By on May 6, 2010

Maybe I’m showing my age here, but my definition of the term “younger” clearly doesn’t match that of The LA Times (though the age of the driver pictured is not given). And it’s not just the photo editor either…

According to the LAT’s piece:

GM is hoping the new Buick models will act as an automotive fountain of youth and attract more customers such as 48-year-old Frank Zuniga… who recently spent about $40,000 on a fully equipped LaCrosse.

Now, 48 is still technically in the fat part of the US population pyramid, and far be it from me to question the youthfulness of folks who reach this age… but the two major premises in the LAT’s headline simply aren’t that true. For one thing, JD Power weighs in on the Buick-buyer-age controversy, telling the LAT that the average three years ago was 64, and that it has since fallen to 61. That contrasts with IIHS’ recent average Buick-buyer age of 65, up from a claimed average of 63 a year ago. Moreover, as the graph after the jump proves, Buick’s sales “surge” is barely perceptible in any context wider than the first quarter of this year.

Now, decrying Buick as a “dead brand” has long been popular here at TTAC, for reasons that this graph should adequately explain. In general, the principle that any brand that’s not busy growing is busy dying, seems to be fairly reliable. But GM’s clearly making a stand with Buick, and an endless trickle of stories like the LAT’s bear witness to the resources GM is bringing to bear on its troubled brand in hopes of shedding its fuddy-duddy past. As does the prospective release of the Opel Insignia, er, Buick Regal. And the likely future release of a Cruze-based (Delta II) Buick compact sedan. To say nothing of a possible (and suspiciously xB-alike sounding) Subcompact (Gamma II) Buick MPV.

Hell, Buick is even flying select bloggers around the world on the “Buick World Tour,” from Beijing to the Nürburgring on what sounds like the mother of all press junkets… and all for the conclusion that:

The Nürburgring is the greatest track in the world. It’s everything you’ve heard and everything you’ve read. It is the world’s best adrenaline machine writ large in asphalt. And the Buick ain’t half bad, either.

And it gets worse: despite having written extensively (and occasionally, even nastily) about problems with Buick’s branding, product planning and demography, I have been invited to an official press drive event for the new Regal later this month. In the old days of TTAC-GM relations, this would have been unthinkable… and it confirms once and for all that GM isn’t half-hearting its attempt to convince the world that Buick is not what it once was. But then, that’s a given: the new Regal bucks the old Buick assumptions on its looks alone. The problem is that “old Buick” was selling four times the cars it sells now in 2003 with its “blue hair” image and average buyer age of 72. Of course that average age came down… it’s six years younger than the average life expectancy in the US. But Buick’s sales have fallen far quicker than the average age of  its customers, and nothing suggests that a re-vamp targeting the 40-55 set will return it to anywhere near its 2002 volume. Meanwhile, Toyota is unabashedly attacking Buick’s former preferred demographic. With nowhere to go but the crowded entry-luxury market, Buick is gambling big-time that its reinvention will pay off… and photos like this one don’t exactly help.

[Photo HT: Twitter.com/autoconomy via Hemmings Motor News]

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58 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Buicking The Trends Edition...”


  • avatar
    ott

    Based on that graph, where are the sales surging to?

    Oh, how I miss Pontiac…

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Product, Product, Product. Chrysler was an old man’s brand into the early 90s. The advent of some stylish cars which were good performers brought Chrysler onto the radar of lots of people who would never have considered the brand earlier. Chrysler peaked on this point with the 2005 300C.

    I think that Buick is now where Chrysler was around 1995 or 96. Buick has some fairly appealing vehicles right now, but they have not sealed the deal with people under 50. Buick is selling well under Chrysler’s numbers right now. If this is because Buick is maintaining higher prices and staying in its territory, this is not a bad thing, so long as there is an upward trajectory.

    Buick’s weakness right now is performance. It’s cars need guts to back up the style.

    • 0 avatar
      JSF22

      I think this is exactly right. I’m in the market and willing to consider an American car again after 30 years. The LaCrosse and Lucerne both are handsome to my eyes, and on paper offer a lot of car for the money. But even though both actually handle well for their size, I’ve gotten used to cars that make more than noise when pressing the gas and the Buicks were real disappointments to drive. Combined with the plaid-shirted salesman, the cars on the lot with vinyl roofs, and the snickers from my kids, I won’t be back.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I guess the LAT art director drives a Lexus…or Scion!

  • avatar
    Some Guy

    “I have been invited to an official press drive event for the new Regal later this month. In the old days of TTAC-GM relations, this would have been unthinkable”

    Yes, since, ahem, a certain person with his infamous venomous and one-sided commentary is now gone. Since he’s been gone, I’ve been going to this web site daily… I can say that this web site is pretty non-partisan now and bashes all manufacturers evenly when they deserve it.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    Is that a wig? Does it come with the car?

  • avatar
    Turbo60640

    I’m 30, and I was eager to check out the new Buicks at the Chicago Auto Show. The LaCrosse looked great, but when I got inside it looked like….a Buick. I’m sure you all know what I mean.

    I can’t comment on the Regal because I couldn’t get inside. After the LaCrosse disappointment I moved on.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacfan

      I couldn’t get into Regal at the car show for another reason. I believe it is the first Buick I’ve seen that was to tight for me to get in. I’m quite big but not outlandish. I drive a Vibe.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The LaCrosse looked great, but when I got inside it looked like….a Buick.

      Wholeheartedly agree! I was following a LaCrosse yesterday – I admire it’s lines as a modern interpretation of classic Buick design. But the interior is American garish. They need to steal someone from VW or Honda for IP design….

    • 0 avatar

      Despite the best efforts by Gov’t Motors to convince people the LaCrosse is a Lexus ES alternative, it’s on the inside where that laughable comparison falls apart.

      The materials used are one thing, but the design itself is horrid. You need only look as far as the easily-seen dual bolt holes atop the instrument binnacle, that are in plain view to the driver at all times. That screams “cheap,” “GM,” and “NOT a Lexus.”

      I doubt any automaker really needs to worry about what Buick is doing.

  • avatar
    John R

    What a misstep. Pontiac is the one should have been re-imagined, not Buick.

    $40k for a David Carradi…er…LaCrosse?!?. Maybe I’m showing my age here, too, but that’s loaded new Maxima/fairly equipped G37 money.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Yes, Buick does deserve what it has received.
    However, with 44k sales YTD they are well on the way to beating the horrible 2009 number, maybe even 2008.
    My nonscientific observation is the Enclave drivers are definitely younger than the stereotype and the new LaCrosse drivers are a mix with plenty of younger drivers on the road. So I see an improvement.
    Suggest you go to the event and let us know what you find.
    Have fun and enjoy

  • avatar
    lanetru

    lol, any brand that missed the biggest period of easy credit in history doesn’t deserve to live.

    ps, tell buick that it’s a bit odd to debut a car with the weaker of the two planned powerplants.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    I agree with Juniper. Enclave drivers in my area seem to be the same upper income 40-something soccer mom types driving Suburban LTZs and Yukons. On the other hand, local LaCrosse drivers mirror Lexus ES drivers: both 50 to 60-something empty-nesters. The sales numbers suggest that LaCrosse is cannibalizing Lucerne buyers to some degree. Once the Lucerne disappears and the Regal/CUV/compact arrive the average age will come down even more. But Boomers with money are getting older, so maybe that number won’t come down as far as we all expect? BTW, when is the Lucerne going away???

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      As a GM employee, I can only disclose public facts. So here are a few dots for the B&B to connect. The Chevy Volt will be built in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and go on sale late this year. The Buick Lucerne is built in the same Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2010/Apr/0421_GMfairfax

      ” Detroit Hamtramck, which builds the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS, will be equipped to build the Malibu as well, ensuring that Chevrolet can meet market demand.

      Detroit Hamtramck will also build the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range, which launches this year. On March 31, the plant celebrated a major milestone, the building of the first pre-production Volt on the regular assembly line.

      The Malibu-related investments of $136 million in Fairfax and $121 million in Detroit Hamtramck will include facilities, machinery and equipment, and tools.”

  • avatar
    Ion

    In theory, Buick has a product in the pipeline to hit a younger demograph (2 I guess if you want the lump in the Astra reborn). The Regal’s marketing will make or break that car and possibly Buick.

    The Turbo varient should wear a GNX badge plain and simple. It will upset buick fans but lets face it, their older than the target demograph.

  • avatar
    Roundel

    “I don’t want to watch TV in my car… what is this big screen for?”

    • 0 avatar

      Actually it’s probably more like…”Does this get Murder She Wrote”?

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      I had the privilege to drive a 2011 Buick Regal yesterday at an employee event. The nav screen shows time, where you are on the map and which radio station you are listening to with the song title and artist. The large screen makes it easy to read/ glance at while driving without being distracted.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Well, that sales bar chart says it all, doesn’t it?

    I’m on the far left end of the Buick owner bell curve, having bought my first buick at 28 (I’m 44 now, almost to the middle now heh heh), a 1988 Electra T-type which I just sold last year. I had the opportunity to pick up a one-owner low-mileage 2001 Lesabre for $300 last year (airbag deployment in a low-speed accident with a trailer hitch, I repaired it myself) which I’m driving now.

    In many respects the 2001 is better than the 1988 (power, fuel mileage, handling, brakes, paint) but worse in other ways (plastic intake, plastic fuel line, non-replaceable dash light bulbs – every darn one of them, multiplexed electrical system that is a freaking nightmare to troubleshoot/repair).

    But based upon my ownership of the 2001 thus far, I have to say that GM deserved to go bankrupt. It currently has an intermittent battery drain problem that I have worked around by adding a battery disconnect switch, and the radio front controls no longer work after my dining-room bulb replacement project (think I static-zapped it).

    Buick should have forgotten about the SUV market and focused on making good cars instead. The Toyota Avalon is the new Buick. End of discussion.

    I do wish Buick well and think their new cars look pretty nice. But I’ll probably never buy one. Note: I worked for GM during college and went to college in Buick’s headquarters city, Flint. I want to cry when I look at the satellite maps showing where all of the great GM plants used to be like Buick City.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The Regal will be an interesting car to watch. I really like it’s Opel looks, but it’s back seat looks a bit cramped. It looks to be the same size as a 3 series and A4. I’m sure the marketing buffoons will target those two cars, but if Buick continues on their aspirational pricing structure, I don’t see how they can succeed.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Since the demise of Pontiac, I have been looking at Buicks, but not finding a lot to interest me. I’m the demographic they want, late 40’s, midwestern (i.e., inclined to buy domestic), and a previous GM owner.

    The new LaCrosse and Regal are nice enough, but don’t do anything for me. I might be interested in a Regal Turbo, but with the kind of $$’s it would take to get one, maybe I’d be better off in a V6 Malibu. Or a V8 Charger, since we can’t get a G8 any longer.

    Unless the small Buicks are well executed, I will probably be a Chevy shopper for the forseeable future. Of course, if Chrysler kicks out some great stuff, I may go there in the future, too.

    Right now, my relationship with GM is somewhat cloudy. They need to retain me and people like me (i.e., former Pontiac owners). There’s not a lot that I aspire to there, and Dodges looks good to me too.

    I’ll let you know how I feel in about four years.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    $40K!!??

    I’m with John R on this; the LaCrosse is a fairly nice car but $40K seems rather spendy for a Buick. Did this buyer also look at Lexus?

    Or is some kind of magic going to happen during the little room treatment?

  • avatar
    BClark

    Being a 20 year old college student only focused on making money for my car payments at the moment the Regal has caught my eye, but if Buick wants young people in the showroom they would put the 2.0L turbo with a 6 speed into the Cruze variant, price it starting just below the Camaro. I love the Cobalt SS and Mazdaspeed3 but they aren’t exactly something I’d want to pull up to an interview in after I graduate. A Buick like I described on the other hand I feel would a lot less juvenile in, but still know that it could perform too. I feel Buick could do a good job of competing with VW in the American market, they need to move away from being a luxury based brand, and focus more on high quality products to go after people who don’t want a Honda/Chevy/Ford/Toyota but don’t quite have the means or want a Acura/Cadillac/Lincoln/Lexus. I think VW is great at going after all kinda of demographics, and look at pricing, everything is within reason ($18k-$29K) Start the small Buick at $20K, Regal at $25K, Lacrosse at $30k, offer a set way for people to move on up if they want, and doesn’t steal sales from the CTS or ATS since they both should start over $30K

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    “Wow, with these Blublockers on, this dashboard looks like it’s in HD!”

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Sadly enough for the “Buick demographic skewing younger” concept, I don’t think that those are Blueblockers. They look like the chunky full wrap-around shades that people are told to wear after cataract surgery.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Young, for Buick, means not having to wear depends.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Yes, since, ahem, a certain person with his infamous venomous and one-sided commentary is now gone.

    Prior to “his infamous venom”, millions of people echoed the same, non-verbalized sentiment with their buying power. The Emperor Has No Clothes needed to be said for a long time. When Peter DeLorenzo started the drum beat over 10 years ago as to ‘WTF GM?’, his polite voice certainly got attention, but the heat needed to be turned up.

    Think of the title heading: GM Death Watch. As a sentimental person, it hurt my heart. But it was dead accurate.

    Keep in mind as well, GM punished the LA Times and Dan Neil for one of his reviews. Obviously the truth hurt.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    Obviously, a few of the haters here have not really investigated the new LaCrosse or Enclave. Especially the plaid shirt and vinyl roof sniper. The LaCrosse is nothing short of spectacular. I will have my hands on a new Regal 5/11 and am eager to check it out.

    • 0 avatar
      jacksonbart

      Please post your impressions. I checked out a 2001 LeSabre and a 2001 Crown Vic but settled on a 2001 Maxima gle for about the same price. I would have gone for the Crown Vic but the dealership would not get me a bucket seat, center-mounted shift. Still have the Maxima 108,000 later, but have brought American since for a second car. That Buick looks nice for sure. Perhaps a replacment in a few years as the Maxima refuses to die, although is groans a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Autoblog just conducted a test run in the US-spec Regal and were over the top.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2010/05/06/2011-buick-regal-first-drive-in-germany/

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Autoblog goes over the top for just about anything, and certainly anything from General Motors, in their “First Drives”. Realize the AB plays to the crowd, and their crowd is mostly General Motors fans.

      Actual reviews of the Insignia have been lukewarm, with most noting that it’s not quite as good as the Passat (which we get) and the Mondeo (which we don’t). It’s a good enough car—probably about as nice as an Acura TSX—but not the Second Coming Of Christ that AB is going on about.

      Never believe a word of “First Drive” reviews: they’re always puff-pieces; the journalists have to write them as such or they won’t get invited to the next one, and will get scooped by the sycophants who do.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      psarhjinian:

      I understand your viewpoint…AB can be GM fanboyz. But after reading the review (and they occasionally will call-out trash when they see it), I thought they poked and prodded enough to paint a complete picture. It’s just encouraging to see some follow-up to the driving dynamics the G8 and Astra brought forward.

      For the record, the Regal IP is more attractive IMO….I referred to the issue in a previous post where the LaCrosse IP was criticized.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    As someone in his mid-30’s, I can assure you that none of my peer group is looking at Buick, new product or not. Hence product doesn’t mean squat if the Brand is poiso, which I believe Buick is in N. America.

    Now, friends would look at Lexus or BMW alongside someone twice their age shopping the identical car. How to erase the stigma with Buick and Cadillac being “old farts” cars is beyond me. Might as well throw the Avalon and Grand Marquis into that heap too. Some vehicles/brands are just out of vouge with the under 40 crowd. That’s fine if Buick can grab some under 50 buyers right now, but I can assure you that when my generation is that same age we will not be suddenly turned into Buick buyers. Their entire brand is living on borrowed time.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    All midmarket brands are being hammered now, which started due to market pressure and will continue as they pare down unsuccessful models. I’m talking Buick, Chrysler, Mercury, and even Acura. The only one I care about is that last one.

    My father and uncles (in their late 50s/early 60s) recently bought a Ford, a Mazda, and an Acura. No enthusiasm for Buick with them. The one who bought a Mazda also has a Chevrolet, but I don’t see him moving up the ‘latter’ to Buickillacs (formerly Oldsmobuicks).

  • avatar
    vvk

    Well, I am in mid-30s and I can’t wait to get my hand on the Insignia… I mean Regal. If they really do offer it with three pedals, I will be more than interested.

    Throw some Michelin PS2s on it, swap out the grille and head- and tail-lamps… That would be so cool!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      It’s comments like yours that occasionally make me think that GM should “import” Opels, unchanged from the Euro market to North America.

      I use the quotation marks on import, because I’m not sure what keeps GMNA from just establishing a North American outlet for Opel and just build the pertinent models in the NAFTA region but slap Opel grilles on them. Not unlike what GM does with Opel in South America, but using Chevy badges in place of the “blitz”. Actually, I DO know what it is, but someone at the Ren Cen decided there were too many outlets…

      I know GM tried twinning Buick and Opel in the 1960’s, maybe the Delta size cars might sell better if they were labeled Opels instead of Buicks. Just a thought.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      You are in luck, vvk. The 2011 Buick Regal brochure I received yesterday at an employee event says that a 6-speed manual will be available to order in late 2010. This will be paired with the 2.0L ECOTEC DOHC VVT intercooled turbocharged engine.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    1. If 48 doesn’t seem young, you’re blessed. Enjoy you youth – what’s left of it.

    2. 48 isn’t much over the average age of a Toyota owner.

    3. 48 is about the the average age for new car buyers, if I’m not mistaken.

    4. 48 is the average age of a GM owner, w/o respect to the particular brand.

    So, as I see it, Buick is F’ing itself up chasing the wrong demographic. Buick should not go after the Chevrolet demographic, because GM already has a car line for the Chevrolet demographic.

    There is nothing wrong with being a car for old people. Everyone, except Peter Pan, is going to grow older. Sorry.

    To pretend that Buick needs to get younger buyers or it’s customers will all die off is like saying a hearing aid manufacturer needs younger customers to stay in business. People get old. Even the ones who are young now are going to get old. Even those of you who have a goatee and wear a stocking cap 24/7 are going to get old. You’ll be needing bifocals, a hearing aid, and maybe a Buick.

    To everything there is a season….

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      IMO, Buick will sell a car to anyone who wants one, like any car manufacturer! LOL. In the car segments between Chevy and Cadillac, there is a whole lot of green. I think that if someone wants premium content without premium price, as in finding a restaurant with 5 star food that has 3 star prices, then they would be a Buick buyer. The three Buicks I drove yesterday, Enclave, LaCrosse, Regal, all had high tech stuff like side blind zone alert, HUD, rear cameras, suspensions that sense how you are driving and adapt (Natchez trace run vs. commuting on the interstate for example).

      I liked the Regal the best because its piano black interior trimmed simply in chrome reminded me of my Saab 9-3 and it drove with the same agility and speed.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    Does anyone remember the T-Type line that Buick started in the early 1980s? Buick would have become an ‘import fighter’ back in the day when they started adding T-Type models. Practically every model had a T-Type variant, with subdued blacked out exterior, decent suspension, the most powerful engine available for each particular car line (Skyhawk Turbo, Century 3.8L V6 etc, Regal 3.8 Turbo etc). The interiors had brushed metal in place of plastic wood, gauge packages, sport seats etc. It was Buick’s effort to go after the Europeans. It was a start. They seemed to have a uniform idea that they were going to be America’s BMW. But, then some ‘wise’ person decided Oldsmobile will go after the import buyers.

    Yes, go after the young and affluent generation with a name plate with OLD in the name. Great idea.

    Olds became BMW Chaser and Buick became the Hearse Chaser with ‘premium American Motor Cars’.

    The decline into whitewall-dom, Dynaride, and ventiports started there. Now they have to combat 20+ years of marketing to the ‘family values’ set.

    Good luck.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      I always thought the late ’80’s LeSabre T-Type was a sharp looking car. Clean lines and the T-Type features seemed fairly well thought out.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Like I said above, I went to college at GMI (now Kettering U) in Flint, Buick’s HQ. Back in 1984-85, Buick engineering had a car show on campus with a T-type variant of each of their models, complete with 140mph speedos and “prototype” VIN decals. They were beautiful cars, and some of them never saw the light at the end of a production line. All-leather interiors, blacked-out chrome, custom wheels and lowered bodies, they were some great looking cars (gads, think I have pictures of them buried in a box somewhere).

      My 1988 Electra T-type was the 4-door version and it was a great car. Drove and handled nothing like a Park Avenue or Olds 98 (which was a good thing), but it didn’t have the harsher ride of the Pontiac SSE.

      I thought it was a bad move to kill off the T-types, much like it was a bad move to kill off Saturn and Pontiac just as they were gaining some traction with (mostly imported) new models. I drove some late-model Pontiacs in rental fleets recently and was very impressed. I suspect that the UAW had something to do with getting rid of Saturn, and Pontiac too since they were importing too many cars that the UAW didn’t make.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    FYI the sunglasses the guy is wearing are not the terminator type that the elderly bought from the drugstore that filled their prescriptions, but look like the “Eagle Eye” brand of polarized lenses. Some are large because they fit over prescription glasses. I commend the guy for trying to improve his vision while sitting behind the wheel. All drivers should wear some kind of anti-glare eyewear.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    I have a question for everyone.

    I am a current owner of a 2002 Acura TL. Love the car, but it has 150 k miles on it so it’s time to start the process of searching for a new car. I paid about $27k for the car (with tax). I don’t plan on purchasing another TL or Lexus ES 350 because they’re boring/ugly and I really don’t want to spend $37-40k on a car. I am very, very interested in the Buick Regal/Lacrosse for this very reason.

    The Lacrosse has gotten good reviews, with MotorTrend ranking it higher than the Lexus ES350. But who do I believe? Most car mags are cheerleaders for whatever car they review and don’t provide much useful critique. Most people on this board seem to be always negative about everything (no offense, that’s the impression I get – and I’m pretty cynical myself). Where do I go to get a critical review of this vehicle where the reviewer is going to look at the car from the standpoint of a picky customer? Or do I just wait for Consumer Reports?

    Also how do the GM engines compare with Honda engines and engines of other makes? I am very happy with the performance of Honda engines and would like to know how GM stacks up — both the 4-cyl. and the V-6 — again, from someone with a critical eye. Is their 4-cyl. as silky smooth as the Honda? Will I get the same punch from the GM V-6 as I get from my Acura? Where do I find this information?

    At the end of the day, I’ll probably chicken out and buy a Honda Accord, but at least I’m toying with the idea of a Buick right now. I really like what these cars stand for because I believe they finally represent what Buick (and Oldsmobile) should always have been-well-executed vehicles. Of course, I’m still not sold that the car isn’t going to have typical ticky-tack GM problems, but we’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      $37 to $40K? I’m 50, well within the target market income-wise, and plan on spending no more than $20K on my next new car.

      As for your question, engines are generally a strong point for GM. I recall enjoying a solo drive in a Cobalt across Colorado on mountainous two-lanes several years ago.

      Their 4 cylinder have not been known for smoothness and quiet relative to the competition, though.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      $37 to $40K? I’m 50, well within the target market income-wise, and plan on spending no more than $20K on my next new car.

      That’s my point! Neither do I, but I want something a little nicer than your typical camcord.

      That’s why I was seriously considering the Buick Regal. Price tag still in the $20’s, leather, seems to be getting good reviews. Seems like you’re getting a nice car for the money … but can you trust GM for long term reliability? Can you trust these auto blogs for a critical review of any vehicle and anything more than a “rah rah” enthusiast’s rose colored glasses?

      A car with a GM 4-cylinder engine bothers me for the reasons you say. The Honda 4-cylinder on my dad’s ’10 Accord is silky smooth. My hats off to them for whatever they do to deaden the sound. My dad’s car doesn’t have enough “punch” but is reasonably quiet. I would be more comfortable with the Buick if it had a V-6 and maybe was a corporate special with 10,000 miles on it or something to get the price down a bit? I like the looks of the Regal, they are starting to hit that sweet spot of design they had for Olds and Buick again.

      But the nagging thing is am I buying trouble? Am I buying leather that cracks, seats that implode and pieces of the dash that crack and fall off? My dad got a deal on his Honda (LX-P for $19,300 out the door), so if I can swing that again that might be the way I go? I love my leather and V-6 though ….

      When I bought my TL, I paid cash. It really hurts to write out a check for $27,000. Decisions, decisions…

      As you can see, I am very conflicted.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Yes,I work for GM, but I would start with Karesh’s truedelta.com site and check out the LaCrosse and Enclave info. If you want further help from me, please send this site a note asking to forward your email to me. They have my email address, although the very clever Darwin Hathaway figured it out. I bet you could too by going to gm.com and checking out the top leadership’s email addresses.

      My personal opinion of the 2011 Regal when I drove it this past Wednesday was that it was a great car, just like my two year old Saab 9-3, which hasn’t given me any problems in 40,000 miles.

      Another thought, Bertel might have access to reliability info in China on the Buick Regal sold there. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • avatar

    boyphenom, I’ll boldly predict in the end sanity will win out, and you’ll buy the Honda. Further, you’ll never regret that decision.

    There are just too many uncertainties when it comes to spending 20 large on a Government Motors car.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      On the surface you are probably correct, but let me tell you a little bit about my car history. (You can skip to the last paragraph if you don’t want to read my car-buying history and want to cut to the chase).

      Right out of high school, I bought a new 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the money I saved from my high school job. Paid cash. Okay, so maybe I was a geek for buying a Cutlass instead of a Camaro, but I loved that particular model year and the basic design of the car wasn’t bad. Unfortunately, it was a piece of junk mechanically (Buick V-6, need I say more?) so I traded with my mom for her 1983 Honda Accord (less gas money – thanks mom). I drove that thing for 240,000 miles. That was a fun, fun little car to drive to and from college and later work. It struggled to get over 92 in Indiana on the way to Chicago, but I loved that little car.

      My next car was a 1994 Honda Accord DX in Light Sage Green. Got it through the Honda employee plan (uncle retired from Honda). Very underpowered and it had crank windows, but you get what you pay for and I didn’t want to spend a few extra large for the LX or EX. Paid cash again. Enjoyed this car, too, but the transmission got gimpy so I dumped it at about 175,000 miles.

      My current car was a 2002 Acura TL, which I struggled with for a long time. By this time, I was tired of Honda Accords and I wanted a change just for the sake of getting something different. Furthermore, I thought the TL was too “Accord-like”. I shopped around, and nothing else really compared from the standpoint of how it was put together, plus my uncle’s discount again, put me back into the Acura. Paid cash again but it was painful to write out a $27k check for a car. I was wrong, much better than a Honda. Love the V-6 and the Bose Stereo. Hate that it’s on its third transmission.

      Bottom line is that I’ve had three Hondas I’ve absolutely loved. All put together well, all fun to drive, all had decent looks, all very reliable. Unfortunately, two out of the three Honda’s I’ve owned had tranny issues. That’s not good. That is what’s making me look again at Buick, not to mention the smart styling of the Regal is similar to the kind of styling my TL has. No bulbous, cartoonish lines, just smart, crisp styling. Buick can pick off a lot of people like me if either a) the quality is up to snuff; or b) the offer an extended warranty that makes owning a Buick risk-free for someone like me. Remember, I’m used to near-perfection except for the tranny and even with the tranny issues I can’t complain too much because they put me in a loaner car so I didn’t skip a beat.

    • 0 avatar

      boyphenom, I enjoyed the history!

      I learned to drive on a ’90 Accord LX, and later bought my own ’92 Accord LX 2-door. Oddly, though I love Hondas and recommend them to everyone I know, I have yet to buy another… but several friends own various Civics, Accords, and Pilots, and they all adore them.

      My 2006 Mazda6 is on its second automatic transmission at 36,000 miles. The original decided at 19,000 it wanted to downshift into 1st (instead of passing gear) at 60 mph while on a trip to Dallas; the car got me to my destination 350 miles away, where I promptly took it to the dealer I bought it from. A glitchy solenoid was the culprit, and there was no obvious internal damage… but the dealer replaced the entire transmission as a precaution. That impressed me.

      Before the Mazda, I had a 2004 Grand Am. It actually wasn’t a horrible car, and I enjoyed having a 5-speed again. It was very cheap and crude, though, and had several minor though troubling issues by 24,000 miles. The most damning were the vinyl dash and door panel coverings that bubbled up and split open within the first 18 months of ownership. Five months after that, I happily traded for the Mazda.

      GM lost me as a customer for good on that day. Even with the tranny repair, the 6 is in every single way a better car, for comparable money. Alas, even without the stigma of government interference, it’s doubtful I’ll ever sit in the driver seat of another GM product ever again.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    boyphenom, too early to tell/review regarding the Regal but the LaCrosse is a fantastic product. The accord is a fine automobile as well, but has evolved into a rather boring bloated soulless car IMO. LaCrosse, on the other hand, is superior in styling and interior ergonomics and quality. LaCrosse has more std features, a better warranty too! You can also get all wheel drive in the Buick. Not available on Honda.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    “GM lost me as a customer for good on that day…”

    So, the Grand Am had bubbling vinyl and the Mazda blew a transmission. And GM lost you? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice try there, meathead.

      The Mazda hardly “blew a transmission.” It had a shifting problem that, frankly, Mazda went overboard IMO to make right. The car still got me from Amarillo to Dallas without any problems; when I wanted passing gear, I used the manumatic. And the replacement tranny has been bulletproof.

      In fact, the 6 is still rock-solid at over 36K. The Pontiac felt like a genuine POS within 15,000 miles. No contest, GM loses in every regard.

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