exceeding even Buick’s optimistic expectations, LaCrosse sales climbing steadily for seven months and hitting their highest retail mark in April – sales for the year up 214%.

“We are starting to gain traction in sales,” proclaimed Buick’s marketing chief, John Schwegman, during an “immersion” meeting, this week.  “But we’re not declaring victory yet.”


GM and Carfax to Help People Identify Open Recalls

Better yet, it is a free service available to all.

by on Apr.16, 2010

Carfax also sells full vehicle reports.

General Motors Company is giving millions of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to Carfax for its cars, trucks and crossover models with so-called “open recalls” or ones that have not been  performed.

This means that starting in May owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, as well as customers in the market for used models, will be able to check for unrepaired safety, non-compliance and emission recalls through Carfax at The VINs provided also include used Hummer, Saab, Pontiac and Saturn models – brands that GM no longer sells after its post-bankruptcy reorganization.

A recall may be mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), though none ever has been, as makers negotiate and shape the recall with NHTSA, and then conduct a “voluntary recall” of the defective vehicles.


GM NAIAS Show Stand Sketches

Simpler, smaller displays from a simpler, smaller automaker.

by on Dec.22, 2009

If GM is to defend and increase share, Chevrolet as its largest brand has to lead the way.

General Motors has just released sketches of the displays for its four remaining “core brands” at the North American International Auto Show next month.

Public days runs from January 16-24, 2010. More than 700 vehicles will be on display, according to the organizers.

The big Cadillac news is a photo, click here, a partial image of what appears to be the long-rumored XTS, which will make its debut, in concept form.

If it goes into production the new, all wheel-drive full-size sedan would eventually replace two of the weaker entries in Caddy’s current line-up, the STS and DTS, and become Cadillac’s new flagship model.

More performance cars coming, and a new Cadillac flagship?

A terse release we received also confirms news broke a few weeks back: Cadillac will add a high-performance version of its current 2-door base model, to be dubbed the CTSv.

GMC is extending its Denali package to include the Acadia crossover, borrowing it from the larger, more expensive Yukon sport utility model.


When the new 2011 Acadia Denali goes on sale in the third quarter of 2010, it will be available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models, as well as seven- and eight-passenger configurations.


Lutz Says Show Me the Numbers

The numbers put it all in perspective….maybe.

by on Dec.21, 2009

Show me the numbers, says GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, referring to Buick's claims.

"Show me the numbers," says GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, when told of Buick's claims.

There are numbers, damn numbers and statistics.  Just ask the Buick folks.

The long-troubled brand has steadily seen those numbers dwindle, over the decades, though there have been a few small but important bright spots, lately, starting with the launch of the Enclave crossover and running up to the debut of the new LaCrosse.


How bright?  As it seems to always happen at press previews, Buick’s product marketing director, it was Craig Bierely’s compulsory role to put a positive spin on things, telling a captive crowd of journalists that since the LaCrosse sedan went on sale, late this year, the troubled division’s conquest sales of import buyers had quadrupled.