By on January 8, 2009

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41 Comments on “GM Unveils Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Beat’s Snout...”


  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    The LaCrosse looks much better than the old one, though it does have a few too many Aura/Malibu cues to someone who watches cars.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    So that Tequila-lime ‘secret’ is the Beat? It looks really good so far. The Buick looks good too. The Camaro…meh…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Two questions:
    * Is this built on the current Epsilon, or is this Epsilon-2?
    * What is the point of this, the Malibu, and the Aura? Oh, and the G6. And possibly the Impala. Can we cannibalize sales any more?

    I think it’s alright-enough car, but I continue to wonder that the point of Buick is. It’s buyers would probably be equally well-served by a decent Chevrolet, and it has less cachet than Lincoln, let alone Lexus.

    The money that went into this should have been spent on either improving the Malibu, or pushing it harder. This won’t do Buick any favours in terms of marketshare, and the old Lacrosse could be safely sold until it’s existing buyers, ah, aged out.

  • avatar
    olivehead

    i have to agree, too many styling cues from the malibu and especially the aura. maybe GM could go with 3 brands as a compromise: chevrolet, (fill in the blank), and cadillac. best blank filling contender might be buick, for the near-luxury crowd. this new lacrosse could be a good start.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @psarhjinian: 1) Ep-2, 2) it’s as much if not more for the Chinese than the NA market.

    Buick China has a full lineup – the small Excelle, Regal (Opel Insignia), this LaCrosse, Park Avenue (via Holden), Enclave (from US), and the GL8 pre-CSV minivan.

  • avatar

    That’s probably the best iteration of the Chevy split grille to date.

    Isn’t that the Camaro concept car, not the production version? (look at the glass, mirrors, wheels, etc)

    Not sure what to think about the LaCrosse, it has the usual Buick stuff on a stubby nose, with typical FWD chassis hard points. Hope its got more than revised styling going for it.

  • avatar

    Every single small car GM is putting out strikes me as CTS-like, or Malibu-Like

    The CTS is a hot car and I’m waiting to buy a CTS-Coupe (especially the V series).

    The Malibu is a really nice car and has great styling.

    This beat might do well, but if it does, it’ll be based solely on price.

  • avatar

    The Buick looks unimpressive. Not bad, just unimpressive. If GM is indeed trying to move the needle on the buyer demographic away from post-retirement age, the design needs to be more radical – oh, say like the Chinese Riviera concept. It’s a half-attempt of what it could be – just like the Lincoln MKS. Instead of being revolutionary, it’s just another spin on the Malibu, and a retreat to badge engineering.

    I don’t know why GM gets all bent out of shape over the “secrecy” of the Beat – we’ve already seen it – 2 years ago! Anybody paying attention knows what it will look like, and we’re wondering why the hell they haven’t been hyping this like the Volt, as this would actually be accessible by mainstream customers? In fact, this is the first I’ve heard that they’ve taken that car off the ice.

    GM really has their head up their ass when it comes to prioritizing what is significant.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    The Buick looks unimpressive. Not bad, just unimpressive. If GM is indeed trying to move the needle on the buyer demographic away from post-retirement age, the design needs to be more radical – oh, say like the Chinese Riviera concept.

    I’m not so sure about that. Lately Detroit’s attempts at radical design just come across as garish and unsophisticated to my eyes. I hope at some point understated elegance catches on again. I’d really like my next car to be one that looks even better ten years from now. After all, we’re getting away from the whole disposable vehicles culture, so the automakers that design for the ages should have a leg up, I would think.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Jalopnik’s coverage on the LaCrosse is really good, I suggest y’all check it out there.

    http://jalopnik.com/5125035/2010-buick-lacrosse-blue-hair-no-more?skyline=true&s=i

    As an aside, I would have dropped the LaCrosse name as I believe it is “damaged” considering what a turd the existing LaCrosse is. Also, I believe our French Canadian neighbors take particular exception to the name and its debauched connotation.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The Buick sedan looks like the new Lincoln sedan (MKX? MKZ? Don’t remember).

    The Camaro won’t shock anyone because they’ve show pics of it for the last 3 years. Looks nice. Let’s see how it drives.

    The Beat might be nice if it drives well. I guess that depends on if it’s like a Cobalt or a ‘bu.

    If these cars don’t exceed their competitors, they’re just ‘me too’ cars in crowded segments. For my tax dollar’s sake, I hope GM pulled a rabbit out of a hat. Based on recent products, they’ll be good, but not class leading.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    jgh: “I don’t know why GM gets all bent out of shape over the “secrecy” of the Beat – we’ve already seen it – 2 years ago! Anybody paying attention knows what it will look like, and we’re wondering why the hell they haven’t been hyping this like the Volt, as this would actually be accessible by mainstream customers? In fact, this is the first I’ve heard that they’ve taken that car off the ice.”

    I was wondering the same thing, myself. Also I noticed during the “Today” segment that the GM spokesperson (was it Ed Weller?), didn’t say anything about production plans or pricing, nothing more than a concept show-off was implied. We need more of that like a hole in the head.

    Flash doesn’t work on my PC for some reason, so I can’t see the clip here on TTAC; I presume it’s from “The Today Show.”

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    When Wellburn mentions that “2 million people voted online” for the Beat, what he doesn’t mention is that they were choosing between three concepts (Beat, Groove, Trax). Beat was the overwhelming winner, and what did GM do in response? Rule out bringing the Beat to the states. Not the two that were beat by Beat. Just the one people actually liked.

    Surprised?

    Incidentally, Beat was the smallest and most “small car” looking of the three concepts. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that GM thought Americans would prefer the gangsta-van Groove or micro-ute Trax. Nope. The Honda Fit lookalike won.

    Surprised?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    As an aside, I would have dropped the LaCrosse name as I believe it is “damaged” considering what a turd the existing LaCrosse is.

    Not really. Buick buyers are amazingly badge-loyal. More than a few were annoyed that they couldn’t just buy another Century, Regal or Park Avenue.

    Buick the brand is aging out of nonexistence, but internal loyalty and retention is pretty good. GM failed to understand that, unless they were really going to make Buick better than Lexus (they didn’t, Kool-aid drinkers’ opinions aside), junking their existing customers was stupid, just as they failed to understand:
    * You had to keep the “Saab-ness” in Saab in order to sell to it’s existing customers unless you were going to build a better BMW. They didn’t build a better BMW.
    * You had to keep the polymer panels and squ eaky brand image if you wanted to keep selling Saturns, unless they were going to build a better VW or Mazda. They didn’t build a better VW/Mazda.

    Also, I believe our French Canadian neighbors take particular exception to the name and its debauched connotation.

    Lacrosse is not nearly as prevalently associated with masturbation as is commonly thought. For one, lacrosse (the game, with sticks and balls, and, oh forget it) is played throughout Quebec, as well as the rest of Canada as the summer substitute for hockey. Technically, it’s Canada’s first national game.

    I realize the unintentional innuendo is neck-deep here. Give me a break.

    Anyways, it is slang for masturbation, but it’s not common, universal, remarkable or even out of place. It was GM’s own marketing department that got it’s panties in a bunch about it, and made it more of a deal than it really warranted. Personally, I thought naming a Buick (a car for Floridian golf- and shuffle-board players) after a physically-demanding game played by young people with more bravado then sense was not wise.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s fascinating to read the commentary here vis a vis Autoblog. It really highlights how GM’s fanbase—and likely it’s employees and management—are in an awesome state of denial.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    I think the fact that the phrase “It’s not your (grand)father’s Buick” has been used in almost every single piece of coverage on this car speaks volumes about the work GM has ahead of it.
    Buick’s reputation as dull and lifeless is so pervasive that they could release a freakin’ Ferrari with a Buick badge and only octagenarians with white shoes and belts would buy it.
    Pack the whole brand off to China – a country where, apparently, retiring to a condo in Boca still hasn’t lost it’s cache.

  • avatar
    Axel

    The wide-angle lens screws up any accurate sense of the styling.

    The new LaCrosse looks like a Chevy Malibu got it on with a Mercury Milan.

  • avatar
    shaker

    psarhjinian :

    “Anyways, it (LaCrosse) is slang for masturbation, but it’s not common, universal, remarkable or even out of place.”

    As is “Beat”, at least in part.

    I sense an unintentional theme to this Today Show segment…

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I think the fact that the phrase “It’s not your (grand)father’s Buick” has been used in almost every single piece of coverage on this car speaks volumes about the work GM has ahead of it.

    Right, and its message should be that today’s Buick is the brand of quiet yet sophisticated refinement. In other words, Buick is the attainable Audi that you don’t have to worry about ending up keyed in the parking lot. But yeah, a lot of work. And from now on the interiors must be perfect (and I mean perfect, no matter the cost).

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    I think in an effort to be more hip Buick should change the name to the common shorthand for the sport, lacross – LAX.
    Then the puns would really start to fly….

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I think this is just the boost Hertz needs right now.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    As is “Beat”, at least in part.

    Thank you. I was struggling to come up with an English example, and yes, that’s exactly it.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    psarhjinian:

    What I am thinking is that LaCrosse is a short lived name that is not at all venerable or
    respected and I believe has no brand loyalty. Century, Regal (sort off) Park Avenue, Electra, GS, Invicta, LaSabre et al. are all old, respected Buick names with a legacy of great success.

    Thanks for your comments,

    rpol35

  • avatar
    NN

    For what it’s worth; I think this Lacrosse looks way better than the Chinese Riviera…although I know they are close, and based off the same platform. This looks sharper, cleaner, more aggressive.

  • avatar
    shaker

    At one time, Buick had its own engines, transmissions, and many unique parts – very few were shared with other divisons. When you bought a Buick, you had a unique machine, inside and out that commanded a premium over a Chevy.

    Now, this is not the case, as styling is the main differentiator, and traces of Chevy creep into all “badge engineered” sister cars, so only a die-hard Buick devotee would spend the extra money.

    This business model is doomed to die off as the Buick faithful depart this mortal coil – you need to have the upscale guts as well as just some extra chrome to truly gain a following that a real brand needs.

  • avatar

    If they kill the new Aura, we’ll probably get it as the Regal. In China recently, I got to examine the new Regal up close–it’s a good-looking car. Much nicer than this new LaCrosse, in fact. The new LaCrosse looks bulbous. Similar to the MKS, but the proportions aren’t working as well, and there’s a bit much 1950s Buick in it.

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    Will the Vauxhall version be called the English Beat? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • avatar

    Why didn’t they just name the LaCrosse back to Regal already? I guess the name doesn’t matter, GM isn’t going to move a tremendous number of them. It’s also kind of ugly.

    For a company that’s broke they sure love to spend money on cars and brands away from their core, which is Chevrolet. The Beat is a vastly more important car to the company than the LaCrosse will be, and that money in that Buick could have went to improving Chevrolet products which is the bulk of their sales.

  • avatar
    noreserve

    It fails me as to why GM continues to bombard its Chevrolet buyers with that obnoxious, gaudy, oversized, gold bowtie. It’s the low-rent equivalent of the Mercedes pie pan. Yes, it’s a goddamn Chevrolet in case we missed it. Why not have the bowtie BE the entire grill? Reminds me of those clueless hacks with the bowtie-shaped exhaust tips.

    At least they could use a more subdued silver and tone it and the size down a couple of notches. Hold a contest to redesign some of those so-yesterday (not that there was a day) chrome wheels. As in don’t. I’m sorry, but their wheels need some work. Just hiring away one of the BMW wheel designers would advance the state of GM design immensely.

    I agree with the LaCrosse naming wierdness. Buick can’t even figure out how to format and capitalize the name on their own website. On the same page, I find LACROSSE, LaCrosse, and a variant with the “A” in “La” capitalized, but in a smaller case. Get it figured out people.

    I actually think they did a very good job with the 2010 LaCrosse. It makes the current one on their website look Amanti-ugly. Well, actually the current one does that all on its own in that ungainly front shot in gunmetal turd brown. The 2010 model can’t come soon enough for them. And you know, since everyone seems to be cribbing from everyone else in the taillight, trunklid, you name it area, at least take a look at some tasteful Audi or BMW wheels and come up with something similar.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Is the Beat actually coming to the US?
    The LaCrosse looks pretty good plus I think it will be more different than the Malibu than most people think, a lot more than the difference between a Malibu and the Saturn Aura
    psarhjinian- remember that people are growing older and living longer by the day. I’ve been a fan of Buicks since a kid and have always planned on buying one when I was “older”
    Some of us, regardless of our age want;
    1. An American car
    2. A relatively large or luxurious car
    3. A car that isn’t aggressive or sporty
    2 leaves out Pontiac and Chevy and Saturn
    3 leaves out Cadillac
    leaves Buick, Chrysler 300 or Lincoln
    Besides better to be in a state of denial than a state of despair
    Anyone notice that the reflections in the Beat’s hood make it look like a Chrysler Sebring hood?
    I’m good with the big gold bowtie.

  • avatar
    mcs

    It’s unfortunate that we’re not going to see anything really innovative shown at the show. Why can’t they do something like putting together an all-composite F-150 or Silverado with a forced induction diesel? We have composite bicycles and big composite airliners. Why not a composite pickup truck? Even it’s not practical for production yet, at least give us a show vehicle. Whoops – I see the problem. It would prove they could meet the CAFE standards. My bad.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    I seriously doubt the Beat is coming to the US.
    This is simply a “halo” vehicle (what’s the term for a halo vehicle at the bottom of your lineup? Hell-o? Hayl-no? ooh, I got it… Heel-o) that GM will dangle at all the shows as evidence of their “progress”, just long enough for Congress to cough up check #2,3,4 whatever. Then it will magically be killed for “logistical” reasons.
    Obviously some marketing moron woke up out of his post Jet-gate coma and asked “Hey, don’t we have that little green thing lying around under a sheet in a warehouse someplace?”

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Chevy Beat is coming to theaters as a Bayformer in June. Just like with the movie and real life Camaro, add a couple of years.

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    The_Imperialist :
    January 8th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Will the Vauxhall version be called the English Beat? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Please, have Mersey on us….

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    Ever since the GM slide began and they realized they had to eliminate brands leading up to scuttling Olds, I felt that the best course would have been to kill all three mid-brands(B.O.&P.). The best of the models of those brands could then have been retained as a Caddy or a Chevy……or maybe not even a Caddy or Chevy. This new model could simply be a LaCrosse not a Buick, no stupid fake portholes, no giant logo emblem on the Grille or Deck lid, just a small stylish slurvy “L” inside of an oval….maybe then they could attract some young buyers who might be confused enough to think they’re buying a Lexus.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Interesting the commentator didn’t even seem interested in the Buick. It’s styling is so derivative. Cover up the Buick badge and grille and it could be mistaken for the new MKS, Lexus whatever, Genesis or any bland boring Toyota. I fail to see how this car will do anything for sales of Buick.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I’ve caught salmon smaller than the headlight assembly of the Beat. What is it with automotive styling these days?

  • avatar
    Strippo

    It fails me as to why GM continues to bombard its Chevrolet buyers with that obnoxious, gaudy, oversized, gold bowtie. It’s the low-rent equivalent of the Mercedes pie pan. Yes, it’s a goddamn Chevrolet in case we missed it. Why not have the bowtie BE the entire grill? Reminds me of those clueless hacks with the bowtie-shaped exhaust tips.

    At least they could use a more subdued silver and tone it and the size down a couple of notches.

    Preach it.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    A Buick without portholes? Even Maserati has portholes.

  • avatar
    mark93

    Can’t see why there’s so much fuss about a tarted up Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. What’s so great about that?

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    For what it’s worth, I’m 33, and if I had that kind of money and wasn’t afraid of GM going under, I could see myself owning one of these. I’ve always liked Buicks, as well as Oldsmobiles. I remember as a young kid back in the 80’s that Buicks, Oldsmobiles and even Mercurys were looked upon as status symbols by many of my classmates (despite the bad quality issues, but hey, we were in middle school, what did we care about that?) My parents had an ’86 Cutlass Supreme coupe, black with red leather and chrome “Super Stock” rims. Whenever I was taken to school in it, even the kids who like to bully me seemed to respect me when they saw me getting out of it. So my point here is that I still feel a little bit classier when I’m behind the wheel of a Buick, Olds, or the occasional Mercury, so this car could certainly work for me, if only finances permitted…

    -Richard


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