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Starting on 2019 Models, Buick to Join Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai in Not Placing a Brand Name on Vehicles

Starting on 2019 Models, Buick to Join Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai in Not Placing a Brand Name on Vehicles

New naming strategy isn’t that big of a deal

Beginning in 2019, Buick will stop using its brand plate on the tailgate of its vehicles, leaving just the model’s name and the brand’s Tri-Shield logo as the only identifiers of the same model. Word of Buick’s plans first came to the surface after the debut of the 2019 Buick Envision showed a noticeable absence in the company’s usual exterior identifiers. The model name and the badge were present, but the “Buick” brand plate was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, this is all part of a new strategy that Buick will be implementing by next year.

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Car Find of the Decade: Two Unmolested, Barely Driven, 1987 Grand Nationals Twins

Car Find of the Decade: Two Unmolested, Barely Driven, 1987 Grand Nationals Twins

They have less than 1,400 combined miles on the clock!!!!

Every now and then we come across some crazy barn find, or some crazy deal on a car that deserves a new life, but this time, I think we’ve stumbled upon something that’s absolutely mind blowing. The cars were living in a garage in Oklahoma and covered in dust, but the seller at the time was asking a cool $200,000 for the pair. William Avila, a member of the GN/Ttype Central group on Facebook, decided to go check them out, and he’s pretty happy that he did. See, these aren’t your everyday Grand Nationals (if there is such a thing.) No, these things are so unmolested that they haven’t even been broken in yet. Yeah, you read that right – they only have 1,399 miles combined. One has just 592 miles while the other has 807. But, that isn’t even the craziest part.

These two Grand Nationals, while obviously filthy from sitting for so long, are practically brand new inside and out. They need a little bit of love after sitting for so long, of course, but mechanically they are pretty much brand new. One was even said to smell new inside – an ’87 Grand National that still has the new car smell. Oh, how I would love to know what it feels like to find something to pure. Anyway, the story gets better. These two cars have sequential VIN numbers, which means they rolled off the line one after the other, and to take things even one step further, they were optioned the same way. They really are Twins in every sense of the word, and have been together from the time manufacturing started until now – they rode on the same transport, and went to the same owner. Pretty crazy, huh?

After digging around on Facebook a bit, it turns out that Mr. Avila did end up purchasing the two Grand Nationals. The end price is unknown but is said to be lower than the initial asking price of $200,000. And, since they are 1987 models, the 3.8-liter under their hoods delivers a cool 245 horsepower instead of the initial 200 ponies that was available when Buick introduced the Grand National in 1984. All told, Mr. Avila and his buddy, who presumably went in on the purchase with him, plan to keep the two together. After some mild restoration, they’ll be displayed at local car shows and certainly be a prime topic of conversation at each one.

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Consumer Reports Reliability Ratings Are Out; Buick Climbs to No. 3 While Honda Falls to No. 10

Consumer Reports Reliability Ratings Are Out; Buick Climbs to No. 3 While Honda Falls to No. 10

Tesla also made its debut in the rankings, but it wasn’t a good one

Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability survey is a go-to source for a lot of prospective car buyers who rely on the rankings to determine whether the brand and model they’re choosing is worth the money. Recently, Consumer Reports published its latest reliability rankings and the biggest winner other than Lexus and Toyota retaining the top two spots for the fourth year in a row is Buick.

Believe it or not, but General Motors’ luxury brand finished third in the rankings, the first time a U.S. auto brand has cracked the podium since Consumer Reports started tracking and ranking these things over 35 years ago. By comparison, Chevrolet is the next highest U.S. brand in the rankings and it finished 15th out of 29 brands tested by Consumer Reports.

Buick’s achievement can be attributed to a number of factors, and while its limited vehicle lineup was seen as an unintended advantage, it still speaks to the brand’s revival as a legitimate player in the luxury car segment.

The brand’s surprising rank also comes in the midst of a lot of predictable results, most notably the continued dominance of Asian brands in the rankings. In addition to Lexus and Toyota finishing first and second, respectively, Hyundai and Kia came in at fifth and seventh in the rankings, respectively. Nissan, Acura, Infiniti, and Mazda also moved up the ranks, leaving Honda and Subaru as the notable exceptions. Honda, in particular, was undone by the Civic receiving a “much-worse-than-average” reliability rank in part because of its botchy power equipment and infotainment systems.

European brands also scored well, relative to their past rankings. Audi continues to be the best of the lot with a fourth place finish while BMW cracked the top 10. Even Mercedes, which languished in the bottom third of the rankings in last year’s survey, moved up four places to 17th.

American brands were scattered all over the rankings, although most of them finished in the bottom half of the survey. Chevrolet did move up from 20th to 15th place on the back of strong performances from the Cruze and Corvette models, but Cadillac and GMC dropped in the rankings. Then there’s Tesla, which made its debut in the survey, only for it to finish near the bottom at 25th, thanks in large part to the abundant of issues attributed to the Model X.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Avenir Name to Serve as Sub-Brand for Buick

Avenir Name to Serve as Sub-Brand for Buick

Buick has a plan to make a better luxury car

Buick says it wants to capitalize on a recent uptick in growth, and in order to do so, it has set about creating a new top-of-the-line luxury sub-brand. Taking cues from the Avenir sedan concept first revealed at the Detroit Auto Show last year, the sub-brand looks poised for release on a global scale starting with the 2018 model year.

Essentially, the Avenir sub-brand will be akin to the Denali trim level currently in place for GMC’s range-topping truck models. Buick hopes the inclusion of Avenir-branded offerings will cement gains made with its changing customer base, which according to a recent press release, includes more female buyers and former customers of competing brands. If all goes according to plan, Avenir will also expand Buick’s reach overseas.

So then – what’ll make the Avenir sub-brand stand out amongst the competition? Buick says the exterior will include “a three-dimensional mesh grille, large-diameter wheels, and unique trim finishes,” while the cabin space will incorporate a “quiet, inviting environment with unique seat details, modern trim materials and Avenir script identification.”

Simply put – a sharp exterior styling with plus-sized rollers and a fancy fascia, as well as upscale materials and lots of badges in the interior. Sounds about right.

Continue reading for the full story.

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GM Overstates MPGs on Lambda Crossovers, Now Reimbursing owners

GM Overstates MPGs on Lambda Crossovers, Now Reimbursing owners

Owners of 2016 Acadia, Enclave, and Traverse models could get $450-1,500

Fuel economy woes apparently aren’t confined to VW and Mitsubishi as General Motors announced it mislabeled fuel economy labels on three of its popular three-row crossovers, leading to a stop-sale, class action lawsuit, and customer reimbursements totaling more than $100 million.

It started in mid-May when GM announced a stop-sale of unsold 2016 GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Chevrolet Traverse models due to “mislabeled” Monroney stickers showing the wrong city and highway fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. According to Automotive News, GM said the reimbursements will compensate roughly 135,000 customers “who may pay more for fuel than they expected after viewing the incorrect window label when they purchased or leased their vehicle.”

Customers with affected vehicles will receive an explanation letter, which details the two methods of reimbursement. Customers can choose between a prepaid debit card or can opt for extended warrant coverage. The monetary amount paid out is based on factors including the difference between the actual EPA ratings and the mislabeled window stickers. Average payouts will range between $450 to $900, with some customers receiving less while other will get up to $1,500. Those who choose the warranty coverage will receive an additional 48 months/60,000 miles on top of their 36-month/36,0000-mile standard warranty.

The erroneous fuel economy labels shows the Lambda vehicles achieving 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for AWD models and 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for those with FWD. The corrected EPA estimates are 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for both FWD and AWD models. The change comes after GM reportedly updated emissions control systems for the 2016 model year.

Additionally, between 30,000 to 35,000 Lambda crossovers were sold to fleet organizations like rental car agencies and other corporations. GM has yet to announce its plan to compensate those owners.

Continue reading for more information

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Buick Verano To Be Dropped In The U.S. Market

Buick Verano To Be Dropped In The U.S. Market

Buick may drop its entry-level sedan to steer U.S. customers to the Envision

The Buick Verano has only been around since 2011 as an entry-level option into the Buick brand. Now that a new design has debuted in China, we’ve been expecting to see it come to U.S. shores anytime now, but it looks like we might not see it after all. According to Automotive News, Buick is now considering a move to drop the Verano from the U.S. market in coming years. The news comes just weeks before the scheduled debut of the Envision crossover here in the U.S.

This news is undoubtedly the result of the SUV craze that is spreading across the country like wildfire. With the subcompact Envision hitting U.S. shores any time now, Buick doesn’t seem to have the room for two entry-level models in its lineup. IHS Automotive analyst, Stephanie Brinley, said, “There were nearly 32,000 buyers who walked into a dealership last year and bought a Verano, not an SUV or a Regal. Any time you eliminate a product from the lineup, there’s risk.”

The question is, how big is that risk? GM is depending on the idea that the SUV craze is going to continue, and a majority of entry-level buyers will look to something like the Envision instead of the badge-engineered Verano. Back in 2014, Duncan Aldred – GM’s global Chief—said “What we can’t have at Buick is ten vehicles all selling a few thousand units each. I’ve seen that. It doesn’t work. We need to bring in cars, trucks, whatever, that can offer substantial volume.”

So far, GM has declined to comment on the future of the Verano. For now, it looks like the current Verano will probably run through the 2017 model year, at which point GM could drop the model and try to steer new customers toward the Envision crossover.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Buick May Bring Chinese-Made Envision To The U.S.

Buick May Bring Chinese-Made Envision To The U.S.

As luxury automakers continue to downsize their crossover and SUV lineups in the compact and subcompact segments, General Motors has been on the outside looking in, but Buick might be getting some help from an unlikely source. The compact Buick Envision is already on sale in the Chinese market, and a new report indicates that the crossover could be imported to the U.S. from China.

At this point, neither Cadillac nor Buick have a compact crossover, despite the fact that the Encore continues to be a strong seller, so importing from an existing plant seems to be the fastest way to get such a vehicle to U.S. buyers. The Chinese plant would have to increase plant production by more than 20 percent in order to export to the U.S., and that sounds like an easier task than adding a new line at an existing U.S.-based plant.

Volvo is about to become the first automaker to import a Chinese-made car to the U.S., but the problem there gets a little muddy for GM. The auto giant is in the midst of intense labor talks with the UAW, which hasn’t responded well to the recent news of the Envision’s possible import status. In short, the union’s vice president said such a move would be “alarming.”

Once the decision of whether or not to bring the Envision to the U.S. is made, China’s economy will surely play into GM’s decision on where to build it. Currently, the value of the yuan is plummeting, while the country’s stock market is faltering as well. You can read more about the state of China’s economic meltdown – and its effect on the global auto economy – in our recent in-depth report.

Continue reading for the full story.

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General Motors: Building Houses and Bailing Out Previously Bailed-Out Banks, Using Bailout Funds

General Motors: Building Houses and Bailing Out Previously Bailed-Out Banks, Using Bailout Funds

General Motors does some pretty weird things, but also some really fantastic things. One of the latter is that GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson, will be auctioning off his 1958 Corvette, which holds a value of somewhere between $50,000 and $135,000, for charity. All of the proceeds of this auction will go directly to Habitat for Humanity Detroit, an area that truly needs the help.

We’d like to give Akerson nothing but praise here, but we can’t quite do that. Around the same time this report of generosity came out, we found out that GM is in the midst of playing Russian roulette with taxpayer dollars.

GM is the only automaker not to pay back its bailout loan, and it is now considering using this bailout money to buy international operations from Ally, the only bailed out financial institution not to repay its bail-out loan. In a fit of irony, Ally needs this bail out from the bailed-out GM in order to try and pay off its own unpaid bailout loan ... You got all of that?

So on one hand, GM is showing its compassionate side and carefully pulling the wool over our eyes, while the other hand is greedily reaching in our wallets and purses to grab a little more money. Granted, GM “paid back” the government in stock, but that is a losing effort to date and it will likely never turn into a breakeven deal for taxpayers.

In addition, if Ally needs to sell these operations to get the money together to pay back its bailout, what does GM expect to make with these operations? But that’s okay, Akerson is donating his `Vette! So pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

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GM Trademarks Electra, is a New Buick Range-Topper in the Works?

GM Trademarks Electra, is a New Buick Range-Topper in the Works?

From 1959 through 1990, Buick used the “Electra” name to top off its range of automobiles. It was never an overly powerful or fast car, but in its earlier years, it was known as a full-size ride that moved well and rode like a fine Italian leather sofa. After its downsizing in the mid-1980s, Buick chose to axe the name altogether.

As of late, GM has been on a trademarking binge, with its tagging the SS and ELR, and now we can add another one to the list. You guessed it; GM has officially trademarked the Electra name. This could mean absolutely nothing, but with the huge overhaul that Buick has received in recent years, this does point to a model to come.

With it possibly bearing the “Electra” name, we can only assume that this potential new model would take a slot directly above the Lacrosse, making it the new range-topping car. This is purely speculation, but with the category that GM trademarked the Electra under, 1B , the law requires the owner of the trademark to show true intent to use the trademark for a product in the future.

For now, we only know of the trademark and its category. Maybe OnStar will make another programming boo-boo and post the Electra on its list of qualifying GM cars, so we have a better idea. We will update you the second more information leaks out about the Electra. And yes, given GM’s recent trends, there will be tons of “unintentional” leaks.

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2013 Buick Verano Turbo

2013 Buick Verano Turbo

For all of us car buffs born in the 1980s and later, we mostly think of Buicks as being granddad’s car. You know, a big, cushiony jalopy that can barely get out of its own way. The last real Buick that we know of being even remotely high-performance was the Grand National and the Regal T-Type from 1978 through 1987. Since the Grand National’s deletion, there has been little life in Buick’s lineup and performance car buyers went away from the brand.

In recent years, GM has been reshaping all of its lineups to not only be more economical, but also to be more performance oriented, including Buick. The thing with Buick is that it has to retain its now strong customer base – the retired American – but offer the performance to draw in younger buyers. Well, when Buick released the Verano, it knew it had a car that was compact and stylish enough to draw in younger buyers without alienating its primary buyers. Once GM started mentioning a turbocharged model, a la the Cobalt SS, our ears perked up a little.

While the details are still a little scarce on the complete model, we felt it was time to get a full review together, so you can see what’s going on.
We will preview this review by letting you know that this is not your granddad’s Buick…

Click past the jump to read more on the Buick Verano Turbo.

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A New Name For The Chevrolet Aveo

A New Name For The Chevrolet Aveo

It’s not often we get things right when we make jokes, but we did say that we thoughtChevrolet should change the name of the new Aveo. After all, the last one really was terrible.

We completely agree with this rumor, as separating this new model with the last one can only help sales. Take the new Cruze for instance. If it had been called the redesigned Cobalt, would it have gotten the attention it’s currently getting?

The new Aveo will be built at GM’s Orion plant, which it recently renovated. Along with the new Aveo, Buick’s small premium car, the Verano, will be built there as well. It will be the first small car built by the company in over 20 years and will be based off of the Cruze. In total, these two new vehicles could help save up to 1,500 jobs which could be extremely helpful in the current economy.

Hit the jump to see the press release.

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Buick Verona compact car coming in two years

Buick Verona compact car coming in two years

Gas prices won’t stay cheap forever and the automakers have been charged with the duty of making small and fuel-efficient cars. We know that the majority of the public isn’t smart about car buying. The phrase, “bigger is better” seems to play over and over again in the heads of car shoppers. Yet, when the price of gas rises, so do small car sales and, unlike last time, General Motors is ready.

Buick will be introducing the Verano compact car, as well as a LaCrosse hybrid sedan. We have no idea what will be under the hood of this car, or what platform it will get. If we had to guess, we would say the car would be based on the newChevrolet Cruze, as it would be almost the same size.

Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet are also working on fuel-efficient vehicles. Cadillac is working on the ATS,GMC has been creating a production version of the Granite concept, and Chevy should have an all-new Aveo to go alongside the Spark. Automotive News is also reporting that GM is planning on shrinking the Impala.

Lots of big things are coming about for the small car market. Let’s just hope these alternative options will offer style as well as function.

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100,000th Buick Lacrosse sold in China

100,000th Buick Lacrosse sold in China

The 2010 Buick Lacrosse is far from being one of the most desirable cars in the world, but, apparently, it’s not all that undesirable either. This is especially true in China where General Motors recently commemorated a milestone by selling the 100,000th Buick Lacrosse in the country.

What makes it even more impressive is that the premium sedan reached that number after only being in the Chinese market for less than a year. Also worth noting is that the car has also been given a number of awards in the country, including the 2009 China Car of the Year and the 2009 Champion Car of the Year.

It’s probably safe to say now that the car’s success in China is a testament to a market that’s embraced the car unlike any vehicle in the country’s history. You don’t need a rocket scientist to figure that one out because selling 100,000 vehicles in less than a year is all the proof you need.

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Buick and the PGA Tour end 50-year partnership

Buick and the PGA Tour end 50-year partnership

It seems like a PGA calendar isn’t complete without a Buick-sponsored event being mixed somewhere in there. But after everything that’s happened in the auto industry, the fifty-year partnership between Buick and the PGA has now reached the final hole.

For the longest time, Buick has been an institution in the US pro golf circuit, having sponsored a plethora of golf tournaments – including two big PGA events, the Buick Open and the Buick Invitational – over the years. The car brand’s latest tournament – and apparently, last one too – occurred barely a week ago when Tiger Woods bagged his fourth Buick Open title.

Details regarding the amicable split have been kept under wraps but if you’re one to read between the lines, it seems that GM’s current restricting may have had something to do with it.

GM’s restructuring has long been an open secret, especially considering that the company was dangerously close to being shelved altogether. Now that their slowly getting back on their feet, GM is hard at work in re-establishing their brands to once again become the major players they once were.

Continued after the jump.

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General Motors is a hit in China; American automaker establishes new sales record

General Motors is a hit in China; American automaker establishes new sales record

General Motors may be a long ways from getting back on its feet in the US, but in another country, the Detroit-based manufacturer is standing tall.

Despite a tenuous hold on the US auto market, GM can take comfort in the fact that they’re Chinese consumer base has more than picked up the slack, accounting for a whopping 814,442 vehicles in sales in the first six months of 2009.

It doesn’t come as the least bit surprising to us to see China establish themselves as the world’s leading auto market. After all, the country still comprises about 1/6th of the entire world’s population so naturally, that many people would entail a lot of customers too. GM also benefited through a number of stimulus policies the Chinese government has implemented, allowing foreign brands to import their products easier.

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Cadillac CTS Coupe and Buick LaCrosse to be delayed

Cadillac CTS Coupe and Buick LaCrosse to be delayed

The Cadillac CTS coupe and the new Buick LaCrosse were both supposed to premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, but now that’s been scrapped. This means that a cost-savings plans will now delay two significant cars that are significant to the future of General Motors.

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse will now be shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The new LaCrosse is supposed to be a car that will rejuvenate the Buick’s family car in a similar was to Chevrolet did with the latest Malibu.

There has been no announcement when CTS coupe has been rescheduled to make its debut. The CTS coupe is an angular design that will help Cadillac better take on the BMW 3-Series.

These two cars seems to be the victims of the latest in a series of actions GM has taken to cut costs in recent weeks. GM said on Thursday it would cut some benefit payments and would be forced to dismiss salaried staff because of the steep downturn in auto sales.

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GM to export Buick Enclaves to China

GM to export Buick Enclaves to China

In China, Buick’s heritage makes it a new and hip brand. In North America, its heritage makes it the brand for those who need a new hip. In fact, China accounted for about 34 percent of Buick’s total sales last year. So to help put the cars where the people want them the most, General Motors has now announced that Buick will now export its Enclave SUV to China. Buick is one of most popular brands in the country, but these are not the exact cars available in the U.S. The Buicks in China right now mostly are mostly original cars or designs borrowed from other GM brands such as Daewoo, Opel and Holden.

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Interview with GM General Manager: Edward J. Peper

Interview with GM General Manager: Edward J. Peper

Earlier this week, TopSpeed.com was graciously invited by GM to attend a press event on their famous Detroit test track ’Milford Proving Ground’. In the morning, we completed the safe driving program and test drove several GM vehicles. Later on, we met up for dinner with several other car bloggers and GM’s general manager, Edward J. Peper. Below are the highlights of the event.

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Buick line-up for the future

Buick line-up for the future

Automotive News has some details about the future Buick line in America, but there is reason to question whether their report is entirely accurate.
According to Mark LaNeve, vice-president of sales, service, and marketing at GM, the company believes the Buick line can be extended. “We think we’ve got room for expansion in the Buick lineup, and we see Buick over time hitting that space in the market where today Acura is, Volvo is - that’s its historic position, where it’s a cut above Dodge, (...)

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Buick Ranks Highest in Vehicle Dependability

Buick Ranks Highest in Vehicle Dependability

Buick has been recognized for building the most dependable vehicles in the automotive industry, according to an annual J.D. Power and Associates study released today.
According to the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), Buick improved eight points from third last year (153 PP100) to first (145 PP100), earning a share of the lead with Lexus. The VDS evaluates vehicle quality after three years of ownership. Owners rate vehicles based on problems experienced (...)

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Buick Velite a go for 2010

Buick Velite a go for 2010

In 2004, Buick displayed the Velite concept car, built for them by Bertone, at the New York Auto Show. Since then, the Velite’s look and its lines have been flowing into Buick’s production cars, both those face lifted and those which are all new. The just introduced Enclave crossover – which has sold so well that Buick dealers have had to institute waiting lists – is the first Buick to have its entire appearance modeled on the Velite theme. Word is, however, that the Velite will be more (...)

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Buick Velite into production?

Buick Velite into production?

Buick has confirmed that they will produce the fourth model of the company that will be probably a production version of the Velite Concept unveiled in 2004 at New York auto show.
The new model will be built on the Zeta platform (RWD architecture), also used in the Pontiac G8 and pending Chevy Camaro and will be BUick’s only RWD vehicle—Clarke sees no need to switch the front-wheel-drive LaCrosse and Lucerne sedans or the Enclave (...)

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TopSpeed Headline News

Smart For-Two extends. AutoWeek
GM applies marketing strategies. DetNews
Ford partnered with the Police to create entrapment situation. AutoExpress
Buick increasing street rep ? AutoWeek
Tony Schumacher dominating the NHRA. NHRA
Chrysler offers free test drives on all of their new models in a two-day event held at Lone Star Park in Prairie, Texas. (...)

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