- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Currently available on three models, GM’s eAssist technology is a product and packaging gamble the automaker has made that does not appear to be paying off. While the first two Buick models to receive the mild-hybrid system received modest praise, the new Chevy Malibu Eco has drawn so much criticism it was recently named “the most disliked vehicle of 2012” according to Fortune magazine.
The impact of that title, not to mention all the bad press that’s led up to it, can’t be understated. The reputation, and sales, of an entire lifecycle of Malibu models (the Malibu being one of GM’s largest volume products) is hanging in the balance.
About 15 years ago when this author began to ride motorcycles, we were inundated with advice from experienced riders on surviving riding out on the street. Advice ranged from watching out for anyone using a cell phone or eating in a car, to avoiding riding behind semi trucks that could shred a tire or block a rider’s view of road debris, etc. And we were cautioned to never follow a Buick, because the old man or blue haired granny driving it would be traveling 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit, have their right turn signal on for miles and then make a left turn with no warning.
Every car, whether it has a big V8 engine or an electric motor powering the wheels, is being equipped with fuel saving technologies.
Recall variable-valve timing. Introduced on the Acura NSX, and at one time a revolutionary technology, now practically all cars have some form of VVT. Now more technologies are being introduced as innovations for saving fuel. Let’s take a look at some of the more important and popular features being introduced on new models; many of which will soon be as prevalent as variable valve timing.
Buick is the latest brand to leave a breadcrumb trail for its future products by filing for a tradermark on May 3 to cover its Riviera moniker. While that doesn’t prove anything on its own, the company isn’t known for flippantly filing for trademarks on the off chance they might one day come true.
General Motors is recalling 50,001 SUVs, specifically from states where dealing with snow is regular, because the wiper arm may slowly loosen and become inoperative.
The recall is expected to begin on April 16, 2012. For more information you can contact the NHTSA safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
For a list of all States affected, see below.
The exterior of the vehicle gains a new slightly more sculpted design as well as LED daytime running light and LED taillights. An all new front fascia, 19-inch or 20-inch wheels, new hood and grille and monochromatic color scheme with chrome highlights round out the new look of the vehicle.
All new ice blue LED interior cabin lighting is one of the features which adds to the Buicks premium feel. Other interior uprgades include soft touch materials with live stitching, new interior color combinations with wooden accents and and all new center stack. The stack will be include the new IntelliLink infotainment system which outfits the vehicle with the latest in technology, including Bluetooth connectivity, USB and Aux in ports, the capability to handle smart phone apps and navigation among others.
Now that the legendary Shaquille O’Neal has retired from playing NBA basketball, the giant has become a natural fit for television commercials. His latest endorsement — the Buick LaCrosse which shows it has plenty of room even for a giant like Shaq.
The commercial, titled the “Oh Effect”, was shot in Pasadena, Calif. and has Shaq and his 325-lb frame highlighting what very few might know about the Buick LaCrosse. Features of the vehicle include its 36-mpg highway fuel economy courtesy of eAssist, a “light electrification” system which utilizes a lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking capability and of course, its roominess.
As Shaq says in the commercial, he enjoys the Buick LaCrosse because he hes “shoes that are bigger than a hybrid…and are more stylish.”
The ad was directed by the infamous Erich Joiner whose past creations include the “Got Milk?” campaign. The Buick LaCrosse commercials starring Shaq will air during the NCAA Final Four tournament.
Watch a behind-the-scenes on the new Buick LaCrosse ad after the break.
In today’s safety conscious world, having a vehicle earn “Top Pick” status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a big deal for many automakers, especially when it’s not just one car, but the entire brand’s lineup.
Buick has already been awarded IIHS top safety picks for its LaCrosse and Regal sedans, plus the Enclave crossover and now the Verano compact sedan, which was recently bestowed with the same award. That means each model in the current 2012 Buick lineup has been awarded Top Pick status, with the exceptions of the Encore compact crossover, since it hasn’t hit the market yet.
According to IIHS president Adrian Lund the results indicate that “Buick is building state-of-the-art crash protection into every model from the ground up. This means the best overall protection in the most common kinds of crashes, along with standard electronic stability control for helping drivers to stay out of many crashes to begin with.”
Among the key features that have enabled current Buicks to enjoy Top Pick safety status, include the use of high strength steel in the vehicle body structure, ABS and panic braking technology, collapsible pedals, GM’s Stabilitrak dynamic control system and a plethora of airbags – the Verano alone has 10 of them.
Lund’s sentiments are echoed by Jack R. Nerad, veteran auto journalist and editorial director of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com website, who stated in response to the Top Safety pick awards that “Buick buyers want to make certain that any vehicle they buy has state-of-the-art safety features. With this in mind, Buick engineers have incorporated an unprecedented combination of safety systems to more than address that need.”
Interestingly, the newest IIHS Top Pick Buick, the Verano, was also named by kbb.com as one of it’s “Ten Best sedans under $25,000.” Clearly it seems that Buick is indeed back.
Watch the IIHS Verano crash test below.
J.D. Power and Associates’ annual Customer Service Index Study offers crucial automotive information for consumers and the latest results are out.
J.D. Power statistics are based on responses from over 84,000 new vehicle owners that rate dealer service performance during the first three years of vehicle ownership. Five facets of customer service are measured in the study: service quality, service initiation, service advisor, service facility and vehicle pick-up. The responses are gathered from around the world to avoid regional bias, with statistics from 16 countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany and India.
The study is divided into two categories: luxury brands and mass market brands.
For the luxury brands segment, Lexus was rated with the best customer service for the fourth consecutive year, scoring 861 points of a possible 1000. The average luxury brand CSI ranking score was 835. Rounding out the top five top brands, from second to fifth are Cadillac, Jaguar, Acura and Porsche.
In the mass market segment, MINI took the top spot with an overall CSI ranking score of 809 where the average score for all automakers in the mass market segment was 778. While the company didn’t win overall, GM dominated the top five mass market brands. From second to fifth they are Buick, GMC, Chevrolet and Hyundai.
Overall, J.D. Power reports that almost every brand has improved on the Customer Service Index scale in 2012, with 28 of the the 33 eligible brands improving their score. A leading factor in overall attitudes towards customer service is the change from less repair work to more maintenance that is happening at dealers thanks to better built cars, J.D. power says.
In 2012 72 percent of vehicle owners say that their latest dealer encounter was for routine maintenance and not repair work, a 9 percent increase from 2011.
Review the J.D. Power CSI charts below for a list of all car manufacturers.
Posting respectable 2011 sales numbers, the quietly successful Buick Regal outsold the Audi A4, Lexus IS250 and Acura TSX last year. For 2013, the Buick Regal has received some drivetrain upgrades. First, the performance trim Buick Regal GS will receive an automatic transmission. Second, the 2013 Regal will possess eAssist technology as standard.
Classic car insurance company Hagerty has just released its annual list of vehicles that it expects will become the collector cars of the future. The list of “affordable” collector cars is capped at $100,000 and comes on the heels of the annual Scottsdale collector car auction week.
Buick has launched an app for iOS and Android smartphones to help raise MPG awareness. A trio of eAssist Fuel Efficiency smartphone games are packaged into a single app that’s now available to download for free and offers a fun way to hone your driving techniques in order to maximize fuel economy.
The Rasumssens won’t be offended if you tell them they have a nice set of headlights. That’s because they’re combining their passion for classic cars and supporting breast cancer research by bringing their “Buick for the Breasts” to this year’s O’Reilly Grand National Roadster Show.
In 1989, Rick Moranis played a nerdy dad who accidentally downsized his children to an insect scale in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. He probably wouldn’t have believed it if someone told him that 23 years later automakers would be doing the same thing to their cars.
Buick has achieved two straight years of growth and the brand is looking to keep up the momentum, targeting new buyers with unconventional new products. The Enclave SUV kicked-off the new Buick and it’s been a smash success, and even near the end of its product cycle continues to be the brand’s best seller. So if one crossover is a good idea, two must be better… right?
Looking like a jacked-up hatchback, Buick has unveiled its newest model today at the Detroit Auto Show today. Called the Encore, it’s part of the GM premium brand’s plan to move further down-market in search of added sales – an area it’s actually been very strong in recently with two full years of gains.
Before the veil is fully lifted off this new model, Buick is using the same trick many other car companies have used, by releasing styling details one piece at a time. Well now they have shown us a lot more than before, by showing the entire greenhouse of the vehicle.
Ward’s Auto released their 10 Best Engines List for 2012 today, and no surprise here but direct-injection and turbocharging – the two big trends for today’s automotive era – are heavily represented.
Over the past few decades, one of the main criticisms that could be made against Buick models is that they were quasi-luxury cars, never quite rising to the status of a the Germans or Japanese. Buick now seems ready to raise the bar, with the debut of the LaCrosse GL Concept at the LA Auto Show.
There may still be two months to go, but General Motors is all but certain to reclaim the title of World’s Largest Automaker for 2011. GM last held claim to producing the most vehicles back in 2007, and for the 76 years before that, before being ousted by Toyota in 2008. Toyota has since retained that position for two more years, with Volkswagen emerging onto the scene to be a major player.
Over the past few decades, one of the main criticisms that could be made against Buick models is that they were quasi-luxury, never quite rising to the status of a the Germans or Japanese. While this is partly so as not to complete with Cadillac, Buick now seems ready to raise the bar, with the planned debut of the LaCrosse GL Concept at the LA Auto Show next week.
With the new Verano compact luxury sedan on sale this year, Buick will look to expand its offerings in a green direction with a hybrid version. The news comes via a list of suppliers printed by Automotive News, detailing all of the companies and parts involved in the current Verano.