- Dec 11, 2005
- Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
- 1997 BMW 528i
Buick lineup to get Chinese-infusion
Judging by the positive reception the Chinese-marketed Buicks have been receiving here in the States, GM would be ill-advised to continue offering the same warmed-over products that it's been selling over the past decade. According to Automotive News, the General sees the writing on the wall and intends to go global with the new look of Buick, originally shown at the Shanghai Motor Show in the shape of the Riviera concept.
The idea is to make Buick an affordable luxury brand here in the States, and it has plans on offering a number of new vehicles to the U.S. market that will take on the high-end competitors from Japan.
To begin with, the Excelle, a small sedan, is set to be released sometime in 2008, based off the Alpha platform currently under development in Germany, while the next iteration of the LaCrosse will come in 2009 and will be based off of GM's Epsilon 2 underpinnings. The Lucerne will get a full makeover in 2011 and will be built around the RWD Zeta platform, and the Rainier, Rendezvous and Terraza will die off after the current production run, and replaced with the new Enclave.
Buick's move to become more things to more people is the only way the marque will survive, and judging by what's in the pipeline, the automaker actually has a chance at success.
Hummer H4 no longer just a concept vehicle
Hummer dealers from around the nation recently gathered in California to attend the annual Hummer All-Dealer meeting. The meeting showcases upcoming products such as the Hummer H3 Alpha and the upgraded 2008 Hummer H2, as well longer term concepts like the H3T and HX. HX is the name Hummer has given to the most heavily rumored concept vehicle which will be designed to compete with the Jeep Wrangler ? some are calling it the H4. Whatever name you want to call it, it?s coming. Martin Walsh, Hummer?s General Manager, used the meeting to officially announce that the HX will be available at dealerships in 2010 as a 2011 model, and is no longer just a concept vehicle. Walsh went one step further, but opening a curtain revealing the HX to the lucky few at the meeting. GM reps were on hand to make sure attendees wouldn?t even remove cell phones, which may have picture capabilities, from their pocket. However, we?ve got a pretty good description.
The first impression of the two door and four seating HX is unmistakably a Hummer. This is mainly due to the design of the front, incorporating similar grille, headlights, and bumper designs from previous Hummer models. The high metal to glass ratio, and design of the doors also kept Hummer?s iconic design. Overall, the vehicle was much shorter in overall height and wheelbase and appeared more car-like than its larger counterparts. The model shown had very large, aggressive tires, which may or may not be standard (most likely not). Some of the most unique abilities of the Hummer HX are the removable panels. The two doors are completely removable, as well are panels on the roof. The model on display had everything intact, so it would be hard to tell what kind of open air feeling the removable panels give you ? and whether it feels more like a convertible or a T-top. Also removable are the fender flares, which can be taken off to lessen the likelihood of damage during off-roading. The rear of the HX will have an optional slant back, similar to the original Humvee option. ?The vehicle almost looked like an enclosed dune buggy with big aggressive tires and exposed shocks,? said one attendee, ?And it didn?t have a cheap, flimsy-looking exterior like a Wrangler.?
The Hummer HX will be the 5th vehicle in Hummer?s lineup, since the fourth vehicle, the H3T will be making its debut at dealerships in the Summer of 08. Unfortunately, we have another three years to see the Hummer HX (H4?) produced.
Cadillac nixing the barges, introducing new BRX CUV and RWD sedans
For eons, the image of a Cadillac ingrained into our minds was that of an XL cruiser wafting down the highway consuming asphalt and small rodents without complaint. That perspective is set to change, as Cadillac plans to drop the slow-selling STS and DTS models, and instead focus its efforts on creating another CUV, a new mid-sized sedan and an entry-level RWD offering.
The plans to redesign the SRX crossover have been nixed due to poor sales, and in its place a new V6-powered, five-passenger CUV, likely to be dubbed the BRX, will go on sale in 2009. More importantly, Cadillac plans to focus its sporting credentials by expanding the CTS lineup to include both a wagon and a coupe, all in an effort to sway consumers interested in the segment-leading BMW 3-series.
Going after the Bavarian boys won't be easy, so in addition to the expansion of the CTS line, Cadillac's replacement for the STS and DTS will take aim at the BMW 5-series, with a high-performance RWD sedan. That, coupled with a proposed entry-level sedan will round out the new Cadillac lineup.
Although the Automotive News article doesn't cite a timeframe for this somewhat radical proposal, we'd expect to see some of Cadillac's new wares popping up in quick order, beginning in Detroit next year.
GM's future involves a new CUV in 2011
Stricter mileage standards being voted on by the government is already taking its toll on automakers like GM, which now have to shift focus onto smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles. Traditional bread winners such as big heavy SUVs are being phased out by a new generation of smaller and more car-like crossover models.
To ensure that it can retain buyers downsizing from large SUVs to more fuel-efficient models, GM will be introducing a new compact crossover to essentially replace the Pontiac Torrent (pictured). However, under its new brand strategy, Pontiac will be strictly for cars while GMC will be responsible for truck sales, which means the new model will be branded as a Buick or Chevrolet.
It isn't the end of the road yet for GM's full-sized SUV models. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUV will be equipped with hybrid options to ensure they continue beyond the current generations. The Acadia large CUV is also planned to receive a V8 in a couple of years, while the Envoy SUV from GMC will likely suffer the same fate as the Trailblazer.