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Auto blogThu, 14 Mar 2013 19:14:00 EST
The whole "SUVs as dinosaurs" trope has become something of a threadbare cliché among auto writers, but that doesn't mean the wider world of consumers has caught on to the Jurassic nature of our line of thinking. That's what General Motors appears to be betting on, at least. Just check out Buick's first television spot for its 2013 Encore, the tiny crossover that is pushing the Tri-Shield into territories unknown while looking to outrun the brand's reputation as a refuge for elderly clientele.
Set to air this weekend on ESPN during the NCAA college basketball tournament, the ad plays up the Encore's maneuverability and surprising interior space by setting the baby Buick amongst a herd of lumbering CG dinosaurs created by Tippett Studio, the folks behind Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Ted, and the Twilight series of films.
We can't help but snigger a little - while the Encore is indeed surprisingly roomy, nimble, and composed, our first drive found it to be glacially slow, too... not unlike a certain prehistoric race of animals. Check out the commercial below and judge for yourself.
A day after Ford announced it was scaling back the complimentary maintenance program for its Lincoln brand, General Motors has gone in the completely opposite direction, offering most of its 2014 lineup with free maintenance. Since 2011, Cadillac models have all come with a four-year/50,000-mile complimentary maintenance program, but Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles will now come standard with free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles for the 2014 model year.
The program will give vehicle owners and lessees free oil changes, tire rotations and 27-point inspections following the recommended maintenance schedule laid out in each vehicle's owner's manual. We contacted GM to see which vehicles were eligible for the program, and a spokesperson got back to us with the following comment:
"All 2014 models are eligible, it's just that the included services vary by model, e.g., Spark EV would not need oil changes, Corvettes don't recommend tire rotations."
A very strange story out of China today, as Hyundai and a Chinese Buick dealer were forced to face allegations of using allusions to an infamous child murder on a social media site as a way of promoting the safety features of their respective vehicles.
The original sad tale goes something like this: On March 4, a man reported to police that he had left his infant child in a running Toyota RAV4 while he ran into a supermarket briefly. When he came back out, the vehicle and the child were gone. Later in the week a suspect turned himself in to the police; confessing to them that he had stolen a sport-utility vehicle, strangled the infant that was in it, and then buried the child in the snow.
As you might imagine, the gristly incident was covered massively in the Chinese media. (There was huge public outcry as well, as evidenced by the vigil scene, above.) "Changchun baby abduction" was very quickly amongst the highest ranking search teams of the China's Weibo social media site - an equivalent of Twitter in the English-speaking world.