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Why Buick's Encore wasn't a Chevy

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 16:21:00 EST

Buick is taking a gamble with its 2013 Encore. General Motors' near-luxury brand has enjoyed great success attracting conquest buyers to its larger Enclave crossover, but it has never offered something quite like this small CUV.
Very early signs suggest that the gamble might be working. According to Mark Reuss, President of General Motors, the automaker expected about 1,500 initial orders from its dealers for the Encore, but it's tracking closer to 9,000 units. Alluding to the fact that historically, Buick has shared similar products with GM's other brands, Reuss says that Buick dealers are "thrilled to have an exclusive." The automaker already markets almost identical models in other markets as the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka and Chevrolet Trax, but The General's other brands won't offer a twin to the new baby Buick.
The new Encore is based on the Gamma architecture that underpins the Chevrolet Sonic, and it shares the economy car's available turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. With standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive, GM says its Encore will be pitted against competitors like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, both of which are much more expensive but also much more powerful.

2013 Buick Enclave

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 11:57:00 EST

GM's Flagship Lambda Is (Still) A Smooth Operator
Consumers shopping for a domestic full-size crossover have heard all about GM's triplets. The Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave are a very appealing and talented group of siblings. Entering their fifth year of production, albeit middle-age in the automotive industry, each is attractive, well-rounded and very capable on the paved dance floor. While all share nearly identical base DNA and the same basic running gear, subtle physical differences and unique personalities emerge between the trio when one digs a bit deeper.
The most polished of the threesome, without question, is the Enclave from Buick. Fresh off a mid-cycle update (as are its siblings), the flagship of the platform boasts a facelift, innovative new features and an upgraded demeanor for the new model year.

Opel Cascada is Europe's Buick convertible [w/video]

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 18:28:00 EST

As we reported earlier, there has been much speculation regarding a Buick convertible of sorts. The most ringing endorsement of this conjecture comes today from General Motors Europe, as the new Opel Cascada has debuted on the interwebs. Opel calls the four-passenger Cascada an "athletic, glamorous midsize convertible." With a length of 4,697mm (185 in.), the Cascada is as long as an Audi A5, to which GM has said it would be slightly larger.
The Cascada, which is Spanish for waterfall, features a cloth convertible top that retracts in 17 seconds and at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph). The Cascada features a 1.4-liter turbo gas engine, 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 165 horsepower and a range-topping 1.6-liter turbocharged Ecotec engine that puts out 170 horsepower and 280 Nm (207 lb-ft). Power is sent through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
According to GM, the Cascada will also come rife with luxury and tech features. In addition to adaptive forward lighting and ergonomic heated front seats, the convertible will feature Opel Eye, which is a front camera that can recognize traffic signs and incorporates lane departure warning and forward collision alert.

GM recalling 250,000 SUVs over door electronics

Mon, 20 Aug 2012 11:00:00 EST

After a door-fire investigation that dates back to February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially announced a recall today that affects around 250,000 General Motors SUVs for a faulty driver's door module. The recall applies to the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X from the 2006 and 2007 model years, as well as the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL for vehicles sold and/or registered in the Snow Belt.
Road salt use in these midwestern and northern states can lead to corrosion of the driver's door module on these GMT360 and GMT370 vehicles, which allows water to come in contact with the circuit board. If shorted out, the vehicle's power door locks and power windows will not work, and could possibly lead to overheating and, in some circumstances, a fire. No official word on how many total vehicles caught on fire, but back in June, 28 fires had been reported to the government agency. A fix for the problem is still being worked out, but all affected vehicle owners will be notified by GM.
Scroll down for the official NHTSA statement.

Opel Insignia OPC getting facelift. Will the Buick Regal GS see it, too?

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:31:00 EST

We've seen spy shots of the base Opel Insignia wearing facelifted front and rear ends, and now it appears that the more potent OPC version will be benefitting from a nip/tuck, as well.
The front bumper has been redesigned, incorporating new air intakes - toned-down versions of the model's signature fangs - as well as a new grille. Out back, there will be minimal changes to the overall fascia, most likely stuff like slightly redesigned taillamps, and inside, these spy shots show a larger navigation/infotainment screen sitting atop the center console.
This is all well and good for the Insignia, but we're wondering how these changes will impact North America's Buick Regal GS. No, it may not share the same powertrain punch as the Euro-spec OPC, but visually, the cars are nearly identical. When questioned about possible changes for the GS, a Buick spokesperson told us that the automaker "can't comment" on any changes at this point. Even so, we wouldn't be surprised if some small changes come our way in the next year or so.

Lutz dishes dirt on GM in latest Autoline Detroit

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 19:57:00 EST

Bob Lutz sits down for Autoline Detroit - Click above to watch video after the jump
Autoline Detroit recently played host to Bob Lutz, and, as is always the case, the former General Motors vice chairman dished out some great commentary. Lutz was promoting his new book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, and talk quickly turned to his role as it related to product development and high-level decision making at GM. While on the topic of brand management, Lutz revealed a few rather interesting tidbits about his former employer:
All Chevrolet vehicles were required to have five-spoke aluminum wheels and a chrome band up front, as part of the Bowtie brand's overall image.

GM recalling over 243,000 crossovers over possible seat belt defect

Tue, 17 Aug 2010 11:28:00 EST

2010 Buick Enclave - Click above for high-res image gallery
The summer of 2010's recall hit parade continues unabated today, with General Motors having just announced that it is asking 243,403 owners of its 2009-2010 Lambda crossovers to bring their three-row haulers in for inspection. The culprit? Second-row seat belts in select Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook CUVs have "failed to perform properly in a crash."
According to GM, a second-row seat-side trim piece is to blame, as it can impede the upward rotation of the buckle after the seat is folded flat. As a result, if the buckle makes contact with the seat frame, cosmetic damage can occur, potentially requiring additional force to operate the buckle properly. So far, no great shakes, but in the process of applying that additional force, the occupant may push the buckle cover down to the strap, potentially revealing and depressing the red release button. As a result of this, the belt may not latch, or in certain cases, it may actually appear to be latched when, in fact, it isn't.