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.
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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.
We are going to start betting on the fact that Top Gear USA is going to be a household name by the time it wraps up its third season. The show is gaining fans all over and the naysayers of the show are starting to come around.
And why shouldn’t they? With the funny challenges, the decent reviews, and the big stars, Top Gear USA is building itself up rather nicely. Let’s just hope that the balloon doesn’t deflate before we can win our little bet.
In this week’s episode, the guys from Top Gear USA run a few old GM models through a series of challenges to see which one should reenter production, Tony Hawk takes the Subaru around the Top Gear USA test track, and the news segment comes around again.
UPDATE 12/21/2010: Check out Top Gear USA’s rendering of their 2011 Buick Roadmaster in the gallery!
Hit the jump to see all of the details for this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
There are certain vehicles that just sell well. Take the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for instance. No matter what happens or how good the competition is, these two will sell well for their companies. We’re not saying that there is anything wrong with these two models, except for the Camry, which is dull as a dishwasher, but a buyer needs to look at what else is on the table. The first choice might not be the best choice.
In many cases, the cars that are often ignored are the better buys. These are the dark horses of the automotive world. These are cars that fly under the radar of the American public.
Below are our ten best cars that aren’t quite known to the general public. Sure, us car people know about them, but your average consumer might be unaware. This list is not a top ten; so don’t think that one is better than ten, because it might not be.
There are a few models on the list that won’t be under the radar for long, but as of now, we still consider them dark horse models.
Hit the jump to see the list.
Back in 2008, there was a buzz in the air about Buick bringing a small car to the U.S. side of the pond. Now, about two years later, the buzz has been spotted and it comes in the form of China’s Buick Excelle. This small sedan, expected to be even smaller than the Regal, is reported to be produced at GM Orion plant which is expected to produce about 60,000 of these puppies. There are plans for the Buick to be sold in Europe, but sources say the main markets will be that of China and the U.S.
The Baby Buick may feature engine options from under the hood of the Chevy Cruze which means we may expect to see a four-cylinder, 1.6, and 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a 2.0-liter turbo diesel. A lithium-ion battery may also be in the running if Buick is seriously considering attracting more buyers. A hybrid or electric vehicle seems to be a good investment to make if auto brands want to take their auto making futures seriously.
Buick has not been able to revive its brand successfully and the move for a smaller sedan over to the states and the elimination of trim-level badging may be just what they need to increase their market share.
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.