By on August 19, 2009

Jalopnik reports that, rather than crying “perception gap” to negative tweets about Buick’s quick-n-dirty Saturn Vue rebadge, GM has killed plans for the plugin crossover. GM spokesfolk say “the overwhelmingly negative response to this vehicle coming out of this event” caused GM to pull the plug. Which is funny because a good hard look at their bloated 2012 CUV lineup would have told them that killing the “Vuick” was a good idea, too. So now GM has a plug-in CUV developed with nowhere to put it. And the Twitterati have another reason to believe they are somehow relevant. In other words, all’s right with the world. Hit the jump for GM’s official word via spokesman Tom Stephens.

Last week, we had a new and future product showcase at which employees, potential customers, dealers, media, analysts and others toured our Design facilities and test-drove vehicles at the Milford Proving Ground. The main reason we did it was to get people talking about us—and to us. And, this is the important part, when they talked, we listened.

And we got some great positive feedback . . . the future Cadillacs drew great praise, our GMC concept was very well received, and the lineup of fuel efficient Chevys—Spark, Aveo and Cruze—impressed many of our guests. Three future Buicks we showed also drew a lot of interest and compliments.

However, not all the feedback was positive.

The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.

You may recall that this was the Buick compact crossover I announced in Traverse City a few weeks ago, with a plug-in hybrid version to accompany it—this is not the smaller Buick crossover we showed that was playfully referred to as “the baby Enclave.” That vehicle did very well and remains in the lineup.

We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover. And what we decided to do in response is a good example of the essence of the new General Motors . . . acting quickly, and boldly, and listening to feedback from customers, employees, dealers, media and just about anyone else with an opinion.

Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we’ll discuss in the very near future.

What gives me pause is how quickly we made a decision and carried it out. In the past this would have been a several-month process involving meeting after meeting of the APB, ASB, and various other acronyms, and also many “offline” follow-up discussions before a decision was reached and enacted. This happened in one day.

So there’s the proof, in my eyes, that the new GM is listening, and moving quickly.

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24 Comments on “Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: Twitter Killed the Buick Vue...”


  • avatar
    NN

    here’s an idea….make it a Chevrolet Equinox plug-in, for christ’s sake. Or, if it has to sell for $40k+, make it a Cadillac SRX plug in.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    I’m assuming that the ‘compact’ Vuick would have been the same size/platform as the 2010 SRX? If so, hooray for common sense finally ruling the day.

    on a related note for those of you who want a taste of the junket life for the 2010 SRX rollout—–

    http://www.cadillacofcrossovers.com/

    register and get there early to avoid standing in line behind the 18 year olds and poseurs, lol.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Good that they listen to the public, but what now? Is this thing going to die, or reemerge as a Chevy?

  • avatar
    V6

    what’s the bet they were never going to release the Buick Vue, knew the reaction it would get and pretended it was going to be added to the lineup so they could then cancel it asap to show the New GM listens and make decisions quicker/better than the Old GM

  • avatar

    Now when are they going to kill the rest of Buick?

    John

  • avatar
    rnc

    That seems to be the popular theory, and in a really sad sort of way it makes sense.

    GM would have been best served to go into total silence mode and instead of all of the concepts of the 20 somethingish cars they are going to come out with two years from now (maybe), they should have waited and at one time hold a press conference and display the models and when someone asked if they would actually be produced, say “There on the assembly line now”.

  • avatar
    european

    V6 i agree!

    if they were to make a rebadged srx/equinox/terrain buick there is no point making another compact cuv (vue).

    but what buffles me is, why the hell did they introduce the srx/equinox/terrain when they already had a compact cuv (Saturn vue/opel antara/chevrolet captiva in europe)?

    while the srx looks great, and (my personal opinion) the terrain isnt that bad, the equinox sux immensly, kinda fat ass mercedes ml (from behind) but retarded in growth so it looks heavy n sh1t, i think the vue/antara/captiva would be a better option.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Flip-flopping like a politician, no wonder they’re called Government Motors.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    When the twitterverse can do better marketing than your own Marketing department, perhaps it’s time to consider a management shake-up?

    Like, you know, shitcanning, for gross incompetence, everyone from Lutz and LaNeve on down?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick”

    OK, does the Volt “fit the cost-effective characteristics that customers have come to expect from Chevrolet”? NO.

    Will the Converj “fit the performance-luxury characteristics that customers have come to expect from Cadillac”? NO.

    Hey, GM, if you want to show that you are truly “new”, then you’ll kill these crazy ideas right now.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    Wait, people actually took the time to twit, tweet, whatever, about a Buick? Puhleeeeeeze. What bullshit.

    “it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick”

    And more bullshit.

    It’s this sort of delusion that led to GM’s problems. As in: The G6 competes head to head with the Accord, or Pontiac is poised to be a BMW challenger.

    What a joke. They can do whatever they want with what’s left of the company. I’m afraid the writing is on the wall.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I understand killing the Rendezvue, but why not the Regal as well — how is it differentiated from the LaCrosse (or Aura, Malibu, G6, BLS, Suzuki, 9-5, etc.)

  • avatar
    tced2

    @JK43123,
    They can’t kill of Buick altogether because It’s a big seller in China. And its growing. And profitable.

    I’ve always thought GM should get back to “standard” (Chevrolet) and “deluxe” (Cadillac). Convert the Chinese market to Cadillac.

  • avatar

    It scares me that any corporation of this (or any) size (even one in need of such overhaul as GM)would make such desicions based on a source with the average intelligence level as the internet (even if you excluded that marvelous brainpower pool that is Twitter).

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    In related news (that somehow hasn’t been mentioned here yet), I heard on the morning news that GM is upping production and added 1350 employees.
    Just thought I’d add a little something not 100% negative about GM for the sake of objectivity. (Hey, someone’s gotta do it.)

  • avatar
    dwford

    If GM is now making product decisions based on comments on Twitter and the blogs, can the G8 revival be far behind?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    They can’t kill of Buick altogether because It’s a big seller in China. And its growing. And profitable.

    Who cares? If China wants to buy Buicks, then keep the brand alive in China. There’s no reason to keep Buick in North America for China’s sake. You may as well say they need to sell Chevrolets and Cadillacs in Europe because the brands are somewhat popular in the US. Oh, wait…

    On a serious note, can someone explain to me why whenever Buick is proposed for the axe, we justify it by saying it’s big in China? Is it’s being big in China really somehow predicated on it’s miserable existence on this continent?

  • avatar
    cpmanx

    I’ve wondered about that, too. Vauxhall was big in the UK for years without anyone suggesting there had to be a Vauxhall in the US as well. The argument I hear is that Buick would lose credibility in China if buyers there heard that the brand was being discontinued in the US–a line that I personally find pretty hard to believe, since the Chinese have no trouble buying plenty of other brands that don’t exist here.

  • avatar
    moedaman

    “PWarren4 :
    August 19th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    It scares me that any corporation of this (or any) size (even one in need of such overhaul as GM)would make such desicions based on a source with the average intelligence level as the internet (even if you excluded that marvelous brainpower pool that is Twitter).”

    Even an average intelligence is higher than the people in charge of GM.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Because as a poster on here recently said, the average chinese is just as ignorant as the average american. They still believe that when buying a buick they are getting the premium “American” (this represents a lifestyle, rich, extravagence, etc. all things that they are striving for) car. If buick was closed in America because it sucks all of a sudden it would suck in China as well. Buick sells so well in based on perception, killing it in america would kill that perception (atleast that is the fear).

    So the ideal would be to have two Buick’s in america (a riviera and park avenue type car to sell to whats left of thier market) that would allow them to keep the cache and sell to whats left of thier market in america. But those cars would step on Caddy and wouldn’t support GMC/Buick dealers.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    psarhjinian, cpmanx,

    I’m with GM on this. I’m certain that part of a Buick’s appeal in China is that it’s “American” just like a Buick over here. I’m quite certain that having “upscale” Buick US helps sell Buick China.

    I’m no China expert but I did visit it this summer. There’s a lot of attraction for things and people American.

  • avatar
    ideaman4

    You know, anyone think that there may have been some resistance to the RendezVUE internally at GM and that the media event was enough to maybe garner enough support to get the right decision made? It’s possible that it was added to quickly address (potential) weakness in the Buick lineup and that it was questioned from the get-go. Be critical for the reasoning that it was added in the first place, but you have to be positive that the ‘right’ decision was made, no?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled.”

    What the heck? How is it that the geniuses in charge with the monster paychecks failed to notice what apparently every outsider who got to see the Buick Vue called right off the bat? There is nothing new about GM putting a lot of time and money into a project only to suddenly cancel it. What a wasteful corporate culture. The question isn’t why was the Buick Vue canceled. The question is why it got that far in the first place.

  • avatar
    jacad

    I agree that killing Buick in the U.S would run the risk of killing it in China. That market in the future will be their only hope.

    The question is why didn’t all the boy genius MBA’s realize they could roll Buick into Cadillac and sell them in the showroom as the mid-price entry point branded as Buick. The same as Lasalle used to be?

    The answer is they were all too busy looking to protect their Good-Ole-Boy network and power and inventing scapegoats for the reason they bankrupted what was the world’s largest auto company. Once upon a time. They blame the Unions, dealers, the press, taxes, and the weather. Never do you hear that the people running the company were idiots. They are all still there doing the same old dance! More arrogant than ever and now “blessed” by the Government supplying a bottomless checkbook and running interference.


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