By on May 29, 2010

As yesterday’s sales graph proves, this is not the greatest time to be re-launching an entry-luxury brand. With Kias and Fords offering the kind of tech gadgets once found only in the upper echelons of true luxury brands, and with well-regarded import luxury marques moving into the front-drive, mass-market, the so-called “premium” brands are finding themselves caught in the middle and losing sales. But in spite of these damning dynamics, GM is moving to overhaul its entry-luxe Buick brand at top speed. Why? Because it can…

Ask Buick’s paid representatives when the much-maligned brand began its turnaround, and they’ll point to the 2007 launch of the Buick Enclave. And sure, the Lambda-platform crossover helped slow Buick’s precipitous decline into “don’t trust anyone under 70″ status, but the brand didn’t truly start reversing its terminal sales (and demography) momentum until the Buick LaCrosse became a fixture on showroom floors. Through the first four months of this year, the LaCrosse has already sold just under half the volume it sold in all of 2009 put together.

And no wonder: though not without its flaws, the LaCrosse is a capable mid-to-full-size car, with distinctive Buick cues like the “Sweep-Spear” character line. It manages to look more thoroughly modern than any other recent Buick, while still looking unmistakeably “American” (despite having been styled in Shanghai). Considering the dearth of modern-era inspiration for a contemporary Buick flagship, this is no small accomplishment, and it makes the LaCrosse the natural starting point for a rebirth of the brand.

Apparently though, this is not to be. Whereas the LaCrosse development team took global GM components and created a unique body that captures Buick’s traditional, professional-class values (now alive and well only in China, it seems), the plan going forward is shaping up to be far less sophisticated. With the new Regal, we are seeing the first example of what appears to be Buick’s new strategy: rebadging Opels.

With the bad-old days of badge engineering finally drawing to a close (don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Mercury), it’s being replaced with a new paradigm: global badge-engineering. Fiat-Chrysler is doing this with its Lancia and Chrysler brands, cherry-picking the best from both lineups, and selling the resulting recombination as Lancias in Europe, and Chryslers elsewhere. At GM, the practice centers on leveraging the high-quality Opel products that would otherwise remain trapped in Europe’s brutally competitive and contracting market.

But how will the decision to base Buick’s new products on rebadged Opels affect the Buick brand? At the Regal launch last week, Buick’s PR folks seemed unconcerned with this question. “The plan was always to bring this car to America,” said GM’s midsized and full-size sedan supremo Jim Federico (also VLE for Opel Insignia/Buick Regal). What’s changed is that the Saturn brand, which was going to be Opel’s American-market vessel, is now defunct. Having developed a fresh lineup for Opel, GM had to sell them as something in the US. Too good for Chevrolet (“Excellence For Everyone” tagline notwithstanding) and incompatible with Cadillac’s Art and Science styling, the only way to bring Opels stateside without major restyling was as Buicks.

And though this “market-engineering” approach is all-too reminiscent of GM’s poor past practices, the Buick strategy is surprisingly pragmatic. Instead of starting with a brand image (which, in Buick’s case was badly damaged anyway) and adapting existing technical underpinnings to it, GM is bringing high-quality European products to the US market and letting the Buick brand fall where it may. The quality of these products, say Buick’s reps, will define the Buick brand going forward, instead of the other way around.

The other side of this equation is the death of the Pontiac brand. Without Pontiac’s volume, former Buick-Pontiac GMC dealers (now just Buick-GMC stores) need something other than trucks, crossovers and mid-sized sedans to stay healthy. Buick must expand its offerings into the untested waters of the compact (C-segment) sedan and crossover segments in order to drive business to Buick-GMC showrooms and hedge against another possible gas-price spike that might otherwise scuttle the two-brand channel. Again, Opel is the obvious source of these products, offering already-developed models like the compact Astra and the subcompact Meriva MPV.

Thanks to Buick’s new emphasis on the Chinese market, we already know what comes next: a Buickified Astra sedan has already been caught on camera looking a lot like a half-sized Regal. Less of a pure Opel re-badge than the Regal, this new Jetta/Civic competitor still maintains the brand’s new Opel-bred stylistic subtlety without the sweep-spear and ventiports that make the LaCrosse so obviously a Buick. A Regal wagon is also being talked about, but with Federico telling C&D that this unpopular bodystyle would also offer diesel engines and all-wheel drive, we’re going to take the rumor with several grains of salt. Still, these vehicles confirm the momentum towards making Buick a vessel for lightly-modified Opels.

The only confirmed Buick product that bears much speculating on then, is the compact/subcompact MPV that will be the final piece of a 2013 Buick lineup of which the Regal will be the oldest product (the Enclave and LaCrosse will apparently have been refreshed by then). Referred to in-house as the “baby Enclave,” this MPV will be built alongside the Aveo at Orion Township, strongly hinting at Gamma II platform underpinnings (Buick reps say it will be “either Gamma or Delta”). Given that Buick is otherwise being revived without investing in materially new products, the picture looks clear: this MPV will be an Opel Meriva.

But will this Euro-confection retain the suicide rear doors that will surely satisfy America’s constant craving for novelty? And just as importantly, will it feature styling cues from that other another spot-on Chinese interpretation of modern Buick-ness, the Buick Business Concept? One high-up but new-to-the-job Buick exec I spoke to did not even seem to be familiar with the Business Concept. With the Business’ styling influencing the larger next-gen, Chinese-market-only GL8 minivan, and with Buick’s 2013 lineup otherwise being made up of lightly-retouched Opels, the signs seem to be pointing towards a relatively mild restyle of the Meriva.

There are plenty of very rational arguments for making Opel and Buick interchangeable between markets, the way Chrysler and Lancia will be. If you accept the reasonable premise that Opel’s products are neither Cadillacs nor Chevrolets, then the logical way to build their global volume is to market them as Buicks in the US and China (surely all reasonable people agree that GM needs another US-market brand, Opel in particular, like it needs a hole in the head). The real issue then is how distinctive GM will make the Buick versions compared to their Opel predecessors, the answer to which appears to be not much at all. And there are two reasonable arguments for this: first, that Opel’s design is subtly classy enough to embody a new Buick aesthetic, and second that the money GM might have spent differentiating Buicks will probably be spent rescuing Opel.

In other words, rather than completely re-thinking the traditional approach to entry-luxury branding, GM is simply playing the same old rebadging game across global markets instead of within a single market. That the new Buicks are simply rebadged mass-market Euro-cars is not likely to occur to many buyers, means there’s none of the traditional rebadge strategy downside. For Buick, anyway. The problem with the strategy is that Ford is practicing the exact same strategy, but with its mass-market Blue Oval brand. Rather than bringing its latest European products stateside to revive its nosediving Mercury entry-luxe brand, Ford is using its Fiesta, Focus, Kuga and C-Max to burnish its Ford brand to a shiny finish and (apparently) letting Mercury die alone. Instead of taking on Acura, Lexus and company, Buick could just as easily find itself battling with the mass-market Ford brand for customer consideration. Especially if it falls into the trap of believing that the Opel look is “Buick enough” and that new Buicks don’t need at least some kind of heritage branding element.

Of course, the new Buick-as-Opel strategy is a lot smarter than GM’s immediate post-bankruptcy plan to sell Opel and rebadge Saturns like the Vue for Buick. Once Ed Whitacre decided keeping Opel made more sense than keeping Fritz Henderson, there was no going back from the Opelification of Buick. But Ford’s apparent decision to jettison Mercury in favor of a two-brand strategy that strengthens its mass-market Ford brand seems to point out that, like Henderson, Buick might have been better left behind. Don’t get me wrong: Buick’s current strategy will absolutely strengthen the brand in the short-term (and relatively inexpensively to boot),  but over the long haul it will also severely limit Chevrolet’s ability to keep up with Ford’s Euro-premium makeover. In a world of Hyundai-branded luxury cars, this will be a bad situation for GM’s most important brand to find itself in.

So, what’s the answer? As GM’s experience with brands and platforms teaches, differentiation is everything. Though the current batch of Opels are, by all acoounts, attractive, high-quality vehicles, they’re also mass-market European vehicles designed around a brand that means nothing in the US. With entry-luxury brands under assault in the US, GM has to look to the emotional power of a MINI brand to understand how to make Buick fundamentally strong enough to thrive even as Chevrolet steps up its game to keep up with Ford. Clearly the globally underleveraged Opel vehicles are the place to start, but LaCrosse, not Regal is the model to follow.

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45 Comments on “It’s Buick Again!...”


  • avatar
    Kman

    There’s another way to look at this. First, as background, I thought Buick should have died when New GM came to be. I equated it with Mercury.

    Now, with the explanation that they will simply bring over Opels relatively unmodified, and “let the quality of the product define the brand”, it’s another way to do it. That is, kill the useless “old Buick” brand.

    Forget keeping nostalgic Buick design and heritage cues, because they don’t speak to anyone anymore. I don’t care about Ventiports, because they were cynically brought back on the Lucerne, an oh-so-boring Buick in the Mercury-sense.

    The way this is going, I’ll be glad to have Opels in North America. What a clever way to re-invent Buick, by simply forgetting it. I was impressed by the Lacrosse’s design and materials quality at the last car show; my curiosity is more than piqued by a manual-transmissioned Buick Regal, I was in lust with the Insignia’s new design when it came out 18 months ago…. I can’t believe I’m curious about a Buick.

    I drive an ’06 TSX, another Euro sports sedan uprated just enough for us to be an entry-lux car. I’m on my second one after the ’04. Now that Acura has destroyed the appeal of its new TSX and TL with the violent slashing of a samurai sword, what the heck… I might… might I?… would I? … Should I? … Can I walk into a Buick dealership?

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! No one heard that.

  • avatar
    kaka777

    I feel that the Buick Brand name is dead. Most of the customers Buick are chasing, associate it with boring and embarrassing cars.
    The regal and lacrosse should have have been incorporated into Cadillac and Chevy.
    Kill Buick, then market Cadillac and Chevrolet more heavily in China,
    Problem Solved.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      I agree with that completely.

      They want Buick so much.. here take it.
      Take Opel and Buick.. and shut down Vauxhall..

      And I hate to sound really ignorant/ arrogant..

      It is TOUGH SHNIKES that Buick / GMC dealerships have to get by with just “trucks SUVS and crossovers”. Aint that a P.I.A?! its already known that GMC shouldnt even exist, its a disgusting concept that all they have to sell is chromed Silverados and Tahoes.. and now ya got the replacement for the T/B (factory closed in Moraine Ohio Xmas 09) for essentially the same concept vehicle. (People wont make the frame distinction.)

      These are the same types who screwed up the Cavalier/ Sunbird / Sunfire for Pontiac. These basterds will NEVER be happy with what ever GM decides to give them. Then ya get told by corporate that C segment cars make no money.

      Well for Christ’s sake..
      If EVERYTHING ya make is a CROSSOVER (7-8pass, MIDSIZE / FULLSIZE Porker, with Silverado copies.. ya got no possibility for choices under that.) So basically… its ya own damn fault ya in this position.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Buick is very strong in China, because it’s a “prestigious” american brand. If you kill Buick in the US, you kill it in China. GM can’t afford that.

    Why Buick was launched “first” over there is a good question.

    I see Chevrolet going downmarket or staying at their current level. Globally the lineup is being standardized: Aveo, Cruze, Midsize (mostly the Epica, who knows what’s next) with some market specific models. I don’t think GM is going to up their game with this brand to match Ford. And that certainly will hurt them.

    Maybe they’re moving Chevy to fight at the very bottom of the market.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    “GM is simply playing the same old rebadging game across global markets instead of within a single market.” The problem with the old rebadging game was the selling of nearly identical cars under multiple brands. If GM has nice Opels in Europe of course it should bring them to the U.S. As for Chevrolet, GM is certainly capable of producing competitive automoblies domestically if they give it their all.

    • 0 avatar

      “As for Chevrolet, GM is certainly capable of producing competitive automoblies domestically if they give it their all.”

      …Which is why the Cruze was designed and engineered by Daewoo?

      They’re not capable. Simple as that.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      I will say I agree with you there. Although the Buicks coming out seem to be solid, the Cruze sounds like it’s going to, yet again, fall short. Just what is it with GM that they can’t put out a world class small car?

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      Middle of the pack or “competitive” isn’t good enough anymore, there is no excuse for anything less than class leader. I want to see that kind of product out of GM.

  • avatar
    Hanksingle

    Our tax dollars at work.

    Couldn’t GM just work on making better vehicles instead of forever attempting to tether itself to it’s more glorious past? The big selling point I saw in a recent Buick commercial for a…something, I can’t remember what…was that the stereo recorded the radio for you, Tivo-style.

    Really? The whole commercial? For the radio?

    I’d be okay in a world where Chevy made sensible family sedans and slightly upmarket near-luxury cross-overs, and where Cadillac had some lower-cost offerings – with the giant provision that the cars be, you know, good.

    Always the buggaboo.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, in related news a Chicagoland dealer is crowing about how a resident moron paid $1500 over sticker for the laughable privilege of being the first in the area to own a… Regal. Nevermind it’s a damn four-cylinder Opel, with Buick badging only to appeal to the ChiComs, that will likely fall apart in a year, and be lucky to hold onto $12K in resale value in that same time.

    Why shouldn’t the dealer brag? It’s hardly a sin in my book to profit off stupidity. Like its politician owners, Government Motors is banking on the ignorance of the American people. Stories like this make me think that’s probably a winning strategy.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    I don’t understand the logic (or lack thereof) of you car people. Rebadging is NOT taking a unique product from a foreign country and putting a local nameplate on it. Nissans used to be called Datsuns; Pepsi owns the 7-UP brand outside the United States, but calls the same formula “Slice” here; Acura does that with the TSX; Procter and Gamble does the same thing with soaps!!! The old Macy’s even did that with local department store names Lazaurs, Rich’s, Kaufmann’s, etc. even though they all sold the same stuff!!!

    THE ABOVE EXAMPLES ARE NOT REBADGING!!! That is called using a local product name!!! Rebadging is taking the same car, making minor changes to it, and then selling it side-by-side with the original car as a unique product … like Ford and Mercury or putting a Lazarus and a Kaufmann’s in the same mall!!!

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Not entirely true. There is one American-designed car still sold as a Buick in China: the GL8 minivan. It’s a U-Body minivan with a different nose and engine lineup. Think pre-Sport Utility Van Pontiac Montana/Oldsmobile Silhouette.

      Also, they sold the W-Body Regal (with more extensive changes than the minivan) through 2008. It was basically a redesigned version of our ’97-04 Regal/Century.

  • avatar

    None of the Buicks in China are really American engineered cars.

    Buick’s sales are nothing short of appalling in the US. Without government inference Buick would have been gone over a year ago.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    The Buick Regal gets a good review from the Wall Street Journal …

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269204575270890262481952.html

    Confession: The Regal’s a Pretty Great Car

    Love the bailout or hate it, GM has a success in its Europe-derived Buick sedan; an automotive Zelig

    All of which led to the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal’s arriving on our shores this month. How is it? Well, it’s kind of terrific. Thick-shouldered, wide, with a graceful canopy (and a Hofmeister kink positively stolen from BMW) and about as nice a front end as can be managed with Buick’s fussy waterfall grille, the Regal’s look is competent and substantial, with the kind of sporty visual amplitude you’d expect of a Autobahn-bred car. I really like the hockey-stick-shaped accent line in the fuselage. This car nicely bottles pride of ownership.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    I am afraid of German cars. Over many years I have owned 3 VWs and all 3 were exactly what I wanted in a car (size, capability, fun to drive, etc) and all 3 were lemons.

    I have been reading TTAC for many months now and this still seems to be the case. People love their BMW, MB, and VW when it works but hate the thought of going to an arrogant dealer and paying for (sometimes many) expensive repairs.

    The Opel is German. Will they be absolutely wonderful cars when they work and albatrosses when they often don’t?

  • avatar
    ghentForever

    First great news in: In a promising sign for the Regal, the first unit sold earlier this month was snapped up by a 44-year-old male manufacturing executive in suburban Chicago who also shopped a Toyota Camry and Audi A4 – exactly the customer Buick seeks for the car.
    Even better, sources tell Ward’s the buyer paid $1,500 over sticker to get his hands on the Regal.

    So the average age of a Buick buyer is 44. That is of course if you don’t include the 16 year old daughter who would like to drive the car to college.

    http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f74/2011-buick-regal-update-deliveries-have-started-first-buyer-pays-1500-over-list-92292/

  • avatar
    albatrosnh

    At least the Opel and Buicks are not sold in the same country. GM is using a similar strategy to Honda with the European Accord being an Acura TSX.

    To see the best of badge engineering look to Toyota, with such crafty reshaping as the Lexus ES/Toyota Camry, Lexus LX/Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus GX/Toyota 4-Runner. The list goes on, but you get the point.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      For Toyota or Honda it’s ok doing badge engineering. We can tolerate that, they’re holy sacred brands. Even if it’s as blatant as the TSX (they have the decency to call it Euro Accord in Aussiesland)

      For the D3 it is a sin (a very very bad one), an as such, they must be punished and bashed.

      /sarcasm

  • avatar
    Monty

    http://configurator.autodata.gm.ca/GMCanada/buildYourVehicle.html

    This is Canadian pricing – $40,395.00 for the CXL 1SF package, which is loaded, but as of yet no turbo available.

    I would seriously consider this car. It’s attractive, nicely equipped, and very price competitive when shopped against others in the entry-lux field. However…

    Concerns? Is it going to hold it’s value after five years? And am I going to experience the same issues at my local Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealer as before?

    Honestly, it’s no longer the vehicles that make me hesitate. It’s depreciation and the dealer experience that give me pause. This is the legacy that the new regime has to overcome to get customers to return, IMO. As far as I’m concerned Buick is returning to a brand that is worth considering, and seems to have turned the corner regarding quality and reliability.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    GM has tried this Import Opels and Call Them Something Else strategy multiple times before, each one a failure:

    Opels sold in Buick dealers in the 1970s
    Cadillac Catera
    Saturn L (Opel design, US assembly)
    Saturn Astra

    Then there were the failed Australian imports
    Pontiac new GTO
    Pontiac G8

    It will be a miracle if this latest attempt somehow works out.

    To repeat the mantra I’ve been saying for years now: “Chevrolet and Cadillac, everything else is noise”. GM would be in much better shape today had it simply stolen that mantra gratis rather than paying the suits absurd amounts of money to make bad choices.

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Chevrolet and Cadillac-only around the world. Absolutely. Ford is about to put some hurt on GM by focusing and honing one brand everywhere — even while giving up some short-term incremental sales with Mercury (and maybe Lincoln). GM’s business model is outdated. Give Cadillac its own design, engineering and executives and move the whole thing to Germany (but keeping the Lansing plant) using one or two high-wage German Opel plants. Put some Germans with huge BMW/Daimler inferiority complexes in charge. Phase out the Opel brand (and Holden and Daewoo) in favor of Chevrolet worldwide and build them in Eastern Europe for the EU market. China is large enough to keep Buick as a China-only brand.

    • 0 avatar

      Bloomberg revealed that Mercury is less tha 2% of Ford sales. So Ford isn’t giving up anything at all ditching Mercury.

      What I’m curious about is what percentage Lincoln makes up of Ford sales, my guess would be not any better than Mercury, it seems questionable to keep Lincoln around as well (never mind taking it global, lol).

      I’ve thought for years that GM should be honing Chevrolet in the US first and foremost with the best styling, features and products, Ford is proving that rationale to be correct.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Don’t forget the Pontiac LeMans / Opel Kadett.. Though wasn’t that a Daewoo for both?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      “Give Cadillac its own design … move the whole thing to Germany … Put some Germans with huge BMW/Daimler inferiority complexes in charge.”

      Don’t all of these already work for Audi?

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    I gave up, so should Buick.

  • avatar

    It still bothers me that the LaCrosse isn’t wearing the LeSabre name since that’s what it really is, a Buick LeSabre.

    Since GM is throwing everything at Buick they might as well throw in the Holden Caprice rebadge Buick Park Avenue as well. I would actually buy that.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      WOW

      That is a WILD and WOOLY concept.

      The reason for the Lacrosse name on another geriatric sedan from Buick. GM threw away the brand / name plates of Buick from the past 20+yrs, thats why they cant rename the stuff.. cause the names.. are so badly damaged… they aren’t worth anything.

      Buick is for people who are going to die soon.

      ———–
      The Holden Caprice is very similar in trim to the Statesman. Only the name (which has much of a pull as the name WALMART.)

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      The Chinese already get the (I think) Statesman (restyled) as Park Avenue.

      It was reported here, long ago, what happened when US dealers requested it.

  • avatar
    ghentForever

    I find all of you are balonies. Not to mention anti-GM.

    • 0 avatar

      You say “anti-GM” like that’s a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      Not so much “anti-GM” as I am “anti-government” and being that Government Motors is now a subsiary being propped up to keep the lights on using my tax dollars when it should have succumb to free market and failed, I’d say all the negativity towards these jackholes is warranted.

      And then to give 10 million to Dick(hole) Wagoner as a reward for this.

      Ya, keep handing out the Golden parachuttes. 50 billion dollars worth of our money should take care of them until the final days.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Amazing . . . . . every other place I’m reading about the new Buicks the attitude is very positive. The new cars are promising, test well, and are getting reviews about as well as anyone could expect.

    Then I come here. And get to sit and watch while everybody attempts to outdo the last “Buick must die” comment.

    I hope the new cars succeed. It’ll be fascinating to see if anyone in this crowd admits they have. I’ll be very surprised if anyone does. One thing I’ve always noticed about the TTAC crowd is an incredible ability to find something negative about anything in general . . . . . and especially about some things in particular.

    Oh yeah, I’m looking forward to a chance to test drive a Regal.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Not every member on TTAC is anti-GM; I see some positive developments emanating from the RenCen. I hope that GM survives and thrives, as this is the only way that GM will pay back obligations owed to the American and Canadian governments.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      lol … Syke … I agree with you 100%. Buick sucks, GMC sucks, everything GM does sucks seems to be the predominant view on this board.

      GM basically now has three product lines: Chevy/Daewoo, Buick/Opel/GMC and Cadillac. I am too cheap to buy a Cadillac (not that I make that kind of jack, anyway) and you will never get me in a Chevy with that ugly gold bow-tie on a grille. Buick/GMC (or at least what they’re trying to do with it) speaks to someone like me who wants something a bit nicer than average, but doesn’t want to blow the budget.

      GM sold a lot of cars to a lot of people like me over the years. If (big if) GM can differentiate enough between the three lines, I don’t see why Buick can’t be successful. The trouble is not with the model of selling a premium product, the trouble is that they didn’t have good product consistent with what the buyer wants.

      I know I’m repeating, but Olds was the number three brand in the early-1980′s and the Olds Cutlass was the top-selling automobile in those days. And the nice thing is that Buick styling is closer to Oldsmobile’s these days, with much cleaner lines. Buick used to have too much fluff before. If you have the product, people will buy it.

      I do, however, agree that Buick doesn’t need a Buick Aveo (unless it can be made to feel like what a Buick should feel like). Keep the cars and the driving dynamics consistent. Don’t make the same mistakes you made before!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      I’m not anti-GM, but I have to confess that during last year my cheer-leading willingness decreased a lot. Also a Mopar fan.

      The Chevy/Daewoo road will hurt them in the long term. I’ve seen that line-up here, and wouldn’t purchase one of those. They’re a terrific value, but I don’t like the style.

      Chevy is the one that should be getting the Opel cars: Corsa and Astra. The Malibu and Impala should keep being US styled products (the platform may come from Jupiter, people won’t see that). I’d move the Impala to RWD, and use the Caprice as trim level/flagship.

      Since Buick is selling so good in China, and we could expect a good “revival” in the US with the current product/GM needs, they should eventually get unique product based on existing platforms. Most probably that would mean Chinese design with a strong American flavor. That could be made to win.

      Cadillac must definitely move up market. I for one, would love to see a Sixteen-like car on the street.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    That Opel wagon is WICK KID. Perfect A4 Avant fighter, and it will get serious consideration from me when I’m ready to upgrade form hatchback to wagon (if it actually ends up here).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Buick must expand its offerings into the untested waters of the compact (C-segment) sedan and crossover segments in order to drive business to Buick-GMC showrooms

    No, it mustn’t.

    The idea that GM needs two full-line brands in North America needed to die a decade or two ago. If Buick-GMC dealers need low-margin, high-volume product, then they should be allowed to buy Chevrolets. This is already happening in Canada now, and it should be trivial to allow GM’s remaining dealers to order from it’s full catalogue.

    A nascent Buick will be in real trouble if it finds itself getting squeezed not just by Ford or Acura or whomever, but by GM’s other brands as well. The Enclave and LaCross make good Buicks. The Regal is pushing it. The Excelle/Astra is colossally foolish. What’s next, a Buick Aveo?

    Here’s an idea: give Buick the Cadillac XTS, since that front-drive ultra-Epsilon is going to do nothing but tarnish Cadillac anyway. And, for goodness’ sakes, give Cadillac a decent S/7/LS competitor. I know that would require focus, planning and a modicum of strategy, bur bear with me here, because letting three brands step on each others toes is only slightly less stupid of an idea than having five or six brands do the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      I think it makes sense just to have GM stores. There really is only Chevy and Caddy, so just make all the stores GM and then eliminate Buick as well as the Chevy rebadge division known as GMC.

      IMO GM still wouldn’t be able to keep Chevy and Caddy separate, but at least they could focus better on two nameplates than on four.

  • avatar
    gcorley

    What gets me with this GM “strategy” for Buick; is that it is based on Opel designs.
    Everyone seems to have forgotten that GM said that they wanted to “unload” their Opel division (giving all sorts of negative reasons), agreeing in September 2009 (less than 9 months ago) to sell 55% to Magna of Canada together with Sberbank of Russia. It was only last November (7 months ago) that GM finally decided to keep Opel.
    If the future of Buick (particularly in China – the most important market for the GM brand) is and was based on Opel designs (the Opel Insignia based Buick Regal started production in November 2008 in China), why were GM trying to sell Opel almost a year later???
    Was it just one big charade to try to get financial aid out of Europe???

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    The Cruze arriving with a twist beam rear axle is a huge blunder.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Why? The Corolla and Sentra already have it and nobody complains about it.

      The Golf/Jetta had, idem.

      I don’t think that will be a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      It falls into the “good enough” category that GM needs to get itself out from. The class leaders, the Civic and the Mazda 3 don’t cheap out in this area and it justifies the higher pricetage.

      The Cruze is expected to slot above the Cobalt which goes for 13 – 17 grand in non-SS form which puts it right in range of a Civic EX and a midrange Mazda.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I currently drive a GM, a 2008 Chevy Impala which is consistantly bashed as one of the worst piles of shit ever devised on this site so the Buick hatred doesn’t surprise me. I am not however a major GM fanboy or a fanboy of any particular make. If the car is reliable, suites my needs, is recommended by friends, is made in an award winning factory, has the room and comfort I need and has a good compromise between power and mileage then that is what I will drive. The Impala 2LT 3900 V6 I currently drive has exceeded my expectations in many areas expect lacking a few features like a telescoping wheel and some dash material is hard plastic. Still it has 64k miles now and has not been in the shop for anything other than oil changes and tires so far. If this car continues to give me such excellent service and remains tight and rattle free then I will happily but another.


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