News of GM potentially exporting cars from China to the United States in the near future has some wondering if the General will be the first OEM to sell Chinese made cars in the United States. One can have a diverse array of opinions on the political, social and economic impact of such a move, but from a product standpoint, it may not be such a bad thing.
Buick shows a few interesting concepts in Shanghai. One, a business MPV attracted the interest on GM’s competition at Toyota. Soon-to-be Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada came for a quick visit, eyed the prototype for a few seconds, and left. (Read More…)
I admit that upon first viewing the Buick Encore, I was repulsed by its goofy proportions and the poor fit and finish on the interior of multiple examples (yes, they were production examples, not hastily slapped together pre-production cars). But the market is what makes the winners and losers in the end, and the baby Buick is putting up some solid numbers.
Is it a cliche to say that as a writer I try to avoid cliches? Anyway, I do try to avoid the word legendary (see Dash Parr on being special), but some concept and show cars are, well, legendary. Not in the sense, of course, that people tell grand tales about them but because they are remembered, ending up in books and blog posts. Some concept and show cars are, if not the stuff of legends, certainly the stuff of history. Other cars, not so much. For every memorable Cadillac Evoq, Sixteen and Converj, there’s been at least one La Espada or Aurora, cars that never really caught the public or auto enthusiasts’ imagination even if they may have influenced production cars. A concept car can cost an easy million dollars to build, but once that year’s auto show season is over, it’s often forgotten.
Recently my GF and I became the owners of a 1999 Buick Regal with about 225k miles on it. We weren’t in the market for a Buick, but when a limb dropped on its roof from a dead tree was combined with a higher deductible and a desire to keep the claim off our homeowners policy, the natural thing to do was buy the dented car for the $2500 asking price. Now our question is what is the best way to get most of our money back from this “investment”? (Read More…)
Take a look at this piece of…
272,522 miles. No fooling. This 1996 Volkswagen Passat 5-speed sedan has traveled a distance nearly equal to 11 times the circumference of planet Earth.
It also visited the dealership well over 50 times during that time period as well. Which is just barely good enough for…
Buick’s been on a roll this year, their sales are up and their owner demographics are younger than they have been in recent memory. The cynic in my says that’s because half their clientele died of old age, but it has more to do with their product portfolio. Say what? Yep, it’s true, the brand I wrote off for dead last decade is targeting younger buyers with designs imported from Europe and finding sales success. The Verano turbo shattered my preconceptions, but can Buick do it again? A brown Encore arrived one rainy morning to see if it was possible. (Read More…)
The General giveth and The General Taketh Away. The 2014 Buick Regal Turbo and Regal GS will now get all-wheel drive as an option, with the ability to send up to 90 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. But both the Turbo and the GS will get the same engine, a 259 horsepower, 295 lb-ft 2.0T 4-cylinder. Only the GS model will get a 6-speed manual.
Brown Car Afficionados, Buick has your back. While the 2014 Lacrosse’s updates are either cosmetic or related to safety features, Buick boldly chose brown for the press photos. Because nothing says “would you like to upgrade to Premium Full-Size for just $10 more per day?” like a luxurious mocha-hued Epsilon sedan.
The Buick brand, long seen as kept on life support in the U.S. to appease the Chinese, shows sudden signs of stamina. One signal: More Buicks get leased, and indicator of youthful buyers.. In March 2012, Buicks were leased by 14 percent of the new owners. At the end of February, the lease rate more than doubled to 36 percent, the Detroit News says. Buick’s average customer age also has dropped to 57 from 64 over the past five years. (Read More…)
Hyundai and Buick are feeling the heat in China, and the industry might rethink past practices of freewheeling Twitter snark. Hyundai and a Buick dealer made remarks about the quality of their products after a 2-month-old baby was abducted along with the RAV4 it was in. Chinese commenters did not like it at all. (Read More…)
The Geneva Auto Show gave us our first look at the Opel Cascada, aka the future Buick Verano Convertible. The Cascada is a four-seat, front-drive convertible in the vein of the Audi A5, the kind of car enthusiasts turn their noses up at, but regular consumers tend to gravitate towards. Besides, something has to compete with the Chrysler 200 Convertible.
The popular wisdom among folks in the auto-biz of my generation (1970s) is that Buick only exists because of China. Why didn’t GM kill Buick in America and keep it in China? The answer is obvious: you can’t sell your brand on its “Americanness” if it isn’t also sold in America to Americans. Buick then is a brand hunting for a mission. It’s also a brand hunting for fresh customers that don’t remember the Century and Skylark, two abominations firmly burnt into my mind. In attempt to solve these problems Buick has ditched their badge-engineering mantra and is rolling out new products targeted at folks from the 80s and 90s. Forced induction and a manual transmission aren’t new to Buick, but the possibility of a desirable small sedan from the triple-shield is earth shattering. Have they managed it? GM tossed us a set of keys to find out.
As a journalist, if you ask an OEM rep about any given car’s redesign or next generation, you’ll undoubtedly be met with a terse “we don’t comment on future product plans”. But if you’re an analyst? Different story.