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GM claims it's first to sell million 30+ mpg vehicles

Fri, 04 Jan 2013 11:31:00 EST

As we continue to put together all the data for the year-end edition of By The Numbers, General Motors has announced that it sold more than a million vehicles in the US last year that achieved at least 30 miles per gallon on the highway. More impressively, GM managed this feat using multiple strategies including small vehicle size, turbocharged engines and hybrid or plug-in technologies across four brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC) accounting for 13 separate models. This number will grow even more in 2013 thanks to cars like the all-electric Spark, the diesel Cruze, the range-extended Cadillac ELR and the Buick Encore compact CUV.
GM's small car sales were up 39 percent last year helping to attain this million-sales mark for 30-mpg models, and almost 40 percent of all GM sales consisted of cars with fuel-efficient I4 engines. In regards to more advanced means of improving fuel economy, GM says that it plans on having 500,000 vehicles with "some form of electrification" on the road by 2017.
Scroll down for the full list of GM's million 30+ mpg cars as well as an informative press release.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo

Thu, 03 Jan 2013 11:57:00 EST

Not Luxury. Not Sport. Not Buick. Not Bad.
Those of you who still think of the Buick Verano as some sort of callously badge-engineered, gussied up version of the Chevrolet Cruze ("Why would anyone spend that much money on Buick's Cruze?" you may have been heard to mutter) have got the wrong idea. Entirely. Even in its most modest form, the Verano turns out to be a sedan that is feature-rich, insulated from wind and road noise in proper luxury car fashion, pretty good to drive and not bad to look at in the new school of high-nosed pedestrian-impact-regulated fashion. In a less modest form then, one that attaches the word "Turbo" to the moniker and plops a force-fed 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, the Verano is downright interesting.
Of course, "interesting" is rarely a descriptor that fills one with lust - and so it goes with this example. There are two competing forces within this near-premium subcompact sedan, and the balance struck between them must resonate with any potential customer before the Verano Turbo can become a serious purchase consideration.

Facelifted Buick LaCrosse caught in China

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 14:02:00 EST

Back in September, General Motors promised nine new or refreshed models for its Buick and GMC brands within 12 months, and while we've already seen what the updated 2014 GMC Sierra will look like, we're now getting our first look at what appears to be the facelifted 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Judging by a set of spy shots posted on Autohome showing a Chinese-market model, the updated sedan is getting a pretty big makeover, including a completely redesigned interior and a refreshed exterior.
From the outside, all of the usual midcycle updates have been made to the LaCrosse, including new lights and fascias. The new front end features a larger, reshaped seven-sided grille, LED-trimmed headlights and Buick's signature portholes are now mounted on the side edges of the hood to be more visible. The rear view has similarly small yet refined changes such as the new decklid with a chrome brow that stretches the full width of the car, to a more squared-off rear fascia with exhaust outlets pushed out to the corners. From the single shot we can see, the LaCrosse's new rump looks very similar to the Hyundai Equus.
The second-generation LaCrosse helped reestablish Buick as a near-premium automaker with its interior quality, and the next model could very well up the stakes even more. The new cabin design ditches the wraparound wood trim on the instrument panel and door panels for a smoother, more contemporary look. While it's hard to make out all of the changes, we can instantly see that the center stack is now more upright with fewer buttons, but the biggest news might be the cabin technology the 2014 LaCrosse might offer. Checking out the shot of the center console, we see what looks to be a pad similar to the handwriting recognition technology used by Audi, which would make this a first for GM.

Buick Verano to go turbo-only for 2014?

Sat, 22 Dec 2012 16:58:00 EST

If VIN tags recently posted online prove accurate, the 2014 Buick Verano may be getting a new base engine. Presently the Verano makes use of GM's 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine in non-turbo trim; 2014 documentation appears to indicate that GM's entry-level luxury compact will instead feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged mill.
If this is the same engine seen in Europe, GM Inside News suggests it may offer 192 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque - useful improvements over the larger naturally aspirated mill's 180 hp and 171 lb-ft. More importantly, the downsized engine would likely improve on the Verano's current fuel mileage estimates of 21 city and 31 highway.
We like the Verano in both of its current iterations, but the 1.6 turbo engine sounds like a worthwhile upgrade if this reports turns out to be true. Plus, if more performance is your bag, baby, there's always the Verano's optional 2.0 turbo engine with an impressive 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft from just 2.0 liters of displacement.

2013 Buick Encore

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:57:00 EST

City, Slicker
We admit it. We have no earthly idea how this whole thing is going to shake out.
Typically, after driving a new car or truck, we come away prepared to hazard a guess as to whether said model has a good chance of being a sales success. We've amassed enough time watching the industry, scrutinizing the competitors, and so on, to make a reasonably educated bet. Yet here we are, days removed from driving the new 2013 Buick Encore, and we still have no bloody idea.

Movie Review: Black Air: The Buick Grand National Documentary

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:01:00 EST

As Buick currently claws and scratches its way back into relevance to compete against luxury brands like Lexus and Acura, it's hard to believe that not too long ago, the brand had a car that was mentioned in the same breath as Corvette, Lamborghini and Ferrari. That car? None other than the Buick Grand National. All black with a turbocharged V6 and some of the quickest acceleration of its time, the Grand National, in today's standards, is along the lines of a 2013 Shelby GT500 with both cars essentially being a working man's supercar.
The last Grand National rolled off the assembly line in Flint, MI on December 11, 1987, and to mark the silver anniversary of that somber occasion, Black Air is a documentary of the Grand National from the perspective of the enthusiast, the collector, the media and even from those at General Motors responsible for creating such a sinister legend. Like the car itself, Andrew Filippone Jr. shoots the documentary in a raw fashion, and it definitely helps to show why a low-volume muscle car from the 1980s is still the object of obsession for many automotive enthusiasts to this day.

J.D. Power: Mini, Lexus again offer most satisfying sales experience

Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:29:00 EST

JD Power has released its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, and once again Mini and Lexus have taken top honors. Overall, buyers are more satisfied with the auto-buying sales experience than they were last year, with those surveyed reporting an average score of 664 points on a 1,000-point scale. That's up from 648 in 2011. Dealer satisfaction also increased by five points over last year as well.
All told, Lexus brought home an index score of 737, which was high enough to put it atop the luxury brands for the second year in a row. JD Power says Infiniti came in second in that category with a score of 728 and Cadillac rounded out the podium with it's rating of 725. Speaking of Infiniti, that brand saw the single largest jump in sales satisfaction of any brand on the survey, popping up 52 index points over 2011.
Among mass-market brands, Mini ranked highest with a score of 712, followed closely by Buick with 706 and GMC farther down the line with 683. You can check out the full press release below for more information.

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #310 LIVE!

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:30:00 EST

We record Autoblog Podcast #310 tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments regarding the rest of the week's news via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #310
Buick GN and GNX will return

Buick dusting off Grand National, GNX and T-Type nameplates

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 18:33:00 EST

Inside Line reports Buick is planning to bring back some of the more storied names from the company's past, including the Grand National, GNX and the T-Type. Those cars rose to prominence in the 1970s and '80s to become performance legends of their day.
The new models will reportedly make use of the rear-wheel drive platform that currently underpins the Cadillac ATS and all would arrive as sedans - according to an unnamed source familiar with the initiative. Odds are the T-Type and the Grand National would share a driveline, with honest money being on a new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 as the engine of choice. Word has it the mill will be good for anywhere from 350 to 400 horsepower.
That leaves only the GNX. Inside Line seems to think that machine could get down the road with some help from the all-new GM LT1 small-block V8. The engineers behind the ATS platform have already told us the engine bay is large enough for to accommodate the big eight pot, and since GM is most certainly working on an ATS-V, a slightly less powerful, less luxurious Buick iteration makes some kind of sense. We can't wait to see these things in the light of day.

Buick might be getting a logo makeover

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 18:01:00 EST

General Motors has finished off an extensive model overhaul for its Buick division, but along with its updated cars, the brand might also be getting a new logo. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM North America President Mark Reuss indicated that the Buick tri-shield logo could be getting a makeover, but offered no further information.
It is unlikely Buick will completely redesign or replace its current logo, but the article seems to indicate that it might return to color; although all chrome now, the logo used to feature red, white and blue shields. Head on over to the Detroit Free Press article to look at some past Buick logos including one from 1904.