Tag: Buick

Designers Boost Glitz Factor With Latest Dashboards

By Dan Carney

It in the past, it was pretty simple: A dashboard was a wooden (later steel, then plastic) board on to which a car’s instruments were mounted. Of course, that was when phones still had buttons to press (or a rotary dial).

Today, smart phones present a blank sheet of glass that can show, among other things, a virtual representation of buttons for dialing. And now cars are following suit, with LCD displays that may show a simulation of good old circular analog instruments. Or maybe a wallpaper photo of your kids.

These can make from some pretty cool-looking instrument displays, as drivers are increasingly able to customize their dash displays to suit their whims, as they’ve long been able to do with their computer and phone displays.

The upcoming Cadillac XTS will lead in this area with a huge, customizable video display for its instrument panel that lets driver choose among different display styles such as traditional and contemporary. The XTS isn’t quite ready for showrooms, so today corporate siblings Jaguar and Land Rover have the most advanced virtual instrument panel in the XJ and Range Rover models. These innovations let the driver substitute navigation or entertainment information for one of the faux circular instruments, for example.

That’s possibly because a reconfigurable display allows you to show anything — even video — on the dashboard. That’s how Mercedes-Benz uses the LCD display panel in its S-Class model to show an infrared night vision image of the road ahead.

The challenge with night vision images is putting them where a driver — who should really be looking at the road ahead — can see them. Absent the mil-spec (really, it was from defense contractor Hughes), head-up night vision display that Cadillac and Hummer vehicles used to offer, Mercedes’ positioning of the display comes close.

Speaking of head-up displays (HUDs), General Motors deserves a shoutout for its projection of critical data on the inside of the windshield of many of its models, from Chevrolets to Buicks and Cadillacs. It doesn’t make the dashboard itself look any cooler, but it’s neat to see a digital speedometer appear to float in space over the car’s hood. This is a critical feature in sneaky-fast models like the Corvette, where a constant reminder of the car’s speed is a valuable ticket-avoidance tool.

But HUDs are expensive, limiting their application to high-end models like Corvettes. So Honda deserves kudos for the Civic’s dashboard, a multilevel design that positions a large digital speedometer as high and close to the windshield as possible. No, the speed number doesn’t float in air over the hood, but by making it as large, high, and far from the driver as possible, it’s easier for the driver to see the number without having to drastically refocus vision or attention.

Finally, if all this technology seems like overload, there’s a tribute to a dashboard packed with traditional circular analog instruments.

Rather than dazzling drivers with virtual reality, the instrument panel in the Cadillac SRX dazzles them with its design. Cadillac stylists carefully manage light, faceted clear plastic and chromed surfaces to produce a jeweled dashboard that might not provide video images or holographic data floating in the air, but it does look spectacular at night.

Read more: Here.

Why GM’s Buick brand is on a roll


December 22, 2011 – 11:36 am ET

Once scorned for unimaginative vehicles, General Motors’ Buick brand is on a roll these days.

Here’s why.

The Buick Verano was a finalist in Motor Trend‘s recent Car of the Year competition. In fact, I heard the Verano missed the coveted award by a hair. If a more powerful engine was available — and it’s coming in 2012 — the car likely would have captured that title.

The Verano is a compact sedan that shares a platform with the Chevrolet Cruze. Beyond that, the car has unique exterior and interior styling, powertrains, and there’s a wide range of quiet tuning.

My prediction is the Verano will be a hit, but it’s too early for a sales analysis — four cars were sold in November as production was winding up.

Enclave’s sales are on a record pace. Here’s a crossover that is bucking conventional wisdom. The vehicle debuted way back in 2007 and has changed little since its introduction. Sales should be in a downward spiral. Instead, they are headed for Buick’s record book.

So what’s going on? Is the sales boom linked to a heavy incentive blitz? No. Simply, the styling remains appealing. Credit the upswing in the market for taking Enclave with it. Buick sold 52,837 Enclaves through November, an 8 percent boost from the same period last year.

And the brand’s overall sales are up 18 percent this year. Through November, 162,659 Buicks rolled out of dealerships — and that’s without Verano sales and its new crossover.

Speaking of Buick’s crossover, these eyes have seen the Encore, that’s the name of the new model. Sales should keep GM’s accountants happy. The compact is attractive, and, as previously reported in Automotive News, the crossover is based on a platform evolved from the Chevrolet’s Sonic. Here’s a news flash: It’s bigger than the Sonic.

The Encore will debut at the Detroit auto show. Production kicks up in November or December.

GM, still 32-percent owned by you, me, and the rest of the U.S. taxpayers, needs to show its many stakeholders and Wall Street that it can surprise and delight buyers with new products. That means reinventing its brands. With the Verano and Encore, it looks like Buick will hold up its end of the deal.

You can reach Rick Kranz at rkranz@crain.com.
Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20111222/BLOG06/111229960#ixzz1hk6re2xq

Buick Has a Way to Cure Winter Blues

DETROIT – With the depths of winter weather approaching, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts lower-than-normal temperatures chilling New England, the Midwest, and the Southwest. For many drivers that means frigid upholstery, icy windows, and the fear of being let stranded on a snowy roadside.

Inside the 2012 Buick Verano, the forecast calls for safe, comfortable driving.

Buick’s new newest luxury sedan offers stay-warm features generally reserved for more expensive vehicles. Its optional heated steering wheel, for example, isn’t available in a Lexus IS250, Acura TSX, Infiniti G25, or Audi A3.

Customers have noticed. Karen Schindler, who bought her Verano at Dave Sinclair Buick in St. Louis, described the heated steering wheel as a “big surprise,” adding that she “really loves it” and that it gives Verano “great value for the price.”

Leather-equipped Veranos also come standard with heated front seats that warm automatically via remote start when the ambient temperature is below 45 degrees. The key fob-controlled starting feature standard on every Verano also activates the car’s climate control, rear defroster, and optional heated side mirrors.

“We wanted to go the extra mile to give Verano that ‘wow’ factor,” said product manager Michael Danowski. “Everyone has heated seats, but no one in the segment has a heated steering wheel or our remote start and automatic-warming features. If you park outside in the winter like me, you’ll start wondering how you ever lived without them.”

The six months of free OnStar service included with every Verano extends remote start capability for smartphone users. The RemoteLink app – offered at no cost for compatible Apple and Android phones — allows the car to be started, locked, or unlocked from beyond the key fob’s 200-foot range. The app can also be used to pre-load a turn-by-turn navigation destination or check engine oil life and tire pressures.

OnStar subscribers are also protected by Automatic Crash Response and roadside assistance. A reliable link to these services can prove invaluable during a winter storm.

Snowfall is expected to be above normal this year for most of the country. Verano comes standard with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, which can apply braking at each individual wheel to keep the car on its intended course. Additionally, standard Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted radio controls keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Safety systems like these, plus 10 standard air bags, helped Verano  be named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2012. Every Buick model sold today is a Top Safety Pick.

The 2012 Buick Verano is available at dealerships now with a suggested starting price of $23,470.

(Article courtesy of GM Media and can be viewed here.)