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Auto blogThu, 27 Feb 2014 11:57:00 EST
"This is just silly," I said as I laughed my way sideways around the icy track at Circuit ICAR, a racecourse, drag strip and kart track at the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Quebec. It wasn't the activity that had me cracking up, though. After all, winter driving experiences aren't uncommon in this business.
No, in this particular case, it was the car that had me chuckling. I wasn't in a mad hot hatch or a rally-derived rocket - I was in a Buick. The 2014 Regal GS, to be more precise. Somehow, despite its recent product renaissance (not to mention its distant - yet storied - history of performance models), I was having a hard time believing that this attractive, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan sliding around the Great White North could possibly be wearing a Tri-Shield badge on its nose.
But it was, and slide about it did. While having access to a vehicle in this setting is fairly rare, what's rarer is the fact that I've had so much exposure to it. In Mr. Ewing's recent Volkswagen Golf R drive story, for instance, his ice capades were his first experience with the new model. In my case, though, I was lucky enough to first test the refreshed Regal GS for a week back in December before flying to Quebec to drive it on the snowy, icy, winding roads of Canada's most fiercely independent province and on the track at Mirabel.
General Motors may have parred down its brand portfolio, but it still has more under its umbrella than most. That's why, while a company like Ford might market the same vehicle under its own name in markets around the world, GM uses different brands in different markets. But no two are aligned quite as closely as Opel in Europe and Buick in the United States and China.
What we know here as the Buick Regal is sold overseas as the Opel Insignia. Our Encore is their Mokka. Verano? Astra sedan. But one thing we don't get here is the Opel Adam. The diminutive city car is GM's take on the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, Citroën DS3 et al. Launched at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the Opel Adam is named after the company's founder (like an ironic thumbing of the nose to the Ferrari Enzo). But while it's sold, like most Opels, in the UK as a Vauxhall, the prospect of it porting over to Buick seems slim to none. Right?
Sorta. While the Adam isn't likely to come Stateside, the latest reports (as yet unconfirmed by GM) suggest that The General is planning to sell the Adam in China where the Buick brand is also a strong seller. Local production could ensue, with prices targeting the Fiat 500 and engines - according to CarNewsChina.com - to include inline-fours displacing 1.2 and 1.4 liters with 69 and 100 horsepower, respectively.
With all eyes fixed on General Motors in the wake of the ignition recall debacle, the auto giant has been carefully calling in a wide array of vehicles to fix anything and everything that could prove problematic. Just the other day it issued two separate recalls - one concerning the Cadillac SRX and another its heavy-duty pickups - and now it is issuing another.
This time the vehicles in question are the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, three fullsize crossovers based on GM's Lambda platform. In an estimated 51,640 units manufactured between March 26 and August 15, 2013, the engine control module has been found to incorrectly display the level of fuel in the tank.
As a result, owners are being notified to bring their vehicles in to their local dealers to have the ECU reflashed to fix the problem. View the full details in the announcement below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.