The cars we loved.
Lately Buick seems to be in the middle of a suprising renaissance with inspiration coming from the strangest places. In China, Buick is the number 1 auto seller, beating out VW as the sales champ for 3 years in a row. I don’t know what makes the Buick brand so special in China, but over here it’s mostly associated with the elderly, golf and all things uncool. Over there it’s the kind of sporting aspirational brand that it was once in the US during the 60s and 70s.
Here older people prefered Buick forits quite, comfortable rides and reliability. In China, those attributes carried over, but were seen by young newly mented professionals as a status symbol. By bypassing the popular Asian makes, the Chinese consumer may have been chasing the dream of wealth and status made popular by the American culture machine (Hollywood).
Another part of the formula for success in China is a reinvigorated GM design team assigned to its largest market. Some of that magic has rubbed off on recent US Buick models like the Luceren, but only now have we received a Buick truly worth being excited about.
Enter the 2010 LaCross. Gone is the old W Body platform based car with its old school engines. The new car features advanced engineering based on the Epsilon II platform shared with Opel’s new Insignia and Saab’s 9-5. The new car was a joint design exercise between US and Chinese GM design studios. The LaCross will be built in only two locations: Kansas City, Kansas, in the USA and Shanghai, China.
The end result is a sleek car with attributes of Asian and American design themes. The LaCrosse will replace both the American and Chinese versions. Versions with slight modifications will be sold in Mexico,Canada and S. Korea.Three modern engines will be offered with two V6 options first: a 3.0 and 3.6 L with 280 hp replacing the V8 in the 2009 CXS model. A Ecotec 2.4 L 4 will be available later. The new V6 engines called High Feature by GM, use continuously variable cam phasing and electronic throttle control. As Buicks untypically go, a 6-speed automatic and manual transmission will be offered. Buyers can also opt for front or all wheel drive.
The interior is one of the best that GM has ever created. Carrying the theme of organic modernist themes started with the Enclave SUV. Buick in general seems to be leading the style renaissance that Cadillac started with a slew of interesting cars to rollout in the next few years, including a new Regal and possibly Rivera. Based on the looks alone, the new LaCross should be as big a seller in Houston as in Hong Kong. Watch out Lexus, the handicap parking spot has never looked sexier.