Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Black
Dillsboro, Indiana, United States
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.
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.
Just the other day, we told you about how Lincoln isn't really a luxury brand, according to Ford's head design man, J Mays. His argument was that Lincoln lacked the unique DNA to differentiate it from the rest of the market, although the arrival of the MKZ is beginning to change that. Now, we have this video from Autoline Detroit, where Jim Hall, an analyst for 2953 Analytics who was quoted in yesterday's Lincoln story, explains the influence of certain styling cues and how they impact the brands.
Using BMW (Angel Eyes) and Buick (Ventiports) as examples for small, simple touches that serve to distinguish the brand's vehicles on the road, Hall then points out how changing trademark styling features, as Chevrolet has done on the new Corvette Stingray, can hurt the vehicle's public perception. Take a look at the full video below for an interesting dive into what these styling features mean to their individual brands.