Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Buick Taking On Lexus LS?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
wild ass rumor of the day buick taking on lexus ls

Sometimes I miss Bob Lutz so much it hurts. First we’re a Zeta-based Buick flagship that’s the spiritual successor to the 1996 Buick Roadmaster. The news is exciting, even if it lacks the panache of a Lutzian rear-wheel-drive screed. But you have to read a little deeper for the real punch line.

The Buick Roadmaster never had the stones to fight the Lexus LS400. But GM Inside News reports the opposite, “the logic internally is that the Buick flagship would be designed to compete directly with the Lexus LS, while the Cadillac flagship would be designed to directly target the BMW 7-Series.” Buick and Cadillac already fight each other in at the near-luxury price point, and their incentive laden, six-cylinder offerings aren’t selling in numbers that strike fear in the hearts of incentive-averse BMW and Lexus. To say it’s an uphill battle for volume-intensive General Motors is an understatement. Just look at the incentive-fueled fiasco created by overproducing the flagship Corvette ZR1!

While I am thrilled to hear of a resurgence in proper GM Iron, this reeks of the branding desperation once seen in GM’s downsized luxury sedan portfolio of the 1980s. No matter how un-beancounted they shall be, these super-luxe sedans have an identity crisis built into their price point. It’s a tough road to bring a proper Cadillac flagship back into the public conscious, but that’s where this brand belongs. But who is gonna pay $60-large for Buick aimed at the Lexus LS?

Yes, the Chinese Buick Park Avenue needs a refresh. Taking stateside advantage of that is a smart move. But until GM figures out Buick’s near luxury role and Cadillac’s top dog status, they will eat each other alive. And while they bludgeon themselves with each other’s VW Phaeton-esque rebates, BMW and Lexus breathe a collective sigh of relief. Again. Because, sort of like my 1986 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five, a true Caddy is head and shoulders above a comparable Buick: longer wheelbase, better performance and abundantly more luxury features. Most importantly, that implies a far less attainable MSRP.

I’d wager that even the legendary Buickman sees the writing on the Tri-Shield’s wall. Assuming the GM IPO brings long term cash necessary to build these super sedans, they’ll have great appeal for niche buyers and long term collectors. However, believing that this two-pronged approach is a credible threat to the Lexus LS and BMW 7-er is a tough sell. Because at the end of the day, price sells cars.

Join the conversation
2 of 48 comments
  • George B George B on Aug 07, 2010

    Buick = Chevy + Chrome trim. It is not and has not been a luxury brand in at least a generation. Buick exists so Buick GMC dealerships have cars to sell alongside their GMC trucks. The fundamental problem is that Chevrolet needs to improve a little to match its class leaders. Better fit and finish and better interior materials. However, improving Chevrolet causes more cross shopping with Buick from below. It would be nice if Cadillac could move up in price and compete at the top levels of luxury cars, but right now they just can't. Went to the Cars and Coffee car meet in Plano, TX this morning. They had many brands of cars including some Hyundai Genesis coupes, many American Muscle cars both new and antique, many BMWs, a few Lexuses, RWD Nissan from 240SX through Infiniti G plus Nissan GTR, many Jaguars, a Bentley, and Italian exotics. However, I can't remember seeing a single Cadillac. Not one. Cadillac has been making a good car,the CTS, for several years, but even its not "show off to your friends" good.

  • Cammy Corrigan Cammy Corrigan on Aug 07, 2010

    To all the people who think Buick isn't aiming for Lexus, Acura etc and that Cadillac isn't aiming for BMW, mercedes-Benz, Audi, etc hopefully, this video will put this matter to rest. I'm not saying that GM are doing a good job or a bad job, I'm just saying this was their aim. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EA1Lzfh7hU

  • Master Baiter "...but the driver must be ready to step in and take control. The system is authorized for use during the day but at speeds lower than 40 mph..."Translation: It's basically useless, and likely more stressful than piloting the car ones's self.
  • Alan My friend has a Toyota Kluger (made in 'murica). A Highlander. These things are based on a Camry platform. I have driven the Kluger we had at work and I find them quite boring even for a SUV. An appliance. I hope this will deliver some driving pleasure. I found the Camry a better boring vehicle.
  • Alan Most Lexii look good to reasonable.....................until you see the front ends with their awkward grilles. It actually would look normal on a GWM, LDV or any other Chinese vehicle.
  • Tassos These last months, every day seems to be another great, consequential piece of news for Tesla, who does not just DOMINATE, it OWNS the US and FREE WORLD BEV market.It is the ONLY (repeat ONLY) maker that builds its huge best sellers at a PROFIT, ie, SUSTAINABLY. FOrd EV is bleeding 3 billion in losses. GM hides theirs, and I bet they are even HIGHER. VW has spent a huge no of billions and its ID series has been an UTTER FAILURE.Toyota, already 12 years too late, is yet to try. I doubt they will succeed to dethrone TESLA.
  • Tassos Again: I never took VOlvo seriously in the last 20 or so years.Chinese Volvo-Geely has a dizzying number of models, I have lost count how many,YET its sales and market share in the US has always been DISMAL these last 20 years.It ranges from a pathetic 0.5% to 0.8% of the US market.For comparison, Toyota has 15% and GM has even more. Tesla has almost 10 TIMES VOlvo's share, with a PITTANCE of really TWO Models, the 3 and the Y, as the S and the X hardly sell any copies any more.So why do we keep reading articles about Stupid VOlvo?Because they have the best PR department of any maker.