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Next-gen LaCrosse, Cascada convertible coming to Buick showrooms in 2016Filed under: Convertible, Sedan, Crossover, Buick, Luxury It'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.Next-gen LaCrosse, Cascada convertible coming to Buick showrooms in 2016 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k carsFiled under: Recalls, Safety, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC 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.Continue reading GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k carsGM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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NHTSA investigating more than 300k Chevy Impala sedans for airbagsFiled under: Sedan, Safety, Chevrolet, GM The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating vehicles from General Motors (if we had a nickel for every time we've written that this year). This time around, 320,000 Chevrolet Impala sedans from model year 2008 (the above photo is a 2011 model) are the focus, thanks to a defect petition filed way back in November, which NHTSA has just now opted to take a closer look at. This isn't a formal investigation just yet, although it could evolve into one depending on the review of the petition. Donald Friedman, from Xprts, LLC, filed the original complaint, which focuses on the passenger airbag's Occupant Classification System. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Friedman and Xprts aren't the only safety-focused folks asking NHTSA to take a closer look at the last-generation Impala. Clarence Ditlow and the Center for Auto Safety have also called out the OCS on certain last-gen Impalas. In those cases, a bad algorithm in the system would prevent the airbag from deploying if a seat's occupant bounced out ahead the impact. While Xprts' complaint doesn't get into OCS specifics, it does call out the "software logic and algorithm," according to The Detroit News. The focus of the investigation revolves around a crash involving an elderly Texas couple and their 2008 Impala. Both occupants weighed around 170 pounds, yet only the driver's-side airbag deployed. The passenger airbag, meanwhile, was kept from deploying by the OCS. Despite this case, NHTSA "has not identified reports indicating the presence of an OCS related defect in the 2004-2014 Impala," it said in a statement. "However, and in an abundance of caution, an evaluation of a limited scope of GM models, which will include a request for potentially related data on the MY 2007 to 2009 Impala, will be conducted to further evaluate the petitioner's allegations." GM spokesman Alan Adler has told The News that the embattled company "will cooperate with NHTSA on its request for information. While the agency has 'out of an abundance of caution' asked for information on certain models of Impalas in the original defect petition, it is important to note that the agency has not opened a formal investigation." More on this as it develops.NHTSA investigating more than 300k Chevy Impala sedans for airbags originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler taxFiled under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Performance, Wagon, Government/Legal, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Luxury The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale. Beyond knowing that it existed, and occasionally seeing a surcharge for it listed on the specification sheet for a press car I'd been loaned, I didn't really understand how the GGT worked or was calculated. Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency makes learning about the GGT (and a lot of other stuff) pretty simple. EPA.gov has a clearly written explanation of the tax and the tax schedule. That schedule, operating with miles-per-gallon ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, clearly lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. Basically, if a car's combined fuel economy rating is 22.5 mpg or higher it's off the hook ­- trucks, minivans and SUVs are all exempt from the GGT - if the rating is lower, per vehicle taxes range from $1,000 to $7,700 for the very thirstiest. Simple, right?Continue reading 40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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