By on September 7, 2011


The American market wasn’t kind to compact Buicks, so none have been offered here since 1997. But, with Pontiac gone, and the Chinese far more interested in small Buicks than Americans ever have been, GM is giving a small (but at about 3,300 pounds not light) Buick another go. Pricing for the 2012 Verano has now been released…officially this time (test pricing leaked back in December). How close has Buick ventured to the stated fancy brand competition? And how far from the closely related (but not a panel or piston shared) Chevrolet Cruze?

[The following has been updated using complete official pricing.]

Buick cites the Acura TSX and Lexus IS 250 as the primary targets for the Verano. But if this is the case, why does the base Verano have cloth seats with manual adjustments, and even the optional power driver seat lacks power recline? Eight-way power leather seats are standard in both the Acura and the Lexus (though they are optional in the unmentioned but likely studied Audi A3 and BMW 328i). As are rear air vents, which aren’t available in the Buick at any price. Memory for the driver seat is similarly standard on the Acura, optional on the Lexus, and not available on the Buick. Buick’s riposte: the top-level Verano has a heated steering wheel the others don’t offer. The preliminary pricing included a fourth level with even fewer features. Apparently GM realized that offering the car without automatic climate control might undermine their “compact luxury” pitch.

The feature mismatch is clear when using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool to compare cars with no options except automatic transmissions (columns are for length, horsepower, sticker price, an adjustment for feature differences, the adjusted sticker price, and the difference compared to the Buick):

Len HP MSRP FeatureAdjust Adj. MSRP Diff.
2012 Buick Verano 184 180 23470 N/A 23470 N/A
2011 Acura TSX 186 201 30495 -2650 27845 +4375
2011 Lexus IS 250 180 204 35340 -2515 32825 +9355
2012 Buick Regal 190 182 27530 -940 26590 +3120
2011 Lexus HS 250h 185 187 37205 -2190 35015 +11545
2010 Volvo S40 176 168 28300 +650 23470 +5480
2012 Chevrolet Cruze LS 181 138 18465 +2630 21095 -2375
2012 Ford Focus S 179 160 18390 +4540 23930 +540
2007 VW Jetta Base 179 150 18205 +3525 21730 -1740

 

In terms of standard features, the base Verano almost exactly splits the $5,280 difference between an Acura TSX and a Chevrolet Cruze LS. Load up the cars with heated leather, sunroof, and nav and the feature adjustments get much smaller:

MSRP Feature Adjust Adj. MSRP Diff.
2012 Buick Verano 28545 N/A 28545 N/A
2011 Acura TSX 33595 -225 33370 +4825
2011 Lexus IS 250 38445 -690 37755 +9210
2012 Buick Regal 32520 -1090 31430 +2885
2011 Lexus HS 250h 40120 +185 40305 +11760
2010 Volvo S40 33450 +625 34075 +5530
2012 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ 25755 +825 26580 -1965
2012 Ford Focus Titanium 25880 +535 26415 -2130
2007 VW Jetta 2.5 27025 +1410 28435 -110

 

The Verano is much less expensive than the TSX and IS 250, especially the latter. But then Buick already has one direct competitor for these cars in the Regal, which is priced much closer to the Acura. Which Buick is the more credible competitor? The answer is reflected in their prices. Line item features aren’t everything: with the Acura and Lexus—and the Regal—you’re paying for more car.

In layout and dimensions, the Lexus HS 250h is actually a much closer match than the IS 250. Perhaps Buick didn’t want to name the HS as a competitor since the Verano doesn’t offer a hybrid powertrain, at least not yet (Buick’s other two sedans get a mild hybrid system this year). Or they might have noted that Lexus sells more than three times as many of the IS—the HS doesn’t attract enough buyers to be worth poaching. With no non-hybrid Lexus HS 250 and the Acura CSX only sold in Canada, the Japanese don’t offer a direct competitor to the Verano in the U.S.

Buick might have also named the Volvo S40 as a competitor, except the Swedes couldn’t shift their small sedan here and have discontinued it this side of the Atlantic. I’ve ventured back to the 2010 S40 to compare the non-turbo model. Judging from the numbers, the Volvo was undersized, underpowered, under-equipped, and overpriced. No surprise it didn’t sell.

But the Verano’s largest challenge (aside from pitching the concept of a small Buick to Americans) will likely come from compacts wearing non-premium badges but nevertheless constructed with the features and feel of a premium car. This space used to be owned by the Volkswagen Jetta. But VW found too few takers for lavishly outfitted Jettas. First they trimmed the options list, then last year they downgraded the entire car. We must venture back to 2007 to find a Jetta 2.5 available with leather. Adjust for features (but not a half-decade of inflation), and it’s almost dead even with the Verano.

Chevrolet and Ford have both moved to fill the space vacated by VW. The Verano is priced about $2,800 above a heavily-equipped Cruze or Focus. Adjusting for the Buick’s additional features narrows the gap to about $2,000. A significant number, but not a big one, that puts the Buick much closer to the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus than the Acura TSX, much less the Lexus IS 250 or the unmentioned Germans. Will people pay a couple grand more for the Buick’s mid-scale badge, more powerful engine, higher-grade leather, cushier seats, and “quiet-tuning?” Put another way, can Buick succeed where Volkswagen and Volvo could not? Though I had my doubts when the car was first shown back in January, it actually seems likely. The Cruze LTZ and Focus Titanium have now successfully tested the waters, and found American car buyers who are (finally) ready to pay a semi-premium price for a refined, luxury-oriented small sedan. The Buick’s pricing nudges these buyers just a little higher, while providing more than a badge as justification.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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129 Comments on “Buick Verano Pricing Analysis: Is There Room For A Compact Buick?...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What this resembles is the Canadian-market Acura CSX (and to a lesser degree the Audi A3). The CSX actually sells quite well in Canada but I don’t think it would work in the US, nor will the Verano.

    There’s no reason for this car, save for “Give B-P-G (less the “P”, now) dealers something to sell now that the Pursuit/G5 is gone”. The spread between the Lacrosse and Regal is too tight already; the Verano makes no sense, not when Buick sells such a pitifully small number of cars.

    It’s not that North Americans won’t pay premium prices for a nice small car; you’re right that they will. What they won’t do is pay premium prices for a premium badge on a dressed up plebian small car when a plebian badged version that’s almost as nice is right there. The Cruze is already very nice—what’s the point for this car, again?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The spread between Regal and LaCrosse has widened (agreed it was too small for 2011). Both can be classed as mid-size cars. The Verano is a class size down.

      I don`t agree it is just the “Give BPG something” syndrome. Do you say that to VW/Audi, Toyota/Lexus, Ford/Lincoln (with the upcoming MKC). It is perfectly reasonable for GM to have a second small car (no GMC or Cadillac version, Saturn and Pontiac dead). At least this compact is distinctly different (in engine, quality of interior etc) than in the past (G5/Cobalt anyone).

      • 0 avatar

        Lexus probably needs a car more like this one. Instead they have the overpriced HS 250h.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I don’t think Lexus needs this car any more than Buick does.

        People don’t buy cars like this very much (the CSX is the exception, and even it’s tailing off in volume), they lease the higher-trim models with more badge prestige. There is no way Lexus could rationalize a reskinned Corolla with nicer trim; people would just buy ISs, ESs, Camries and top-drawer Corollas instead.

        The HS and CT (and the base IS250) make at least some sense because it’s not quite a competitor to anything Toyota makes and neither are really expected to fill volumes. This is basically a nice Cruze, so why not just get a Cruze?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        psar,

        Lexus couldn`t rationalise a reskinned Corolla. Really? Got o http://www.lexus.com/models/HSh/ and it is a dead ringer for a Corolla. Its USP is the hybrid system but then why not just buy a Prius. That is your argument.

        Why do people buy A3′s (just nice Golfs according to you) or any Lincoln (reskinned Fords) etc. I am not saying if people are right or wrong – just there is a market. Lets see what happens. I would expect upto 4000 units a month (1 25% increase for Buick) but small compared to Cruze. Time will tell.

        Edit : I saw Mike’s reply to my comments about the HS. I accept that point about the platform, I just wonder why they were made to look so similar.

      • 0 avatar

        The HS 250h might look like a Corolla, but it’s on a larger, more robust platform. I don’t think they could have upfitted the Corolla to Lexus standards, but an HS 250 (sans the h) would be a different matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        I think GM is whistling past the graveyard again. Where’s the nice handling grand touring, front drive, turbo coupe with hatch, or wagon version? Instead/again they’ll be building another slush box appliance sedan with a Naugahyde interior. It will not save them.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There’s no reason for this car, save for “Give B-P-G (less the “P”, now) dealers something to sell now that the Pursuit/G5 is gone”.

      Exactly right.

      And this provides a good example of why the three-channel strategy was a mistake, particularly when that third channel is Buick-GMC, which is dominated by trucks. Maintaining a third channel mandates that an entirely new group of dealers be fed with products to sell, which just sucks scarce resources away from better uses.

      With this three channel arrangement, getting rid of Pontiac was almost pointless. But in any case, there is no place in the US market for near-luxury branding, which necessitates that Buick either floats in limbo or else butt heads up the ladder with Cadillac or down the ladder with Chevrolet. The BK should have addressed the channel problem more thoroughly — they should have kept purging when they had the opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      And the CT200h…eh

    • 0 avatar
      areader

      BG sales people have told me they need a small car to sell. Yes, it will help the dealers; all sales do that. Not that my experience proves anything on a national level, but the local BG dealer is a MUCH better dealer than the local Chevy dealers. More honest in sales and service and more competent service techs. I’d be surprised if this isn’t a pattern; somewhat upscale and more expensive products lead people to expect a better experience and generate a degree of loyalty when shopping for a new or used vehicle.

      I’d like to see the numbers on the discontinuing of Pontiac. I live in Indiana and see a LOT of Pontiacs on the road. The G6 sold well and I see some Vibes around. I remember hearing Wagoner saying, after the bankruptcy, that he thought they could hang on to Saturn. With the logic behind that thinking, the decision to kill Pontiac is suspect.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      My understanding of this move is that the Verano may be a good fit for older buyers who like the Buick nameplate and styling, but don’t want a big car anymore. Maybe they just retired, sold the house, and moved to a sunnier clime. They don’t see the kids and grandkids that often now, so they don’t need a lot of space. Just enough to take the two of them on a weekend trip. And if Mr. passes away, as sadly will happen to us all, the car is easy-driving enough that Mrs. will still be able to get around.

      I think it will sell in moderate numbers.

  • avatar
    86er

    The American market wasn’t kind to compact Buicks, so none have been offered here since 1997.

    What do you call the Regal, then?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Good point. The current Regal is pretty compact.

      That’s part of the Verano’s problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never considered the Regal to be a compact car. Compared to the rest of the Buick lineup it’s smaller, but It’s always been more of a midsize player.

    • 0 avatar

      With the Lucerne gone and not to be replaced in the near term, Buick is positioning the Regal as a midsize sedan and the LaCrosse as a large one. Neither car quite fits. They have the exterior length–at 190 inches, the Regal is too long to be considered a compact–but like most GM cars lately come up short on shoulder room.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The Regal is the Opel Insigna and is as such bigger than the Astra (which is the stablemate of the Verano). Since the Regal has European roots it is on the small side for a US midsize car. VW saw this was an issue and fixed that with the US only Passat.

  • avatar
    mike978

    It will be interesting to see how successful the Verano is (I wished they would change the name, but too late). It is pretty unique in being billed an out and out luxury compact sedan. It has a powerful (for the class) base engine with the 220hp turbo due next year. Buick are also playing up the quiet tuning, with quietness being part of luxury, not just leather and gadgets. Lexus does this too.
    It is any more spacious than the Cruze? I heard it was more based on the Opel Astra than the Cruze but…

    Will people pay $2,250 for the Buick’s mid-scale badge, more powerful engine, higher-grade leather, cushier seats, and “quiet-tuning?” – this is a good question. The $2250 is not much for all those amenities – time will tell if it does sell.

    Also why did GM neglect to release the middle spec group? Odd to do just top and bottom. Thanks for extrapolating.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s actually a little less room inside the Verano than in the Cruze–those cushy seats and door panels take up more space within an identical wheelbase.

      The press release only includes two numbers, but these are often incomplete. Incomplete and even contradictory information on manufacturer sites (VW’s is a total mess lately) is one of the largest challenges I face operating my site.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        So can you confirm that the Verano will be noticeably smaller inside than the VW Jetta?

        I was struck by this statement in the press release “The Verano offers more passenger and cargo volume than the Acura TSX sedan or Lexus IS 250″. The TSX is the European Honda Accord and is the regal competitor. I really am surprised both of those cars have less passanger space than a compact.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s far more legroom in the back of the Jetta than in any of the other cars mentioned.

        The Lexus IS 250 is notoriously tight in the back seat.

        I have no idea how they figured that the Verano has a roomier interior than the TSX. The specs I have–from the manufacturer sites–show a little more legroom and a lot more shoulder room (about three inches) in the Acura.

  • avatar
    david42

    My crystal ball says this car will be a flop. Buicks are supposed to be dignified & prestigious, and this car looks like a little girl trying to wear mommy’s high heels. The Focus looks cool & edgy & unique (at least in an American context).

    Like a Focus Titanium, the Verano should simply be a higher trim level of the Chevy Cruze…. it might attract a more conservative buyer than the Focus, but at least they won’t feel like they’re paying for a faux luxury car. I know that the Cruze is a (very) respectable compact, but the idea of it competing with the IS250 shows that some of GM’s old bad habits die hard indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The Cruze is not competing with the IS250. The Verano is different – different engines, interior and exterior styling, quality of materials. Time will tell. I would think the A3 is the most logical competitor in terms of size, quality and price.

      I recall some of the B&B thinking
      a) people wouldn`t buy Focus Titanium’s
      b) the 2011 Jetta wouldn`t sell
      c) the 2008 Focus was a bad idea.

      All three assertions proved wring – let the market decide.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I recall some of the B&B thinking
        a) people wouldn`t buy Focus Titanium’s
        b) the 2011 Jetta wouldn`t sell
        c) the 2008 Focus was a bad idea.

        And you can add to that list the Buick Regal will never sell.

        The market will decide.

        But anyone dismissing the Verano as a tarted up Cruze doesn’t get it. Other than every piece of sheet metal, the exterior trim, the front and rear lighting and lenses, almost every detail of the interior, the engines, the wheels, the suspension bits and tuning, transmission tuning and availability of manuals versus automatics in the various combinations – yes they are exactly the same. ;-)

        Hey, lots of people have said, bring the Opel Astra in all its glory here to the states and they’ll sell ‘em faster than they can make ‘em. Well, you got your wish…

      • 0 avatar

        Got that wish earlier, with the Saturn ASTRA. With Saturn gone, the next gen Saturns have become the Regal and Verano.

    • 0 avatar

      When I saw the Verano at NAIAS the proportions seemed all wrong, and suggested a car trying to be something it’s not. But in a different color with different wheels at the Dream Cruise, the Verano actually looked pretty good. If GM were smart, they’d put the much more suitable wheel on all of the cars. I’m not sure if it’s the standard wheel or the optional wheel. Likely the latter, with the result that most of the Veranos on the street won’t look quite right.

    • 0 avatar
      Wodehouse

      See, I think just the opposite. I find the Focus design neither cool nor edgy. It now just fits in with nearly everything else in its class with its overwrought head/tail lights, black lower body and bumper cladding, roof spoiler, poor rear visibility and clumsy 1990′s cab-forwardness.

      The Verano’s design details and trim are better proportioned and integrated. Its cab-forward look has real glass and not a plastic triangle with cleaner lines and surfaces. The front end focus is an easily recognized, upscale grille–not another forgettable black plastic maw.

      The Buick looks, inside and out, like a car I’d buy because I want the Buick of compacts, whereas, the Focus is a car I would buy if I were just wanting to buy a good compact that’s like all of the others and got a better deal than the Chevy, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, or, VW dealer.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I have to say that the interior shot is just gorgeous. Looks like a definite improvement over the Cruze. Looks like proper luxury interior, though the door panel seem a bit too simple. They ougnt to put some pleat or something in there.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Though I had my doubts when the car was first shown back in January, it actually seems likely. The Cruze LTZ and Focus Titanium have now successfully tested the waters, and found American car buyers who are (finally) ready to pay a semi-premium price for a refined, luxury-oriented small sedan. The Buick’s pricing nudges these buyers just a little higher, while providing more than a badge as justification.

    I reached the same conclusion yesterday. I think the Cruze and Focus, and the average transactional price of the new Jetta (close to $26K!!!) is saying loud and clear America is willing to pay for premium features in a compact car. Compact spartan anymore.

    I think GM has nailed the price point perfectly. Regal sales seem to be going against the naysayers (inlcuding myself, I didn’t believe for a second it would sell) although I still believe that GM will find it near impossible to sell $39K Regal GSs.

    I believe the Verano will be a hit, it’s biggest barrier is going to be the Buick nameplate. GM certainly has learned a lot, and going with different sheet metal, interior bits, suspension, and engines certainly eliminates the wails of, “badge job!”

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I hope Buick succeed but the Regal has stalled at around 4000 sales a month. Maybe the e-Assist and GS will help. The GS tops out with all options at $39K but $35K is the base price for a well equipped car.

      I agree the Buick name may be a bigger hindrance but perceptions change – Hyundai is a great example for that. Buick has been on the path to changing their perception – Enclave, LaCrosse and Regal have all helped. It will take longer but I think they could pull it off. At least this isn`t the old badge engineering.

      • 0 avatar

        Perceptions will change.

        4,000 a month isn’t bad, and the car could be a late bloomer. Most Americans remain entirely unaware of the car. If owners are impressed they’ll talk, and word will spread.

        The odd thing is that Buick aimed for Lexus, but has ended up filling a space vacated by Volkswagen, and so not occupied by any direct competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        My concern Mike was that it has plateaued at 4000 a month and looking at inventory at local dealers (online) there seem to be quite a few German built Regal’s left even 6 months after Oshawa started. That indicates to me it is slow selling – I hope it picks up since I like the car.

  • avatar
    segfault

    The color of the trim around the adjustable height seatbelt doesn’t match the rest of the trim. Interior quality fail.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Does that make a fail?? Maybe in a $50K car but neither my Legacy or Sienna (both in similar price points if not functions/sizes) have the seatbelt surround in the identical color. Maybe my standards are too low!

    • 0 avatar

      This shot was clearly taken in a prototype styling buck, not in an actual production car–otherwise a B-pillar would be in the way. So I wouldn’t conclude anything from that color mismatch.

  • avatar

    The most interesting feature about the Verano is the so-called “quiet tuning”. Several reviews have praised the Cruze for it’s quietness, and from the competitors list, it’s clear that minimizing NVH is high on the priority list. Buick in America has near zero or negative levels of badge prestige, so they’re forced to lower their price in order to shock potential buyers into the showroom. If these early adopters of the new Buick find good value, then Buick can step towards carving out a piece of the “affordable luxury” segment.

    Great analysis as always Michael. The row comparing the HS250 made my eyes jump: +11.5k That means I could get a Verano *and* have enough leftover for something sporty, used, and topless.

    • 0 avatar

      The HS 250h is priced far too high, even considering the standard hybrid powertrain. Lexus needs a car this size, but with a price at least $5,000 lower.

      The Buick Verano is hitting this spot, though I do think it should have power recline and memory for the driver seat. Perhaps xenons and cooled seats as well. As noted in the piece, the Buick doesn’t quite offer enough features to make it a credible luxury sedan. Then again, its price reflects this.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I agree, but those features you mention can always be added in 2013 and future model years. If they have the basics right – size, design then details like memory seats and power recline can always be worked out.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m agree with mike978. Something has to give when cutting price down to non-luxury levels. I’m not sure how much more leather costs in vehicle production, but I’ve always felt that adding leather has always increased a car’s luxury credentials. If not leather, maybe the base could could be fitted with vinyl or some other pseudo-leather.

      • 0 avatar

        The base has leatherette bolsters and “premium cloth” in the center panels.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I still don’t see the need in the market for three different four-cylinder Buicks. (Yes, I know a V6 is optional on the Electra, er, Lesabre, ah, I mean Lacrosse.)

    • 0 avatar

      For 2012 Audi and BMW will each offer four-cylinder engines in three models (not including sports cars). For once GM is simply with the industry rather than following it, though to match the Germans the 2.0T rather than the e-assist 2.4 would be the base engine in the LaCrosse.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      They appear to be chasing VW – you can get yourself a Golf, an EOS, a Jetta, a CC, a Passat, and whatever else with that same four cylinder.

      I don’t think they would admit that, but if you look at the product side-by-side, I think that’s in Buick’s crosshairs.

      If only that Lacrosse were an Electra!

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I’m of two minds about this. Here’s what it might come down to for some people with pricing this tight. What is the rear seat leg room in the Cruze, Verano, and Regal? For buyers with say two teenage children the legroom might be the deciding factor. I’ve heard good things about the roominess of the Cruze’s rear seats, do the other two justify their price differences?

    • 0 avatar

      I actually found the Cruze’s rear seat to be on the tight side. There’s noticeably more room in the back of the Regal, which is still tight given its exterior length.

      I’ll have more to say on the Cruze soon–getting an Eco for the coming week.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    “The row comparing the HS250 made my eyes jump: +11.5k That means I could get a Verano *and* have enough leftover for something sporty, used, and topless.”

    Jerry: my ex-wife will cost you a lot more than $11.5K.

  • avatar
    John R

    Mmm…I’d rather a pre-owned G35/G37..or a new Optima/Sonata Turbo. I’ve seen pictures of this and I’m not feeling it.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Tan and beige and silver. They are going to have to do better than that if they want a younger crowd, no matter the price.

    Also, only 31mpg highway? Really?

    I dunno about this one.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Anything thrown into the market place will sell to someone at some point at some time. The question really is, will they sell enough of them to make money on this tiny Buick? Does anyone remember the Cimarron?

      The question I have is in regards to WHY people willing to spend big bucks for a Lexus tiny offering, would choose to buy a Buick.

      I know that GM likes to compare the Buick line to Lexus but I don’t see where Lexus owners would share that thought. If they did, then Lexus owners would trip all over themselves in their rush to buy a Buick to replace their old Lexus.

      The Lexus brand and name both have gravitas in the market place, and conjure up an image of success. Buick also projects an image, but it is not the same as Lexus at any level.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Does anyone remember the Cimarron?

        I KNEW someone was going to go here. I knew it. Verano = Cimarron.

        Lets see, Cimarron. Take one Chevrolet Cavalier, change NOTHING on it sans the lights, add a grille, hang some cheap plastic trim off of it, give it a leather interior (a crappy one at that) call it a Cadillac and say, “hello world, come buy your BMW killer.” Yes – that was the marketing and positioning of the vehicle. Total train wreck.

        Verano versus Cruze. Different sheet metal, every square inch, different lighting and high quality, exterior trim, completely different interior almost every panel and surface, completely different engine choices with significantly more horsepower and torque, even in the base configuration, different wheels, tires, suspension, giving a completely different ride and handling characteristics.

        Pricing is very competitive in the segment as the above story indicates – almost no natural 1:1 competitor and answering a question that American car buyers are starting to ask at the perfectly right time, “where can I get an entry level luxury COMPACT car that is fun to drive and not painful in a commute and won’t break the bank.”

        The Lexus brand and name both have gravitas in the market place

        Myth more than fact. Lexus is a stale brand that if you took away RX sales would have nothing to talk about. Oh, and the ES350 is a tarted up Camry V6 and all, thorugh and through. Lexus sales were already in decline before the credit crisis, and certainly well before the tidal wave. The only reason in 2010 they eeked out the luxury segment sales title is in December of 2010 they put HUGE amounts of cash on the hood, no money down, no payments for 120 days, and wrote loan paper to anyone with a pulse. You know, Detroit tactics to drive volume.

        It was already concluded in the hallowed electrons that are TTAC that Lexus would assuredly lose its sales crown in 2011, and that was before the tsunami.

        Lexus = safe, boring, and reliable today (outside of the LFA and the IS-F). You know – Buick.

        And consider this. Buick was outselling Lexus in January and February of 2011, before earthquakes and tsunamis and doing it with only three active models, and one being put out to pasture. I did some digging but couldn’t find a non-GM media source that states, 50% of Buick buyers are coming from other brands – I’m going to guess that someone on the TTAC payroll or deeply connected could provide that information.

        Lexus is on the skids my friend – and has a growing list of problems (however to the benefit of Lexus a graying of their demographic is not an issue – so Lexus needs to address their product mix)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I don’t own a Lexus product but I know people who sell them for a living (not related to me) and they make money selling Lexus. The key of course is that they are making money on stand-alone Lexus dealerships. That’s pretty good these days.

        So whatever Lexus is, or may or may not be, people value it higher than all the offerings from Buick, which aren’t selling all that well in the US. Probably better in China.

        I would be interested in knowing if anyone can show us what the financial contribution of Buick is to GM, and whether the Buick division is actually profitable in the overall scheme of GM International.

        Once we get those figures we would have a better idea if the introduction of the Verano is based on a calculated need for it in the market place, or just a Hail Mary pass to help GM saturate the market with GM offerings, not making money on any of them.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        So whatever Lexus is, or may or may not be, people value it higher than all the offerings from Buick, which aren’t selling all that well in the US. Probably better in China.

        Nah, Buick isn’t selling well. Only outsold Lexus from January to July of 2011 IIRC, and two of those months are BEFORE earthquakes and tidal waves. Did that with only three models and a left over for most of that period, and limited availability of their middle model. Buick is only the fastest growing brand in the United States, while Lexus sales are in decline.

        http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/70704/buick-pulls-a-180–doubling-the-growth-of-the-fastest-growing-brands.jsp

        And then there is this piece:

        http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2011/03/buick-sales-soar-past-lexus.html

        With a fresh lineup, Buick seems to be reclaiming the mid-luxury market. For the month, Buick sold 15,807 vehicles (up 73.3% from February 2010), compared with 13,814 vehicles at Lexus (up 0.2%). Buick also outsold Lexus in January, and so far it has a greater year-to-date total (29,076 vehicles) compared with Lexus (26,674)…

        …Lexus, it seems, sorely needs some new sheet metal in terms of not just models on lots, but new models. Luxury makes — such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes — have turned over their lineups at a faster pace compared with Lexus. In February, Lexus moved 2,598 of its once-best-selling ES sedan; it was the brand’s second-highest seller that month. The Buick LaCrosse…is now selling at a pace nearly twice that…moving 4,329 vehicles…

        …What makes the role reversal between Lexus and Buick even more astounding is that Lexus has nine models…and Buick has only four…

        But wait, it gets worse for your position that Buick isn’t doing well…

        Nearly half of the shoppers who bought a Buick Regal in February came from other brands.

        Oh, and what about profitability?

        Along with the boost in sales, buyers are spending more to get their Buicks. The average transaction price has increased by $11,113 since 2003

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I have relatives who own Buick/GMC dealerships and they aren’t doing all that well in their locations. The fact that Buick outsells quality-brand Lexus does not erase the fact that Lexus is a profitable company, while Buick and GM are not. Maybe you can find out how well Lexus sells worldwide against Buick sales worldwide.

        Personally I hope that GM does well in order to pay back all that tax payer bail out money but I can’t see where this tiny Buick is going to be the cash cow for them. If GM is really all that profitable let’s see them take the tax payers off the hook and pay back all that bail out money so lavishly bestowed on them and the UAW when they went bankrupt.

        Buick may do well in China, and may even make some money for GM, but I don’t share your vision of Buick as a money-making success. And I don’t see where this tiny Buick is going to be a huge seller. I also don’t see where young people are going to suddenly drop Lexus to buy Buicks. Two different demographics. Lexus=people with money. Buick=people who step up from buying a Chevy.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        does not erase the fact that Lexus is a profitable company, while Buick and GM are not

        Buick is quite profitable and so is the “new” GM. Record profits after expenses.

        http://ycharts.com/companies/GM/cash_on_hand

        GM is 39th out of 4,322 companies tracked for cash on hand.
        GM is number 2 out of 377 consumer goods brands
        GM is number 2 out of 6 in its sector – and according to JP Morgan just today, moved to the number one spot.

        Lexus is facing shrinking profits due to a very strong Yen versus a very weak US dollar, and declining sales.

        You’re providing information based on a focus group of one, I talked to they, and I know these people – I’m providing annotated industry facts. Conversation over – unless you can back up your claims with something more than throwing out sentence fragments and talking about this dude that you know that knows a dude who has a friend and they say…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And there in lies the difference. You base your opinion on what you consider the gospel according to GM and snapshots in time.

        I base my observations based on what is happening in my area of the country over the long term and what is really selling in areas and locations that pay the bills for those dealerships.

        If GM is doing so well, let’s see some of that money get back to the Treasury, eh? No need to keep the tax payers dangling any longer, is there?

        Different areas, different takes. Which brings us back to this little Verano. When Ford came out with the EB V6 F150 a lot of people were cautious in their predictions on sales. Ford proved them wrong. They sell well. Also at the Ford dealerships owned by my family members.

        It will be interesting to see if the Verano will actually sell in a crowded market segment comprised of proven consistently successful sellers from the foreigners.

        I have my doubts but I would be happy if increased sales would result in increased profitability for GM and a prompt repayment of the bail out bucks.

        BTW, it is not my intention to have you see my point of view or prove something to your satisfaction. It doesn’t matter to me if you accept my comments or not. My comments are based on real-world trade and what is/has been happening with the dealerships owned by my family members. IOW, more than a casual acquaintance.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        You base your opinion on what you consider the gospel according to GM

        Oh no. I knew you’d eventually go there. The gospel according to GM?

        You know what is awesome about written sections like this? It is all there for everyone to see. I didn’t link to a SINGLE GM source for any of the facts, figures, or data points provided.

        Not GM does provide SOME data – like units sold and the like but that is easily confirmed from any number of sources. Unless we’re putting on tinfoil hats and going government conspiracy because you haven’t provide a single, third party source for any of your data.

        The gospel according to GM??? What, Lexus is under reporting their sales, their product mix, and their demographics??? GM is lying???

        I provided third party resources, quoted TTAC (without links) where it was obvious.

        Look, if you’re going to debate than debate with substance – you haven’t tossed out a thing but this dude says, and I heard this, and a couple of perception versus reality points.

        If GM is doing so well, let’s see some of that money get back to the Treasury, eh? No need to keep the tax payers dangling any longer, is there?

        And now you throw your last card on the table. PAY ME BACK! The stock price sucks!!! ARGH! GM stock has followed Ford’s stock since GM’s IPO in the trend line, and followed the S&P 500. It is trending with the industry. Wall Street hasn’t had a banner year if you haven’t been keeping up with current events. Even sweetheart stock Apple has plateaued out this year.

        But hey, lets provide – another link to FACTS. Morgan Stanley just rated GM stock as tops in it’s sector with a $45 target price in 12 months.

        http://www.leftlanenews.com/gm-stock-ranked-tops-in-auto-industry.html

        GM has about $34 billion in cash, a figure that far exceeds crosstown rival Ford’s $8 billion. Using GM’s relatively cash-flush situation as a barometer, Morgan Stanley says that the automaker’s “castle isn’t impenetrable, but its walls are high and thick…”

        …Still, Morgan Stanley says that since annual auto sales in the U.S. aren’t expected to hit the previously-forecasted 13 million units, its one-year price targets for both Ford and GM have been ratcheted downward. Ford is targeted at $18, while GM is expected to net $45.

        You know under current market conditions, much outside of any single corporations control a sale of the remainder of GM stock would mean a loss. The equity market needs to stabilize either with renewed faith in the overall market, or a QEIII from the government. Don’t be disingenious.

        Oh, and don’t shoot the messenger on Morgan Stanley’s analysis – I provided the source – I am not here to sustain or condemn the $34 billion figure that Morgan Stanley states.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        “but I can’t see where this tiny Buick is going to be the cash cow for them” – Highdesertcat. No-one is saying this car (compact not tiny) will be a silver bullet. Very few vehicles are, the Sonic isn`t, the Fit isn`t, the FJ Cruiser isn`t etc etc. Should manufacturers stop making cars that sell in low numbers, whats your criteria less than 10,000 units a month? The market will decide and I agree with APaGttH that your anecdotes don`t matter – the Ford example and the Buick examples you cited. There are thousands of dealers nationwide with different markets. Lets look at the national sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I won’t shoot the messenger. Everyone is entitled to their point of view. I am certain that I can make money with my interpretation of the market and the manufacturers and I will lay out my rationale for my recommendation to the people who ask me for my input. (Yes, I actually do that, and I get paid for it too.)

        Your point of view is very helpful. It shows that there is a different interpretation of the facts. If you think that GM is doing great, good for you. I don’t share that. Not many people do, except the UAW and GM.

        But I also think that if the economy was more robust and there were more jobs available for people who actually want a job, the whole auto industry would do a lot better.

        And the name of the game is still to sell in order to make money. When you put $10,500 on the hood of a Silverado, $10,300 on the hood of a Sierra and up to $5000 on the hood of an Enclave, that must be a form of repaying the tax payers by some interpretation. Yet those vehicles are not moving like they should at these bargain basement prices.

        You’re entitled to your views. Some I agree with. Most I do not. If we go by your interpretation, the US auto industry should be doing a whole lot better than it is, and it’s not.

        Only someone with a vested interest in the domestic manufacturers would talk up the data highlighting only the positives and eliminating the overwhelming negatives that are stifling the US auto manufacturers.

        BTW, how many screen names do you use? I have read your arguments before, presented by individuals using different screen names. Same arguments. Same style of writing. Same expressions. Same condescending attitude.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        So now with nothing left you attack my integrity with the implication that I use doppel accounts.

        I have ONE account here and ONE screen name on TTAC. APaGttH.

        I don’t have time nor car to manage duplicate accounts which would prove nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And the name of the game is still to sell in order to make money. When you put $10,500 on the hood of a Silverado, $10,300 on the hood of a Sierra and up to $5000 on the hood of an Enclave, that must be a form of repaying the tax payers by some interpretation. Yet those vehicles are not moving like they should at these bargain basement prices.

        So now you take to lies too?

        Buick Enclave, 2011 model has $2,000 on the hood – 2012 has 2.9% financing.

        http://www.buick.com/tools/currentoffers/results.do?zipCode=98026

        Hey, you only got it wrong by 60%

        Silverado? Well there is $4,500 cash back on Silverado hybrids.

        The one ton 3500 series has $3005 cash back on it – that’s the most you can get.

        http://www.chevrolet.com/tools/currentoffers/results.do?zipCode=98026

        GMC Sierra? Identical to the Silverado.

        http://www.gmc.com/tools/currentoffers/results.do?zipCode=98026

        As a matter of fact, for 1/2 ton gasoline powered pickup trucks, Toyota has more cash on the hood than General Motors.

        http://westernwashington.buyatoyota.com/Specials/SpecialOffersDetails.aspx?series=Tundra

        But hey – you keep throwing out false information as “truth” and then toss out accusations of an agenda.

        If you think that GM is doing great, good for you. I don’t share that. Not many people do, except the UAW and GM.

        Where did I say GM is doing, “great,” please provide a link to that – I’d sure be interested in reading that.

        I linked to current available information from Morgan Stanley that says GM is doing great, not me – but now you are shooting the messenger by making a LLN news story quoting Morgan Stanley as MY position. You made a clear statement, “Buick and GM are unprofitable.”

        It is right on this page. That statement is utterly false. GM was unprofitable, it is profitable today. Long term viability i a different issue but I see GMs future is in China, not here. Even TTAC gave up with their monthly, “the bubble is going to break,” analysis of China and just keeps watching GM grow, grow, grow. But I guess Ed has an agenda too??? I mean is this what you’re implying.

        You said Buick isn’t selling well. That statement is completely false. Buick is the fastest growing brand in the United States and is outselling Lexus, Mercedes (if you chaffe out the vans), and Acura. That accomplishment has been done with 3-1/2 models, that isn’t impressive, that’s stunning.

        Again – I’ve provided third party links, I’ve quoted TTAC, LLN, and other generally respected sources for automotive information. These aren’t “my” writings, these aren’t “my” positions. These are facts that people smarter than both you and me combined are tracking for a living.

        Now you can continue to tell yourself that Buick is a dead brand walking that doesn’t sell and is unprofitable. But when you ignore actual, real data, and then attack the person who presents actual, real, unvarnished data, including data coming from the most critical of sources like TTAC — dude — you’re kind of beyond help.

    • 0 avatar

      The early fuel economy numbers–22/31–suggest a weakness, perhaps the one that will hold the car back the most. Many larger, more powerful cars do better on the highway. But sometimes the preliminary numbers are low.

      • 0 avatar
        turbosaab

        GM claims that the larger, less aerodynamic, 3800 lb Equinox gets 22/32 with this drivetrain. Something does not add up.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @turbosaab

        Gearing, tires, final drive ratios, and shift tuning all have dramatic impacts on MPG. Same engine + same tranny same MPG in different chassis.

        The 2011 Toyota Camry with the V6 under the hood is rated 20/29 MPG.

        The 2011 Lexus ES350 with the same engine and tranny is rated 19/27.

        The Camry with the V6 in XLE trim weighs in at 3516 (so sayeth Autos @ Yahoo, your source may vary).

        The ES350 weighs in at 3605 (so sayeth LLN, your source may vary).

        Now sure, the 100 pound difference on the Camry is going to have SOME impact on MPG – but we’re not talking fractions here. Shouldn’t they be the same? Surely the Lexus isn’t so sensitive as to lose 2 MPG on the highway over 100 pounds.

        So is Toyota fudging the Camry MPG numbers? Conspriacy!

        The tire used can have an impact of 2 MPG – easily, let alone tuning, throttle response curves, shift points, etc. etc.

      • 0 avatar

        The testing equipment is set up by “weight class,” which I believe runs in 250-pound increments. So even a few pounds can kick a car into the next weight class and shave 1-2 MPG off the estimates, even if the real-world impact is virtually zero.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …The testing equipment is set up by “weight class,” which I believe runs in 250-pound increments. So even a few pounds can kick a car into the next weight class and shave 1-2 MPG off the estimates, even if the real-world impact is virtually zero…

        All the more reason that the weight class concept is just a way to game the system. Another opportunity to have accurate mileage estimates lost.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I think there is a market for this car. But GM has to hurry here, great grandma isn’t getting any younger and Florida is making her take the driver’s test every year since her cataract started covering her iris.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Not that fair – Regal GS with manual. Not really grandma’s car. Enclave also seems to have been a hit (relatively speaking) with the 30-50 crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah this car makes me think of my grandmother who replaced her Skylark with an Aztek. Problem is she’s broken her hip twice and so she needs the greater seat height of the Aztek to slide into, instead of falling into the seat of the Verano. (Hmmmmmm she might be a good candidate for a 4-cyl Terrain.)

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      So we’re going to keep driving this myth too?

      In 2006 the average age of the Buick buyer was 72 years old.

      In the middle of 2010 the average age has dropped to 61.

      http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2010/05/buick-sales-up-average-age-of-buyers-down.html

      An 11 year drop in four years isn’t moving the needle. That is a demographic seismic shift. This is even faster than Cadillac moving its gray needle.

      Oh and before you go 61 is still, “old,” according to Toyota the average age of the Camry buyer? 60. Source, TTAC, and I know Michael Karesh can back it up because he is the one who shared that nugget – and that 60 year old figure is coming from Toyota brass.

      That “60″ number was dismissed by the B&B as not a big deal as only older people buy new cars now – if I apply that same logic, Buick is doing well with a 61 year old average buyer, and that stat is dropping like a rock. The Verano (and the end of the Lucerne) will keep moving that needle down.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        The average of all new car buyers is fairly old right now, because they are the ones with money. I think that Buick’s shift is a promising sign, though.

      • 0 avatar

        I still wonder if the Toyota exec was off on the Camry. But Buick has clearly cut the average age of its buyers dramatically. The LaCrosse is now the “oldest” car they have. People in their 30s and 40s should feel right at home in a Regal or Enclave. The Verano? I need some seat time.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        What? American car = old and/or less education and/or boring midwest person.

        Toyota or Honda = young and/or more education and/or trendy east or west coast.

        Simple.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Average age of the a Buick Enclave buyer is 53 years old.

        Source? TTAC – and that was in 2008, I would speculate the age has only dropped since then. Fifty-three is the average age of a Lexus customer (all Lexus models combined).

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/04/gm-death-watch-172-buicks-enclave/

        Enclave buyers belong to a highly coveted pool, sporting an average age of 53 and median annual household incomes of $130k.

        The Buick LaCrosse? Average buyer is 55, that stat was in every early 2010 – again I would only suspect that the age has dropped, given the overall brand improvement, not increased.

        http://gmauthority.com/blog/2009/12/smart-marketing-buick-looking-to-further-decrease-average-age-of-buyers/

        But Buick’s strength isn’t in the United States – it is in China.

        In China the Buick Regal is bought by a person with the average age of…

        36.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/news/car/09q4/2011_buick_regal-official_photos_and_info

      • 0 avatar

        In China the Regal is a fairly large, high-end car. The bulk of sales to individuals (as opposed to companies) are smaller cars. The great majority of the “Buicks” sold in China are actually Daewoos. The Verano is MUCH nicer than those cars, and could do very well there.

  • avatar
    SWComp

    I would seriously consider buying one, except:
    - I’d really rather have a wagon/hatch
    - no memory seats: fail
    - no power recline seats: fail
    - no ventilated seats: probably fail
    - no rear vents: don’t care
    - push button start: don’t need

    Oh well, probably back to looking for a CPO CTS wagon.

  • avatar
    George B

    “Is there (pricing) room for a compact Buick?” Probably not. My short elderly mother likes smaller cars that are easier for her to see out of, but I can’t imagine she’d pay more to get a Buick instead of a Chevrolet. My dad would probably enjoy a Buick…a big one. Total number of people I know here in Texas who consider a Buick to be a luxury brand. ZERO. A Buick is simply a car you buy at the dealership that mostly sells GMC branded Chevrolet trucks.

  • avatar
    threeer

    This would be the ideal car for my mother…small (she’s not into big cars), pseudo-luxury, quiet with “some” European influence. Problem is as has already been stated here…perception. It’s a Buick, and that just doesn’t scream “I’ve worked hard all of my life, I’m 67 and I want something that says I’ve made it…” Me? I like it (and the Regal). But I can’t see convincing her that this should be her “last” car.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I think this would be a solid choice for older women who would typically gravitate towards a Corolla, but want something a little more upscale and prefer to buy American.

    But it’s hard to market to that demographic, without turning off every other demographic in the country.

  • avatar
    GMis4GoodManners

    My take on the Verano is I _would_ buy one. I commute 80 miles a day and like a comfortable yet economical car. In fact, the only reason I would chose the Cruze is it’s better fuel economy (my one complaint about the Verano). My current commuter has 150K on it, a Civic LX, and would like something much nicer (I’m getting older, I want to be comfortable). I _would_ buy the Regal eAssist, but the difference in price vs. the difference in fuel economy over the Verano won’t be made up even in 150K miles (assuming $2,000 for the eAssist over the current $2,800 price difference).

    A loaded Civic (EX-L with Leather /Nav) goes for at least $24K, $4K less than the loaded Verano, but smaller and with far fewer niceties and horsepower (although better fuel economy).

    So, as a commuter, 31 MPG highway is decent, and the car is clearly far more comfortable and luxurious than even the nicer compacts out there.

    And I think there are plenty of people out there who want a NICE commuter, which is what I see in this car.

    As far as 4,000 units/month, keep in mind Buick only sold 102K in 2009, and 155K in 2010, and (I believe) currently looking at 180K for 2011, so 48K units for that # of sales is hardly bad. If the Verano can sell HALF that much, it should push Buick over 200K a year in the US (fyi, the Buick Excelle is selling VERY well in China).

    I have also noticed many of the Regals on the lot are the German made ones, not the American made ones. My only take on this is the Onstar system in the German made ones are NOT (apparently) compatiable with the iPhone/Android app, so you can’t start the car from your phone (in fact, the German made Regals don’t seem to have remote start available on them). The GM/Buick/Onstar explaination as to WHY this is so makes no sense, but there you have it.

  • avatar
    jj99

    Please, don’t compare Motown vehicles to Toyota, Lexus, Honda, and Acura. Motown vehicles are subpar and frankly embarrassing. Can we fence off that area and donate it to union loving Canada?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This car makes no sense.

    People usually buy the little luxury cars (BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, etc) for the nameplate. So they can say yes, I have a BMW. Even though in reality a 4Runner costs the same amount.

    Buick is not a very desirable name, so there is no market.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I can see your point but there is no 1 series hatchback sold. The 1 series coupe is small in the back – an advantage for the Verano. As I mentioned before the A3 is a natural competitor.

      “There is no market” – that is a bold assertion. Time will tell if you are right. Hopefully you were not one of those saying the Cruze would flop or there was no market for $25K + compact cars.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Do the specs you’ve got say anything about fuel tank capacity? Fair to expect at least as big as the Cruze (which is pretty big for its class at 15.6 gal)?

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Ironic, exactly 30 years ago, Cadillac tried the same rebadging with the Cavalier and we got this:

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658526,00.html

    Buick “Cimarrano” anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      You should have read some of the other replies like this (but don`t let facts stand in the way of your predilections) :
      APaGttH
      September 7th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Does anyone remember the Cimarron?

      I KNEW someone was going to go here. I knew it. Verano = Cimarron.

      Lets see, Cimarron. Take one Chevrolet Cavalier, change NOTHING on it sans the lights, add a grille, hang some cheap plastic trim off of it, give it a leather interior (a crappy one at that) call it a Cadillac and say, “hello world, come buy your BMW killer.” Yes – that was the marketing and positioning of the vehicle. Total train wreck.

      Verano versus Cruze. Different sheet metal, every square inch, different lighting and high quality, exterior trim, completely different interior almost every panel and surface, completely different engine choices with significantly more horsepower and torque, even in the base configuration, different wheels, tires, suspension, giving a completely different ride and handling characteristics.

      Pricing is very competitive in the segment as the above story indicates – almost no natural 1:1 competitor and answering a question that American car buyers are starting to ask at the perfectly right time, “where can I get an entry level luxury COMPACT car that is fun to drive and not painful in a commute and won’t break the bank.”

      The Lexus brand and name both have gravitas in the market place

      Myth more than fact. Lexus is a stale brand that if you took away RX sales would have nothing to talk about. Oh, and the ES350 is a tarted up Camry V6 and all, thorugh and through. Lexus sales were already in decline before the credit crisis, and certainly well before the tidal wave. The only reason in 2010 they eeked out the luxury segment sales title is in December of 2010 they put HUGE amounts of cash on the hood, no money down, no payments for 120 days, and wrote loan paper to anyone with a pulse. You know, Detroit tactics to drive volume.

      It was already concluded in the hallowed electrons that are TTAC that Lexus would assuredly lose its sales crown in 2011, and that was before the tsunami.

      Lexus = safe, boring, and reliable today (outside of the LFA and the IS-F). You know – Buick.

      And consider this. Buick was outselling Lexus in January and February of 2011, before earthquakes and tsunamis and doing it with only three active models, and one being put out to pasture. I did some digging but couldn’t find a non-GM media source that states, 50% of Buick buyers are coming from other brands – I’m going to guess that someone on the TTAC payroll or deeply connected could provide that information.

      Lexus is on the skids my friend – and has a growing list of problems (however to the benefit of Lexus a graying of their demographic is not an issue – so Lexus needs to address their product mix)

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    If Buick needed a more fuel efficient car to sell, Government Motors could have just pulled a few hundred or so of their languishing Volt inventory and slapped a Buick badge on them.

    http://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action?stkTyp=N&tracktype=newcc&mkId=20053&AmbMkId=20053&AmbMkNm=Chevrolet&make=Chevrolet&AmbMdNm=Volt&model=Volt&mdId=35025&AmbMdId=35025&rd=100000&zc=00001&enableSeo=1&searchSource=TRAIL_HEAD

    No differnet than a rebadged Chevy Snuze. Call it the “Bolt” or “Vold” (Buicks target market will get it).

    Just an idea.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    So, Buick’s long-term goal is to skew younger.

    The Verano is not a young car.

    It will appeal to seniors who either:
    A, cannot afford a LaCrosse
    B, want a smaller car that’s easier to park

    The biggest problem with Buick is that the two sources of their products (Opel and GM China) are diametrically opposed. One is clean, modern, and European (duh) and the other is traditional, shiny, and bordering on fussy. If Buick wants a to be a modern company that can compete with Acura and Audi, they need to mine Opel’s portfolio for their compact, not some dumpy, over-chromed Chinese-market schlock.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is a Cruze with a decent engine. I imagine the ones with the seemingly mysterious lack of content will be headed to rental fleets everywhere, and I’ll be grateful if I’m handed the keys to one instead of a wheezy Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      So the “no replacement for displacement” argument? This is one of my father’s cardinal rules, I’m amazed it’s not tattooed on my bum.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Come on, you have read some of the other replies on here that clearly state the major difference that extend well beyond the engine. I always thought you respected facts, please don`t just become like some on here who won`t accept verifiable facts that contradict their assertions.

  • avatar

    GM has screwed the pooch. targeting 30 somethings is not the way to lower your average buyer age to 47. corporate clowns are trying to create a European market here in the United States. please stop! we want substantial, powerful, mature, BIG BUICKS. send these kiddie cars to the Commies for crying out loud. give us a FULL SIZE Roadmaster sedan and a Wildcat coupe. forget your grandious plans for less material, lower wages, and higher prices on your domesticated rice burning clones. this is America… home of the wide open spaces. we like long wheelbases, head room, leg room, and big trunks, driven by real horses rather than tweeky little turbos.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Are these really compacts? These cars are nearly as big as a 10 year old Mid-size.
    Why do all these cars get to grew dimensions, yet keep on trying to tell us what segment they are in?
    That being said…
    I keep on reading car reviews about the Cruze and Focus and they all forget say something basic. These cars have a very tight rear seat if the driver is tall. The rental fleet was full of Cruzes a few months ago. And I loved the loaded 25K Cruze. It is a great car if you can ignore lots of power lag. When I had to squeeze my aunt behind me I moved the seat up. From then on my knee would change the temperature it the car. Very annoying. The Focus has no rear legroom as well. The Corolla, Civic, Elantra and Sentra are much larger back there. I can’t see how they would have been benchmarked these cars and then ignored their better use of interior space. If only Honda would have gotten the emergency break relocated…
    On another note, there is a large price overlap in the Buick family and with some rebates on the larger ones with better MPG only those who really love small will be signing up. Thing is, there are more of these buyers out there now so Buick might be onto the next trend. Small has become a statement regardless of real world true MPG.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Cruze needs premium fuel to optimize the turbo engine as renatal car companies will not use. So says my contract auto engineer buddy who says the Cruze’s interior is one of the best he’s seen in class.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Companies are changing their targets to increase sales. If old customers are replaced by new, they don’t care. See VW’s new offerings. Enthousiasts feel the new ones are inferior to the ride, handling and interior quality of older VWs but sales of Jettas are UP!
    I’ve never owned a Buick and haven’t owned an American car in ten years, but I like the Buick Verano, inside and out. I’m the Lexus owner who is unimpressed by Lexus current offerings. As an owner of 2003 and 2005 Honda Accords, I am unimpressed by the interior of current Accords and Camrys. Audi A4, MBZ C class and BMW 3s are out of my budget. If the Verano is quiet, smooth and can match the CURRENT reliability of Honda (not the legends of the 1980s) it may work for me.
    Four dollar a gallon gas and tight parking spaces have led me to shrinking expectations and shrinking Buicks.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    This seems pretty straightforward. After massively increasing the Buick ad budget to boost sales, some new intros and the killing off of Pontiac so that the Buicks can’t be used as “have the same buick for less in this pontiac” fodder, they need to enter new categories to make up for Pontiac’s lost volume in the dealerships (regardless of the fact that many are across from Chevy stores). So, enter the category that has decent volume that your dealers are not selling into today and everybody’s happy. who care if it makes much.

    + you get to tell wall street that the capex was free since you are doing it for China anyway.

    = no brainer to introduce it, but the wrong call in the long run.

  • avatar

    Old people will love it.

    Not a bad thing.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    You can’t even say “great landing, wrong airport” cuz there is no room for an airport between the Regal and the LaCrosse….hell, these are just planes crashin’ in to each other and will simply serve to confuse the buyer….my wife likes the look of the Buicks for our (my) next new car, but we can’t tell ‘em apart….(don’t tell her…but I have no serious intention to drive a Buick, as my Audi has treated me very, very well….)

    Buick is GM’s next Dead Brand Walking.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    More power, please.

  • avatar
    AM

    I’m surprised no one mentionned that the Verano is actually a slightly bigger car than the Cruze :

    “While the Verano shares its 105.7-inch wheelbase with the Cruze, it’s 2.9 inches longer overall, at 183.9 inches, and 0.7 inches wider, at 71.4. The Buick is 0.3 inches taller, at 58.4 inches, and like the Chevy, it’s on the heavy side of the compact segment.

    Source : http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1101_2012_buick_verano_look/viewall.html

    If it really offer more passeger and cargo room than the Acura TSX, I might very well buy this car next year. The only thing that could hold me back is the lack of a manual transmission. I also find the lack of memory driver seats and rear vents disappointing. Maybe the turbo version that is suppose to come out next year will fix that.

  • avatar

    I’m just guessing the Verano will have a sister car – the ATS Cadillac.

    But at these prices, I guarrantee most people would rather have a DODGE CHARGER or even a CHRYSLER 300.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Different platforms. The ATS is RWD and could have a V6 or I4. The Verano is FWD and is I4 only. The suspensions are different. The next Camaro may be built on the ATS platform.

  • avatar

    I’ve noticed a lot of Buick Regals lately. I guess the price has dropped low enough for people to consider them.


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