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    Buick Week: 2013 Buick Verano Full Review


    December 3, 2012

    Drew Dowdell

    Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com

    It is Buick Week here at Cheers and Gears this week and each day we will be featuring an article about one of the new Buicks. We start off with Buick's re-entry to the compact segment, the 2013 Buick Verano.

    Buick has dabbled in the compact sedan market off and on since the 1960’s. After an initially successful run with the Special/Skylark in 1961, Buick’s compacts quickly grew in size and out of that segment of being true compact cars. In the mid 1960’s, Buick began importing Opels from Germany to sell as a captive, compact Buick-Opel sub-brand. The exchange rate between the Dollar and the Mark conspired with some questionable engineering to keep Opel’s sales low in the US. With the Opel’s failure to catch on, by the end of the 1970s Buick returned to American built, badge-engineered compacts that were shared with nearly every division inside of GM. Buick has technically not sold a car in the compact sedan class since the J-body Skyhawk went out of production in 1989.

    The 2013 Verano rides on GM’s Delta II compact car platform. There is an instinctual reaction in North America to call the Verano a Buick re-badged Chevrolet Cruze and while the Cruze is a fine compact in its own right, this would be inaccurate. For their new entry to the compact market, Buick went back to its history with Opel and as such, the Buick Verano is a much closer relation to the Opel Astra sedan developed and sold in Europe than it is to the Korean developed Chevy Cruze.

    Is there really such a thing as a compact luxury car?

    sml_gallery_51_515_796417.png
    Contrary to its small stature, the Verano looks the part of a premium compact car. Out front is Buick’s trademark waterfall grille along with portholes on each side of the hood. Along the cleanly styled side, the Verano eschews the sweep spear design cue of its biggest brothers the LaCrosse and Enclave, opting instead for the hockey stick design cue used on the middle sibling, the Buick Regal and their Opel cousins back in the old country. Around back are a pair of angry chrome eyebrows over the tail lights that were hard to digest at first, but I learned to love them over time as they give a very distinctive look that few, if any, cars today have. Filling out the wheel wells are a fairly standard looking set of 18” alloy wheels. My only complaint on the exterior is the overly large license plate cut-out in the front fascia. It is much too large for those of us in front plate states, it is pointless for those of us in rear-plate-only states, and it detracts from the look of the otherwise handsome front end.

    Inside, however, is where Buick makes its best case yet for a premium car in the compact class. Decked out in a handsome two tone design, the Verano looks the part of a high end luxury car. Plush yet supportive leather seats are an excellent place to spend some hours driving. Finding a comfortable seating position was easy, though I am disappointed that a “premium” car does not have a power seat recline. Front passengers are even more disappointed that they have no power seat at all. In front of the driver is a fairly standard GM steering wheel with all of the familiar controls located at your thumb tips. The gauges glow in indigo blue that has become a bit of a Buick trademark, though the font size of the numbers is a bit small. The engine start/stop button is not in the standard place on the dash, but rather at the top left of the center instrument panel. Even after a week of driving the Verano, I had to think about which button to push to start it up.

    The HVAC controls are simple enough to operate, but the infotainment system can get a little confusing as sometimes your instinct is to use the hardware buttons and sometimes to use the touch screen. This Verano came with the upgraded Bose 9-speaker sound system and to be honest, considering the $595 up-charge I wasn’t very impressed as it doesn't seem to offer much depth or clarity over the standard GM systems I'm used to.

    sml_gallery_51_515_239135.png
    If it isn’t quiet inside, it isn’t a Buick. The quiet-tuning in the Verano really does its job well, keeping road, wind, and engine noise out. We took the Verano from Pittsburgh, PA to Manassas, Virginia for the holiday. In our extensive testing, rear passengers, especially those under the age of 10, during long trips ended up falling asleep about 30 minutes into the ride and slept for most of our 300 mile journeys. I very much enjoyed the quiet serenity in the car during my morning commutes into the city.

    On our return trip, I was fairly well exhausted and asked my partner, who hates driving and simply doesn’t understand what us car guys are going on about, to drive at least the first half of the trip and then we could switch over. At the half-way point, he wouldn’t give the Verano back! By the time we made it to Pittsburgh, he decided he wanted one.

    The trunk is deep, with a wide opening for easy access, though you must be mindful of the gooseneck trunk lid supports so they don’t crush your luggage. I did feel that having the backs of the speakers exposed and so visible in the trunk was a glaring omission in the level of finish on this car.

    But does it have Buick power?

    Well yes and no. Buick opted for the tried and true 2.4 liter direct injected 4-cylinder producing 180 horsepower at 6700 rpm and 171 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm. The gearing in the 6-speed automatic is set up to give you spritely starts and an adequate amount of passing power on the highway. Darting around town can be quite sporty feeling, but try passing on an uphill climb with a full load of passengers and luggage and the Verano gets a bit breathless. You’ll pay for that sporty low-end gearing at the pump with a mediocre 21mpg city EPA rating and an unimpressive 32mpg highway. There are larger vehicles with more power that can beat those figures. On the return of our 367 mile trip, we averaged 27.9mpg with 4 passengers and a full trunk. Calling on its Germanic roots, the Verano handles very well for a front wheel drive compact sedan. While it is tuned for a comfortable ride, it leaves plenty of firmness intact for cornering and overall responsiveness.

    Has Buick hit the mark in the premium compact market?

    As far as I’m concerned, the answer is a resounding yes. Buick has been absent from this segment since 1989 but has produced a car that has a premium feel to it and with a price tag starting at just $23,080. For your $23,000 and change, you leave the dealership with a car that acts and feels like a much more expensive model.

    But no need to take my word for it, Buick went from selling zero compacts per month to selling 3,500 Veranos per month in less than a year. Total sales for 2012 as of November 30th are 36,222. The Acura ILX (1,529/month - 7,658 Jan-Nov) and Audi A3 (400/month - 6,808 Jan-Nov), the Verano's closest competition, aren’t even close.

    Be sure to stop back tomorrow for a First Drive of the 2013 Buick Enclave.

    If you like this review, please share it with your friends using the share buttons below.

    Cheers:

    Vault quiet

    Comfortable front seats

    Good rear leg room for a compact

    Jeers:

    Fuel Economy

    Front license plate space

    No power front passenger set, not even an option

    No power driver seat recline

    Disclaimer: Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.

    Year - 2013

    Make – Buick

    Model – Verano

    Trim – Leather Group with Nav

    Engine – 2.4L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four

    Driveline – Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM – 180 HP (@ 6,700 RPM)

    Torque @ RPM – 171 lb-ft (@ 4,900 RPM)

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway - 21/32

    Curb Weight – 3,300 lbs

    Base Price - $23,080

    As Tested Price - $27,550* (not including $885 destination charge)

    Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @CheersnGears

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    I love the new dark blue.

    I was please to see Motor Trend rate the Buick over the Acura. Not something I would have imagined 10 years ago even in a April Fools issue.

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    Love this car. Haven't read a bad review on it. Until I can afford a LaCrosse, this will have to do. And as a daily commuter, I think I'll be happy.

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    I think calling the fuel mileage on this car mediocre is being quite generous, for a car in this class it's kind of pitiful, in my opinion.

    You have a Charger with a nearly 300 horsepower V6 getting an EPA rating of 31 on the highway and this car is rated at 32, and that's in it's most economical format. I think this is inexcusable. Just my 2 cents

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    I think calling the fuel mileage on this car mediocre is being quite generous, for a car in this class it's kind of pitiful, in my opinion.

    You have a Charger with a nearly 300 horsepower V6 getting an EPA rating of 31 on the highway and this car is rated at 32, and that's in it's most economical format. I think this is inexcusable. Just my 2 cents

    No one ever said Luxury Auto's were about Fuel mileage. For most people who can afford a luxury compact car, this is great mileage.

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    Verano greatly impressed me on my test drive.

    Can't wait to try the turbo.

    Buick needs the 3 door, and 5 door in the stable also.

    7159716483_3c2b14ebc5_o.jpg

    278285-medium.jpg

    I still prefer the ass end of the asstra.......

    to be honest, to me, malibu vs. verano is an interesting comparo....because the pricing is often similar.

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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are well past their sell-by-date. GM knows this and will be introducing new versions of both within the next year. We haven't seen any spy shots of either model, til today.
      Autoblog published some spy shots of the next-generation Buick Enclave undergoing some hot-weather testing in Death Valley. From the shots, it looks like Buick will be retaining the shape of the current model. Although, it looks like the roofline has changed somewhat towards the back. We can pick out the new grille that we first saw on the new LaCrosse along with a set of LED running lights.
      The Enclave is expected to use a stretched version of the Chi platform that currently underpins the new GMC Acadia.
      Source: Autoblog

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are well past their sell-by-date. GM knows this and will be introducing new versions of both within the next year. We haven't seen any spy shots of either model, til today.
      Autoblog published some spy shots of the next-generation Buick Enclave undergoing some hot-weather testing in Death Valley. From the shots, it looks like Buick will be retaining the shape of the current model. Although, it looks like the roofline has changed somewhat towards the back. We can pick out the new grille that we first saw on the new LaCrosse along with a set of LED running lights.
      The Enclave is expected to use a stretched version of the Chi platform that currently underpins the new GMC Acadia.
      Source: Autoblog
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet Retail Share Up in August and 7 Out of 8 Months This Year
      Record ATPs reflect retail strength and strong mix Disciplined incentive spending significantly below industry average Inventories low but growing on all-new Buick Envision, GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 Cadillac gains retail share DETROIT – Despite very tight dealer inventories, General Motors (NYSE: GM) sold 212,915 vehicles to individual or “retail” customers in August, down about 5 percent from last year, but in line with the industry’s retail performance for the month. 
      Based on initial estimates, Chevrolet’s retail market share rose 0.4 percentage points in August to 11.0 percent.  Chevrolet has gained retail market share in seven out of eight months this year, and remains the industry’s fastest growing full-line brand.    
      GM’s total sales in August were down about 5 percent year over year to 256,429 vehicles.
      Year to date, GM’s performance is reflecting a very strong retail business.  
      Retail share up 0.5 percentage points Average transaction prices up more than $2,500 Disciplined incentive spending, in line with 2015 Daily rental deliveries down 34 percent Disciplined inventory levels and growing availability of key launch products Through the first eight months of the year, GM retail sales are up 1 percent, which continues to be the largest retail share gain of any full-line automaker.  Year to date, Chevrolet retail sales are up more than 2 percent and the brand’s retail share has grown 0.5 percentage points. Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown 3 percent and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.
      “Despite tighter dealer inventories, we had a solid retail performance in August led by Chevrolet, which gained retail share in eight different segments,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “Our retail strength is reflected in our record ATPs in August, which were up more than $1,600 from last month and nearly $5,800 above the industry average while our incentive spending was below the industry average and well below our domestic competitors.”
      In addition, GM continues to take advantage of a strong, stable U.S. economy and industry.
      “All the economic factors continue to point toward a strong second half of the year and another potential record year for the industry,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “We think the industry is well positioned for a sustainable high level of customer demand.”
      August Retail Sales and Business Highlights vs. 2015 (except as noted)

      Chevrolet
      Malibu, Cruze, Trax, Silverado, Colorado, Spark, Tahoe and Suburban, and Corvette all gained retail share in their respective segments Colorado, Suburban, Tahoe and Trax were up 35 percent, 42 percent, 29 percent and 17 percent, respectively Cruze, Malibu, Corvette and Volt were up 18 percent, 9 percent, 16 percent and 52 percent, respectively Year to date, Chevrolet posted its best retail sales performance since 2007 Year to date, Malibu had its best performance since 1981 Corvette had its best August since 2008 Tahoe and Suburban had their best August since 2008 Colorado had its best August ever Crew Cab Silverado had its best August ever HD Silverado had its best August since 2007 GMC
      Canyon, Yukon and Yukon XL were up 39 percent, 43 percent and 66 percent, respectively The brand had its highest monthly ATP on record at $45,000 Denali penetration reached more than 28 percent, the highest on record Sierra had its best year to date sales since 2006 Canyon had its best August ever Yukon and Yukon XL had their best August since 2007 Yukon had its 12th consecutive month of year over year growth Buick
      Buick dealers delivered 1,531 Envisions, in line with plan All-new Lacrosse began shipping to dealers in late August Year to date, Encore up 21 percent Six out of 10 Cascada buyers and more than half of Encore buyers are new to GM Cadillac
      Escalade was up 8 percent Cadillac dealers delivered 4,839 XT5s CT6 had its best month since launch Average Transaction Prices (ATP)/Incentives (J.D. Power PIN estimates)
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,730, nearly $5,800 above the industry average and more than $2,500 above last August’s performance GM’s incentive spending as a percentage of ATP was 11.1 percent, below the industry average of 11.5 percent and well below other domestic and select Asian competitors. Fleet and Commercial
      GM’s fleet mix in August was 17 percent of total sales, below the company’s full-year guidance of 20 percent and 19 percent year to date According to plan, daily rental sales were 10 percent of GM’s total sales for August and 10 percent year to date with deliveries up 4 percent in August Large vans were up 18 percent for August Sales to small business are up 3 percent year to date Industry Sales
      GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in August was approximately 17.2 million units. On a calendar year-to-date basis, GM estimates the light-vehicle SAAR was 17.3 million units
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