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Next Buick Regal coming in 2017, could be imported from Germany

08/03/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Buick, Rumormill

2014 Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is based on the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, a pair of sedans from General Motors' European and British outfits. In fact, over 46,000 Regals from model years 2010 and 2011 were screwed together on the same lines as the Insignia twins, before GM's Oshawa, Ontario factory took over production fully. Considering this closeness, rumors that claim the next-generation Regal - due for 2017 - could move back to Europe aren't terribly surprising. Here's why, according to Automotive News.

Oshawa is home to three other vehicles, aside from the Regal - the Chevrolet Camaro, Impala rental queen and the Cadillac XTS. We already know next-gen Camaro production is headed to Lansing, MI, and that the fleet-only Impala will (finally!) die in 2016. As for the XTS, as AN explains it, sales are so slow that GM will either kill it or just shuffle its production volume elsewhere.

Taken along with the fact that Unifor, the Canadian labor union repping workers at the Oshawa factory, claim GM hasn't made any guarantees about future production at the nearly 60-year-old factory, it seems fairly clear that the Regal's current factory is going to be put out to pasture.

Meanwhile, according to AN, Opel has already dropped a not-so-subtle indicator that Buick production will be returning to the manufacturer's Russelsheim factory, issuing a statement back in March that read: "The Russelsheim plant has been chosen for the assembly of a future model which will be sold in the US under the Buick brand name in the second half of the decade."

Logistically, this all makes a lot of sense. As AN says, Canada is expensive, Russelsheim has room and GM execs have said that the German brand and Buick are pretty good bedfellows. Of course, we'll need to wait and see how this plays out. All things considered, though, the arrival of a German-built Buick seems like a very real possibility.

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Next-gen LaCrosse, Cascada convertible coming to Buick showrooms in 2016

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sedans/Saloons, Crossovers/CUVs, Buick, Luxury

Buick LaCrosse

Opel CascadaIt's difficult to overstate how significant the post-bankruptcy years have been for General Motors' Buick brand. Arguably the most improved American automaker, Buick has rounded out its range with an excellent compact in the Verano, a well-balanced midsizer in the Regal and a segment-busting mini-CUV, with the Encore.

Seeking to keep that momentum going, the next several years will see the brand address a trio of its most obvious issues. First and foremost will be a replacement for the aging LaCrosse, a vehicle whose only bit of attention since its 2009 debut was a very light refresh in 2013.

According to Automotive News, we should expect the next-generation LaCrosse to arrive late next year or early in 2016, as a 2016 model. AN expects big design changes, as Buick attempts to further the LaCrosse from its popular platform-mate, the Chevrolet Impala. The changes won't be so radical, though, as to do away with its front-drive architecture, as the latest version of the Epsilon platform will underpin the next LaCrosse. The 3.6-liter V6 is likely to carry on, although a smaller, budget-minded offering is also extremely likely (we'll eat our hat if it's not the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the Regal, Verano and Cadillac CTS et al.).

The other issue plaguing Buick's lineup is a lack of a midsize crossover. This is particularly damning for the brand as most of its showrooms are shared with GMC, which boasts its own midsizer in the form of the Terrain. With the upcoming Envision (see here for teasers), that problem should be addressed. Like the LaCrosse, the Envision will likely be a 2016 model. It will debut and launch in China early next year, while we can expect it to arrive stateside later next year, or even early in 2016. For American consumers, both a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the aforementioned 2.0T could see action in the Envision.

Finally, while Buick can boast a pair of vehicles available with manual transmissions, it's still far from what we'd call a brand for fun driving experiences. Of course, one way of solving that problem is with a two-door convertible. Yes, it's extremely likely that the Euro-market Opel Cascada convertible will be sold in the US early in 2016. Whether it keeps the Cascada name is unclear (all in favor of Skylark, say "aye"). Regardless, adding a reasonably priced, relaxed, two-door droptop to the Buick range to fill the space left by the not-so-dearly departed Chrysler 200 Convertible seems like a no brainer.

What are you thoughts on these plans? Should Buick be addressing other needs? Would you consider a Buick convertible? Should the brand push even further to distinguish the LaCrosse from the Impala? Have your say in Comments.

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GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

General Motors Government Stock

General Motors has announced yet another sprawling recall campaign, with six separate elements covering 717,950 vehicles on US roads. At this point in 2014, it's starting to seem like there are more days with a GM recall than without. Perhaps most troubling about this latest volley, though, is that every vehicle is from the past few years, indicating that GM's quality woes may not be limited to pre-bankruptcy vehicles.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, and includes the 2011 to 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2010 to 2012 Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and the 2011 to 2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Only vehicles with powered, height-adjustable seats are covered. In these particular cars and crossovers, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may loosen of its own accord and in some cases fall out completely. If this happens, the seats will be able to move both up and down. GM claims the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers don't vertically adjust their seats. This particular issue has caused one crash and three injuries.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Next up, the 2014 Chevrolet Caprice and SS, 2013 to 2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 CTS and ELR, 2013 to 2014 Buick Encore and 2014 to 2015 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models) are being recalled due to an "incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly." 124,008 vehicles are affected by this problem, which is being blamed on a sudden loss of power to a laser welder at factories. Dealers will inspect the weld and replace the seat track if necessary. However, GM claims that less than one percent of welds will require track replacement. There have been no reported accidents or injuries for this issue.

The Buick Regal is getting pinged with a second recall, covering 2011 to 2013 models. It's joined by the 2013 Chevy Malibu, in an action that covers 120,426 vehicles. This is the least severe of the latest round of issues, though, as it has to do with the turn signal bulbs. These vehicles use a pair of bulbs in the signal array. Should both bulbs burn out, the driver is notified in the typical fashion (a rapidly flashing signal in the instrument cluster). If only one bulb burns out, though, there is no way of warning the driver. Unsurprisingly, this issue hasn't lead to any crashes, while the fix requires a simple reprogramming.

The 2014 Chevy Impala is also the subject of an action that's particular to models with belt-driven electric power steering. A bad electric ground to the power steering control module can lead to sudden loss or reduction in steering assistance. The car won't become uncontrollable, although owners will be forced to live with manual steering until a trip to the dealer can be arranged. GM is blaming paint that may have gotten behind a nut on a "power steering control module ground stud" for this problem. There are no crashes being blamed on this issue.

Korean-built Chevy Spark minicars from model years 2014 and 2015 are being recalled, in an action that covers some 1,900 units. In this particular case, GM is claiming the lower control arm bolt was not fastened to specs, which, in a worst-case scenario, could lead to a separation of the control arm from the steering knuckle. Dealers will take a look at both control arms to assure they've been tightened to specs.

Finally, 22 units from the new-for-2015 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali SUV range are being recalled due to poorly connected interior roof rails. An incorrect retaining nut is being blamed for the problem, which could puncture or tear the roof-mounted airbags, should they deploy. Of the 22 units in this action, eight are currently in dealer inventories.

GM has summarized this latest recall in the press release below. Scroll down for a look.

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Buick Envision CUV displays full-frontal nudity

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Crossovers/CUVs, Buick

2015 Buick Envision

Earlier this month, Shanghai GM gave us a glimpse of the production version of the Buick Envision concept revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show back in 2011. And now it's released the first unveiled shot and initial details of the crossover to slot in the considerable gap between the Encore and Enclave.

The new Envision is set later this year to reach Chinese showrooms, where it will be called the Ang Ke Wei, after which we're expecting it to arrive Stateside. The production-ready Envision is about the size of the Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain, but is differentiated by a more upscale treatment and Buick's signature waterfall grille, flanked by Xenon headlamps and LED running lights and riding on 19-inch wheels.

Power comes from GM's familiar 2.0-liter turbo four with direct injection and stop/start ignition, driving 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. That's about all that GM's Chinese operation has announced at this point - it's not even clear what platform the vehicle is on - but you can check out the press release for yourself below.

Continue reading Buick Envision CUV displays full-frontal nudity

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eBay Find Of The Day: 1946 Tucker Torpedo Prototype II hides a secret Riviera

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Coupes, Auctions, Buick

1946 Tucker Torpedo Prototype Replica

The Tucker Torpedo is one of the great what-if stories of automotive history. Preston Tucker hoped to revolutionize the industry with a car unlike any other on the road at the time. However, due to a variety of problems, he only managed build 51 vehicles before closing shop. Over time, they have become highly sought-after; In 2012, one sold for $2.65 million at auction.

That brings us to this Tucker "replica" that you see above because it might be one of the ugliest monstrosities ever put together. However, we might extend some leniency to the creator, as the vehicle isn't actually trying to replicate the classic look of the 1948 Tucker Torpedo. Instead, it is attempting to reproduce an earlier prototype from 1946 that actually features that weird, trident nose. According to the seller, his uncle built the car as a labor of love and supposedly used actual plans from Tucker as inspiration.

Underneath all of the crazy changes is a 1971 Buick Riviera powered by a 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) Buick V8. Some of the replica's odder modifications include the front fenders that turn with the wheels and the fin running down the back. All three headlights work, but the one in the middle is only for the high beams. Oddly, the small hinged sections on the roof are meant to open to avoid hitting your head when getting in or out. Maybe the seller's uncle was a very tall guy?

According to the eBay auction, the car does run but definitely needs some restoration, as well. It appears to be reasonably popular, though. As of this writing, it has 18 bids with a price of $7,300 with the reserve not yet met. Bidding ends on July 15.

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Buick Envision crossover to premiere in China

07/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Crossovers/CUVs, Buick

Buick Envision teaser image

Buick currently offers two crossovers: the compact Encore and the extra-large Enclave, leaving plenty of room to slot a mid-size crossover in between. And that's just what Buick is planning on doing. In China, anyway.

Previewed in the teaser above, Buick's upcoming new crossover is cloaked and nestled in between its aforementioned stablemates-to-be. Set to be unveiled in China sometime later this year, the model has been confirmed to wear the name Envision - at least in that market. That's the name which the concept version wore three years ago, but we're still waiting on word over whether that name will carry over to the US version or whether we should expect something different like Anthem. But we have to admit that Envision fits better in the brand's crossover naming scheme.

Shanghai GM isn't saying much about the Envision in the press release below, aside from it having "dynamic and assertive styling" backed by all-wheel drive and stop/start ignition. The last time Buick offered a mid-size crossover in North America was with the Pontiac Aztek-based Rendezvous that was discontinued seven years ago.

Continue reading Buick Envision crossover to premiere in China

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GM recalling 8.4M cars, 8.2M related to ignition problems

07/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Crossovers/CUVs, Hatchbacks, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Pontiac, Saab

GM's Barra Says Not Planning Further Ignition Switch Dismissals

GM Recall ChartGeneral Motors today announced a truly massive recall covering some 8.4 million vehicles in North America. Most significantly, 8.2 million examples of the affected vehicles are being called back due to "unintended ignition key rotation," though GM spokesperson Alan Adler tells Autoblog that this issue is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch fiasco.

For the sake of perspective, translated to US population, this total recall figure would equal a car for each resident of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming. Combined. Here's how it all breaks down:

7,610,862 vehicles in North America being recalled for unintended ignition key rotation. 6,805,679 are in the United States.

  • 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  • 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
  • 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
  • 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2000-2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
A second group of vehicles* are being recalled for a slightly different ignition key rotation issue (more details below). 616,179 of these vehicles are in North America, with 554,328 found in the United States.
  • 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX
  • 2013-2014 Cadillac CTS
Additionally 20,134 North American vehicles are being recalled because "insulation on the engine block heater power cord (if equipped) may become damaged during very cold conditions." 2,990 of these vehicles are in the United States.
  • 2011-2014 Chevrolet Cruze
  • 2012-2014 Chevrolet Sonic
  • 2013-2014 Chevrolet Trax
  • 2013-2014 Buick Encore
  • 2013-2014 Buick Verano
117 vehicles in North America "may not have had a 'Superhold' joint fastener torqued to specification at the assembly plant." 106 of these vehicles are in the US.
  • 2014 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2014 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2014 Buick Regal
  • 2014 Cadillac XTS
12,002 vehicles in North America are being recalled because "an overload in the feed may cause the underhood fusible link to melt due to electrical overload, resulting in potential smoke or flames that could damage the electrical center cover and/or the nearby wiring harness conduit." 9,371 of the affected vehicles are in the US.
  • 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD (with auxiliary battery)
  • 2007-2011 GMC Sierra HD (with auxiliary battery)
Finally, 188,705 SUVs in North America are being recalled due to "a possible electrical short in the driver's door module that could disable the power door lock and window switches and, in rare cases, overheat the module." Here, 181,984 of these vehicles are in the US.
  • 2005-2007 Buick Ranier
  • 2005-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
  • 2005-2007 GMC Envoy
  • 2005-2007 Isuzu Ascender
  • 2005-2007 Saab 9-7X
  • 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT
  • 2006 GMC Envoy XL
The Cadillac models in the second grouping* have been found to be subject to unintended key rotation because of accidental bumping of one's key fobs (a condition similar to the June 13 Camaro recall), whereas the other, larger group of older vehicles is not subject to bumping. In either case, this is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch issue - the switch in these vehicles meet GM specifications, the company says the problem is with the key design itself.

The solution won't be a new ignition switch at all, it will be sending additional detachable key rings to owners (allowing drivers to disconnect their car key from the rest of their key chain to reduce strain on the system) and/or inserts designed to fit within the ignition key head itself to alter the keyring attachment loop from a slot to a hole (because the slot can cause the weight of the keychain to hang asymmetrically, thereby increasing the amount of torque on the key and as a result, the switch.

Company spokesperson Alan Adler, tells Autoblog that GM "changed the [key] design in late December of 2010," so vehicles built after that time are not affected by the issue.

GM is aware of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities related to these issues. "The fatal crashes occurred in older model fullsize sedans being recalled for inadvertent ignition key rotation. There is no conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes," GM said in a press release. Scroll down to read the automaker's full statement.

Continue reading GM recalling 8.4M cars, 8.2M related to ignition problems

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Porsche, Hyundai and GM impress in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Fiat and Jeep don't

06/19/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, GM, GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Porsche, FIAT, Ram

Porsche badge

JD Power IQSConsumers continue to struggle with the advanced user interfaces and technologies being fitted to new cars, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Overall, the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles climbed three percent, to 116 issues reported in the first 90 days of ownership.

Vehicles from the General Motors' family were dominant, with Buick, Chevrolet and GMC capturing more individual IQS segment awards than any other manufacturer. Despite its well-publicized issues, six GM vehicles (Buick Encore, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy Silverado HD, Chevy Suburban, GMC Terrain and GMC Yukon) were given IQS awards for their respective segments.

Hyundai was ranked the best overall mass-market brand, with just 94 issues in every 100 vehicles reported in the first 90 days. Parent Hyundai Motor Company, meanwhile, trailed GM with five vehicles winning their segments, including the Hyundai Accent, Elantra and Genesis, as well as the Kia Cadenza and Sportage.

On the premium end of the scale, Porsche was tops for the second year in a row, with just 74 issues per 100 vehicles. Not only was it the best premium brand, it had the best score of any marque surveyed. Weirdly, it was followed by Jaguar, which handily topped quality stalwart Lexus, with just 87 problems per 100 vehicles (don't worry, Jag's sister company, Land Rover, still finished well below the industry average).

While Land Rover was its usual disappointing self when it comes to the IQS, Fiat easily took the crown as the worst performer overall. Owners of the diminutive Italian cars reported 206 problems per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. Yes, that works out to over two problems per vehicle within the first three months. In fact, Fiat Chrysler Automobile's brands did rather poorly in general ­- Jeep was the second worst brand, with 146 issues while Dodge had 124. Ram matched the industry average, while Chrysler was the only FCA brand to finish above the industry average.

You can take a look at the full release of results from J.D. Power, available below. You can also click the inset image for a graphical breakdown of this year's IQS.

Continue reading Porsche, Hyundai and GM impress in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Fiat and Jeep don't

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GM announces six new recalls, covering 3.5 million vehicles

06/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

Massive Ignition Switch Recall Weighs Heavy On GM's Profits

General Motors has just initiated another crushingly large recall, this time affecting some 3.36 million vehicles built between 2000 and 2014 and sold in the US, Canada and Mexico. Once again, the issue surrounds the cars' ignition switches, which can be kicked out of the run position if they're carrying extra weight or if they experience a "jarring" event. In this particular case, though, GM will modify the keys, rather than the ignition itself.

A four-by-six-millimeter hole will be drilled into the key, which will more safely accommodate the weight of the key ring. As is usually the case, the work will be done free of charge. The recalled vehicles include the 2000 to 2005 Cadillac Deville, 2004 to 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS, 2004 to 2011 Cadillac DTS, 2005 to 2009 Buick Lacrosse, 2006 to 2008 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006 to 2011 Buick Lucerne and 2006 to 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Only the Impala is still in production, and even then, it's only sold to fleet companies.

According to an official statement from GM, there have been eight crashes and six injuries due to this latest issue. As if this isn't a dire enough blow for GM, the company has announced five smaller recalls, covering 165,000 vehicles.

The first covers the 2013 and 2014 Cadillac ATS and the 2014 CTS. Apparently, a shift cable may separate from the shift bracket, leaving owners unable to shift the automatic transmission out of gear. 68,887 vehicles are affected.

The all-new heavy-duty pickups from Chevrolet and GMC will need to have their power steering hose clamps inspected to make sure they attach properly to the power steering pump. Should it fail, drivers would be left with manual steering and manual brakes, only. 57,192 trucks are covered here.

All-wheel-drive-equipped Cadillac CTS sedans from 2011 could be prone to a gasket leak, leading to a domino effect that could cause the rollover airbags to deploy. Just under 17,000 cars have been recalled.

Just over 700 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray models will need some work, although this recall only covers models with the competition seats. A new side airbag will be installed on the passenger's seat, because "an unbelted child and door trim" could impede the airbag. We've no idea why you'd allow an unbelted child in your 460-horsepower sports car, but we digress.

Finally, 184 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups from model years 2014 and 2015 are being recalled. This recall only covers trucks with vinyl floors and all-weather floormats. Apparently, GM didn't bother to install attachments for the mats in the vinyl floor, meaning the mats could slide about under the driver's feet.

Of these five smaller recalls, only the case involving the 2011 CTS is known to have resulted in any incidences. There were 15 accidental deployments, although as GM says, the "injury data is unclear." We've got a full press release on this latest fiasco for GM below. Have a look below.

Continue reading GM announces six new recalls, covering 3.5 million vehicles

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Buick asks design students 'What could a Buick sedan look like in 2030?'

06/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Videos, Buick, Design/Style

Andrew Smith, executive director of Buick global design, talks to students at the College for Creative Studies about their designs of a Buick concept for the year 2030.

When you think of daring concept cars or emotional design-student projects, Buick probably isn't the first brand that comes to mind. It's not for lack of concepts; when General Motors ran down 11 concept-car highlights from Buick's 110-year history, three of them are from the past 15 years, with other experiments in that same timeframe like the Black Hawk, Centieme and Cielo left unmentioned.

But the company still thinks about them even if we don't. It ran a contest for students at Detroit's College for Creative Studies to create a Buick for the year 2030 that would incorporate future materials and transportation needs, and nanotechnology.

Best exterior design went to Sam Kenny for his Neo Classical Buick, Justin Salmon took honors for innovative material use, like having exposed algae on the bodyshell to generate energy, and Namsuk Lee nabbed best overall concept and best interior for his Buick Vision Sedan. You can read more about the design challenge and winners in the press release, and hear students talk about what went into the work in the video below.

Continue reading Buick asks design students 'What could a Buick sedan look like in 2030?'

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