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Buick Wins AutoPacific 2010 Award as Top Popular Brand

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Buick_VSA-Logo.jpgBuick and Cadillac Win Top Brand Awards Buick wins the AutoPacific 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for top Popular Brand. Buick’s feat completes a General Motors sweep of brand winners – Cadillac wins as top Premium Brand.
With three vehicles – LaCrosse, Lucerne and Enclave – Buick has achieved superior scores overall topping Honda, Ford, GMC, Mercury and Hyundai among Popular Brands. Some might contend Buick is a Premium Brand. If Buick had been included in the Premium Brand list it would have come in behind Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln. Buick’s performance is excellent whatever class the brand is entered into.
Class Without Ostentation With a “mature” buyer base, Buick has to score highly in ease of use, easy to get into and out of, comfort and quietness. A Buick buyer demands transportation that does not challenge them or their neighbors. They want a vehicle that conveys class without ostentation. With Buick, they have it.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.


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Autopacific Announces 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

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AutoPacVSAlogo10.jpgNational Survey Reveals Cadillac as Top Premium Brand, Buick as Top Popular Brand, Ford Motor Company Has Most Awards with Seven, Suzuki Kizashi as Top Car and Lincoln MKT as Top Truck
TUSTIN, Calif. (May 20, 2010) — AutoPacific today announced its 14th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) to help consumers make informed vehicle purchase decisions.
“While the auto industry is showing signs of improvement, more than ever before, manufacturers need to be able to differentiate themselves. Proof of satisfied customers is as good as gold,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “We’ve found that more than 25% of new car buyers are positively influenced by owner-based awards like the VSA when deciding on a new car or truck.”
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is an industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new car or light truck. This study by the Southern California-based automotive research firm summarizes the results of over 42,000 new vehicle owners.
“Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes,” says Peterson. “The winners perform well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience.”


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Recalls and Used-Car Shopping: GM and Carfax Team Up

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Being a company focused firmly forward, we don’t talk used cars much. But a program like this deserves some virtual ink.
Recalls have been in the news this year like rarely before. The depth and scope of Toyota’s problems has increased sensitivity to any manufacturer’s recalls–and make no mistake, there are many issued. Most not so severe as Toyota’s problems with accelerator shims, but out there all the same.
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Half of the equation for ensuring cars on the road have had any recall work performed is in the owner’s hands. Often, owners ignore recall notices, particularly for minor issues, or figure it’ll get handled with the next oil change, to have it fall off today’s crowded to-do lists.
GM and Carfax announced a measure of help for anyone looking to purchase a used vehicle, making it easier to find out if the car was affected by a recall and if the work was done. GM is providing VINs to Carfax of millions of Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, GMCs, Saabs, Saturns, Pontiacs, and Hummers with open recalls.


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2010 Buick LaCrosse Finds a Sweet Spot

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Bui_10_LaCrosseCXS_3a.jpgWe recently spent a morning with Buick LaCrosse, the star of the Buick showroom for 2010MY. You know by now that Buick is one of the four core brands that GM retained post-bankruptcy. Wildly successful in China, the brand has challenges in the States, evidenced by Chevrolet Camaro outselling the entire brand in June 2009– an atypically high month for Camaro that also speaks to the sad shape of Buick sales today.
Buick needs to connect with buyers who have not hit exit-level, and they know it. Based on our first drive, the 2010 LaCrosse has product credibility to build on the success Enclave started. As Buick navigates a renaissance inspired by Cadillac’s success, the LaCrosse is a strong, firm step forward.


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Survey Indicates Ford Benefits From Troubles Of Others And Not Taking Bailout

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07AnnualMtg_9387_HR.jpgPublic Responds Positively to Ford’s Actions, but Some Still Have Reservations
TUSTIN, Calif. (June 17, 2009) — American consumers’ opinions about Ford Motor Company have been positively influenced by the company’s decision not to accept government bailout funds, and by the bankruptcy filings of rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Automotive research and analysis firm AutoPacfic conducted an online survey of more than 900 U.S. consumers regarding their purchase intent and opinions of individual car companies. Highlights include:
* Asian and European manufacturers scored highest when the survey asked “How concerned are you about buying/leasing a vehicle from” a particular maker, with an average of 61% “Not concerned at all.” Ford scored 48%, far ahead of GM’s 15% and Chrysler’s 14%.


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Does Bailout Money End Up Killing GM?

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It’s been a busy weekend. President Obama is preparing his speech to the country about the future needs of automakers. And, before the dawn breaks on Monday, it’s already being reported that GM boss Rick Wagoner is done. According to sources within GM and quoted by mainstream media, CEO Rick Wagoner will step down at the request of the Obama administration. Does Wagner leaving improve GM’s chances for survival, or was the self-inflicted damage back in November, combined with taking money from the Feds the ultimate undoing of the nation’s largest automaker?


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2009 NAIAS: 2010 Buick LaCrosse

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Buick introduces the latest LaCrosse in Detroit. The mid-size sedan segment is still the largest, and with a three-vehicle lineup, LaCrosse is critical to Buick success. The LaCrosse is also the first U.S. production Buick to have its exterior styling led by GM’s group in China. Don’t let the idea discourage you; this is a good-looking sedan. Buick also ups the ante with technology features (side assist and adaptive forward headlights among them) to the brand and a notably improved interior (designed in the States). There are new engines, as well as available all-wheel drive for some models. The new LaCrosse will go on sale later in 2009.

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More photos and the full release follow the jump.


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Exhaust Notes #32: More Detroit Merger Talk

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Are we nearing the end of Chrysler? Or the beginning of a new blended family? Or just another day at the rumor mill?
Late on Friday, the first stories began appearing about GM and Chrysler in possible merger talks. And at least in Detroit, dominated the weekend news cycle. GM’s stock went up this morning, but given that the Dow was up 5.6% and GM went up only about 3%, the stock bump might have happened without merger talk. GM closed on Friday at $4.89, a number some say is actually less than the company would be worth in capital assets alone.

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All of this merger talk, whether these deals are realistic or not, does nothing good for public perception. The economy is weak, last week’s events on the stock market don’t reassure anyone, and talking about GM and Chrysler perhaps needing to merge to survive only further erodes confidence in American business. While GM and Chrysler LLC, as well as any other maker in trouble right now, needs to consider even unthinkable options and test our common assumptions as they get out of this trouble, this merger does not inspire hope.


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2009 Ford Flex vs. 2008 Buick Enclave – On the Road Comparison

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We have now driven all three General Motors Lambda Crossover SUVs on the market and the all-new Ford Flex Crossover SUV. While we have had a week apiece in the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, we’ll use the Enclave as the comparison vehicle because it is most recent.

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Buick Enclave F34 VehicleVoice.jpg


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2008 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance

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On August 3, I finally returned to one of my favorite summer events, the annual Meadow Brook Concours d’ Elegance. Held the first weekend of August every year since 1979, this Concours is one of the premier events of its type. Not quite as prestigious as the Pebble Beach Concours happening the weekend of August 16 (yes, the same weekend as Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise), Meadow Brook has earned a strong reputation. For me, it’s simply a chance to wander among cars from storied brands of today and yesterday. Delahaye, Packard, Auburn, Duesenburg, Pierce-Arrow, Studebaker, Peugeot, Ferrari, Cadillac, Lincoln, Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, the list goes on and on.

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As you enter the Concours d’Elegance, the show starts.

Meadow Brook is home to a mansion of the same name built by the widow of John Dodge, one of the two Dodge brothers that helped establish the automotive industry we know today. The home and its property now belongs to Oakland University. Aside from the sheer joy and pleasure of celebrating the automobile as an art from, the event’s purpose is to raise funds for upkeep of the 88,000-square-foot mansion and its grounds. Seems a fitting choice of fundraising event.
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