If you want to have your brand considered “premium,” you have to do more than just make your cars look pretty and turn up the chrome level to 11, as Buick is finding out. Buick, the comeback kid of the American auto industry, is further differentiating itself from the rest of General Motors by offering its active safety technology as standard across its lineup for 2014, from the smallest Encore to the largest Enclave and everything in between.
Buick’s technology includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, and a backup camera. All of that’s going to be standard equipment from now on.
The forward collision alert and lane departure warning use a single forward-facing camera to detect when traffic in front isn’t moving as quickly as the Buick, or to detect when the driver is easing outside the lines. It will start beeping and flashing lights to alert the driver. Some cars use radar-based systems for these technologies; Subaru offers two cameras in its Eyesight suite that read images in stereo, by contrast. Buick’s rear cross traffic and blind spot warning systems use radar, however.
Consistently, Buick has been upping the level of technology it offers in its vehicles. For 2013, the brand made its IntelliLink infotainment system standard. OnStar has been standard on Buick models for years, and now the safety systems standard across the line is a first for any General Motors brand. Buick hasn’t said how much these are adding to the price of each vehicle for 2014, but all of them add about $1,100 when you step up from the base Buick Verano to the one with the Convenience group of equipment, for instance.
When you’re still an underdog fighting to re-establish your reputation, doing things like this aren’t a bad idea. We wonder what Buick is planning next to further separate itself from the GM pack and its competition.