Malaise era. Supposedly the time when cars were the worst, and especially the American ones. Compared to the glory days of the 1960s, when the gas was cheap, horsepower plentiful and cars the most beautiful ever, the 1970s are considered to be dark ages. Emission-strangled engines with pathetic power-to-weight ratio, huge and hideous bumpers, as well as floaty suspensions with not even a pretention of “sportiness” or “handling”, traits so popular with modern car enthusiasts.
But, was it really that bad? I had a chance to find out.
Opel Chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann told reporters gathered at the Frankfurt Motor Show that General Motors is considering selling the Opel Adam subcompact in the United States as a Buick. ”We are looking at it,” Neumann told Automotive News. “Nothing is decided. But it’s an example of some of the Opel product being used elsewhere in the world.”
Opel and Buick already share some product. The Opel Insignia is sold as the Buick Regal and the small Opel Mokka crossover is marketed as the Buick Encore. The Encore has been selling at about double the rate that GM expected, proving that GM’s near-luxury brand Buick can sell small cars. (Read More…)
While TTAC is known for Panther Love above all else, there are some of us here who possess an iconoclastic streak and long for a General Motors B-Body. The LT1 powered Buick Roadmaster is arguably the finest of the bunch, and an essay in today’s edition of The Globe and Mail illustrates why.
Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play. But if you want to ride on those streets like ev-er-y day, your ride has arrived. Which leads to a question:
The Buick Skyhawk started out as a badge-engineered upscale version of the wretched Chevy Monza, took 1981 off, then returned as a front-wheel-drive J-body in 1982. This car is largely forgotten today, and the station wagon version manages to be even more forgotten. Still, a few remain, and this ’85 hung on for nearly 30 years before washing up in The Crusher’s waiting room. (Read More…)
Ontario is home to a number of auto plants, both import and domestic, union and non-union, as well as numerous suppliers. None of them are so tightly intertwined as General Motors is with the town of Oshawa, about 40 miles from Toronto (though, as any area resident will tell you, it’s really 2 hours away, thanks to our horrendously inadequate infrastructure). For nearly a century, GM has been building cars in Oshawa in one form or another, as the plant has established a reputation as one of GM’s best, consistently building high quality cars, trucks and crossovers over the decades. But that tradition may be coming to a close by 2016.
Opel and Buick are going to get a lot cozier in the coming years if Dan Akerson has his way. The GM CEO wants the two companies to align their product portfolios even further, so that the high R&D costs of Opel products can be absorbed further.
The most famous Holden product to ever wear a Buick badge is the Chinese-market Park Avenue, a car that Buick dealers inexplicably rejected. But back in the mid-1990s, GM apparently planned to use the VT Commodore architecture as the basis for a new Buick sedan, previewed in the XP2000 concept above.
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.