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GM's eAssist technology looks dated next to its competitiors

General Motors is taking its efforts to increase fuel economy across the board seriously with its "near luxury" Buick brand. Last year, GM made the 2.4-liter four-cylinder eAssist engine standard on the Buick Lacrosse and made the more powerful (and thirstier) 3.6-liter V6 engine a no-cost option.
That same approach is now being applied to the slightly smaller Buick Regal. The traditional 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is being replaced with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder eAssist. GM hasn't announced pricing yet for the 2013 Regals, so we're not sure how much will be added to the vehicle's base price to account for the more expensive hybrid components.

Buick Regal eAssist
With that being said, GM's mild hybrid offering is hardly competitive in today's market and it only matches the fuel economy of traditional midsize sedans with regular gasoline engines. For comparison:
2013 Buick Regal eAssist: 25/36 (city/highway)
2013 Ford Fusion: 26/37
2012 Toyota Camry: 25/35
2012 Hyundai Sonata: 24/35
When it comes to true hybrid competitors, the eAssist smackdown is even more apparent:
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid: 47/44 (city/highway)
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid: 43/39
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 35/40
It remains to be seen how long it will take GM to start offering a true hybrid powertrain that can hold its head up high when compared with the rest of the competition.

Source: General Motors

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By Flunk on 2/7/2012 9:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
GM does offer a more aggressive hybrid, the Volt.

RE: um...
By quiksilvr on 2/7/2012 9:51:32 AM , Rating: 1
It's also in a price bracket $10,000 more than the cars shown here.

RE: um...
By jthistle on 2/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: um...
By gamerk2 on 2/7/2012 11:22:45 AM , Rating: 1
To be fiar, that entire thing was overblown. They ran another crash test after the battery was already punctured, so of COURSE it went up in flames. Same thing would happen if, say, the gas tank had simmilar damage.

Its a political witch hunt to try and cast the auto bailouts in a bad light. Nothing more.

RE: um...
By HrilL on 2/7/2012 12:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
They were a bad idea from the start and still are a failure. Just about everything Obama has touched has been a failure.

Ford never got bailed out and they're innovating like crazy. They keep coming out with new engines that blow the socks off the competition.

It would be better for the market as a whole if we never had any bailouts period. Short term suffering while the market restructures. And long term gains afterward.

The government is not the solution it is the problem.

RE: um...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 1:01:43 PM , Rating: 1
Its a political witch hunt to try and cast the auto bailouts in a bad light.

That's such an absurd partisan statement I don't know where to start. It's not a "witch hunt" to say our Government should not be owning large shares of and having controlling interests in private corporations.

Obama and Democrats are trying to paint anyone against the bailout as partisan game-masters. But we remember that Bush couldn't even get enough support from his own party, Republicans, and rammed the original bailout into law without Congressional approval. Bailouts are bad no matter who's in the White House, for several reasons. Which we don't need to get into because you don't even care.

RE: um...
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 1:09:13 PM , Rating: 2

The essentially endless attacks on the Volt are little more than a political witch hunt. Its the truth. Now is it unjustified? Not entirely no. Volt has unfortunately been used politically both in "positive" and "negative" ways. So its not entirely fair to just look at the negative political press.

RE: um...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: um...
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 6:04:33 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly. These people crying foul now had no problems with partisan left-wing media giving the Volt a rock-star treatment in the press.

Careful there.

I have a significant problem with the left-wing media giving the Volt a "rock-star" treatment.

But I have a question Reclaimer.

GM, one of the top 3 car manufactures for decades and the most successful US automaker is going to debut a radical new product with an attempt to make it accessible to the everyman. They claim they want it to be a flagship/halo product and feature it in their press releases and autoshows. Why wouldn't US media give it the Rockstar treatment?!?!

Did Obama and certain liberal politicians try to exploit the Volt? Yes, but the Volt was planned before Obama even declared his intention to run for President.

The NHTSA essentially created this controversy by sitting on the Volt fire report for five months before Bloomburg, not them, broke the story.

Sigh. No. The NHTSA treated the Volt fires similar to any other emergent safety work and investigation. Apparently the NHTSA is staffed with Engineers and Non-Partisian government employees who didn't understand the Volt needs to be treated -special- and -different-. The Volt fires are not a safety issue, were never a safety issue, and required significant thought and retesting before conclusions could be reached.

I am sorry Reclaimer, if you consider the NHTSA handling of the Volt situation to be a "cover-up", I doubt there are products that you use every day that don't have their same cover-up issues. These products don't have Congressional hearings... otherwise Congress would do little else.

RE: um...
By Dr of crap on 2/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: um...
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 10:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
I think you're missing the point. GM needs a mild-hybrid system to get the numbers that the competition get without the use of batteries or an electric motor/assistive alternator.

On top of that, compared to the full hybrids from Toyota/Ford/Hyundai, GM's offering isn't even competitive. Not to mention that Toyota/Ford/Hyundai sell their hybrids from between $26,000 to $30,000 nicely equipped and they make a PROFIT on each one they sell.

IIRC, GM is still losing money on every Volt they sell... not to mention that it costs $40,000 out of pocket before the credit.

RE: um...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 10:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah but.. Buick!? People still buy those??

GM's offering isn't even competitive.

The Volt or the Cruze? I think the Cruze is pretty competitive with those brands. Isn't it?

RE: um...
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 10:50:46 AM , Rating: 3
Dude, what is it with you and the Cruze? ;)

The Cruze is competitive in its segment, yes. But the redesigned Malibu showed up to a gunfight with a baseball bat when it comes to the midsize market.

RE: um...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 10:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, what is it with you and the Cruze? ;)

You're right, I'm sorry. I forgot I was Reclaimer


Ahhhh, better.

RE: um...
By lagomorpha on 2/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: um...
By cokbun on 2/8/2012 3:00:55 AM , Rating: 2
i wish my car goes BONG BONG BONG BONG

RE: um...
By cknobman on 2/7/2012 12:55:01 PM , Rating: 1
Best post youve ever made :)

RE: um...
By rich876 on 2/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: um...
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2012 11:12:50 AM , Rating: 2
The Regal GS with the 6 speed and 2.0L Turbo is quite nice.

RE: um...
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 11:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's a nice vehicle... but it needs more than 220hp given how heavy it is....

Gimme the new ATS 2.0t with a 6-speed. That WILL be my next car.

RE: um...
By Spuke on 2/7/2012 11:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
A $200 ECU flash will take care of the power issue. :)

RE: um...
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 12:18:45 PM , Rating: 3
Somehow, flashing a Buick just seems... dirty ;)

RE: um...
By Spuke on 2/7/2012 2:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Somehow, flashing a Buick just seems... dirty ;)

RE: um...
By tilandal on 2/7/2012 10:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Thats because the Regal is a porker of a car. It weighs 3600lbs. The Camry is only 3190.

RE: um...
By apinkel on 2/7/2012 11:24:14 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that there really aren't any true competitors to eAssist because noone else is yet offering a cost effective mild hybrid system in a sport/lux model like this.

The closest competitor to the Regal is the TSX but the TSX doesn't really offer any eco variant so even that isn't a good comparison.

I applaud any efforts to raise MPG and I prefer that it still be fun to drive. Jury is still out for me on the eAssist setup as I haven't driven one... and I'll believe the MPG numbers once they start showing up on Fuelly.

RE: um...
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 1:31:18 PM , Rating: 4
Ummmm... Brandon. No offense, but comparing the Buick Regal to Toyota/Ford/Hyundai is not really aiming at the same market.

Now, the Malibu eAssist should be compared to the Toyota/Ford/Hyundai and its true... it gets crushed.

Not to mention that Toyota/Ford/Hyundai sell their hybrids from between $26,000 to $30,000 nicely equipped and they make a PROFIT on each one they sell. IIRC, GM is still losing money on every Volt they sell... not to mention that it costs $40,000 out of pocket before the credit.

Brandon, this is sheer idiocy. I've configured a Volt at ~41,500. To get similar features from a Fusion Hybrid the MSRP is ~34,000. On top of that I'd need 5 years of onStar/24 Roadside support. Another 1-2,000.

Is the Volt overpriced? Yes, yes it is. But lets stop saying cars like the Fusion Hybrid is "well" equipped at 28,500 base MSRP in comparison to a Volt.

To Voltize a Civic --> MSRP 27,000
To Voltize a Fusion Hybrid --> 34,000
To Voltize a Sonata Hyrbid --> 33,000

And none of the above have the same feature set even at those MSRPs (though the Sonata does have some other features).

Its a shame GM felt the need to include many many features that seem to not be of significant value to the end consumer. But when comparing prices, its best to try to compare Apples to Apples.

I'd change the comparison
By apinkel on 2/7/2012 10:15:51 AM , Rating: 2
eAssist isn't intended to compete with full hybrids. It's a cost effective way to build higher mpg vehicles while limiting the downsides of a full on hybrid... limited trunk space, different driving experience, high cost.

I'm curious how the eAssist Malibu compares to the cars you list above when it comes out since that car is the closest vehicle to the non-hybrid eco versions of the Fusion, Camry, etc..

The regal is intended to be sport/luxury, it's competitors are cars like the Acura TSX.

RE: I'd change the comparison
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 10:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
Even if you take a look at the Malibu Eco (26/38), it's still uncompetitive with its hybrid competition, especially in the city.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco: $25,235
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid: $25,900
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid:$25,850

Who in their right mind would pick the Eco?

RE: I'd change the comparison
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2012 10:30:44 AM , Rating: 1
Who in their right mind would pick the Eco?

The same people who would buy this Buick? :)

RE: I'd change the comparison
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 10:51:27 AM , Rating: 2
OK, you got me there ;)

RE: I'd change the comparison
By czarchazm on 2/7/2012 10:49:46 AM , Rating: 2
Brandon, do we know if this eAssist Buick will be sold in China? My understanding is that China accounts for Buick's largest market.

If the manufacturing lines that do the eAssist equipment are flexible enough for more intensive hybrid equipment, it might be well-played by GM to pay off their manufacturing equipment cost by placing this in the China-sold Buick.

By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 11:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see why not. As you said, it's their biggest market.

RE: I'd change the comparison
By lagomorpha on 2/7/2012 11:48:15 AM , Rating: 3
Considering everyone willing to purchase a new Buick in North America is probably too old to be allowed to drive, moving Buick entirely to China might be prudent.

RE: I'd change the comparison
By jbwhite99 on 2/7/2012 5:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
Price of gas in China is about 5% more than it is here. It costs a fortune to get a permit for a car over there, and you have never seen pollution like they have there. When I was in Beijing last fall, it was just amazing - the smog made made everything gray. So anything that improves it like this would be very helpful.

I wish China (and the US) would pass a 50 cent gas tax for infrastructure, and it would take pressure off people driving so much.

RE: I'd change the comparison
By apinkel on 2/7/2012 11:02:57 AM , Rating: 2
The Malibu Eco mpg numbers (26/38) are better than every one of the non-full-hybrid cars you listed. Yes the full hybrids beat it, as they should.

Camparing prices of the Malibu Eco to the Full on hybrids... it's pretty difficult to compare the prices without getting into the option list. My understanding is the Malibu eco will come pretty well equipped for $25000.

Also, someone may pick the Malibu Eco because they prefer it's more traditional driving dynamics to the CVT transmission setup used by most hybrids. While I like eco... I still want my car to be somewhat fun to drive.

RE: I'd change the comparison
By Keeir on 2/7/2012 1:40:45 PM , Rating: 3
Because comparing base MSRP is just too difficult until we have the full price sheet.

For example, the Sonata Hybrid is great, but if you want a sunroof your base MSRP is now ~31,500. Or maybe you want a Sunroof and Cloth seats... (not possible on the Sonata).

Comparison Criteria
By Trisped on 2/7/2012 3:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Buck is a luxury brand. In my experience luxury cars cost more, have more power (hp and torque) and nicer amenities.

Personally I would like to compare the horse power and torque of the non-eAssist Regal with the eAssist Regal, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid before passing judgment on the system.

Of course a better comparison would be with Lexus, Infiniti, and other higher end vehicle makers since that is the bracket Buick normally competes in.

RE: Comparison Criteria
By Brandon Hill on 2/7/2012 5:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
The Buick LaCrosse competes nicely with the Lexus ES. Other than that Cadillac is their true luxury marque which competes against Lexus/Infiniti/BMW/etc.

Buick is more of a tweener luxury brand like Acura, Volvo, Saab (RIP)

By lazybum131 on 2/7/2012 9:03:27 PM , Rating: 4
2013 Ford Fusion: 26/37
2012 Toyota Camry: 25/35
2012 Hyundai Sonata: 24/35

2013 Buick Regal eAssist: 25/36 (city/highway)

2012 Acura TSX 4-cyl AT: 22/31
2012 Lexus IS250 AT: 21/30
Volvo S60: 20/30
Volvo S80: 21/30
Infiniti G25: 20/29
Audi A4 multitronic: 22/30

Regal eAssist looks a lot more fuel competitive now...

I'm assuming potential buyers want the premium/luxury features with a bit of sportiness. The Volvo's have more power, but I've included them because they don't have any more fuel efficient options. Similar reasoning for the more sport-oriented RWD cars, I'm assuming the market Regal eAssist is going for would be looking at RWD cars not because they're RWD, but because they're luxury.

real world testing
By RU482 on 2/7/2012 12:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm curious how the e-assist matches up against the non-hybrid competitors in real world conditions.

touting the Sonata @ 35MPG is a joke

GM mild hybrid
By rich876 on 2/7/2012 6:19:19 PM , Rating: 1
Someone should tell the moron who wrote this article that the GM hybrid he's criticizing is a mild hybrid. It is inexpensive and gives a lot for the bucks. What's wrong with that? GM has hybrids that are superior to the competition, why not write about them?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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