By on January 3, 2012

 The rivalry between the Buick Lacrosse and the Lexus ES350 may never become the stuff of automotive legend, but for a certain subset of consumers – wealthy men aged 65+ living part time in South Florida – the two vehicles are carefully cross-shopped to determine which car has the plushest ride, quietest cabin and parcel shelf best suited for stacking Kleenex boxes and adjustable-back baseball caps.

Now, the great conjecture machine known as the blogosphere (in this case, GM Authority) is reporting that the new Lexus ES, due out as a 2013 model, will make its Chinese domestic rival look “laughable. That according to one “well-connected auto industry executive”. Based on what we’ve seen from the Toyota product stable, the anonymous gentleman may be on to something.

According to the article, the new ES will grow in size (it’s roughly half a foot shorter than the Buick) and become the quietest car Lexus has ever made. Given that most ES owners wear some kind of digital watch, you won’t even be able to hear anything tick, a la the Rolls-Royce cars of old. The “killer app” here appears to be the inclusion of a hybrid system. The Camry Hybrid is listed by the EPA as returning 40/38 mpg city/highway, but according to the report, the new ES will get “…high 40s on the highway and even better in the city…” Compare that to the Lacrosse eAssist, which gets 25/36 mpg.

With TTAC’s staffers (myself included) having had seat time in the new Camry and the new Lexus GS, we may be able to draw some conclusions regarding the next ES. Jack was suitably impressed with the performance chops of the new GS, but noted that it was liable to lose out in the all important status race. Fortunately for Lexus, the ES customer seems to be cut from a more practical cloth – after all, they are cross shopping against a Buick.

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76 Comments on “Next Lexus ES To Make Buick Lacrosse Look “Laughable”...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I guess quiet is “in”, someone please tell Honda!

  • avatar
    MattPete

    The LaCrosse already looks laughable.

    When it first came out, I thought it had potential.

    But in person, it is a laughing-stock. For starters, they can take 4 inches out of that beltline

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      High belt lines – brought to you by the IIHS and NHTSA. Taking the unique styling out of cars, one safety innovation at a time since the 1980′s.

      • 0 avatar

        I donno…the new Toyota FT looks like it has a pretty low beltline, maybe things shall change!

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        Actually, what I read is that the ’86 has about 3-4 inches of nothing airspace between the top of the engine and the hood — for pedestrian safety — and the sight lines suffer for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        “Actually, what I read is that the ’86 has about 3-4 inches of nothing airspace between the top of the engine and the hood — for pedestrian safety — and the sight lines suffer for it.”

        The Jaguar XK has an “active” pedestrian safety system – if it senses a human impact the hood pops up a few inches before the expected head impact can occur. This system has been in production for a few years now and meets all the safety regulations.

        An ’86 is probably too inexpensive for the system. A Lexus should be able to include it easily enough – if they wanted it. I suspect that they don’t – and prefer to use pedestrian impact standards as a scapegoat if anyone complains about the design direction.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Nissan GT-R has a similar pyrotechnic hood raising system. I know because I read about it in a story about how it creates twenty five thousand dollar fender benders. Most cars simply have some crush space between the hood and the engine. Although it isn’t elegant, it is much less likely to lead to increased insurance rates and easily totaled cars later on.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, I just was checking pedestrian safety standards for a piece I was doing on drunk pedestrians (35% of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents are drunk at the time of the accident – on a per mile basis it’s actually safer to drive drunk than walk drunk). More crush space up front and more deformable space above the engine means that there’s a high front end along with those high belt lines.

        http://www.carsindepth.com/?p=6743

        Ford has a reactive system too:

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        I hate high belt lines, still like putting my arm out the window when driving. Full disclosure, I drove a medium duty truck for 25 years.

        Don’t care for 18-20″ rims either….especially when buying tires.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        How come BMWs and Mercedes don’t have high belt lines?

        My hunch with the Buick it (1) is part of a trend that morphs CUVs and sedans, and (2) Chrysler 300 copycats.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        @MattPete: why would the UAW/US gov’t compete against itself?

        Oh…right…Buicks are more Chinese than American now.

        I would MAYBE consider one if they brought the Park Avenue over to the US. Ref: You know, the country that intro’d Buick, and PAYS FOR the newly found ‘largest auto market in the world’.

        They’re still commie pricks. :)

        Ver…a…NO!

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        How come BMWs and Mercedes don’t have high belt lines?

        My hunch with the Buick it (1) is part of a trend that morphs CUVs and sedans, and (2) Chrysler 300 copycats.

        A high belt line (proportion between the height of the windows & the overall height of the vehicle) makes a car look more ‘sporty’ and so tends to increase sales. It’s a cheap design trick used on SUVs to trick buyers into not realizing just how big/awkward they are.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        High belt lines don’t make anything, let alone this Buick, look sporty. It looks tall and awkward — almost like they tried to build a sedan on an SUV chassis.

        Instead of looking sporty, it looks like they took an AMC Eagle sedan and stretched it downward to get rid of the extra ground clearance.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewdepaula/2011/04/27/design-disasters-3-ways-cars-are-getting-worse/

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Just by the fact that Lexus is addressing Buick competitively shows just how far Buick has come in the last three years.

    I call shenanigans on the project MPG claims. Toyota leadership is alleging it will be bigger, wider, heavier (hey, you don’t get quiet AND light, thick glass and insulation is weight) than the current ES, but it will get better MPG than the current Prius – and not by a small margin, but a HUGE margin. Ya…can’t wait to see this.

    I think Buick should be happy – it is a borderline admission that Lexus has been passed up; otherwise why even say a thing. Marketing 101 – you don’t create a competitor when doesn’t exist, and when you validate a brand/company by name – you just made them your competitor. That’s good for GM given where Buick was, and bad for Lexus, given where Lexus was.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I don’t see any evidence that Toyota said a thing about Buick. The article references an anonymous auto executive that thinks Lexus is about to hit it out of the park. It could well be a GM executive. Buick’s resurgence in the US seems to be a product of marketing hype. I rarely see new ones, and I live somewhere that I do see plenty of upscale products on the road. Buick barely has a model line up, and they’ve squandered the quality that they once delivered. Just look at their 20th spot on the JD Power IQS this year, a product of selling rebadged Opels. A friend that is serious enough about his cars to do about five track days a year and that has a couple of cars that sold in the $30K to $50K range was surprised when I told him that Buick survived GM’s bankruptcy a couple months ago. He thought they were dead. I advise a large number of people about their car buying decisions, and nobody has ever asked me about a Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        What makes you think that a GM exec has seen the new Lexus ES? If so, Toyota has some serious issues on its hands as far as information security is concerned.

        But I find it odd that you call Buick’s resurgence marketing hype when it is outselling the ES by a wide margin and then you say you know people who didn’t know that they were still around.

        I don’t find it surprising from your comments that no one you advised on buying a car bought a Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        What doesn’t outsell the ES? It is a niche product. Lexus has three cars in the segment, and the ES is at the end of its model cycle. Lexus usually sells less than 50K of them, viable because of its parts commonality with other models they sell in various parts of the world. GM and Ford killed off their big coupes when their respective volumes fell to 80K cars a year. The Buick starts at $29,960 before you look at promotional offers. The Lexus ES 350 starts at $36,690. The price difference remains similar once you start heaping on options. Even the Toyota Avalon costs more than the Lacrosse. The Lacrosse is priced more closely to the Taurus, which I could imagine someone cross shopping it with. Big and cheap outselling midsized and expensive shouldn’t surprise anyone. There are any number of less expensive sedans that outsell Lexuses. If chasing volume with 20% lower prices was the only point than Toyota would have no need for Lexus. Toyota already has a huge presence in the market for quality cars with mainstream pricing. If the Buick Lacrosse is eating the Avalon’s lunch, then that is what Toyota should focus on. I don’t believe people are trading luxury brand cars for Buicks.

      • 0 avatar
        damikco

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

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        CJinSD, HTF is $27k for a BASE MODEL ‘cheap’? For ANY GM?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Hyundai’s Sonoptima also leapfrogged Lexus in sales during the same period. I suspect Lexus’ sales slide is as related to the growth of Korea’s midsized market share as it is to Buick picking up aging orphans from Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Mercury, Cadillac’s shrinking model lineup… Wait a minute. That isn’t the case at all. Buick really is probably getting their market share from people running out of domestic options. Lexus’ decline probably has more to do with $400 leases of German cars and mediocre product planning.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        I don’t have numbers, but there are quite a few LaCrosses (as well as Enclaves and Regals) in rental fleets, while I’ve never seen a single Lexus go to a fleet company. Perhaps a few as “company cars,” but those are simply cars bought by a company within a budget, not usually sold in bulk discount deals by the hundreds/thousands.

        This, along with the price differential, lackluster marketing, and aging design of the ES could help explain why Buick is outselling Lexus.

        The Impala still outsells quite a few cars, but I wouldn’t call it exactly successful in the marketplace.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        By the looks of things with Buick’s success in China, Buick will be the new Lexus in Markham, Ontario where all the Asian ‘new Canadians’ drive Toyotas, I am told.
        The next time I walk into a Future Shop, wearing my Chevrolet Logo golf shirt, and some 25 year old punk flatly declares,”I’m Chinese. We buy Japanese cars,” I will be able to reply,”Yeah, I better your parents in China don’t.”

        I see a lot of Regals around here. I don’t know if it’s the million or so Asians in the Metro Toronto area who is buying them, or retired CAW workers, but they seem to be being well received.

      • 0 avatar

        @carbiz I was shocked when I visited China at how different a brand Buick is over there. Unlike in the US currently, in China, Buick is considered a serious player and even has upmarket aspirations.

        Given how well GM was doing there, I feel jaded about the bailouts that happened in the US. Yes, I understand that GM was in bad shape with their contractual obligations, but it made more sense for them to restructure under Chapter 11 *without* government intervention.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      @CJ -”What doesn’t outsell the ES? It is a niche product.”

      No its not. It’s Lexuses bread and butter sedan, the brands best seller since the beginning of time. Its the most important car for Lexus after the RX. For all the hype, you may be surprised to know that 70% of Lexus sales come from the Camry (ES) and tall Camry (RX). No wonder the transaction prices are so far off compared to German luxury brands, while more in line with Buick, Acura and Volvo. What the lacrosse has done is, with targeted marketing reduced the ES sales by a half and increased the discounts to $4000 below msrp.

      ES 2007 sales – 83K
      2008 sales – 62K
      2009 sales – 48K
      2010 sales – 48K
      2011 jan-nov – 35K

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        alluster: No wonder the transaction prices are so far off compared to German luxury brands, while more in line with Buick, Acura and Volvo.

        Buick sells far more vehicles to fleet buyers than Lexus, and average transaction prices do not include fleet sales. If they did, I highly doubt that Buick’s average transaction prices would equal those of Lexus, or even Acura.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        ES? Isn’t that the Camry with bulging fish eyes and fancier leather?

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      I find it amusing that your logic calls “shenanigans” on the mileage claims, yet legitimizes the entire story as a whole to justify the belief that “Lexus is addressing Buick competitively shows just how far Buick has come in the last three years.”

      Yes, the high-40s claim for an ES is clearly erroneous. It bests the smaller Prius V, which has a 1.8l engine, and the hybrid Camry by a large margin.

      Aside from that, this reporting is atrocious. We have GM Authority quoting an unnamed “well-connected auto industry executive” which they won’t say is even from Lexus.

      But the Lexus ES is unquestionably a rival of the Buick LaCrosse. They share that same “wealthy men aged 65+ living part time in South Florida” market as TTAC puts it. I’m not sure how this can be construed into thinking Lexus sees Buick as rival for all their lineup, especially based on this questionable hearsay.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Stole my thunder, Matt…And it does look like a bloated, beached sperm whale. With mail slots for windows.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      I actually imported the above photo into Photoshop and compressed it vertically 90% and 80%. Both look much,much, better, but also illustrate how freaking high the hood is (hint 90% looks great, except for the mutant hood).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, by “quietest Lexus ever,” I foresee a boatload of sound deadening, which means the new ES will be heavy. That, in turn, will NOT help it achieve its’ “killer app” fuel-economy mission.

    I remain nonplussed.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I agree. The goals are opposed to each other. Unless there is some magic dust being put in the fuel, I don’t see it happening. And yes, Buick did squander some of their newly found reliability with German engineering. Still, Buick has come a long way. If more people would be willing to give Buick a test drive, most would be impressed at the progress.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Now – if the Lexus can run a commercial where a diamond cutter sits in the back and create a priceless diamond – then Lexus will have finally hit it’s bull’s eye, that is, becoming the new Mercury.

    A deadly silent car isn’t laughable. It is a tomb.

    • 0 avatar
      mr_mike

      Or the next Royal Deluxe II

      http://www.hulu.com/watch/2323/saturday-night-live-royal-deluxe-ii

      Mike

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Beat me to it!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Beat me to it! One of the funniest SNL sketch of all time!

      • 0 avatar

        Poifect!

        I was once at a fund raising dinner and happened to sit with the rabbi who did the setup for my son, my only son, whom I love, Moshe’s bris (I did the actual cut). I’ve never seen a chicken taken apart with more care in my life. My dad was a veterinarian and he did surgery but the mohel’s motions cutting up that half a chicken were as precise as a I’ve ever seen.

        So a guy is walking down the street in Brooklyn and he notices that his watch has stopped running. He sees a storefront filled with watches across the street, so he crosses the street and goes in the store. There’s an old Jewish guy sitting at a desk, swaying back and forth as he chanted the text of the book he was studying.

        “I need you to fix my watch”

        “Ve don’t fix vatches here.”

        “You don’t fix watches? What do you do then?”

        “I’m a mohel.”

        “A mohel? What’s that?”

        “It’s a ‘ritual circumcisor’. Maybe you’ve been to a bris?”

        “Well if you’re a mohel, tell me, why do you have watches hanging in your front window?”

        “What do you vant I should having hanging in the window instead?”

    • 0 avatar
      PlentyofCars

      I love that Saturday Night Live spoof of that Lincoln Mercury commercial, where a Rabbi does a circumcision in the back seat.

      Thanks for the link. I could not find it on You Tube.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Rivalry? You mean between a bloated, glorified, overpriced Malibu vs a bloated, glorified, overpriced Camry? Buick is not going to sit idly and watch Lexus roll over them. I say “bring it on” to Lexus, and be prepared for a second round of A** whopping. Buick should ignore Lexus and instead set their sights on more premium FWD/AWD brands like Audi. No reason Buick can’t get their brand identity to Audi levels. Let Cadillac take on RWD brands.

    2009 sales : ES – 48K ; Lac – 27K
    2010 sales : ES – 48K ; Lac – 61K
    2011 so far: ES – 35K ; Lac – 53K

    Seriously, how many times has Toyota promised their next redesign won’t be a boring bland mobile, only to bring out the same crap over and over again? The new Camry has the same basic shape and profile as a Corolla, the gold standard of blandness.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Actually, the Malibu and LaCrosse share different platforms. For starters Epsilon I cannot support AWD. Yes, there are similar, but not as similar as say the Defunct G8 and Chevy Camaro are.

      The current Malibu is outdated and has more in common with the defunct Saturn Astra and Pontiac G6.

      You are correct that the Camry and the ES are at their roots, the same car.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Don’t underestimate the new Camry so quickly. It is not the usual flavor of vanilla…check it out with an open mind and you will see…

      • 0 avatar
        damikco

        “Don’t underestimate the new Camry so quickly. It is not the usual flavor of vanilla…check it out with an open mind and you will see…”

        Ive tried, it’s still not for me

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Buick is not going to sit idly and watch Lexus roll over them.

      I would humbly suggest that you not bet heavily on another tsunami for 2012. I don’t really see how anyone in Detroit is going to able to alter weather patterns in ways that can support the business.

      The Lexus ES is assembled in Japan. I realize that some of you like to forget about the disaster-driven massive production reduction that occurred throughout much of 2011. But it did happen, and that will necessarily skew the numbers.

      Meanwhile, GM is reporting higher overall sales numbers, but fleet sales as a percentage of overall sales are fairly constant CYTD. GM doesn’t provide hard fleet numbers, but according to Fleet Central, overall Buick fleet sales during MY 2010 were about 16%. That allows us to reasonably guesstimate Buick’s CY 2011 fleet sales as also being about 16%.

      As of November 2011, Buick sales would have decreased CYTD had it not been for the Regal. If fleet sales for the Regal have been below the Buick norm, then would necessarily require that fleet sales were carried by the other models. And that would mean that they would fall disproportionately on the backs of the Lacrosse and Lucerne.

      In contrast, Lexus has few fleet sales (during MY 2010, ES fleet sales were just under 2%, versus 14% for the Lacrosse and 22% for the Lucerne), so comparing their overall sales numbers directly to those of Buick is a bit silly. I know that you are eager to cherrypick numbers in order to show your support for GM, but that sort of fanboyism doesn’t play well on a website like this.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Why do we always have this fleet sales discussion, as though a car company is whoring itself out by selling to Tilden or National?
        Newsflash: a sale is a sale. It’s not like the vehicles are being given FREE to the fleets. Every dealer fights to have a Fleet Department, so somebody is making money.
        With build quality far superior today than 30 years ago, and more rapid turn over of fleet vehicles (I rarely see a rental vehicle with more than 8 or 9 thousand miles on them), these ‘rental queens’ showcase a manufacturer’s product to travelers who may become a buyer.
        Flooding the market with fleet sales is never a good plan for trade in values, but that doesn’t matter if you plan on keeping your vehicle more than 5 or 6 years anyway.
        Finally, the ‘daily rental’ is the bread and butter for many dealers, including Toyota stores. If you went into cardiac arrest over the price of a 2012 Camry, then perhaps buying a 2011 ‘slightly used’ for $7,000 less is better to you liking – when you get out of the hospital.

      • 0 avatar
        Downtown Dan

        +1 on that, carbiz

        No shame whatsoever in owning a fleet/rental queen. When you’re buying a new car, there are far worse things than to have a major corporation perform rigorous analysis to determine lowest costs of depreciation, repair, maintenance, fuel, and insurance, and come up with the same decision as you.

        In fact, if I was in the market for a brand-new model with no established history of depreciation in a given market (like the Opel Insignia-based Regal), I’d feel more comfortable if Hertz had just put in a massive order for the same model.

      • 0 avatar

        @carbiz your comments are spot on for this thread!

        I completely agree about “a sale is a sale”. Volume is what drives down the price of mass produced goods. I also think there’s a misconception about fleet sales hurting a brand’s image. What hurts a brand’s image is a poorly built car. It doesn’t matter if you sell to individuals or to fleets, if a car sucks, people will remember it. On the flip side, if a car is fundamentally good value, having them in fleets serves as extra marketing for the brand. Let’s give some concrete examples. The Chevy Aveo sucked whether you rented it or bought it. The new Sonata is fantastic whether you rented it or bought it. In Europe, the luxury brands all depend heavily on fleet sales.

        If someone rents a Buick for a trip who wouldn’t otherwise consider the brand and ends up with a positive experience, that’s one new customer for Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        a sale is a sale.

        I hate to break it to you, but that’s a big pile of tripe. Sorry.

        Fleet sales produce low margins. Consistently high percentages of fleet sales are a good indicator of an unpopular car that is being overproduced.

        This is a typical pattern for GM: They produce car with limited demand. It sells OK for a couple of years. But by then, those who wanted them have already bought them, and demand starts to tumble. Yet, they keep building them at the old volumes, so the excess production ends up at Avis, at a discount.

        GM went BK because of people within who believed this nonsense that “a sale is a sale.” If complete failure of the company didn’t teach you a lesson, then I don’t know what will.

  • avatar
    alluster

    The next gen ES will be the quietest Lexus ever made, unlike it’s driver and passengers yelling and screaming to their deaths with the accelerator stuck.

    Here are some spy shots of the next gen ES. It does seem very quiet..
    http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20100222&Category=BUSINESS01&ArtNo=104270027&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Questions-surround-crash-California-involving-luxury-Toyota-brand

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I don’t think this article means much unless Toyota has also invented a flux capacitor.

    Toyota’s HSD in the new Camry doesn’t get mid 40′s highway. How is a heavier and bigger ES supposed to do better?

    Buick’s E-Assist isn’t going to turn heads with mpg numbers, considering some large cars are going to be able to achieve those numbers without hybrid assistance soon. Now, GM is supposed to make this work with the next generation 2.5L motor, which should help, but I don’t think that E-Assist is going to matter much. I also doing think that Hybrid numbers are the killer app either. Unless Toyota is going to make HSD standard and be priced less than what it is today in a Lexus model, than hybrid gas mileage is not going to tip the scales of this rivalry. That or unless gas becomes $5 a gallon.

    Finally, I would hope the next ES would be better than the LaCrosse. The current LaCrosse has been around for 3.5 years now.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      The Lacrosse E-Assist is a low cost add on, to bump the fuel economy just enough to make it class leading and justify the $3000 increase to the base price. The E-assist will cost little to GM, spread across the regal, lacrosse, and next malibu. Apparently its selling very well for GM with only a 14 day supply.

      http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Nov/1130_buick

      The next gen ES hybrid will obviously leap frog the Lacrosse E-assist in fuel economy. However all other things considered equal, the lacrosse will offer a better value unless gas becomes 5 to 6 dollars a gallon like you mentioned.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I agree with Steven02 – unless the next ES is made out of pure unobtanium and comes with a flux capacitor, the MPG claims of high 40′s highway and low 50′s city are – nothing but bluster.

        The current Prius can’t achieve that in its current form, and we’re talking about a car that will be much heavier, much larger, and will require a greater sense of acceleration from their buyers.

        It is as much of a fantasy as a 230 MPG Chevy Volt, just on a lesser scale.

        40 highway is the new marketing bullet, I would speculate that is what Toyota is shooting for. But sound deadening and increased size means weight. You cannot a change the law of physics captain. So the quieter it gets – the heavier it gets.

        ONE wild card in all of this – do they go pure electric with a Tesla derived power train? That would give you quiet and bragging rights on economy – but the price would be through the roof.

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    Lexus doesn’t need a new ES350 to make the Lacrosse laughable–it’s laughable now. I rented one in Denver a few months ago and the driver’s seat was absurdly uncomfortable. Despite the 4-way lumbar support adjustment, the best I could do felt like a knee in the back. Also, the trunk is ridiculously small for such a large car.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Agree on the lumbar — I’ve been saying that since the car came out. Went for a test drive, and had a backache before it started after I sat in the showroom model for 10 minutes.

      There’s also a very intrusive console that hits my right knee, and so little space around the pedals that my size-15 got literally stuck behind the brake when coming off the accelerator. Discomfort is bad, but death is even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I agree. This whole thing sounds more like a GM exec trying hard to associate Buick with Lexus, rather than Toyota exec seeing Buick a competitor.

      I would choose a Camry over a Lacrosse in a heartbeat, knowing my Camry would be more dependable and fetch more resale value 5 years down the road.

  • avatar
    Rican5.0

    Soooo it’s helium suspensions and full reclining sofas then.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    I hate that this comparison exists. I read the article, and could feel the years rolling by. By the end, I was ready for my mid afternoon applesauce and medicine, and time for bed.

    Like reading a long, boring snore. And the sad part is, it’s relevant to both major players. At least selling generic, heavy, quiet, geriatric barges makes money for the car companies to occasionally spasm in a near-death rattle and make something worth reading about.

    Kudos to TTAC for being so deep about all kinds of cars – but I realllly need something violent and abusive to my insurance premiums to justify swallowing this bit of enthusiast fiber (it keeps us regular, but the end result is crap!)

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Funny, but I have always felt quite the opposite. Even as a kid, I never read the mandatory spreads in R&T or C&D with the ‘hottest’ Jag or Lamborghini – why bother? Who can afford those penile extensions, and even if Tom Cruise married me tomorrow, nothings says F-U more than buying one of those over-priced ego substitutes.
      (But, I never paid $80 for a Lacoste T, or $200 for a cotton shirt – they’re just clothes.)
      I get it: articles about the latest Audi or Bentley sells magazines (and sends some 45 year old editor off to Switzerland for 3 nights of drinking and debauchery to test it), and maybe even gives some pimply faced kid, who would otherwise be doing nasty things in the bathroom after school with his dad’s Victoria Secret magazine, something to aspire to one day, but ever the pragmatist, I just skip the article altogether. Even at the Auto Shows.
      I guess that will never make me an ‘enthusiast.’ Ah, well.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Of course there is this
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3208501.stm

    But most octogenarians don’t remember the good old days any longer.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Hype is hype. I’ll wait for the next Lexus to come out. Considering it’s the newer car, it better beat the Buick. The real question will be Buick’s response.

  • avatar

    I love floaty land barges (no sarcasm). They excel at what they do: eat up miles like an insulated tombstone on wheels. Styling is almost an afterthought as long as they’re quiet, safe, and reliable. The Buick’s swage line is a desperate cry for attention, but once you look past that, it’s hits on the quiet and safe requirements while being sold for considerably less money. Lexus is smart to take note.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    Okay, I’m nowhere near 65, but I do remember the Lincoln/Cadillac ‘wars’ of the 1960s and 1970s. I kept many of the ‘shoot-out’ articles from the car mags, and those floating boats were revered by all. (Chrysler barely got any love for at least trying to make the Imperials and New Yorkers of the day something other than floating barges!)
    I really don’t like anything from Lexus or Buick (although the new Regal is arguably one of the best looking ‘small’ cars on the road today.) Nor do would I ever buy an Audi, BMW, M-B, etc. IMO, these vehicles are polar opposites: one side, over-priced, over-designed, stiffly engineered; the other side – well, ultra quiet, bland…?
    Used to be Caddy filled the void. When I was a car jockey at a luxury hotel in 1982, I always cherished the DeVilles and the (downs-sized) Eldorados of the day. Lincolns and Rolls were too spongey. BMW and M-B too stiff. The Caddy was perfect for throwing around 4 levels of underground parking and ramps galore of what Toronto Life Magazine dubbed ‘the worst parking garage’ in the city, at the time.
    Is there no market for a modern luxo-barge: RWD, softly sprung (who needs to feel all the frost-heaves and pot holes anyway?), long snout, graceful? I think Lincoln had a show car 3 or 4 years ago that held promise.
    I don’t know why so-called ‘enthusiasts’ poo-pooh the 65+ crowd and their money. (Would Barrett-Jackson even exist without those silver haired oldsters and their wallets?) Other than the fact that they don’t trade in their vehicles like they used to (my Uncle Primo got a brand new New Yorker every 2nd year), or the way younger generations do, their opinions should and do count. After all, 60 is the new 50 and so on.
    Were I in the market, I’d say my coins and buy a tank from B-J: for $60k you can get something absolutely mint, that will appreciate, not depreciate and will turn more heads than any Buick, Audi or Benz could ever do. (Well, unless it was a ’59 Buick, that is!)

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    This is something we’ll just have to see.

    Question, if the Lexus is fantastic but costs $10k more. Does it really do the job of being a Buick killer? (so to speak)

    Will Toyota really be able to do so substantially better for the same amount of money? I don’t think so, I think we’re rapidly approaching the point of severe diminishing returns for a given amount of money. Which I think is part of the drive on Volkswagen to change their manufacturing process to reduce costs.

  • avatar
    alluster

    To quote Gandhi- “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.

    Note to Buick: If 5′ men with 3 inch pe***** can build a supposedly world beating automobiles, so can you. Use the ridicule as a motivation and strive to keep improving on your products and the sales will follow. You have come a long way in the last few years. The entire lineup is pretty fresh and the sales/ATP prove that. With 4 models you are selling as many as Lexus with 11. There is more work ahead, keep your chin up, work hard, don’t get complacent and you will get there. The Regal GS is Buick’s giant middle finger to the Germans and Japanese

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    So Toyota threatens to build FWD Rolls Royce… I am sooooooo not excited. (But reading the comments I might have to try a Camry SE just to see if the suspension isn’t NUMB.)

  • avatar
    theo78-96

    Looks just like a Daewoo Tosca ! Ha Ha Ha !

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=daewoo+tosca&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=A7oDT-X0K7CRiQe-5piXAQ&ved=0CDUQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=677

  • avatar
    BTV

    To be honest, I’m having dificulties to see how would BUICK ( or any other American brand ) could take it on Audi, BMW, MB.

    Lexus is another story though, as European I don’t really understand the image of Lexus in USA, but bear in mind, Lexus gave up to compete with the Germans in Europe. Infiniti not yet, and I hope they do last longer.

  • avatar
    BTV

    To be honest, I’m having dificulties to see how BUICK ( or any other American brand ) could take it on Audi, BMW, MB.

    Lexus is another story though, as European I don’t really understand the image of Lexus in USA, but bear in mind, Lexus gave up to compete with the Germans in Europe. Infiniti not yet, and I hope they do last longer.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hmmm…I like what Buick has done, but I really want to see another large car from them along the lines of the Lucerne. I like big, quiet cars, but I’m not giving up my W-body any time soon if I can help it.

    A friend has an older Lexus, and although it is a nice car, I’d never own any luxury car, as I’m wired to more basic, less frilly stuff. I’m just a basic Ford, Chevy and Plymouth guy. Dang, I miss Plymouth…

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Having watched a VERY happy customer unload his boxes of Kleenex and Navy baseball caps from an older Grand Marquis into a brand new one at a Ford dealership (both cars looked virtually identical), I can only vouch for the myopic loyalty in this segment. Once one of these old guys finds a car he thinks he likes, he will buy the piece of crap until it halts production, or he keels over on the 18th hole.

    With Cadillac in the middle of an identity crisis of whether they make SUVs for criminals, crappy knockoff German performance sedans, or sedate FWD cars with too much torque steer, GM suddenly realized they need a cash cow for the pension crowd.

    Toyota is already well aware of this fact with their Avalon, have you ever seen someone under 80 at the helm? So the obvious progression was to get some of these corpses into their Lexus division, since there really is no other reason to buy a Lexus these days aside from wanting an expensive car that is boring, quiet, and ugly–something the elderly demographic apparently can’t get enough of.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      The fact that you don’t understand it, or ‘get it,’ does not make that person’s opinion any less valid.
      I grew up in the back seat of various 224″ long Chryslers, Pontiacs and Chevrolets. My first owned vehicle was a ’67 Polara (12 years old when I bought it), which is still a foot or MORE longer than any Lexus or Cadillac, except maybe the Escalade.
      I adapted to 4 cylinder, FWD vehicles in the ’80s because circumstances dictated it, but as soon as I had a decent job, I factory ordered a ’91 Caprice wagon, then had it all decked out, lowered, etc.
      I realize $5 a gallon is coming ($4 has already long passed in Canada), so doubt I will ever again own a gas guzzling V8 car with its own zipcode, but I will never really LOVE the vehicles that pass as luxury cars today.
      In fact, if I really had the money, I’d dick up an old fuselage Imperial, have it completely redone and drive that for 9 months of the year.

  • avatar
    lostjr

    The killer app in an ES would be a roof line that was high enough that my old fart friends didn’t hit their heads when they got into the back seat. Leave the low roof on the GS.

  • avatar
    gm-uawtool

    Forget about “guesstimating” – the exact retail % for LaCrosse sales in November was 93.3% and 93.1% for the 2012 model year. No matter which way you slice it, the LaCrosse outsells the ES. Whether or not they are cross-shopped much could be open to debate, and the earlier statement about the ES being a “niche” vehicle was completely wrong as pointed out by alluster.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I personally like how everyone is getting wrapped around the axle about comments made by someone who doesn’t work for Lexus or Toyota (as you would find if you clicked on the link that ends up at what appears to be an unofficial GM enthusiast blog). The 40mpg numbers quoted are suspect, at best, considering the smaller Camry only manages 43city/39hwy with their latest and greatest 2.5L HSD drivetrain. Come on, people. If you believe every unsubstantiated thing you read on the internet, please head over to theonion.com. There is just about as much truth on that site as there is with this post about hear-say from a “well connected auto exec”.

  • avatar
    gearspuppy

    I’m renting a Buick Regal CXL right now, and it’s surprisingly good. The ride and handling is better than any Honda or Toyota I’ve ever driven, the seat is comfortable for all six feet of me. Too bad the base engine power is barely adequate. It’s definitely competitive with my wife’s 2010 Passat. I might even be persuaded to buy the turboed one to replace my ’01 GTI. I didn’t expect to like this car. Maybe I could tell the hipsters that I bought a Buick “ironically.”


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