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RICK KRANZ

For the new Buick, so far, so good

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Buick's vehicle lineup continues to be working -- or, in other words, attracting buyers.

Sales were up 36 percent in September and 58 percent for the first nine months of the year. Sales hit 114,000 through September. That's better than Acura and Infiniti for that nine-month period.

LaCrosse sales soared 99 percent in September. Enclave sales were up 60 percent.

Meanwhile, Regal is still ramping up. Sales began in May, with 5,654 buyers so far. Buick sold 1,776 Regals in September.

At this rate Buick might tally around 150,000 sales for the year. The brand's styling is turning heads and drawing younger buyers. So are the quiet ride, and reductions in noise, vibration and harshness.

But Buick has a long, long way to go before GM brass starts celebrating. Its record year was 1984, when Buick sold 941,611 cars.

The brand hit rock bottom last year with 102,306 sales -- Buick's worst year since 1935.

It's too early to tell if Buick will come back as a major player. At this point, all we can say is that Buick is finally going in the right direction.

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