January 2015 Sales: Buick's Cars Bring The Brand Down

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
january 2015 sales buick s cars bring the brand down

Rough starts do not invariably lend credence to the belief that 2015 will be full of doom and gloom. Although January accounts for 8.5% of a calendar year, the month was responsible for just 6.7% of all new vehicle sales in 2013; only 6.1% of all new vehicle sales in 2014.

For a number of auto brands, however, 2015 could be difficult. At Scion, for example, sales fell 7% in 2013 and 15% in 2013, decreasing in 19 consecutive months before January 2015’s 8% year-over-year decline.

• Encore sales up 46.5% in January

• Regal falls into three-digit territory

• GM car sales down 7.3%

Jaguar volume slid 6% in January, a poor follow-up to 2014’s 7% drop. Although the XE will help, it’ll be a while before the brand’s new entry-level model actually lands. Smart is entering a transition phase, and the 6% drop in January to just 492 sales translated to the brand’s lowest-volume month since January 2013 and the second-lowest since November 2011.

Meanwhile, the 20% and 50% drops at Maserati and Bentley, respectively, equal slight volume decreases which could easily be made up in a single month at some point down the road.

But after 2014’s 11% increase – the fifth consecutive year in which annual volume has improved – and ten monthly YOY improvements in 2014, Buick sales slid 5.5% in January 2015.

Cause for concern? Likely not: Buick sales decreased slightly in January of last year, as well, and the year turned out to be one of significant growth. However, the specific areas in which the Buick lineup struggled are slightly more worrying.

Although it was made clear yesterday that TTAC is no fan, Encore volume predictably jumped 46.5% to 3465 units in January. It was the brand’s second-best-selling model behind the Enclave, which attracted only 32 more sales than its baby brother. Enclave sales were basically flat, down just 12 units compared with January 2014.

Buick car volume, however, tumbled by more than 1800 units, a 24.5% loss created by declines at all three car nameplates.

LaCrosse sales in America were down 29% to 2023 units in January.

At first glance, one might assume that big LaCrosse months at the end of 2014 (more than 10,000 LaCrosses were sold in November and December) downgraded inventory levels. But Automotive News reported more than 17,000 LaCrosses in stock at the beginning of January. It is entirely possible, however, that deal-making at the end of 2014 brought forward sales that might otherwise have occurred in the first-quarter of 2015.

Regal sales in America were down 45% to 792 units in January.

This was the first time monthly U.S. Regal sales fell below four digits since June 2010, the reborn Regal’s first full month on sale. GM possessed a 96-day stock of Regals at the beginning of January.

Verano sales in America were down 11% to 2776 units in January.

The Verano accounted for half of all Buick car sales in January 2015, down from 42% in January 2014. There was no shortage of available Veranos on dealer lots. Calendar year 2014 Verano volume was down 4%.

America’s car market hardly expanded in 2014, but there were signs of life in January. Eight of America’s ten best-selling cars reported improved sales in January. Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen all generated improved January car sales, in addition to gains made by a number of premium brands.

Yet car sales trouble wasn’t a Buick-exclusive issue at General Motors last month. Although Buick was the most sorely impacted overall, Cadillac car sales slid 7%, but the brand was rescued by strong Escalade sales. Chevrolet car sales slid 5%, but light truck Chevys jumped 43%, propelling the brand to a 20% overall improvement. (GMC, remember, doesn’t sell any cars.) As a result, GM car volume was down 7% in January 2015, a month in which U.S. car sales jumped 8%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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3 of 76 comments
  • An innocent man An innocent man on Feb 05, 2015

    Buick's sales slid in January because old people don't like to go out in the cold, and January was really cold.

  • Mechaman Mechaman on Feb 06, 2015

    Scion dropped more than Buick: maybe young people don't like cold weather either? The 20-ish young lady who lives next door just kicked her Altima ('11-'12 model) to the curb for a Verano. I will agree that they seem tight inside, but the high driving position? A bonus in that market. Buick is still thought of as a premium brand in the Black community, IMO. It's not quite on Caddy level, but above Chevy (well, until recently). You could call it starter luxury. I'm torn about seeing more Opel rebadges and seeing actual Opels .. and still mulling over buying a low miles Saturn Astra ...

  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Civic Type-R
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First, EVs...next, grooming.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.
  • Alan That's about $74k AUD, seems like a good price for the vehicle of this calibre. I think the Ranger Raptor will start around the $78k mark here. A friend of mine just bought a W580 Amarok for $97k. Nissan have the Navara Warrior which is cheaper, I think it starts in the high $50s. The cheapest is a Chinese iteration of one of these off road tuned vehicles starting in the $40s ($29k USD). But all of the above vehicles are not equal. I would think the Raptor is by far your best bet for an off roader.