Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Black
Dillsboro, Indiana, United States
As inventory of the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse continues to pile up, General Motors will be idling its Fairfax Assembly Plant for two weeks, according to Automotive News. This move comes about a month after the plant was shut down for three weeks in late December and early January for the same reason. As of January 31, the GM had a 94-day supply of Malibu stock while the LaCrosse was a little worse with a 117-day supply.
Just last week, GM announced that it would be investing $600 million in upgrading this plant, but it's unclear what future plans the company has in store for Fairfax considering slow sales of both the plant's models. We do expect a refreshed and more luxurious LaCrosse shortly and an early design update for the Malibu to be announced at some point this year, although we have had no official word as to when either will happen.
Buick may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of performance automobiles, but fans of the brand know what letters to look for. If you believe the reports, there's a new GNX and Grand National on the way, but in the meantime, Buick may offer more GS models to fill the void.
Currently, the Regal is the only model available as a GS (pictured above), packing the same 259-horsepower turbo four as the Regal Turbo but enhanced with key suspension, brakes and rolling-stock upgrades. As Car and Driver notes, similar upgrades could easily be applied to the Verano and LaCrosse, although maybe not the Encore or Enclave crossovers. Of course, Buick would still have to steer clear of Cadillac's Vsport line, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a little room to play.
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.