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Auto blogMon, 06 Oct 2014 18:30:00 EST
Ever look at a concept car from a foreign auto marque like Opel and wonder what relevance it will have to you as an American consumer? Well, we'll tell you: at least as far as the Opel Monza concept goes, it could mean a lot.
Speaking with Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show, Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann said, "You will see the Monza when you see the next Insignia." And the Insignia, we needn't point out, is essentially ported over to American showrooms as the Buick Regal.
The relationship between the Regal and Insignia only stands to grow closer as Opel design chief Mark Adams has also been charged with tightening the bonds between the two automakers positioned on opposite shores of the Atlantic. Adams also intends to imbue the next Insignia with more "premium brand values" in order to "add polish to the brand." Which in turn means that the Regal will be designed to look more upscale, too.
A few months ago I drove the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and wrote up a First Drive review of it. For all of my quibbles with that sedan (and I had a fair number), I understand that it speaks to the heart of what new Buick loyalists like in a car; it's roomy, has a cushy ride and is as placid as a summer's morning at highway speeds.
Those qualities, while undeniably desirable, don't mean a whole lot to me personally. I prefer sedans that conjure up words like "nimble," "punchy" or even "raucous" on occasion. So, directionally, the high-performance GS version of the 2014 Buick Regal is more my cup of tea than any other car in the company's current range.
In fact, I'd already come to know the Regal GS from its 2012 model year introduction, and grown more than a little fond of the sporting sedan in its original front-wheel-drive, six-speed-manual guise. The fast, sweet-handling car with well-sorted controls may have suffered from a slight identity crisis in terms of pricing (and may still), but it was undeniably fun to drive. So, when I heard that the GS was coming to market for 2014 with optional all-wheel drive (albeit only in combination with a six-speed automatic transmission), I was stoked to have another go and concentrated my driving impressions on the AWD car.
JD Power has released its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, and once again Mini and Lexus have taken top honors. Overall, buyers are more satisfied with the auto-buying sales experience than they were last year, with those surveyed reporting an average score of 664 points on a 1,000-point scale. That's up from 648 in 2011. Dealer satisfaction also increased by five points over last year as well.
All told, Lexus brought home an index score of 737, which was high enough to put it atop the luxury brands for the second year in a row. JD Power says Infiniti came in second in that category with a score of 728 and Cadillac rounded out the podium with it's rating of 725. Speaking of Infiniti, that brand saw the single largest jump in sales satisfaction of any brand on the survey, popping up 52 index points over 2011.
Among mass-market brands, Mini ranked highest with a score of 712, followed closely by Buick with 706 and GMC farther down the line with 683. You can check out the full press release below for more information.