By on March 13, 2013

 


The Buick brand, long seen as kept on life support in the U.S. to appease the Chinese, shows sudden signs of stamina. One signal: More Buicks get leased, and indicator of youthful buyers.. In March 2012, Buicks were leased by 14 percent of the new owners. At the end of February, the lease rate more than doubled to 36 percent, the Detroit News says. Buick’s average customer age also has dropped to 57 from 64 over the past five years.

Buick’s second spring is partially credited to Experience Buick, a 24-month lease program which includes routine maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations, Sirius XM radio and OnStar bundled into one payment. A new product portfolio, with more in the pipeline, also helps.

Buick sales rose 1.6 percent in 2012 to 180,408 units. Through February, Buick’s sales are up 22.2 percent over the same months in 2012.

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48 Comments on “Buick Shows Signs Of Renewed Vigor...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Is the Verano anyone elses favorite new Buick? 2.0T, 6MT in particular?

    Did I use “elses” correctly?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The problem is that configuration is $30K plus. Compared to under $18K for a 1.4T, 6MT Cruze. My favorite current Buick (unless we get to count the Chinese Park Avenue) is the Enclave, it comes closest to the Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        There is very little in common between a Verano and Cruze.

        Yes, the share a platform -so what. It would be like dismissing a Volvo C30 as a tarted up Focus.

        The Cruze and Verano share very few parts in total, not just engine and body panels.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I thought the C30 was effectively a tarted up Focus.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Ha ha – I got roasted by the C30 fans when I wrote about chassis sharing and used the Focus, Mazda3, and C30 as an example.

          • 0 avatar
            tatracitroensaab

            Have you been inside one?

            On both the exterior and on the interior theyre completely different, also the c30 feels both smaller and heavier. I’ve spent a lot of time in both (cars of friends), and only someone from the internet would ever confuse them ;)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have never been close to a C30, Volvos aren’t a great commodity around here and in the last five years I’ve probably seen 3 C30s on the road. Being a Volvo, I’m sure its well appointed and an enjoyable drive for its owners.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          The C30 had an awesome looking exterior and interior compared to the Mazda 3, we did not get the Focus that it shared its platform with and MOST IMPORTANTLY, it was a shooting brake. Sometimes I look for deals on used C30s. I never look for deals on used S40s.

          I think the Cruze looks better than the Verano, I prefer cloth to leather, and I would rather have the fuel economy of the 1.4T over the 2.0T in a FWD commuter car (plus, the challenge of slow car fast), so I think that the Cruze stacks up very well against the Verano. To the extent that two exactly the same size, exactly the same wheelbase platform sharing cars cars do not share parts I would be tempted to consider that a logistics/procurement failure on GM’s part. Kind of like how, according to what I remember, 80% of the parts in a Taurus and Sable were different.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Based on my research, that is correct. Likewise, despite the fact that they both share the basic Gamma-II platform, the Chevrolet Sonic and the new Buick Encore (Opel Mokka) don’t have all that much in common. According to General Motors, the Encore is actually a crossover, where the Sonic is a hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Autoblog just tested the Verano in that particular configuration. Against an Acura ILX, no less. Unfortunately for the Buick, while it’s more powerful than the ILX, its shifter weren’t very nice, a trait of many manual-equipped domestic car. Since people buy manual for its fun to drive factor, if the tranny weren’t fun to shift, what’s the point?

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        is this not just an Opel at heart? That would really make it European, unless the shift assembly and manual transmission were US designed…

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Motor Trend, along with Autoblog, picked the low-rent Civic based Acura ILX last and put the Buick on top.

        The 2.0T Verano has competition from the almost $10K more Regal GS and a stretch a $20K more expesnice ATS. That’s about it in this near luxury class. No Acura, Lexus, Infinity in sight.

        I really like what Trifecta tuning is doing with premium fuel based tune of about 320 horsepower and 340 torque. Add E85 fuel to make it 400HP/trq. Now with just some suspension tweaks your looking at M3, S4, AMG territory. For half the price it’s hard to beat unless the size is too small.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I likes the article image, is it a concept?

  • avatar
    th009

    57 is a whole lot better than Cadillac’s 62 or Lincoln’s 65 …

  • avatar
    jimboy

    And if they’d get off their collective butts and actually PRODUCE a convertible as nice as the one shown, they could double their market share almost immediately. Even the new Opel ‘vert would be an improvement over not having any.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Woot Woot.

    And If I had $30k (!) and was looking for a new car, my 21 year old ass would be in a Buick dealership. How about them apples…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I didn’t know donkeys lived that long. But the key point is that you don’t have $30k. That makes trying to satisfy the youthful demographic kind of dumb, or is it?

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Been a Buick loyalist since I was 15. Glad to see it coming together.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Awesome.

      Hilariously, a 92 Buick LeSabre was the vehicle that opened my young eyes to a life long (since then) obsession with the automobile. My parents bought it used in 1995, when I was 10. My dad fitted a Hidden Hitch to it and it immediately supplanted the 83 Chevy “Custom Deluxe” pickup with the I6 that towed our tent trailer. When I found out that the car was more powerful than the truck, I had to know more and was hooked. Buick has always had a special marque to me ever since.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I have a similar story, only it was my grandmother’s 1985 Buick Riviera, which I affectionately dubbed “The Brown Car.” I love all of GM’s brands, but the tri-shield will always be my favorite…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Build the Velite, the rear half looks like a Bentley!

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    It’s great to see that GM can turn its brands around so quickly, but it would be a lot better if they didn’t have to turn things around so often.

  • avatar
    stuki

    If those leases were captive, the increased take ratio could also mean that between them, BennyB and BarryO have tacitly agreed to underwrite losses stemming from unrealistic residuals. “For the economy, you know.” Since all those wise enough to uncritically listen to the man called an “expert” on TV knows, that the more people are running around like chickens with their heads cut of while engaged in value destroying activity, the higher the GDP number. And, the TV expert says, GDP is the economy. At least until the stock market is the economy. Or home prices. Or…..

  • avatar
    ajla

    Needs more pushrods.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I want a red one!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Maybe there’s a dearth of choices in the mid market arena for domestic cars. With Mercury, Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile (and soon to be Dodge) gone what choices are there between lower and upper tiers?

    Maybe former Pontiac and Mercury owners are coming back to domestic brands and not abandoning them as previously thought. Many foreign producers have the same idiom between the lower car and the luxury car. There’s no middle ground choice, that was once occupied by the Pontiac, Mercury, Oldsmobile and Saturn brands. Mazda and VW have no upper brand, and Nissan, Toyota and Honda only have the two divisions. Maybe Mullaly is not the genius everyone thought by cancelling Mercury. I’m hoping Sergio doesn’t cancel Dodge to slot in Alfa in the US, I think it will be a very bad idea.

    Certainly the *very* attractive lease on the Verano only supercharges the appeal of the car, so much that it’s blowing the superior Insignia, I mean, Regal completely out of the water. The Enclave is getting long in the tooth, but still an attractive package, and I suspect that the Mokka sorry, Encore, will have a similar effect in the new near-luxury mini CUV market that has popped up.

    It’s a strong line up, even with the underwhelming performance of the Regal and the slow but steady sales of the LaCrosse. The LaCrosse now serves the market the LeSabre used to, and seems to do it well. There’s more new product in the future (Verano Convert? ATS based GN?) that could be highly attractive.

    When the stuff hit the fan in 2009, I would have rather seen Pontiac survive instead of Buick. But GM has done a good job with Buick. I still believe they can liven up the lineup even further with more harmonized product from Opel and Holden. I’d love to see a Buick “Adam”.

    Maybe they can call it the “David”.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This makes sense. It is funny watching them kill Pontiac and Saturn and then celebrate Buick not continuing to lose market share. One might hope that each of the surviving brands would get a sizable boost from losing two of the badge buddies. Did a similar trend occur when they killed Oldsmobile, a brand that had built some of the most successful cars in the US only two decades earlier? Sure, GM’s total market share has been on a gradual decline for decades, but surely the loss of one brand resulted in temporary upticks for the surviving brands, if not the corporation.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Toyota has Scion for North America, which technically makes three divisions…

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I am sick of Buick jokes by “car know it alls”, as if the GN and GS never existed. Will take time fo the ‘old timer’ image to fade.

    Before the GN was dropped, Buick had a strong brand image. Was not always ‘old’. Young adults loved the Skylarks, Regals, and Centurys in the 60s, 70s, early 80′s. Before that, was a ‘doctors car’, unpretentious.

    Yes, kids, the world existed before the 90′s.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I disagree about the time of their decline. The peaked with the early Rivieras. The colonnades destroyed their credibility and the best they could do after that was pump out GM’s highest quality car in the form of the ’80s LeSabres. Traveling salesmen swore by them as recently as 1989. The Grand National was a one-trick-pony that did not sell to driving enthusiasts. I remember well who it did sell to, but I’m trying to be polite.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Buick is doing quite nicely in this day and age. A loaded Chevrolet Cruze LTZ is nice, but it still has that plebeian feel to it: you won’t find projector headlamps or automatic air-conditioning on any model, the armrests are rather small and out of position, and the car can be quite boomy at loud speeds. The Verano, then, does a nice job of picking up at right about where the Cruze leaves off. The Regal is a lovely midsized sedan. I think it may need to be Americanized just a tad more (meaning that a reverse camera, for example, should be made available). The facelifted Enclave succeeds at being a luxury crossover with a lot of bang-for-your-buck and for distinguishing itself from the other Lambdas. The LaCrosse is supposed to be getting facelifted this year; GM needs to make sure that the new Impala doesn’t upstage it. And as for that new Encore, I see a lot of promise. Its only competitors are the MINI Countryman and yet-to-be-released Fiat 500L. Personally, I think that Lincoln needs to try and get in on that game as well (given that they’ve essentially been competing with Buick and not Cadillac ever since they discontinued the Town Car), but the Ford Focus would probably price them out…

  • avatar
    Charliej

    My dad used to buy Buicks. I was thinking that I am still to young to buy a Buick, and I am 67.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Actually, Pontiac was the more logical choice to survive in the US but GM deemed China more important to its future. Cadillac and Buick are both near luxury no matter what GM thinks and Pontiac had stronger sales in the US and better demographics.

    So carwise, Buick at the low end sells Korean designs via Chevy and at the higher end it shares Opel designs w/ Cadillac. I wonder what happens to Buick/GM when China decides they are no longer needed? Or if flailing Opel meets its demise?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I suspect you’re preaching to the choir.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Thornmark- GM proposed keeping Pontiac as a niche brand within the planned Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel. Obama’s Auto Task Force said NO.
      The argument was simply that lower volume Buick could command higher prices that would enable the brand to be profitable. This is true and the brand is profitable and getting stronger. They need a couple more products which are expected to come soon.

      I sure miss Pontiac G8, Solstice and the ATS cousin in the old plan!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      There was far more overlap between Chevrolet and Pontiac than there is between Buick and Cadillac. Buick, for example, has no equivalent of the CTS, ATS or Escalade.

      Pontiac’s glory days lasted from 1959 through 1970. Those days are long gone. The division’s “revival” in the 1980s was largely because every other GM division was in even worse shape. The 6000STE was overshadowed by the Ford Taurus, while the Fiero was ultimately a disaster, and became one of the poster children showing what was wrong with GM in the 1980s.

      By the early 21st century, Pontiacs were Chevrolets with more cheesy cladding and uglier styling. The revived GTO went nowhere, and the G8 would have made much more sense as a Chevrolet. The sole purpose of a brand such as Pontiac is to provide an in-house “step up” from the least expensive brand (in this case, Chevrolet).

      By 2000, no one outside of GM and its fan websites believed that a Pontiac was in any way more prestigious or “better” than a Chevrolet.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        +1 to all of these points. I agree completely.

        I think a lot of the damage to Pontiac’s reputation was the people who bought them used. You know who I mean – poor trash that didn’t take care of anything they owned. Less trashy people seemed to buy used Chevy’s.

  • avatar

    with a storied history and a dealer body unsurpassed, the understated and elegant Buick drives on after a hundred years. I love the brand, the cars, and more importantly…the wonderful loyal customers who really would rather have a Buick.


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