Buick has confirmed long-standing rumors that it will offer a compact (Delta II) sedan (likely a rebadge of the Opel Astra) and a subcompact (Gamma II) MPV “in the near future,” reports the Detroit News.With the Regal launching this year, these two vehicles will create a Buick lineup with twice the options of its current three-car lineup. That current lineup competes in only two vehicle segments, whereas by 2013, Buick expects to compete in 47 percent of market segments with a lineup of vehicles that will all be newer than the Regal. In other words, if you think Buick’s problem is product, GM agrees with you… and it’s revamping the brand’s entire lineup over the next three years.
But big expenditures at GM always have to be matched with big goals. Buick-GMC sales boss Brian Sweeney chops the sales just right and tells the DetN that
Buick is the fastest growing brand in the industry, and we expect to double our sales in the next few years.
In fact, according to Sweeney, all this growth is downright problematic:
We’re growing fast, but we don’t want to grow too fast
It isn’t befitting a premium brand. No other premium brand has those designations. It implies a hierarchy — that there’s a cheap one, a middle-level one and a really, really nice one.
Instead, the brand will offer a few packages with increasing content levels that build on each other, Bierley told GM employees today at an event outlining the Buick brand’s positioning.
“When you get the second package, you get everything that’s in the first package, plus the second package,” he told reporters after the event. “You can’t go in and layer on the stuff that’s in the third package on the first package. You have to walk up the ladder.”
Customers will also be able to add select features to their package, such as sunroofs, navigation systems or larger wheels, he said.
The base models will likely include more content than they do today, Bierley said, including large, color displays for electronics. That would probably increase the price of base models, he said.
“It isn’t our stated goal to raise all our base prices over time,” he said. But “to give customers the content they want is absolutely key.”
Buick has “almost entirely dropped out of golf”… Instead, it will focus on more grass-roots campaigns and search for customers who shop at Whole Foods and Ikea and drink coffee at Starbucks. These are consumers who want luxury but don’t always want to pay luxury prices.