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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.
General Motors has announced a large investment in its Spring Hill, Tennessee facility. The former home of Saturn production will be getting a $167 million addition to a previously announced $183 million, to cover a pair of new midsize vehicles. The investment is expected to create 1,800 jobs at the factory.
That $350 million is being divvied up for a pair of programs at Spring Hill. The first will take the bulk of the money ($223 million) and create 1,000 of the 1,800 jobs, while the other will take the remaining $127 million and generate the leftover 800 positions. But GM says the investment will cover "midsize vehicle programs." So what could they be?
The leading candidate in our minds is a new crossover for Buick, called the Anthem, that will slot between the Encore and Enclave, but will be slightly smaller than the Equinox and Terrain. As we've explained, the new model will likely be the first product to sport GM's new D2UX platform, which will eventually replace both the Delta and Theta platforms. Spring Hill is already building the Equinox, so there could be some credence to this theory.
People are a weird sort. Even after registering over 70 recalls through the first three-quarters of 2014, General Motors saw its best Q3 results since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, registering over 2.4 million global sales between June and September on the back of strong results in the US and China.
US sales were marshaled by good results for GM's pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, which bumped the manufacturer's truck market share to 35.6 percent, up nearly three points from Q1 2014. Buick has seen healthy growth as well, with the Encore dominating its segment for the sixth month running.
It was China, though, that really bolstered GM's sales, as the company's efforts to top last year's record-setting 3.16 million units continued apace. Small SUV sales saw massive growth, with Encore, Chevrolet Trax and Captiva figures jumping 90 percent in Q3. Brand-wise, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick all saw sales gains in the PRC, with each recording double-digit year-over-year jumps. Cadillac sales alone were up 63 percent compared to the first nine months of 2013.