Buick Beating Lexus In A Luxury Sales Race That Should, If We're Being Fair, Also Include the Kia Rio

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
buick beating lexus in a luxury sales race that should if we re being fair also

How did we miss Colin Bird’s Cars.com post about Buick outselling Lexus for the second month in a row? I suspect it’s because we aren’t on the GM-blogger approved-stories distribution list. Typically, writing a GM puff-piece after going on the free parrot-the-party-line trip means you’re then rewarded with a sweet whip to roll around and impress your friends. The only way your humble author is getting a Buick this week is by renting one. As Peter Green once said, oh well.

Back to the topic at hand. Buick outsold Lexus in February. Does it matter?

A quick search of this site for “Buick” and “Lexus” will reveal that GM’s been peddling the “American Lexus” image for Buick since at least 2007, possibly earlier. Forget the utter humiliation of pitching a 108-year-old automotive brand with a fabulously storied history as a competitor to an alternative Toyota distribution chain founded for the sole purpose of giving middle-class American women suppository-shaped faux-prestige transportation modules. Forget the fact that GM felt the best way to accomplish that goal would be to destroy every last bit of the company’s heritage and to rename Buick’s renamed Chevrolets with names so moronic, so hastily plastered-on that they almost ended up selling the cars in Quebec as “The Buick Jerkoff”. Forget the fact that Buick virtually invented the idea of the restrained, conservative luxury car, only to fumble the ball to the point where the automotive media felt compelled to place that particular crown on a Toyota Camry with a “gold package”.

Even if you can look past all of that and accept that “American Lexus” is somehow a reasonable goal for the Buick brand… it would be nearly insane to think that GM’s managed to wiggle under that particular limbo bar. The Regal starts at $25,500 right now including the inevitable incentives, while the Lexus ES starts at $36,295. Even the crummy little CT200h is four or five grand more expensive than a Regal. Put another way, the same price gap between the Regal and the ES, applied in the other direction, puts you into Kia Rio territory.

Did I mention that it’s usually possible to rent a Buick for $19 a day in most major cities? Consider it mentioned. Call Enterprise and see if they can pick you up in an LS460. Laughter will follow.

You get the idea, right? This isn’t the target General Motors should be chasing. Using government assistance to discount-price one’s way into a market and then offloading one’s inventory to the rental fleets isn’t competitive, it isn’t prestigious, it isn’t “luxury”, and it sure as hell isn’t worthy of the Buick name. I suppose that is why we haven’t mentioned it — but that PR-unfriendly deficiency has been rectified. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to plug in one of my Heritage triple-fives and wait for my free car to show up…

Join the conversation
2 of 96 comments
  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Mar 09, 2011

    Jack, I must be confused about your age. Thought you were younger than me (I'm 54). One would have to be my age -at least- to remember Buick as having a heritage. Either that or one would have to read Buick history and realize that it once did have a heritage. I can remember the doctor making house calls and pulling up in his dark (black or midnight blue) Buick. For people under 50 Buick has never, in their memory, been anything but a Chevy with different badges and a different grill. The "heritage" was lost before Lexus was conceived. On the matter of Lexus being the "the most cynically conceived brand (and now I DO mean “brand”) on the planet after Tommy Hilfiger;" -IMO that's the brilliance of the Lexus brand. No pretense of being a "drivers" car (While actually selling to fat-assed businessmen who can't parallel park much less push the car to it's limits in the corners) No pretense at appreciating German "craftsmanship". In fact there are only two selling points for the Lexus - One: Here's your Buick (or Caddy) but this one will actually hold up in the long run and start every time you turn the key. Two: You pay several thousand more for this Badge as compared to the Toyota badge because you want to show people you have more money than they have. That's what "luxury" is all about - a display of wealth. Actually Lexus is probably the only honest luxury brand.

  • GarbageMotorsCo. GarbageMotorsCo. on Mar 09, 2011

    TTAC research shows there was really nowhere for Buick to go than up. http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/Picture-40.png

  • SCE to AUX Good summary.I still think autonomous driving should be banned until some brave mfr claims Level 5 capability, and other distractions like games and videos should only be available for stationary vehicles.As for the A/C, I just turn a knob in my Hyundai EV.
  • MrIcky My bet is flood.
  • Lou_BC "A Stellantis employee recommended the change after they had a near-miss with an emergency vehicle they couldn’t hear."I was at a traffic light and the car next to me had the stereo cranked. My whole truck was vibrating. A firetruck was approaching lights and sirens. They should have seen it since it was approaching from their side. Light changed and they went. It was almost a full on broad-side. People are stupid. A green light at an intersection does not mean it is safe to go. You still have to look especially at a "fresh" green. Idiots run the light, an emergency vehicle is coming, or it's icy and vehicles can't stop.
  • Lou_BC My kids drove around in a 2 wheel drive Chevy Colorado crew cab I bought off a neighbour when they were moving to Alberta. We kept it 4 years but sold it recently due to various engine codes popping up and the engine sounding more tired. It was one of the inline 5's known to have soft valve seats. All I had to repair was new front brakes and rotors, a wheel bearing and a battery. Both kids wrecked a tire clipping a curb. My oldest backed into it with his pickup which required a grill and headlight replacement. We bought a 2008 Corolla as a replacement for my 19 year old. It came with 4 new summers and a set of decent winter tires on rims. We'll run that until it looks like it will implode/explode. My oldest currently has 3 Cherokees (2 for parts), an F150 "Jelly bean", and a Mercury Grand Marquis. Insurance is very expensive for young drivers. That's why beaters can save some money. I haven't put them on my new truck's insurance since that would add around 90 per month in costs. I'll add my oldest to it temporarily so he can use it to get his "full" driver's license.
  • Arthur Dailey I grew up in an era when a teenager could work pumping gas or bussing tables and be able to purchase a vehicle for a couple of thousand dollars and drive it with 'uninsured' status.If a parent advised on the purchase of the vehicle, they would most often point us to a large, stripped/base version, domestic sedan with the smallest possible engine.These cars generally had terrible driving dynamics and little to no safety features, but were easy to work, had large bench seats/interiors and not enough power to get out of their own way.