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2010 Buick LaCrosse
To become a profitable carmaker again, General Motors needs to pay attention to its "ground game," not just high-profile long-shots like the Chevrolet Volt electric car.

So the new autos that GM is unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show are more strategic than innovative. Three products in key segments are being replaced by new versions that should compete much more effectively.

Now that it's officially one of GM's four "core brands" -- including Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC - Buick is moving ahead with its makeover. But that doesn't mean you'll see a lot more models. Susan Docherty, who's in charge of the Buick, Pontiac and GMC, says Buick doesn't need a lot of different cars, just a few good ones.

The new LaCrosse sedan replaces its more bulbous-looking predecesso that's now on the market. This new sharper-edged sedan was designed partly in China, where Buick is an esteemed name and a major player. Ride and handling were tuned by engineers in Europe.

The new LaCrosse will be the first Buick available with all-wheel-drive, a feature that's become expected in its near-luxury segment. It also has soft blue mood lighting inside and an optional head-up display that lets drivers see vital information - like speed and navigation instructions - in the bottom of the windshield.

It will be equipped with a choice of two V6 engines and will be priced about the same as the current LaCrosse, Docherty said - in the high $20,000 to low $30,000 range.

NEXT: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox

Last updated January 13 2009: 3:59 PM ET
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