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.
The affordable four-seat convertible has become a largely forgotten genre in the States, especially with the death of the Chrysler 200 Convertible. Of course, there are still premium options from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz - not to mention more overtly performance-oriented droptop pony cars from Chevrolet and Ford - but if you want an affordable cruiser, you're kind of out of luck. That may be about to change, however, with renewed rumors of the Opel Cascada (pictured above) making it across the Atlantic wearing a Buick badge.
According to GM Inside News, Buick showed off the Cascada to US dealers last week, with renewed word that the company plans to bring it over from Europe for the 2016 model year. The US version will reportedly be practically identical to its German cousin in terms of styling, but the powertrain underneath is less certain. According to GMI, it may use the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is available in Europe with either 168 horsepower or 197 hp.
The Cascada rides on GM's Delta II platform, which also underpins the Verano, and the latest rumor certainly provides even more evidence that the convertible is probably on the way. Speculation about the droptop started when GM CEO Dan Akerson said last year that the car was on his wish list to bring over. Then, the US trademark on the name was reserved earlier this year, and the release was speculated for sometime in early 2016.
General Motors has issued a recall and a stop sale for the 2013 Buick Encore due to an issue that could result in the steering wheel falling off on certain models. In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM says that 144 Encores equipped with heated steering wheels could have been incorrectly retrofitted due to a parts shortage.
Needless to say, a loose or separated steering wheel would likely cause an accident if it happened while the vehicle was in motion. The recall doesn't go into effect until April 12, but concerned Encore owners can use the official recall notice (attached below) to contact GM.