DETROIT – The Buick 2012 LaCrosse eAssist is spending just 14 days on dealer lots nationally before being sold, and the mileage-boosting light-electrification technology is moving quickly in all regions, including import-leaning California.
Steven Radomski is one of those Golden State converts. A former Toyota Prius hybrid owner, Radomski commutes 100 miles a day, 95 percent on the highway where the LaCrosse’s EPA-estimated 36 mpg impressed him most. In mixed driving, he is averaging 30 mpg – between the EPA-estimated 25 mpg city and the highway estimate.
Radomski said his list of wants and needs – comfort, space and highway fuel efficiency – are all met by the LaCrosse eAssist.
“For the space in this car, 30 mpg is amazing,” Radomski said. “I could have bought one of the new diesels on the market, but the fuel costs more,” to say nothing of expensive fuel additives required to lower diesel emissions. “When you do the math, it’s an obvious choice. And my LaCrosse is working as advertised.”
In part due to the strong start for eAssist, Buick retail sales through November are projected to be up more than 17 percent year to date, with the Enclave luxury crossover expected to deliver another solid gain. Total Regal sales, including the efficient new Regal eAssist and the sporty GS, are expected to continue a trend of sales growth with year-over-year November gains. The new Verano compact luxury sedan is starting to arrive at dealers.
Buick’s eAssist uses an advanced 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. A small electric motor aids acceleration, while energy captured from regenerative braking allows the engine to shut off completely while the vehicle is at rest without disrupting driver comfort and entertainment systems. The technology was recently recognized on Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New 2011.
“LaCrosse eAssist is a highly efficient sedan that doesn’t compromise on the refinement that comes standard on every Buick,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Buick and GMC Sales and Service. “Getting 36 highway mpg is great, but what’s better is that customers won’t have to give up style, passenger comfort, or the car’s great suite of technology features.”
For a suggested retail price starting under $30,000, Buick’s eAssist is standard on LaCrosse, which also offers more rear legroom than Lexus, Acura, or Infiniti. Available features include rear park assist, side blind zone alert, articulating high-intensity discharge headlamps, and a Harman/Kardon sound system.