Buick Vehicle Line Executive: No Wiring Problems With Production Buick LaCrosse

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

TTAC recently published a Wild Ass Rumor about Buick LaCrosse wiring problems. Jim Federico breached the GM – TTAC wall to quash the suggestion that production vehicles suffered from electrical gremlins. “I can confirm there is NO truth to this RUMOR,” the LaCrosse Vehicle Line Executive/Chief Engineer wrote. So I called the man responsible for “any car on the GM Global Mid-Size platform until I retire or get fired, whatever comes first.” [Note: GM no longer uses Greek names for its platforms. Literally. Federico flat-out refused to identify the Buick’s platform as an “Epsilon.”] Federico told me GM has delivered roughly a thousand LaCrosse to dealers; only one has been marked return to sender. “It was a car with a burned-out starter,” he revealed. “We identified the problem as a defective component and contacted the supplier to rectify the situation.” Now, as for that wiring rumor . . .

Federico repeated his categorical denial. There are not now nor have there been any wiring/electrical/computer issues with the LaCrosse. That said . . .

The LaCrosse is the first North American vehicle where assembly workers burn/download the software into the BCM (Body Control Module) and ECM (Engine Control Module) on the factory floor. As such, there were some electrical issues with the LaCrosse PPVs (Pre-Production Vehicles). “It’s nothing more than we expected in the normal development process,” Federico claimed. “About 70 percent good, 30 percent bad.” He said these problems were resolved before customer cars came off the line.

Federico was anxious for me to sample his handiwork firsthand. His GM PR handler (listening in as always) promised to arrange a press car for a TTAC review.

As Federico is in charge of all the American automaker’s Voldemorts—I mean, future Global Mid-Size Platform vehicles, I asked him if he saw any problems sharing the platform across GM’s four remaining brands. Federico rattled off a laundry list (so to speak) of all the ways the Epsilons would differ: fuel economy, handling dynamics, sheet metal, interior, etc. “We are not badge engineering,” he insisted.

We shall see.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Geotpf Geotpf on Aug 14, 2009
    z4eva : August 13th, 2009 at 3:14 pm How did a single car with a burned out starter get out of the factory? Do they even turn the engine over before they send them out the door? It's not atypical for a faulty part or device (of any sort) to work for a very short time and then fail. That is, it very well could have worked ten times and then failed the eleventh time the dealer wanted to start the car, with the first five starts at the factory.
  • Juniper Juniper on Aug 14, 2009

    Mark MacInnis So when you build a preproduction run of highly complex electro-mechanical devices your quality is extremely high? Why do you build preproduction then? Please share your personal hands on experiences with us. (or at least guys like our beloved RF) Oh, and why don't you guys get a room?

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.