What do buyers like? Ultra-lux trims and big-bucks window stickers, that’s what. At least, that’s the gist of General Motors’ media run-down of the new 2019 Buick Regal Avenir — the third vehicle in the Buick stable to undergo the high-zoot treatment, and a model we uncovered last week.
“Avenir” debuted on the revamped-for-2018 Enclave, then made its way to the LaCrosse sedan. It exists because Denali exists, and Buick saw what the addition of that sub-brand did for GMC sales, to say nothing of average transaction price and profits. After crunching some numbers, Buick decided the Regal Sportback was the next obvious candidate for the brand’s “highest expression of luxury.”
It’s a running joke in auto journalist and car enthusiasts circles that wagons are the ultimate body type, as well as the cure for the crossover crave that seems to bother us (myself included) in ways that aren’t necessarily logical or rational.
Wagons are better than crossovers because they perform the same utilitarian duties as a crossover while still being closer in form to a sedan. Or so the argument goes.
Whether that is or isn’t “true” is a matter of opinion, of course. But the Buick Regal TourX is an example of how simply “wagonizing” a platform isn’t enough to make a decent car great.
As you might imagine, nobody at Buick is keen for me to review their cars lately. It’s a shame, because there’s not necessarily a correlation between the quality of the cars that bear the “Buick” logo and the failure of the Buick business model in the United States (to recap, move Encore and Enclave to GMC, kill the rest of the brand with fire).
But no matter — we have access to our own Buick, thanks to the lovely Luisa and the Encore Preferred she recently leased. So I decided to put a few hundred miles behind the wheel of the
Opel Mokka Encore and give you guys the lowdown.
Spoiler alert: it’s not terrible. In fact, for the price, it’s downright good. Click the jump for more.
The second quarter of 2018 returned pleasing sales figures for General Motors, but there were no champagne corks popping over Buick’s performance. While GM’s sales rose 4.6 percent compared to Q2 2017 (and 4.2 percent year-to-date), Buick sales headed in the opposite direction — down 12 percent in the quarter, and roughly six-tenths of one percent over the first half of the year.
Swirling menacingly in the background of all of this is a threat from President Trump to levy a 25 percent tariff on all automotive imports, a move that would leave Buick especially exposed. As numbers crunched by Automotive News show, the only thing sparing the brand from an emergency overhaul, should such a scenario come to pass, is a subcompact crossover — one which may or may not be exempt from the proposed tariffs.
As you might have heard, Buick’s Avenir luxury sub-brand is off to a good start. Playing the same tune written by GMC’s Denali line, “Avenir” debuted on the second-generation Enclave crossover for 2018, then bestowed its luxurious trappings on the LaCrosse sedan.
According to Automotive News, Enclave sales are up 15 percent over the first half of 2018, with the Avenir trim counting for 25 percent of all units sold. That’s money in Buick’s pocket, as the Avenir badge adds roughly $14k to the model’s base MSRP. Average Enclave transaction prices are up $5,000 from a year prior.
Buick boss Duncan Aldred said last winter that the case for Avenir would be made on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, adding that we should expect to see more models add the new trim (and price point) in the future. It now looks like the redesigned Regal will be the third Avenir model.
As we were rustling up commentary in the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, conversation naturally turned to other front-drive sedans available that same year. The discussion sparked the idea for another General Motors same-body showdown, like we saw previously with the luxurious C-body.
Today we’re talking H-body 3800 fun from Oldsmobile, Buick, and Pontiac.
No, that image you saw floating around on Twitter wasn’t some prankster’s idea of a joke. Buyers will be able to purchase a Buick LaCrosse bearing the ST trim designation. For 2019, Buick’s adding a new level to its LaCrosse lineup, but it won’t go as far as offering a GS version. That’s the Regal’s responsibility.
So, what does the ST (Sport Touring) trim bring to this traditional, full-size, V6-powered family sedan?
Welcome back to Buick Death Watch! It’s been a long time; we shouldn’t have left you without a strong tale of sales woe to complain about. And just like the Jesus of the New Testament, we’re going to start our tale with a parable.
Once there was a young woman from a faraway land in the south, and she wanted to buy her very first car. She drove cars from lands far and wide, including the Orient and the Land of Cortez. When she drove the Tiny Crossover of Three Shields, she found it to be the best of them all, for it was cloaked in leather and CarPlay, and its motor held the charge of turbines within its soul.
But the moneychangers in the Temple of Finance were not pure of heart. They offered her many baubles, and some of them were tricks of the devil himself — rebates for students of the Word of False Prophets, owners of cars from other lands, and more. The young woman did not qualify for any of these, but the moneychangers were devious, and they promised them to her anyway. And, lo, they delivered, giving her a total of $6,250 in rebates, but only if she would sign the parchment by the second day of the fourth moon. Thus, the woman drove away in the crossover, relinquishing nothing but $200 a month for the next three harvests.
Click the jump and I’ll tell you why all of this means Buick is hosed.
Generally when we write about sticker prices for the upcoming model year, it’s to document a price hike – sometimes minor, sometimes major. Rarely does a manufacturer cut prices, especially in a hot segment.
However, it appears that’s exactly what The General is doing across three of its brands. A few machines take a haircut and give up some standard equipment, while others will simply have a Monroney bearing a smaller number next year.
Just in time for the weekend, an escalation in the ongoing trade wars has seen the Trump administration announce a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of goods imported from China. These tariffs include automobiles. For its part, China retaliated by applying a further 25 percent tariff on a similar amount of American goods, including automobiles.
The move comes less than a month after China announced a plan that would lower import duties and eventually allow foreign automakers to set up shop without a joint Chinese partner. Of course, that was then, and this is now.
Despite the negative stigma long associated with Chinese-built goods, we’ve grown used to — if not accepting of — the idea that some of our domestic vehicles might originate from a Chinese assembly plant. The Cadillac CT6 Plug-in, for example, hails from the Orient, as does all versions of the Buick Envision crossover. Volvo S90s sold in the U.S. also call China their birthplace.
Now, according to a 2019 model year VIN decoder document sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from General Motors, there’s two additional models that might carry Chinese heritage. Keep a lookout for a VIN starting with “L.”
I could have told the guy “71 extra pounds.” Then again, maybe “$5,400 more” would have been a better response. Both of these figures are correct, but it’s the latter that best answers the question, “What’s an Avenir?”
The passer-by who accosted me — in a friendly manner, thankfully — outside my residence hadn’t seen the word “Enclave” on the back of the big, white Buick I had parked outside, but I assume he knew the model and wondered what the hell an Avenir nameplate was doing on both front doors.
“Okay, you know Denali…?” I answered. The rest isn’t hard to imagine.
The General got his money’s worth out of the J Platform, which began with the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier and ended 23 years later with the Pontiac Sunfire. Buick’s only J-body was the 1982-1989 Skyhawk, which took the name of the much more successful rear-wheel-drive H-body Skyhawk of the 1970s.
Here’s a sporty five-speed ’84 Skyhawk in a Denver-area self-service yard.
I’ve been saving this one for a while on my Big List of Buy/Drive/Burns. The year is 1993, and you’re shopping the large front-drive sedan offerings from General Motors (rear-drive provides less traction and is archaic). Making a stop at the Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac showrooms, three ruched leather and wood tone sedans await you in top-spec trim. Let’s go.
Ready to get enspired[sic]?
Buick’s latest concept vehicle, appearing at this week’s Beijing Motor Show, carries on the time-honored tradition of saddling vaporware with awful names, but the vehicle itself is worthy of further consideration. Decked out in a Chinese consumer-friendly red paint job, the coupe-like four-door SUV might not be all that conceptual.
Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at full-size sedans of an American persuasion and non-luxury intent. The consensus was loud and clear on which vehicle of the trio to burn; the Taurus was the subject of a flame war. Citing the sedan’s outdated everything and bad packaging, most of you didn’t like it.
Some of you also complained that the three offerings were too basic, and lacking in content and luxury. Today we turn up the luxury dial and look at three full-size Americans which are a bit more aspirational.
Ready, comrades? This might be tough.
What country can’t get enough of the Buick brand? Well, not the United States, clearly. But cross the Pacific and Buick is the equivalent of Nicki Minaj and free Coca-Cola and the iPhone X, all rolled into one. Much desirability among the middle-class consumer set.
While we’ve seen some new product on these shores in the past year or so (a new Enclave, Regal, and refreshed Envision are the only things that come to mind), China awaits two wholly new models. One technically isn’t production bound, at least not yet, but you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s a given: A Buick SUV concept — fully electric, and boasting a pretty sexy liftgate — that might have a future on both sides of the Pacific.
Just after Christmas, we inquired about your favorite German car of the 1990s. The few of you who had awakened from post-holiday eat and drink signed in to share your top Teutonic choices. I suspect more of you are awake now that it’s springtime, and will be able to answer the same inquiry when it’s American flavored.
What’s your favorite American vehicle of the 1990s?
These pages have spilled more than a bit of digital ink on the Buick brand in the last couple of weeks. For today’s QOTD, we’re about to spill a little more.
Buick’s current roster holds a couple of good-looking arrows in its quiver, not the least of which is the Regal Tour X (which, it should be noted, is listed proudly as a WAGON on Buick’s own build-and-price site), particularly in the natty shade of Rioja Red Metallic. Here is your Monday question: which Buick vehicle of yore hit it completely out of the park in terms of styling?
In the tradition of TTAC’s august founder, it’s time to do some old-fashioned myth busting about General Motors. Specifically, we’re going to talk about a myth that many of you were perpetrating in the comments of our first installment in our new Buick Death Watch series — specifically the fallacy that Buick GMC dealers “need to have Buick to have cars to sell,” or that “dealers would sue GM if they killed Buick.”
Not even, man.
I mean, if they had ever sold that bad-ass Avista pictured up there, then maybe, but Buick’s car lineup has left much to be desired in the eyes of consumers and dealers. I’ll explain a component of General Motors’ dealer compensation called “Standards For Excellence” to you, and then we’ll look at charts and numbers and data and stuff. Ready to have your preconceived notions challenged? GO!
Yesterday, your humble author went back to the proverbial old school for a heartfelt piece on why Buick must die. It gave me no pleasure to write it; I can still remember being five years old and waiting with anticipation for my father to bring home his new steel-grey 1977 LeSabre sedan. That was an American-made luxury sedan to compete heads-up with anything the world could offer, which no doubt explains why the Volvo that sat next to it in the garage found its way to the classifieds shortly afterwards.
There is nothing I would rather see than the resurrection of a revitalized Buick taking the fight to Lexus with a top-notch lineup of cars and crossovers that are built and designed — scratch that, I would probably settle for built or designed at this point! — in the United States. That’s why I handed out that tough love to the Tri-shield yesterday.
It would have been nice if Buick PR had responded by sending me some off-the-record advance notice of a new world-class luxury car or truck. I suppose it was naive of me to even think there might be such a thing in the pipeline. Rather, my boss received a list of complaints from Buick’s brand communications manager, Stu Fowle. He believes the article is incorrect on several points. In the interest of promoting further informed discussion about Buick’s current woes, I’ve listed his complaints after the jump, along with my responses.
Buick has been on my mind lately, ever since reading that the GM division will remove brand lettering on all models starting in 2019. This change isn’t particularly shocking, as Buick is merely catching up with what other premium brands are doing on the badge front (I always prefer more badges to less, brougham-style).
Then, quite literally as my fingers tapped out this post, Mr. Jack Baruth announced Buick must die in short order. But what might General Motors do to save the luxury shield from its own axe?
What would Buick look like for you, in 2025?
“When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them.” Thus spake Robert Farago nearly thirteen years ago when he started the General Motors Death Watch. Just fifty-one months later, General Motors filed for Chapter 11. Our august founder got his wish. Or most of it, anyway. The weak-sister brands were sold off — although, looking at the stunning resale value of Hummer H2s on the West Coast, one wonders if perhaps that nameplate should have been retained; it would certainly play well in an era where $100,000 is the new normal for a loaded full-size SUV. (One also has to admire Farago’s Muad’Dib-style prescience regarding Donald Trump’s relevance in the future, but that’s slightly besides the point.)
Robert was wrong about one thing: while General Motors did die in the the legal sense, most of what normies consider “GM” is still very much present and accounted for. I recently sat down with a senior “New GM” person who told me, “We used the bankruptcy to keep the good people and make some much-needed changes,” by which he meant “cutting the dead wood.” I think that much of the current product line reflects that rejuvenation. The Corvette is the world’s finest sporting automobile, at least on the value-for-money scale. The Equinox has been a bright spot for more than half a decade now. The Denali line is a license to print money, and justifiably so. I’m no longer much of a skeptic when it comes to the General. Last year, I did something I’d never done before: I spent nearly 60,000 of my favorite dollars on a brand new GM product. While there are certainly criticisms to be made regarding America’s largest-by-a-whisker automaker, I believe it is now safe to say that the company is on solid footing everywhere from 755-horsepower supercars to electric-dreams city commuters.
Except, of course, for Buick. That’s got to go, and nobody’s going to miss it.
Buick had best hope every consumer knows exactly what the tri-shield badge stands for, as the automaker will soon dispense with “Buick” lettering on all of its models.
The dropping of the brand nameplate on Buick vehicles, first confirmed by GM Authority, began with the refreshed-for-2019 Envision crossover. A fluke born of Chinese manufacture? Nope — Buick is going away, in name only.
Spoiler alert: At some point in this review, I am going to make the idiotic suggestion that the Buick Regal GS ought to come with a manual transmission.
I’m assuming you’re all somewhat familiar with the Buick Regal, a lightly Americanized version of the European-market Opel Insignia. By our standards, the Insignia is legitimately European. It’s a hatchback masquerading as a sedan, which is (or at least used to be) a popular bodystyle in Europe. It’s built in Germany, which is more than a lot of BMWs and Benzes can say. By European standards, though, the Insignia is – well, it’s sort of a Buick. It’s wallowy and a bit soft around the tummy.
The GS is the hod-rod model, which dumps the 2.0-liter turbo four and replaces it with a 310 horsepower version of GM’s corporate 3.6-liter V6. It gets a nine-speed auto tranny and all-wheel-drive, bigger front brakes with red-painted Brembo calipers, unique front and rear fascias, and fancier gauges and front seats.
When I was a teen in the ‘90s, the big Buicks roaming suburban streets were mostly LeSabres, with the occasional Roadmaster or Park Avenue thrown into the mix. Now, Buick (along with everyone else) seems to be crossover central, thanks to the Envision, Encore, and Enclave.
Yeah, I know. It’s a crossover world and we’re just living in it.
The “big” Buick sedan still exists in the form of the LaCrosse, and the Regal has been recently re-done in wagon and hatchback guise. Yet your father’s (or mother’s) Buick is almost certainly a crossover at this point.
Earlier today, BMW posted an image of an upcoming concept sedan that left us scratching our heads. With its ultra-low roofline and incredibly long hood, we wondered if someone in the company drafted a redux of the BMW CS Concept. As it turns out, that’s kind of what happened.
If you remember, the CS Concept was unveiled in 2007 as BMW’s new flagship sedan — basically a new 8 Series with four doors. However, the global economy fell directly into the toilet the following year and destroyed any hope of it becoming a reality. A decade later, rich people are richer than ever and BMW has already confirmed its Concept 8 Series coupe will begin production in 2018. Based on visual cues, the above rendering appears to show us the sedan variant of that vehicle.
Last week we brought you a taste of the facelifted 2019 Buick Envision, already on sale in its Chinese homeland. General Motors has now graced us with details on the U.S.-bound model, which should appear this spring wearing the same trims you’re become used to.
While there’s a new transmission and tech content to go with the updated front- and rear-end styling, one feature of the new model stands out: its price. To lure new buyers to the brand (and tempt Encore owners to move up the ladder), Buick is offering the Envision with a new pricing scheme.
“All trim levels have been adjusted toward the heart of the premium compact SUV market,” the automaker said today.
Just how much has a Buick Envision slipped in price in the two years since its introduction? A cool nine grand.
As the first Chinese-built vehicle offered domestically by an American manufacturer, the Buick Envision didn’t do itself any favors by launching as a truncated 2016 model year vehicle available only in uplevel trims. Its entry price shrunk as 2017s arrived, and sales rose accordingly, though not to the levels enjoyed by less-premium compact GM crossovers.
Still, the Envision fulfills a vital role at Buick, and the automaker shows no sign of second thoughts. To keep things fresh, the Envision undergoes a significant refresh for the 2019 model year.
The survey, which assesses the number of reported problems per 100 vehicles during the first three years of vehicle ownership, resulted in Lexus achieving top marks with only 99 claimed issues. Toyota’s premium brand (which has won seven years running) was followed closely by Porsche with 100 reported problems, whereas Buick was the “mass market” brand with the fewest faults at 116.
Issues pertaining to audio, communications, navigation, or entertainment systems continued to yield the highest number of complaints from consumers in 2018. However, the gap between luxury and mainstream brands appears to be closing, as most of last year’s top performers lost a little ground to mid-level mainstream competitors. Infiniti saw the most improvement overall, coming from the bottom of the pack in 2017 to take 4th overall this year. It was followed by Kia, with 122 problems per 100 vehicles — proving that premium levels of quality are not exclusive to premium brands.
After the industry’s first annual sales decline of the post-recession era in 2017, the small uptick in year-over-year U.S. auto sales in January 2018 shouldn’t be seen as a trend, analysts warn. This year will apparently bring more worry for automakers as buyers plan fewer trips to the dealership.
For the domestic brands, January brought a mixed sales bag. Two members of the Detroit Three posted significant sales declines, while the third squeaking by on the strength of light truck sales. Clearly, having a lineup full of pickups, SUVs, and crossovers helps a company’s bottom line, but it’s no guarantee of ever-higher volume in today’s market.
German Automakers 'Rearrange' Staff After Newest Diesel-related Scandal, Audi Employees See Homes Raided
Daimler AG and BMW group suspended or moved several employees linked to a group that was commissioned for research that involved exposing monkeys and humans to potentially harmful gases. While the nature of these tests may not be extraordinary or illegal, the public response has been one of outrage.
Volkswagen suspended chief lobbyist Thomas Steg earlier this week for similar reasons, but the other automakers have now followed suit in the hopes of quelling public anger. The automakers haven’t kept silent on the matter, either. High-ranking executives have called the research repugnant, suggesting that the ethics employed by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) were unacceptable.
For 2018, Buick split its new Regal into two body styles: a liftback and a wagon dubbed the TourX. SUVs and crossovers make up a large chunk of the Tri-Shield’s sales, but these two machines will arguably swallow as much or more cargo than some of their high-riding showroom brethren.
Upon the Regal’s rollout for 2018, the marque estimated the TourX take rate would be around 30 percent. Now, thanks to either a rethink of market demands or someone’s innate love of wagons, Buick has revised that number upwards.
Bavarian Motor Works has found itself in a situation familiar to most brands without a “full complement” of sport utility vehicles — slipping sales. BMW’s U.S. sales dipped 2.4 percent in 2017, and that was after a 9.5 percent drop in 2016. It cites an inability to supply the region with enough light trucks to meet demand as the primary reason for the sales slump and promises things will change for 2018.
The brand plans to launch the redesigned X4 compact crossover this year and hints that it might update the X5 too. Sales of the X2, which was present at the North American International Auto Show last week, should commence this March. On the other end of the size spectrum is BMW’s all-new X7 — which will become the automaker’s biggest model when it goes into production later this year.
Launched last fall on the new-for-2018 Enclave crossover and extended to the LaCrosse large sedan, Buick now is making noises that the Avenir sub-brand will extend across the lineup, potentially landing on every model it sells.
That didn’t take long. Less than three months ago, we reported Buick brand boss Duncan Aldred said, in reference to Avenir, “We’re not going to force it,” while speaking at a media event near Detroit. It must be tempting to do so, however, when the brand looks across the showroom to see Denali trucks helping push the GMC brand to a record average transaction price north of $55,000.
The Price of Aveniring: Top-flight Buick LaCrosse Sees a Sticker Jump, But You've Already Stopped Reading This
We joke, but there’s many among us — even here at TTAC — who would love to see the full-size sedan segment return to its former glory. Ford can ditch this EcoSport idea and get back to building Galaxies and LTDs and Fairlanes, Dodge can reintroduce the Monaco and Polara, and Buick can slot the Electra 225 above its current LaCrosse.
Sadly, aficionados of the traditional passenger car, especially the largest class, are dwindling in the face of intense wooing from the crossover brigade. Once one discover what a high seating position and all-wheel drive can do for your life (and your confidence), one rarely goes back. Each year, fewer and fewer return for the LaCrosse.
It is against this backdrop that the division’s flagship sedan debuts its newly luxurious Avenir trim. As the second model to wear the name of Buick’s premium sub-brand, can the new trim lift the model’s falling fortunes?
In a year of great political transition, there was also much change afoot at The Truth About Cars and more than a few alterations made in the way my life intersects with the automotive industry.
2017 was crazy. Yet midst all of the external upheaval (Trump, TTAC, Apple skipping the iPhone 9, the launch of a new Honda Odyssey) and an array of internal disorder (GoodCarBadCar’s acquisition, a move to rural Prince Edward Island, Miata purchase, new job) there was at least one constant.
I drove a ton of cars. Many tons of cars, to be more accurate.
It’s no use continuing with the idealistic notion that North America will reject advances from Chinese-made cars on our shores. The Buick Envision is Fabrique en Chine, as well as the long-wheelbase Volvo S60, and more recently the Volvo S90. Yesterday, Steph Willems reported on a patent filing from the Guangzhou Automobile Company for its largest SUV offering, the GS8.
You don’t have to like the upcoming Chinese onslaught, but it’s necessary to accept it as reality. So, today we’re asking you to twist your mind and wring from it your thoughts on what it would take for a Chinese auto manufacturer to be successful in North America on a large scale.
Being good at something doesn’t necessarily make you popular. Witness the New York Yankees of the late ‘90s, for example. The current Buick LaCrosse falls in that same unfortunate boat. Given its mission, I think it’s a great car. Sadly, that’s its problem — it’s a car, not a crossover, and the market is demanding the latter.
Buick is attempting to push a few more of the large sedans through the showroom by adding the Avenir sub-brand to the LaCrosse lineup. Will it work? Well, let’s see what one gets with the addition.
The General Motors division, known for past land yachts like the Electra 225, Roadmaster, and Riviera, will become the automaker’s cleanest in the years to come. Whether that holds true in the United States market depends on a lot of things, including whether lobby groups succeed in saving the marked-for-extinction EV tax credit.
Duncan Aldred, vice-president of sales and marketing for GM’s Buick and GMC divisions, claims the near-luxury Buick badge will appear on the company’s future electric vehicles. However, given the shaky state of the EV market in America, new Buicks will head to greener pastures first.
Back in 2011 we admired a discarded example of the last of the true Buick Electra land yachts: a 1976 Electra Park Avenue Limited four-door hardtop found in a Northern California wrecking yard. What happened in 1977? General Motors, suffering from plummeting sales of thirsty big Buicks in the wake of events beyond its control, shrank the Electra, ditching the pillarless hardtop in the process.
Here’s one of those downsized Electras — a Limited, spotted in a Denver self-service yard.
If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their
sales sails, it sure won’t happen on the strength of traditional passenger cars.
Several brands from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted U.S. sales declines in October 2017, all thanks to the slipping popularity of regular cars. In many cases, the continued strength of the crossover/SUV/truck market wasn’t enough to tip the scales back in the automakers’ favor.
Denali. It’s the Ford LTD of trims. Just take an existing model, add a dash of content and a sprinkling of chrome, and boom — a significantly inflated MSRP and legions of willing buyers. So impressed by GMC’s Denali sub-brand was Buick, executives decided it needed one of its own.
Enter the Avenir sub-brand, which serves as the top trim podium for the redesigned 2018 Enclave. Not only is Avenir designed to milk larger volumes of dollars out of existing Buick products, it’s also meant to draw more eyes to the brand — something Buick needs now, not later.
Still, despite its high expectations for the Avenir experiment, Buick knows it can’t come in too hot.
As part of a larger group of automotive publications, TTAC has access to a variety of content. We wanted to bring you some of the unique content we think lives up to TTAC’s standards and offers legitimate insight or a properly critical viewpoint to car evaluation. This story, by GM Inside News editor Michael Accardi, showcases Buick’s latest attempt to boost flagging LaCrosse sales.
As the full-size sedan market continues to crumble, and the LaCrosse carries a production-crippling 204-day supply of inventory, Buick will push its flagship sedan further into the premium sphere as it attempts to chase unsatisfied luxury shoppers with its new top-shelf Avenir line.
It’s going to be a black Christmas at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant this year. Amid rising inventory levels for the Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt, General Motors plans to shut off the lights for the rest of the year.
Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.
Across the U.S. auto industry, there are a number of auto brands that are actually selling more passenger cars in 2017 than in 2016: Jaguar, Lincoln, Infiniti, Subaru, Volkswagen.
Some specific models, many with all-wheel-drive availability like the Audi A5, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf, are enjoying far greater sales success this year than last.
But you know the story. Generally speaking, Americans are buying far fewer cars now than they used to. From more than 50 percent just five years ago, passenger car market share is down to 37 percent. Nowhere is this more obvious than at traditional domestic manufacturers, the Detroit Three.
Occasionally, we at TTAC allow you to do our jobs for a day and offer a reader review of your own ride. Here is a review of the outgoing Buick Enclave from reader thegamper.
A decade. That’s how long General Motors’ Lambda platform has been in production. Not many volume vehicles can claim such longevity, especially those sold primarily to retail customers.
The last remaining Lambda is now in the throes of death. I was unable to definitively verify, but the last Lambda in any variety, the Buick Enclave, may have rolled off the assembly line in mid-May, right as GM was announcing layoffs at its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant ahead of retooling for the 2018 model. New Enclaves ride on a new platform.
By the standards of niche market convertibles, the Buick Cascada is, or at least was, a certifiable hit.
Sales of the Cascada have tumbled by a fifth in 2017, year-over-year. More recently, Cascada sales fell by nearly 40 percent during the height of the summer. But since going on sale at the beginning of 2016, more than 11,000 Buick Cascadas have been sold in the United States. At times, the Buick has even outsold Mazda’s MX-5 Miata. And no, before you draw an entirely incorrect conclusion, hardly any Cascadas have gone into the daily rental mix. More than 99 percent of the Buick Cascadas sold in America were retail acquisitions.
But for its third model year, Buick feels it’s time to spice things up. The Cascada, historically available in very few shades, is getting new paint options for the 2018 model year. Why?
“Color is back,” Buick’s Catherine Black says.
Turning the sedate Buick Regal into an extra-special Grand National injected some much-needed sportiness into the Buick brand in the early 1980s. And while the Grand National is not as rare as the very limited edition GNX variant, this particular car just happens to have a famous prior owner: David Spade.
Just shoot me.
The Chrysler K-platform-based minivans debuted for the 1984 model year, marking the beginning of the end of the station wagon’s mainstream appeal in the United States; not many years later, SUVs would snare most of the potential wagon buyers who didn’t get minivans.
Here’s a Buick Century wagon from that decisive year, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
In our previous concours edition of Picture Time, we shared five distinctly American luxury cars from years gone by. Today we move forward in history a little, and subtract some luxury for the sake of sheer power.
Follow along now for some great American muscle cars from the show.
As General Motors seeks to get the company’s U.S. inventory down to the industry average of 70 days’ supply by the end of 2017, once-prominent passenger cars are inhibiting the company from achieving its vital goal.
At Cadillac, where even the company’s three utility vehicles have far more than 70 days of stock, the brand’s four car nameplates have 137 days’ supply. At Chevrolet, where the brand’s somewhat excessive light truck inventory is largely due to an intentional increase in Silverado stock, there’s a 128-day supply of passenger cars. Granted, that figure is worsened by a stop-sale on Chevrolet Sparks that limited the city car to only 1,132 U.S. sales in the last three months and by a necessary Corvette stockpile in advance of a Bowling Green shutdown.
But it’s at Buick, where new and old designs alike are suffering from dramatically lower-than-anticipated demand, that GM’s inventory reduction methodology doesn’t seem to be taking hold. According to Automotive News, Buick dealers have enough LaCrosses in stock to last until the July 4th holiday next summer.
How did Buick develop such a LaCrosse glut, and is there a silver lining to this black inventory cloud?
General Motors apparently believes you’ll pay a genuinely lofty price for the 2017 Buick Envision precisely because it’s a Buick.
A basic 2017 Buick Envision, upgraded with Preferred trim in order to select the $1,850 all-wheel drive system, costs $38,645. That’s correct: the least costly AWD Envision is priced from $38,645. General Motors will sell you a larger, V6-engined, AWD GMC Acadia for only $445 more.
But that’s a GMC. A generic, garden variety, menial GMC. The Envision seeks to mercilessly trample on the Acadia’s blue collar status.
Who would want a spacious GMC when you could own a Buick; a smaller, less powerful, China-made Buick with cloth seats, no sunroof, blank switches at the front of the center console, and no advanced safety gear? Evidently, the person who’s willing to pay a premium for the Buick tri-shield badge. You know, the buyer who places a value on supposed Buick prestige over and above any accompanying equipment that may (or may not) accompany this alleged luxury SUV.
It was to be called the Monza.
GM Europe expected to assemble the Opel Insignia-based SUV, roughly the size of the Ford Edge, right alongside the Opel Insignia at its Rüsselsheim, Germany, assembly plant. Which is in Rüsselsheim.
But development of the so-called Monza was either lost in the shuffle or used as a bargaining chip, depending on whom you ask, when Groupe PSA (Peugeot and Citroën) announced the $2.3-billion purchase of its European brands, Opel and Vauxhall. Now it appears the Monza project is suspended, according to AutoExpress, as PSA decides to “freeze all GM-related projects.”
What’s it mean for Buick?
When you think about it, it all adds up. There was no way the powertrain of the Chevrolet Bolt, America’s first reasonably priced long-range electric vehicle, was ever going to remain solely the domain of one vehicle. General Motor’s CEO, Mary Barra, alluded to as much following the Bolt’s introduction.
While the 238-mile Bolt is already sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e, and in China as the Buick Velite 5, those vehicles don’t amount to much more than simple badge swaps. However, a new report claims U.S. buyers could see a Buick crossover based on the Bolt, and soon.
Use whatever designation you must, but you know what we’re asking. In 2017, is Buick one of America’s premium brands? A competitor for Lexus and Audi? A rival for BMW and Jaguar?
On July 19, Buick released the first images, specs, and pricing details for the next-generation 2018 Buick Regal GS. While dropping the price of the basic Regal to $25,915 — not that much money for a 250-horsepower 2.0T midsize hatchback — Buick apparently improved the sporty GS in every way. The result: the GS is only ten bucks away from being a $40,000 car. The more powerful Ford Fusion Sport is $5,510 cheaper. The Audi S4 is some $12,000 more costly.
But Buick is more than just an intangible no-man’s-land price point. Buick is also a brand that sends mixed messages: advertising that suggests it’s not worthy of praise on the one hand; the new Avenir sub-brand on the other.
What say you: is Buick just another luxury wannabe, or is Buick selling premium goods at a discount?
“This is a sport sedan designed for everyday driving,” Buick’s vice president Duncan Aldred said of the unveiling of the 2018 Buick Regal GS today, “but one that makes every drive special.”
We’ll be the judge of how special a drive the next-generation Buick Regal GS provides in the real world, but the on-paper formula certainly goes down smooth.
Priced at $39,990, the 2018 Buick Regal GS forsakes four-cylinder power in favor of the 3.6-liter V6 we told you about more than three months ago before receiving further confirmation last week. The V6 sends 310 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Manual option? No.
The GS is the top trim in a lineup that no longer features a true sedan. While the TourX is not destined to receive the GS moniker, this Regal Sportback brings its high-performance derivative under the $40K mark.
Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.
We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.
Two things leak more than the bathroom faucet at your Great Aunt Martha’s cottage in Saugatuck.
The White House.
It seemed fairly clear three months ago that something was afoot when GM Canada’s Buick.ca website momentarily revealed the 2018 Buick Regal GS’s powertrain: a 3.6-liter V6 and all-wheel drive. But Buick declined to comment, removing from the Canadian website the section that mentioned a V6 offering.
Once again, however, Buick appears to have let the horses out of the barn. Buick’s in-house magazine, B, revealed details ahead of schedule, GM Authority has learned. Rather than the 259-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder of current GSs that too often feels underwhelmed, B magazine says the 2018 Regal GS, “employs a high-feature V6 engine that furnishes an estimated 310 horsepower.”
The V6 liveth.
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- IH_Fever Another day, more bloviating between the poor downtrodden union leeches and the corporate thieves. But at least pantsuit guy got a nice new shirt.
- IH_Fever I can't wait to see an Escalade on 24"s blow the brakes off of the competition!
- Redapple2 Why does anyone have to get permission to join? Shouldnt the rules to race in a league be straight forward like. Build the car to the specs. Pay the race entry fee. Set the starting grid base on time trials.?Why all the BS?I cant watch F1 any more. No refuel. Must use 2 different types of tires. Rare passing. Same team wins every week. DRS only is you are this close and on and on with more BS. Add in the skysports announcer that sounds he is yelling for the whole 90 minutes at super fast speed. I m done. IMSA only for me.
- Redapple2 Barra at evil GM is not worth 20 mill/ yr but dozens (hundreds) of sports players are. Got it. OK.
- Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?