The unlikely story of how a brand that almost died has returned stronger than ever.
GM is recalling 64,186 examples of the 2011-2013 Volt because carbon monoxide can build up if the plug-in hybrid sedan is accidentally left idling in an enclosed location. Separately, the company is issuing a stop sale on roughly 2,300 units of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax and 2015 Buick Encore because of possible power steering failure.
Improvements to the 2015 Buick Encore are reaping big rewards for the popular compact crossover. Where a previous one scored a Poor result in the small overlap crash test from the IIHS, the latest model improved that to Good. Both the Encore and Chevrolet Trax now have Top Safety Pick ratings.
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
General Motors today announced a truly massive recall covering some 8.4 million vehicles in North America. Most significantly, 8.2 million examples of the affected vehicles are being called back due to "unintended ignition key rotation," though GM spokesperson Alan Adler tells Autoblog that this issue is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch fiasco.
With its first full year of sales in the bag, it's safe to say that Buick has a hit on its hands with the Encore. US buyers have snatched up 31,046 of the small, premium crossovers since the Encore went on sale in January of 2013, while 97,311 were sold globally (not counting its counterparts from Opel and Vauxhall).
For years, GMC has existed as a brand without a single unique product, reconstituting Chevrolet trucks, SUVs and crossovers with more frosting in exchange for a few extra dollars. The Sierra is a Silverado, the Acadia a Traverse, and the Terrain an Equinox, although admittedly the latter pair are visually differentiated to a significant degree.
If there are any lingering doubts why General Motors held onto Buick while killing Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn, one only has to look at the sales numbers from 2013 for the real answer. Thanks largely to strong sales in China, Buick set a global sales record last year by selling more than one million vehicles.
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