Ask The Best And Brightest: Is Toyota The New Buick?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

On point as always, TTAC commenter ajla called it in today’s Camry review. In the comments after that tale of suburban anonymity and “the Marriot of cars,” he asked:

Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?

I figure Toyota thinks that, in their heart of hearts, many Americans do still want a Buick. Not an actual Buick, mind you, but a big, comfortable sedan that’s somewhat luxurious but not at all flashy. Over a year ago, I made the friendly recommendation that Buick ditch its explicitly youthful marketing message for “something along the lines of Canadian Club’s “damn right your dad drank it,” campaign.” This spot for the new Avalon probably comes closer to what I had in mind for Buick than anything I’ve seen since. The question then, isn’t so much “is Toyota the new Buick?” as where is Buick going to find its own niche? The wreckage of Acura?

Join the conversation
5 of 59 comments
  • Troy Haase Troy Haase on Apr 17, 2010

    The Lexus ES350 is the modern day Buick Electra and Olds 98. The new LaCrosse is the perfect premium Buick sedan for today. There really is no market for sedans any bigger than the LaCrosse anymore.

    • Buickman Buickman on Apr 17, 2010

      sorry friend but you are very mistaken about the market for true Buicks, the Lacrosse, tho nice, is simply a mid size car.

  • Accs Accs on Apr 18, 2010

    Umm... Can someone tell me where is the driving characteristics of a Camry / ES in this Avalon? Looks like no one is going anywhere with any point in that clip..

  • Thoots Thoots on Apr 18, 2010

    Gosh, it just couldn't be clearer than the nose on your face: Quiet. Comfort. Yes, Virginia, there are lots of people who want quiet and comfortable cars. Instead of noisy, rough-riding, manual-transmission "performance" cars. Even at the lower end of the spectrum, Toyota has always led the pack in terms of these two values: Quiet and comfort. We now return to our 24/7 coverage of Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers.

  • VanillaDude VanillaDude on Apr 19, 2010 where is Buick going to find its own niche? Back to your question - I don't know. I don't know why Buick is still around. I don't know why Mercury is still around. Chrysler is dead, but these other two brands no longer fit. Ford needs Lincoln or Mercury. GM needs Cadillac or Buick. But not both brands. Why? Because having more than two brands is logistically easier to support, buyers understand the difference between everyday work cars and otherday cars, and you don't end up with buyers making a "middle-child" statement. Toyota with Lexus, and Honda with Acura have established a two-tier branding system. Buyers are now comfortable with an "either/or" car buying decision within a make. It has been twenty years, folks! So, after twenty years, the auto market has shifted from a many brand approach to a simplier two brand approach - because the two major Japanese auto manufacturers that have succeeded have made this work. It is now engrained into the market. When US buyers bought US cars, there were enough for the Big Three to have five-brands apiece. When they got undercut over the past thirty years, the game changed, but they didn't. It was too tough to decide which brands had to go. Bankruptsy called the shots instead. So Buick has no future, as I can see - unless it takes it parasites off off Cadillac. Mercury is pretty much a goner now, and the only way I can see either GM or Ford keeping three brands is if they returned to their original roots. That would mean making their current lineups of Cadillacs and Lincolns, Buicks and Mercurys - and offering a fully loaded luxury supersized car under the Cadillac and Lincoln names. Why do I see this? Because take a look at that Avalon ad. It mimics the biggest, most luxurious, most powerful transportation offered Americans during the Golden Age of American Autos - the TRAIN. What were the luxury lineups like during this Golden Age? You got it - fully loaded luxury supersized cars that were Cadillacs and Lincoln Zephyrs, (the name of a train, folks!). So - if GM or Ford don't return Cadillac and Lincoln to their roots, it looks like Toyota will go after it with their Avalons.