On The Cover Review: 2011 Chevrolet Spark
So this is what it has come to. It’s hard enough for Chevy fans to swallow that the company that brought us the Corvette, the Camaro, the Chevelle, the Nova, and the big block Impala now sells the diminutive Aveo in the same dealerships. But now there’s something even smaller—the 2011 Chevy Spark—that will also share that space. It wasn’t hard to see this coming, though. Techno-electro rides like the upcoming Volt get all the “buzz”, but if someone wants to save fuel, a micro car with a small engine often does the job cheaper and more efficiently. The Spark first showed up on the scene as the 2007 Chevy Beat concept. People were allowed to vote for their favorite among the Beat and two other cars, and they were beat by the Beat. Now, the Daewoo-built Spark, which will be equipped with either a 1.0- or 1.2-liter four cylinder engine, will debut in Europe before reaching our shores. Is the funky Spark the next ’70 Chevelle 454? Clearly not. But Chevrolet knows they need to move the needle on the public perception meter, and if this is the kind of car people want, it should give them the results they’re looking for.
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On The Cover Review: 2011 Buick Regal
If the auto business hadn’t imploded, the 2011 Buick Regal would have most likely been the new Saturn Aura. But Saturn’s gone now, so Buick gets it. This car does make some sense as a Buick, because it is based on the German Opel Insignia. Opel, you may recall, sold Opel-badged vehicles during the 1970s through Buick dealerships. So there is a slight historical connection. The Regal will be motivated by a 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, or a 220-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four, expected to get 30- and 29-mpg respectively. From all indications, the Regal looks like a nice car, but it may answer a question that no one asked. The stellar Buick Lacrosse is already in showrooms, so is there a need for another new midsized Buick sedan? Maybe. The slightly smaller Regal is expected to come in a little cheaper than the Lacrosse. On one hand, it has the ability to cannibalize Lacrosse sales. On the other hand, if it is perceived as a bargain, maybe the price and stellar gas mileage will bring in customers that wouldn’t have considered a Buick before. Could be that younger people start turning to the Buick brand. And that’s exactly what needs to happen for Buick to stay in business for the long-term.