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DETROIT -- A Buick production car, the premium midsize 2005 LaCrosse, and a Buick concept, the luxury four-place convertible Velite, make their local show debuts this weekend (Jan. 15-16, 2005) at the North American International Auto Show.

LaCrosse, featuring a totally new look, a powerful new engine and notably improved ride and handling, went on sale in dealer showrooms late in September, 2004.

"Sales of LaCrosse have really taken off," said LaCrosse Marketing Manager Thomas Nellenbach. "Our sales in December were nearly 2.5 times higher than those in November and were 50 percent higher than we had projected."

Sales were boosted by a large number of positive press reviews, Nellenbach said.

"It helps when you've got Popular Mechanics calling it the most impressive Buick its auto writer has ever driven, and when the Washington Post says the CXS handles better than any Buick that has gone before it," he said.

The concept Velite, a sensation when introduced at the 2004 New York Auto Show, will be on public view in Detroit for the first time in this year's North American International Auto Show.

Velite, a rear-wheel-drive convertible, is the first American demonstration of General Motors' all-new Zeta vehicle architecture. It was designed at GM's Advanced Studio in Warren, Mich., and assembled at renowned coachbuilder Stile Bertone's studio in Italy.

Additionally, the latest entry in Buick's collection of refined utility vehicles - the all-new Buick Terraza -- is winning over customers.

Sales of the elegant seven-passenger crossover sport van have exceeded expectations since its debut in September, 2004, with 2,137 vehicles sold in 2004. And December sales were three times that of November.

"Dealers have been reporting they can't keep them on the lots," said Lloyd Biermann, Buick truck marketing manager. "With customers buying them as fast as we can deliver them, it's contributing to a rather high turn rate."

Terraza along with Rainier boosted Buick truck sales 11.5 percent in 2004 over the previous year.

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