Mon, 05 May 2014 09:30:00 EST
With all eyes fixed on General Motors in the wake of the ignition recall debacle, the auto giant has been carefully calling in a wide array of vehicles to fix anything and everything that could prove problematic. Just the other day it issued two separate recalls - one concerning the Cadillac SRX and another its heavy-duty pickups - and now it is issuing another.
Sun, 27 Apr 2014 16:29:00 EST
This time the vehicles in question are the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, three fullsize crossovers based on GM's Lambda platform. In an estimated 51,640 units manufactured between March 26 and August 15, 2013, the engine control module has been found to incorrectly display the level of fuel in the tank.
As a result, owners are being notified to bring their vehicles in to their local dealers to have the ECU reflashed to fix the problem. View the full details in the announcement below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The options sheet of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse gets all kinds of fancy with the addition of the Ultra Luxury Interior. Pointing its Tri-Shield logo at the world of haute luxury, the cabin treatment combines sangria leather with ebony accents, shadow tamo ash wood trim and a microsuede headliner to "drive fashion forward."
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:35:00 EST
You'll need to start with LaCrosse models with the 3.6-liter V6 and either the Leather, Premium or Premium II trims to go all Brioni and Buckingham on the cabin, and the privilege package will run you $2,495. We're told that you won't find such contrasting hues anywhere else in the class, though, and that kind of exclusivity might make any price a bargain.
You can find more information on the Ultra Luxury Interior in the press release below, along with some intensely fashion-foward gobbledygook.
Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten percent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.
Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:57:00 EST
Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?
You can find details on those and more findings in the press release below.
The 166 videos posted by YouTube music video maestro Kurt Hugo Schneider have been watched almost half a billion times. When Coke wanted to do something musically inclined and a little different, it called KHS, and the result was the video Little Talks.
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:28:00 EST
Buick appears to be the next blue chip in line, and KHS' melodic celebration of the 259-horsepower Regal GS is called Epic Basketball + Car Beat. In it, a red Regal sits at center court in Venice Beach, California while a cast of ridiculous dribblers make music with and around the sedan.
We'll let the music speak for itself, which it does quite well in the video below.
Opel, General Motors' troubled German brand continues its quest to reinvent itself and find solid profitability. In the course of that metamorphosis, the company has a bit of good news/bad news today. The good news is, it will once again begin screwing together Buick models for the American market. The bad news, though, is that it's being shut down in yet another country, China.
Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:30:00 EST
Let's start with the good news. The last vehicle Opel's Ruesselsheim factory built for the North American market was the early run of the then-new Regal, which is based heavily on the Opel Insignia. Production ran for just over two years, from 2009 to 2011, before moving production to Oshawa, Ontario.
Now, thanks to a 245-million-euro investment (just over $336 million), Opel will kick off production of a unspecified model for the US in the "second half of the decade," according to Automotive News. According to Opel, the new model will be announced before the end of 2014. You can begin your speculation about this new model down in Comments (we're wagering it'll be the Cascada convertible, sold here under the Buick umbrella).
General Motors may have parred down its brand portfolio, but it still has more under its umbrella than most. That's why, while a company like Ford might market the same vehicle under its own name in markets around the world, GM uses different brands in different markets. But no two are aligned quite as closely as Opel in Europe and Buick in the United States and China.
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 17:13:00 EST
What we know here as the Buick Regal is sold overseas as the Opel Insignia. Our Encore is their Mokka. Verano? Astra sedan. But one thing we don't get here is the Opel Adam. The diminutive city car is GM's take on the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, Citroën DS3 et al. Launched at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the Opel Adam is named after the company's founder (like an ironic thumbing of the nose to the Ferrari Enzo). But while it's sold, like most Opels, in the UK as a Vauxhall, the prospect of it porting over to Buick seems slim to none. Right?
Sorta. While the Adam isn't likely to come Stateside, the latest reports (as yet unconfirmed by GM) suggest that The General is planning to sell the Adam in China where the Buick brand is also a strong seller. Local production could ensue, with prices targeting the Fiat 500 and engines - according to CarNewsChina.com - to include inline-fours displacing 1.2 and 1.4 liters with 69 and 100 horsepower, respectively.
With its first full year of sales in the bag, it's safe to say that Buick has a hit on its hands with the Encore. US buyers have snatched up 31,046 of the small, premium crossovers since the Encore went on sale in January of 2013, while 97,311 were sold globally (not counting its counterparts from Opel and Vauxhall).
Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:57:00 EST
While we liked the Encore when we first drove it, we'll admit, we weren't sure how the tiny CUV would do. In fact, the first thing Executive Editor Chris Paukert wrote about the Encore was, "We admit it. We have no earthly idea how this whole thing is going to shake out." But it's done well, and has been subject to heavy demand over the past year, blowing away the estimates of analysts, who, according to an August story from Automotive News, projected no more than 18,500 units would be sold in 2013.
"Right out of the gate, demand for the Encore was high," Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick marketing said in a statement. "It accounted for most of the segment's growth last year and that's because it offers the right safety, technology and features in the right-sized vehicle for many customers."
"This is just silly," I said as I laughed my way sideways around the icy track at Circuit ICAR, a racecourse, drag strip and kart track at the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Quebec. It wasn't the activity that had me cracking up, though. After all, winter driving experiences aren't uncommon in this business.
Wed, 12 Feb 2014 13:31:00 EST
No, in this particular case, it was the car that had me chuckling. I wasn't in a mad hot hatch or a rally-derived rocket - I was in a Buick. The 2014 Regal GS, to be more precise. Somehow, despite its recent product renaissance (not to mention its distant - yet storied - history of performance models), I was having a hard time believing that this attractive, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan sliding around the Great White North could possibly be wearing a Tri-Shield badge on its nose.
But it was, and slide about it did. While having access to a vehicle in this setting is fairly rare, what's rarer is the fact that I've had so much exposure to it. In Mr. Ewing's recent Volkswagen Golf R drive story, for instance, his ice capades were his first experience with the new model. In my case, though, I was lucky enough to first test the refreshed Regal GS for a week back in December before flying to Quebec to drive it on the snowy, icy, winding roads of Canada's most fiercely independent province and on the track at Mirabel.
For the first time since 1998, J.D. Power and Associates says its data shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. The finding is the result of the firm's much-touted annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which charts incidents of problems in new vehicle purchases over three years from 41,000 respondents.
Wed, 08 Jan 2014 18:31:00 EST
Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, the study found an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (PP100, for short), up 6 percent from 126 PP100 in last year's study, which covered 2010 model-year vehicles. Disturbingly, the bulk of the increase is being attributed to engine and transmission problems, with a 6 PP100 boost.
Interestingly, JDP notes that "the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100." Its findings also noticed that large diesel engines also tended to be more problematic than most five- and six-cylinder engines.
If there are any lingering doubts why General Motors held onto Buick while killing Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn, one only has to look at the sales numbers from 2013 for the real answer. Thanks largely to strong sales in China, Buick set a global sales record last year by selling more than one million vehicles.
The lion's share of Buick sales came from China, which sold more than 809,000 units - about four times more Buicks than were sold in North America as a whole. In the US, the Buick Encore accounted for almost half of all US sales with 97,311 units as Buick spent the summer trying to keep up with demand of the subcompact crossover. Likewise, China-only models like the GL8 minivan and Excelle sedan (same as the US-spec Verano) were strong sellers in that market.
For good measure, Buick more than doubled its sales in Mexico with 2,319 units. Scroll down for the full press release.