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Auto blogFri, 05 Jul 2013 15:01:00 EST
European Concerns Drive GM, But Beware Of The French Connection
GM's bid to rationalize Europe will impact the products that will be offered domestically.
It seems that Europe is defining the future of General Motors more so than its home North American market. Having axed Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer, GM has done a fairly good job of repositioning its remaining four divisions, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. Cadillac carries the luxury banner. Chevrolet is aimed at the masses with cars and trucks along with a nod to performance thanks to Camaro and Corvette. Buick bridges the premium gap between Chevy and Cadillac, while GMC offers a hardcore work/upscale proposition.
At a press conference on Saturday at the Shanghai Motor Show, General Motors announced plans to further expand its presence in the Chinese market. Among those commitments are plans to build four new plants by the end of 2015, giving the automaker the capacity to produce around five million vehicles a year in the country.
In order to make the most of that expansion, GM is adding 400 dealerships in China this year alone (for a total of 4,200 sales points), and it's eyeing 5,100 dealers by 2015. Yet not all of that production will stay in China - GM is planning to increase exports as well. Officials estimate the company will export somewhere between 100,000 and 130,000 Chinese-built vehicles this year - a record. And it's gunning for more.
Autoblog asked GM China president Bob Socia (above) if that means the company might eventually export new vehicles built in China to the United States, and he responded:
Although the current Buick Regal hasn't even been on the market for very long, General Motors is using the New York Auto Show to unveil an updated version of the sedan in a similar fashion to what we saw yesterday with the 2014 LaCrosse. Like the LaCrosse, all 2014 Regal models will be getting a new look both for the exterior and interior design, but the big news takes place under the sedan's skin.
Except for the base Regal eAssist, the Regal Turbo and Regal GS will both be adding the benefit of all-wheel drive, but there is no word as to how much weight this system will add to each car's curb weight. The Regal Turbo's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder has received a decent bump in output from 220 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque to 259 hp and 295 lb-ft; unfortunately, these same figures are carried over to the Regal GS, which means that car drops from 270 hp. Both turbocharged models (Regal Turbo and Regal GS) will now be offered with all-wheel drive and the ability of sending more than 90 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels.
In terms of styling, the 2014 Regal gets similar styling changes found on the updated Enclave and LaCrosse, including reworked fascias, scalloped headlights and a full-width chrome strip spanning between the new LED taillights. Inside, key changes were made to the Regal's cabin technology, such as the instrument gauge cluster and infotainment system. On the Regal and Regal Turbo, a new 4.2-inch color display is available for drivers to see information for the vehicle, navigation and audio systems, but the Regal GS' cabin is slightly different with an eight-inch configurable gauge display. One of the best changes may be the overall reduction in buttons on the center stack, creating a cleaner-looking and easier-to-use cabin.