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Auto blogThu, 30 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST
Considering that crossovers are a rapidly growing portion of the US auto market, it's not surprising to hear that General Motors is preparing to build even more of them. The company is investing $63 million to expand its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant that builds Lambda platform CUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.
According to GM, the expansion will add roughly 263,000 extra square feet of space to the plant. Of that, 181,000 square feet will be for an updated body shop with cutting-edge robots. There will also be 54,000 square feet of additional room in the paint shop and 28,000 square feet of more area for general assembly.
GM isn't saying as much, but there is the possibility that this extra space could allow for additional models produced at the factory. Cadillac reportedly dropped plans to build a three-row SUV on the Lambda platform earlier this year, however, dealers for the luxury brand were recently pitched the possibility of adding large and small CUVs, an ATS convertible or a sedan below the ATS.
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.
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.