GM news you might’ve missed
August 16, 2009
GM news you might’ve missed
Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet have key models coming
BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC revealed a fleet of exciting and important new vehicles this week, but the news got lost in the hubbub over the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car’s projected 230-m.p.g. EPA rating.
Not to take anything away from the Volt, but if you’re interested in the other 2.8 million or so vehicles GM hopes to sell annually in 2012, here are some highlights.
- Buick: Starved for new models for years, GM’s would-be Lexus-fighter is in line for a bonanza.
In addition to the sophisticated LaCrosse sedan that goes on sale shortly, Buick is to get a compact sedan and a midsize sedan.
Both cars borrow some styling cues from GM’s successful European Opel brand. That’s most obvious in the midsize, which bears a strong resemblance to the Opel Insignia, Europe’s reigning car of the year.
The midsize model will probably be called the Regal when it goes on sale next year. The yet-unnamed compact should hit the road in 2011.
Buick will add a compact crossover that shares some of its looks and technology with the Opel Antara.
The crossover will come in conventional, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The compact crossover probably goes on sale in 2010, with the hybrid and plug-in models following in 2011.
Buick is also to get a second smaller crossover SUV in 2011.
Look for the portholes atop the LaCrosse’s grille to become a signature element across Buick’s model line.
The question of what Buick will do to create a flagship model above the LaCrosse remains open.
- Cadillac: GM’s luxury brand will build on the CTS sport sedan’s strength with a sport wagon that goes on sale shortly and a dramatically styled coupe that follows in 2010 or 2011. Cadillac also plans to add an all-new SRX crossover this year.
Look for Cadillac to add completely new models to expand the top and bottom of its size range between now and 2012.
A smaller sport sedan and coupe will use GM’s new Alpha global vehicle architecture. The rear-wheel drive platform is slightly smaller than the CTS.
The new car was developed to compete head-to-head with the iconic BMW 3-series, but at a lower price.
All-wheel drive and station wagon variants are not out of the question. The car’s styling is very consistent with the CTS.
Cadillac will also add a larger car to replace the current STS and DTS sedans.
A model of the car revealed a long wheelbase and spacious passenger cabin. The car appears considerably larger and roomier than competitors like the Mercedes-Benz E-class.
The sedan’s design had some of the modern elegance that distinguishes leading luxury sedans like the Audi A8.
- Chevrolet: The next generation of Chevy’s subcompact Aveo — almost certain to be built in GM’s Orion Township plant — has a wedgy body, dramatic lights and styling that add new flair to the car. Chevrolet will also add a smaller car, the tiny and aggressive Spark.
The Cruze sedan will offer amenities including leather upholstery to bolster an expected 40-m.p.g.-plus EPA rating when it goes on sale next year.
The Orlando, a substantial-looking compact minivan/crossover, promises interior room for seven 6-footers and fuel economy well over 30 m.p.g.
The award-winning Malibu sedan gets a total makeover in 2012, when it becomes sleeker, wider and moves to a 3- or 4-inch-shorter wheelbase. Chevrolet says the new dimensions increase passenger and luggage room.
The inevitable replacement for Chevrolet’s popular Impala large sedan remains a mystery.
- GMC: In addition to the brawny Terrain compact crossover coming this fall, the truck brand may add a tough-looking little crossover van.
Nothing’s set, but the vehicle could use either the compact car architecture that underpins the Chevrolet Cruze and Buick compact sedan or the subcompact engineering of the Chevy Aveo and small Buick crossover.