By on May 28, 2015

2015 Buick Regal GS red

As Tim Cain alluded to earlier this month while speaking of Encore sales, Buick is in a bit of a rut. In a market that’s growing with many brands seeing best-ever sales periods, Buick is being propped up by a single model, its cute-ute Encore. That’s not enough to stave off the downward sales trend of its other offerings as the brand as a whole is down 5 percent year-to-date.

Armchair analysts and pool chair pundits – this is your time to shine. Let’s fix Buick in 24 hours.

While the Encore continues to garner the attention of the buying public, other models – Verano, Regal and LaCrosse – aren’t keeping up in this SUV and truck driven automotive market. Even the Enclave, once lauded as the savior of Buick when dealers couldn’t keep them on the lots, has taken a hit versus newer competition and other models sharing the same platform, the Traverse and Acadia.

What about the Buicks actually finding homes? Even those seem to be problematic. The Regal wears its orphan status badge back to the dealer more so than any other vehicle on sale within the first year of ownership. Buick is continuing on with their “That’s a Buick?” campaign, one they say is a success yet isn’t backed up by its sales figures. Also, the brand exists in a no-man’s land previously occupied by Oldsmobile, Mercury, Plymouth and Saab. All of those are gone now.

Is it the market? Does Buick cut too thin a niche between volume and luxury? Or is it the product, and not the marketing or positioning, responsible for the brand’s lack of sales?

Personally, I think they should just call it Opel and get it over with.

What do you think, Best & Brightest? How would you fix Buick?

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231 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Wrong With Buick?...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    By all accounts, both Verano and Regal are nice cars, I just don’t see many around my area at all, maybe it’s that tired Buick TV ad about people not recognizing a Buick that is driving away customers?

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I have had the chance to drive most of their offerings and IMO the Regal is a half size too small in the back seat. IMO it doesnt need to be any wider but a slightly higher seat in the rear with 2 more inches of leg room would make this seem like a different car.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Agreed, I see several around here including LaCrosse and SUVs. I doubt many folks pay much attention to tv ads. Personally I think they just need some updates. GM’s un-decisive ways with Opel don’t help. Some new cars would get them some press which will get people interested in them.

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      or maybe you just don’t recognize them in the wild?

      proving the point of the advertisement. ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Naw, when a modern Buick is around, I notice it.

        The grilles are distinctive, and they’re actually pretty handsome, in their way.

        They’re just not common, like Lincolns aren’t common.

        • 0 avatar
          Pig_Iron

          The last Buick I noticed was a Rendezvous. There’s just nothing special about them anymore. They’re definitely not aspirational.

          They’ve changed their model names so many times, I don’t know what they’re called. The last interesting one I can think of was the the LeSabre T-Type.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Buick needs a midsize CUV and the Enclave needs to be updated. Building the Avenir would be nice as well, but I doubt they’ll do it. Same with the Envision coming to the US. However, these things alone would fix Buick, tomorrow. Personally, I don’t think Buick is all that broken to begin with, but they need a midsize CUV like yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      An Edge Murano size CUV would do well for them.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        I’ll third this. It’s a big category and a huge gap, and is made worse by the tiny Encore being 1/2 smaller than a CRV. The Regal is also too small inside. Ultimately, what dooms Buick is what doomed Mercury, it has no reason to exist. Chevy is making nicer cars, or there is Cadillac. Buick doesn’t have a single offering that is a value in its class.

        • 0 avatar
          skygreenleopard

          Also Agree. Toyota’s killing it by covering both truck and crossover bases with the 4runner/Highlander. The Murano is everywhere. Kia’s Sorento is doing well and is a great value, as are the Fords. Seems strange an American heritage-based car company that owned the 2000s due to trucks can’t come up with a midsize SUV to save its life.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Do they need a midsized CUV? Buick dealers already have one. It’s called the GMC Terrain.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I came here to say what Bball did. Worrying about holes in Buicks lineup makes no more sense than pondering why Scion doesn’t have a Camry fighter. It’s a second label on the same sausage, and only needs to drive a little extra margin onto some sales or broaden GM’s market a smidge to make sense. It has a different history, but that’s its current reality.

      • 0 avatar
        skygreenleopard

        Talk about directionless brands. I love that GMC marketing for the last 20 years can be summed up with an ad in Times New Roman, black text, white background, saying “we make GM trucks”. No punctuation either.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I get so mad at the Terrain. It’s not good looking, it’s not good to drive, it’s tiny inside, and gets mediocre economy. And it’s too expensive. There are at least three better options from other manufacturers.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Would it be any better if it was a Buick? It would be the same CUV with a different grille.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nope, it wouldn’t. It would only be more acceptable in a very cheap version, which is covered by the Equinox.

            The other problem I can see (now having extensive Cruze time) is using the Cruze as base for the Verano. While pretty good as a compact wearing the bowtie, the rather high price of the Cruze when equipped automatically makes the Verano a pretty poor buy, no? (The rental 2LT I just had would be nearly $24,000.)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There can be overlap in Cruze and Verano prices. Just like there is overlap in Edge and MKX pricing. You do get more for your money at the top end of the mainstream vehicle. Used, go for the loser luxury brand.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I suppose the only real bonus from the Verano is the badge and the bigger engine – which that heavy car desperately needs. 1.4T don’t really cut it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah. The MKZ has the same draw. 3.7L makes everything better. The 3.5L should be in the Fusion.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Used, go for the loser luxury brand.”

            Wise.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          Thank you for acknowledging this, my thoughts in a nutshell. I have no idea how GMC moves as many Terrains as they do. For a non-offroad crossover, the Ford Edge, RAV4, CRV, CX5, all better choices.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            You really mean the Terrain’s twin the Equinox which is selling in record numbers way late in its cycle. Compared to the competition you mentioned, they are smoother, quieter, roomier with OK mpg plus an available V6. Lotsa $$on the hood most days, too. Envision will probably precede their replacements on a shared platform.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @ixim

            The Equinox is selling because of cash on the hood, as you mentioned. I meant the GMC but let’s include both, sure. Indeed, the back seat is roomy with the sliding bench. The V6 models get worse MPG than pretty much all competitive small-midsize CUVS and the 3.6 is a pretty bad engine with lots of problems, so the incentive to get the V6 goes away. Yes they are smooth and quiet like most GM vehicles, but in most other measurables they lag the competition.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            +1 @Zoom. I went from a RAV to a ‘Nox. The RAV has more usable cargo space. That’s it. The ‘Nox is nicer inside, drives just as nice and was thousands less OTD. Got the I4 but the V6 drivetrain is right out of the Lambdas with good forum notices. Looking forward to the Envision when the lease ends.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @ixim

            What year was your RAV? I’m glad you like your Nox. 4-cyl is the way to go.

            What do you mean by “good forum notices?” That drivetrain is a disaster.

            The Envision looks more promising.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            I had a 2007 and a 2010 RAV, both with cheap leases, replacing a 2004 Rendezvous which was a great CUV functionally. The Toyotas had cheesy interiors, paint issues, rattles and creaks but drove well. I don’t expect the Envision to be cheap but it should be good.

          • 0 avatar
            alluster

            How exactly is the GM 3.6L a bad engine? I am asking out curiosity.

            My Colorado or the Acadia it replaced had zero issues. A family members 04 CTS with the same engine(non di) has had zero issues except an evap purgevalve broke twice. The 3.6L is North America’s most popular V6. If there were widespread issues we surely would have heard more.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “The 3.6L is North America’s most popular V6.”

            Need citation to show it’s more popular than the Nissan VQV6? (3.0, 3.5, 3.7, 4.0)

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            It has a reputation for eating timing chains, unless you completely ignore the oil-life monitor and change it every 3,000 miles. GM supposedly “fixed” it at some point, but they also said that about the Northstar many times.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @ alluster

            As bumpy ii mentioned, a reputation for eating timing chains. We own an Acadia and it’s on its 3rd (not second, third) engine. Car was just barely out of warranty when it happened and GM told us to pound salt. They also had/have problems with the wave plates in the transmissions breaking apart due to substandard manufacturing processes.

          • 0 avatar
            alluster

            @bumpy – Thanks. I was aware of carbon buildup issues common with DI engines. First time I am hearing of the timing chain issue.

            @Corey – You can’t combine several different displacements into one. GM sells the 4.3L V6 too. That’s like saying “the Camry is not America’s most popular passenger car because the Alitma, Sentra, Maxima and Versa combined outsell it.”

            Anyway, I can guarantee you that the 3.6L alone outsells all Nissan and Infiniti V6 engines even if you combine all the different displacements.

            The Lambdas, SRX, and XTS itself are about 320,000 a year. Add 40% of remaining Cadillac, 30% of remaining Buick, 60% of Impalas and you are already over 30% of total Nissan sales. What percentage of Nissan sales are V6? 30%? This after I left out 50% of Camaro, 40% of Equinox+Terrain, 70% of Colorado+Canyon and the all 4.3LV6 totals.

        • 0 avatar
          jayzwhiterabbit

          My Dad has a 2012 Terrain. I was skeptical at first, but I have always loved the styling. It actually looks like a truck/sport ute much more than the cutesy-curvy shapes of most other brands. And I’m 6’2″ and the interior is very spacious. The backseat is huge, and there is a lot of legroom with the front seats even pushed all the way back. He averages about 24 mpg in mixed city and highway driving. It’s actually a really nice ride.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @jayz

            What engine is it? From my brief experience the ride/handling is nice, and generous interior space (people not cargo). 24MPG for the V6 would be good. For the 4-cyl, average for class given the model year.

    • 0 avatar

      Bingo, came here to say this and saw that Spartan already had. The Avenir would be as useless as the RLX is to Acura. But Buick is just high enough on the luxury/cachet scale to be able to sell mid-lux CUVs all day long, just as Acura does. Plus, Buick’s comfortable/quiet/smooth mantra fits perfectly with CUVs.

      They need the mid-size CUV from China ASAP, and they need to replace the Enclave ASAP. Problem solved. The Regal and LaCrosse aren’t perfect, but the reality is that they are in shrinking categories saleswise, so I’m not surprised to see them declining.

      • 0 avatar
        Tomsriv

        I have to disagree on the Avenir. It has RWD and would instantly fill a large hole in the market.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          Agreed, the Avenir would do some good for the Buick brand, and it would spread out the cost of the Omega Platform from the Cadillac CT6, since they will probably sell just a few thousand CT6s a year. I don’t know where such a car (the Buick) would be priced but if it starts in the mid-to-high $40s, I could see them moving some volume.

    • 0 avatar
      amadorcarguy

      +1

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Buick sort of lost its identity when it dropped the LeSabre. Here was a large, conservative, and comfortable family sedan which sold well and kept the lights on at Buick dealers. The Avenir is a step in the right direction – Buick should build it and give it the LeSabre name.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacfan

      I enjoyed the successor to the LeSabre, the Lucerne, until someone rear-ended me on a highway. With the insurance check in hand I started my car shopping from a Buick/GMC dealership and could not a vehicle in which I would fit as comfortably as in my then 3 year old Lucerne.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      The recent Jalopnik article on that odd Citroen C6 might be an interesting direction for Buick. Build a line of cars so supremely serene that when you doing 45, the car hints that you might be happier doing 40 (I loved that quote). GM has the tools to make such cars as they have sound-deadening double covered (insulation and noise cancellation) and Magna-ride which could be tuned to pillow-soft without losing handling excellence. If Buick could go the luxury direction that Lincoln claims to be going, there could be room for two luxury divisions in GM – high-performance Cadillac and whisper quiet Buick.

    • 0 avatar

      Disagree. Soft and large sedans sold all day long in the 90s, but people really don’t want those anymore. They either buy one of very competitive and refined options from the mid-size sedan market (Fusion, Accord, Malibu, Camry, blah blah) or step up to a CUV. You can see this shift in nearly every brand over the last few years. The LaCrosse capable fills the hole left by the Lucerne and LeSabre…but nobody really wants cars like that anymore.

  • avatar
    poggi

    IMO, Buick has a age-related perception problem. Buick is the most popular car at the local cafeterias where older folks eat dinner at 4pm. Can you say “Oldsmobile”.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I don’t think that argument really works any longer.

      Buick’s problem is the same as every other near-luxury marque (Acura, Lincoln and Volvo are the other three, with Saab gone and Fiat and VW not entirely sure how to play North America). There was a point to near-luxury cars when a) in the era before lean manufacturing it made sense to keep mainstream cars spartan, and b) luxury marques weren’t fishing downmarket with cheap-lease aspirational models

      What’s the point of Buick (or Acura, or Lincoln) when a Chevy is 95% as good (110%, I’d say, in the case of the Impala-vs-Lacrosse), and you can get a lease on a Mercedes CLA or C-Class for about what a Verano runs?

      Answer: there is no point, and it’s quite evident in how badly this whole class of brands has performed over the last decade and a half.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you are both right. I think older people looked at Buick as a status symbol, as what you bought when you had some money and wanted something nicer than a Chevy, or when you wanted a Cadillac but didn’t want to seem too flashy.

        Younger people don’t see a compelling reason to buy one. They see German cars as status symbols, but not Buick, and they aren’t as willing to pay more for status.

        • 0 avatar
          amadorcarguy

          My wife and me bought our first Buick (a 10 Enclave) when we were in our mid -forties. Now we have 2 (14 LaCrosse). We are right in Buick’s target audience. German cars are great but damned expensive to maintain, that is why I avoid them. That status symbol German car will bite them in the rear when it comes to maintenance and repairs after the free service and warranty expire.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “and you can get a lease on a Mercedes CLA or C-Class for about what a Verano runs?”

        Well, if you’re all about having a Badge, nothing.

        If you don’t hate yourself, though, I’d rather have a Verano than a CLA, according to *everything* I’ve heard about both.

        (Haven’t sat in either, as I’m not in the market for a sedan at the moment…)

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          The problem with the Buick vs. CLA comparison is you are literally looking at the two far ends of the “don’t care at all about the badge” versus “buy it only for the badge” spectrum. There are TONS of $30-40k cars in the middle from a wide variety of brands that are A) good cars and B) have a decent non-embarrassing badge. BMW, Audi, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Caddy, Volvo, Chrysler, etc, all make perfectly competitive cars in this price range you wouldn’t be ashamed to own.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Actually you have the answer to your rhetorical question in what you posted as you’re talking leasing vs buying. What do Acura, Lincoln, Volvo, and Buick have in common? Cars you can own out of warranty, which you can’t do as much with Merc/BMW/Audi (and I would argue VW).

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          Anyone who is going to buy their car outright would skip Acura, Lincoln or Buick and would go right to Honda, Ford or Chevy. The sales stats tend to back this up.

          That’s the problem for Buick (and Acura, etc): they don’t make sense for either aspirational buyers, or mainstream customers.

          PS. I would hazard you ought not to own a Volvo out of warranty either. We’re well past the days of the 240

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Since all three of those are their respective parent brand only nicer. In the case of Acura, if I had the coin I would go TLX over Accord because I like its style despite the fact they come from the same platform and same assembly location.

            On Volvo there’s about an eight year period between MY98 and MY05 I would simply avoid them but after MY05 things perked up overall in the reliability department. While still not Camrys, you’re in better shape long term vs most of what else came out of Europe in the same period.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Late P2 platform and P3 platform vehicles are fine.

            EUCD stuff is good too.

            Some of the engines (4.4L V8 for example) are my only real concern.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            V/S70s have a variety of issues and evidently the heater core replacement is even more difficult than that of the 240 (which is one of the most difficult things to do on a 240). C70s have all of the same problems of the S70 plus added problems of an old convertible. The early S80s are fireworks factories and all Volvos of the period suffered the “lifetime” trans fluid curse. I occasionally see an earlier S60 which isn’t in a state of complete disaster but they are susceptible to most of the issues of the S80. XC90 well, F those for more reasons I can count (fortunately the older ones seem to be gone now and the ones still around are 06 or newer). The only ones people generally pay to keep going are the V70/850 wagon or P2 XC/V70s. I think they do this because they are wagons and most people who seem to own them fifteen plus years on are lower on the socioeconomic latter with children. Having children in such a situation typically seems to result in owning a: 97-07 domestic SUV/CUV, Chrysler minivan of any year, or Volvo wagon of some kind.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoom91

        @psarhjinian

        I mostly agree with you in principle, but Buick outsells every brand mentioned in your second paragraph except VW, which of course has less expensive models like the Jetta. Buick is also outselling Audi, Infiniti, and don’t forget Cadillac.

        Based on the Buicks I’ve been in, the product execution is noticeably better than Chevrolet, and often GMC, for not much more money. The Encore is much better than the Trax. The Enclave is nicer than the Traverse. The GMC Terrain is not nicer than the Equinox unless you don’t like anything resembling curved sheetmetal.

        A midsized CUV will definitely help the brand, as a few people mentioned.

      • 0 avatar
        skygreenleopard

        Is Buick even near-luxury? Even my dad has never associated a Buick with luxury. At the very least Lincoln and Volvo TRY to justify their near-luxury status in their marketing. Buick, with it’s “That’s a Buick?” campaign, if anything, is playing undedog/old fogie playing catchup.

        IMO that’s the opposite of near-premium/”above average,” that’s saying you’re “not actually below average!”

        While it’s a tight market, Acura and Infiniti make a case for the near-luxury market’s existence. Buick does not because it isn’t there. Think about how Infiniti has never had to make a “that’s an INFINITI??” ad…

    • 0 avatar
      Marone

      It does work. I have plenty of friends that consider Cadillac and Buick “old people’s cars”.

      Despite all the sucessful, attractive young people they put on the advertisment, guess who you usually see driving a Buick? Easy…50+

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s most new cars.

      • 0 avatar
        amadorcarguy

        My wife and me bought our first Buick (a 2010 Enclave) when we were in our mid forties, bought a 2nd Buick (14 LaCrosse) at 49. Our neighbors bought an Enclave when they were in their late 30’s. Not all of us are old geezers driving Buicks. I do see many “white-hairs” driving LaCrosses, but I also see many younger folks driving Enclaves, Regals, Veranos and Encores. THe demographic of Buick buyers is getting younger.

    • 0 avatar
      duncanator

      I think you’re right as I’m 45 and think I am too young to own one, but I also think that’s the case with the Corvette. I don’t think you’re allowed to buy either of them if you’re under 50.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I think Tim “alluded to” not “eluded to”.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Edit – Grammar Police comment removed ;-)

    As to the Buick Regal, you can get a nicely equipped Malibu (if you don’t care for the turbo/AWD) for thousands less.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup. Fixed. Now let’s fix Buick :) (Thanks for the catch.)

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      Why is the “grammar police” critique always dragged out whenever someone points to an obvious error, yet god forbid someone should misstate the horsepower by a few ponies, and that’s deemed a mortal sin? Knowing how to speak and write well should be something to admire, not to be defensive about.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You know, the Regal is on a different (Opel) platform, so it’s actually not a Malibu underneath, which is why it’s too expensive. It’s sort of like a Catera in that sense.

  • avatar
    Joss

    +1

    The buyer demograph has died off.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Use pushrods.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Well it certainly doesn’t help that the Verano, Regal, LaCrosse, and Enclave are at the end of their model cycle.

    And Buick doesn’t really have much brand cache, I would say its a stretch calling it comparable to Acura.

    However, the introduction of the Cascada should help a lot and is the perfect niche segment for Buick to occupy. The Envision will fill a huge product gap. And all the aforementioned vehicles will be redesigned within a few years.

    If they don’t get the product and marketing right then its all on GM.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Good point on the product lifecycle. When you’re entire showroom is basically in it’s last year before replacement, sales are going to suffer.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Does Acura have any real brand cachet anymore?

      I mean, every time Acura gets talked about here, it’s all “Integra!”, and how many *decades* ago was that?

      Non-enthusiasts don’t seem to really care about Acura, and enthusiasts don’t care about *actual Acura products being sold now*, as far as I can see.

      (Buick and Cadillac *both* outsell Acura, or are YTD per GCBC’s stats.)

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Does Acura have any real brand cachet anymore?”

        Yes and no. Amongst enthusiasts? No, not really. Amongst the general public? I would say yes. No one thinks “man, this guy is killing it, he drives an Acura!” but I think the general public thinks of Acura as a reasonably “nice” car for someone who can’t or won’t pay for a BMW. I wouldn’t say people aspire to it, but I also don’t think anyone really looks down upon it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          LOL

          “man, this guy is killing it, he drives an Acura!”

          I’m now thinking of different scenarios where someone might say this, and they’re all ridiculous.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’d split it into two pieces: the product, and how they’re marketing it.

    Marketing: retro seems like it’s in right now, what with shows like Mad Men, and all sorts of vintage stuff being in vogue (old style safety razors, Coors bringing back their ‘banquet’ can, etc). Maybe Buick should play up their 50s-60s heritage when the smart and discerning buyer bought Buicks and nothing but. Pull out some old ad footage and work that in. If people were convinced that doctors, mangers, and lawyers wanted to drive Buicks, maybe the image would finally be ressurected. My favorite recent Buick ad was the young engineer looking guy (wearing thick rimmed glasses) playing with his baby son making car sounds, then it shows him thoroughly enjoying his Regal GS on a twisty road. More like that, showing some sort of successful young professional type with their car.

    Product: They really don’t have a single model that really ‘pops’ or stands out in any way from competitors, no flagship. The Lacrosse is this SUV-tall, dumpy looking beast, but without real room on the inside to stretch out. Interiors are not bad, but nothing to write home about. I guess they need some sort of midsize crossover, as that’s where the numbers are these days. But if they re-did the Lacrosse (and renamed it back to something like Lesabre), and made it somewhat lower (while keeping a decently high hip point for older buyers) and sleeker, with a more airy interior, perhaps that would help. Heck take a new Impala and give it a nose and tail job, and call it a Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      “Heck take a new Impala and give it a nose and tail job, and call it a Buick.”

      Isn’t that already what the LaCrosse is?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        They may very well share a platform, but the Impala strikes me as being much more interesting to look at and it has much more ‘presence’ on the street. The Lacrosse is just this very tall, bland looking thing. The proportions are all off IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        By the same lights, it’s also “a rebadged XTS”.

        And the Malibu and Impala are *the same car*, since they’re both on the Epsilon II platform…

  • avatar
    darex

    I predicted this, and I believe it will get more profound. Rebadging Opels was a shot in the arm for Buick, but now that they’re run out of Opel models they’re willing to rebrand as Buicks, their one-trick pony is getting tired. Thus, sales are, and will continue to, decline.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Buick’s not broken, sedans are broken. Stop wasting resources on them.

    And keep building share in China so your transition away from the NA market remains a positive one.

    Buick’s not broken.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Agreed. They’ve got 2 sedans, but only a super tiny SUV and a super large SUV. Missing the market with their products.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2015/04/usa-march-2015-ytd-auto-sales-figures-by-model.html

      Skipping the full-size trucks that really sell (and that Buick will never, ever compete in), we find the three best-selling vehicles in America are … sedans.

      Then one SUV and two more sedans.

      “Broken” seems to sell really, really, really well.

      (And if we look at the luxury segment, we see small/medium Sedans outselling small/medium SUV/CUVs as a segment – 88k-67k YTD.

      [I’d have included Large, but GCBC doesn’t seem to have a combined set, and the Large segment sells much smaller on both sides anyway.)

      Broken. So broken.)

    • 0 avatar
      amadorcarguy

      I agree. Buick is not broken. They need to get the Envision crossover out on the US market like yesterday. ANd update the Enclave – its a great car (I have one) but its getting long on the tooth. Buyers are running away from sedans and snapping up mid size and compact crossovers in droves.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    For what Buick is today…

    Need a model lineup refresh. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the Encore is fairly new and doing OK. Enclave is getting very old. And no mid-size SUV.

    I have always thought Buick could exist as a super cushy, classy lux brand with soft and serene and quiet as the focus,like a Lexus but with American style. Caddy can play the sporty flashy lux role.

    But honestly I’m not so sure Cadillac shouldn’t already be what I’m proposing for Buick (also seems to be where Lincoln is trying to go). And that leaves Buick pretty pointless.

    Keep it? Refresh the lineup. Otherwise I still think it probably should get killed and Cadillac move a bit more in the Buick direction.

    Armchair QB MVP talking here of course…

  • avatar
    dougjp

    GM has spent all its car development resources on Chevrolet, so the Buick lineup needs attention. And that TV ad campaign? Horrible!
    Plus Buick needs a “halo” car or cars to get back in people’s attention span, and/or expand the demographics. How about an Opel Astra GTC hot hatch to compete with the GTi and Focus ST? Or that show car from several years ago;
    http://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/06/buick-regal-styling-opel-monza-concept-report/

  • avatar
    ixim

    Bring in the mid-size CUV Envision yesterday. Upgrade the Encore base interior and drop a bigger engine in it. Redo the aging Enclave – make it a little shorter, lighter with interior upgrades. Add more power on less gas and the 8 speed box. Verano is fine as-is. LeSabre Lacrosse. Lose those mistaken identity ads – they’ve run out of whatever steam they ever had. We get it – Buicks sell to younger people too. All those returned Regals? Sounds like used car bargains to me.

    • 0 avatar
      amadorcarguy

      I couldn’t agree more.

    • 0 avatar
      Tomsriv

      The enclave’s only shortcoming is its poor fuel economy. Mid you want a three row SUV where the back is useable their is not much choice in the market. We cross shopped it with the escalade and we liked the Buicks more open less cramped feeling interior much more.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoom91

        The short wheelbase Escalade, I assume? Despite their size, the SWB GM fullsize SUVS don’t have very good third row seats. You basically sit on the floor. Blame the solid rear axle. Get into a Ford Expedition after MY 2003 or so, with its independent rear suspension and see what I’m referring to.

        Have you looked at the Ford Flex, Explorer, Pilot, or Highlander? I, too, like the Durango but you mentioned your wife isn’t a fan of the styling.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “Bring in the mid-size CUV Envision yesterday.”

    So this! Need CR-V fighter stat.

  • avatar
    John R

    As others have mentioned, sedans in general are sucking wind.

    What is a larger problem is that, to GM’s chagrin, a great number of people percieve Cadillac and Buick in the same space. Caddy needs an “ES” and an “A3” desperately. The only place to get them is at Buick and they unfortunately wear a Buick badge.

    Buick should have been taken out behind the shed along with the other GM marks, but it wasn’t and China’s riding that horse is out the barn.

    Maybe it’s time to shelve Caddy instead.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I don’t understand the “China” rationale for keeping Buick around **in North America**.

      I mean, we don’t need to keep Opel in North America or Holden in Europe because they’re bought elsewhere? Is Buick’s status in China really dependent on it’s having a tiny, shrinking slice and a few marginally-competitive vehicles in NA?

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “I don’t understand the “China” rationale for keeping Buick around **in North America**.”

        China is a cash cow for them to allow the development of new C/SUVs for a little last profit before they shutter the brand in NA. Nothing long term about it, I don’t think, but they should still have a model generation or two to prosper here if they concentrate on tall cars.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        That’s the concern, yes. Closing down Buick in its home territory would give it a whiff of failure.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I thought rebadging a Daewoo Lacetti as a Buick Excelle would be enough to do them in in China. A friend of mine has one over there, and it’s an absolutely miserable punishment box.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I don’t understand the ‘China’ rationale for keeping Buick around **in North America**.”

        My suspicion is that the move was really intended to keep the GMC dealers in business. Chinese consumers aren’t going to care about Buick’s US fortunes or lack thereof.

    • 0 avatar
      skygreenleopard

      “Maybe it’s time to shelve Caddy instead.”

      Are you joking? You must be joking. Caddy is finally making decent cars and making GM very profitable.

      Are you seriously proposing shelving profitable Cadillac in favor of dying Buick because they don’t yet have an entry-level car? That’s like saying you should trade Aaron Rodgers for Blake Bortles because Bortles can run faster.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I take it you’re new here ;)

        I respectfully disagree, Cadillac is a disaster. Just look at the sales figures if you don’t believe me, then take a look at resale of the non-Escalades. In the resale world, even the popular SRX -which was close to half the volume of the whole brand in MY14- is already near $30K with avg miles, extra clean mid to high $30s. The equivalent Mercedes ML350 priced at $50K ranges between 42 and 48 in the same time frame for much less in depreciation on a percentage basis. This doesn’t even take into account the abysmal sales failure of the Cadillac Alphas nor the ELR, I’m just talking about Cadillac’s most popular product from a sales standpoint.

        Buick models at this point are rehashed Chevrolets and an assortment of Opel imports. Buick is much cheaper for the overall corporation to operate than Cadillac whose models outside of Escalade are more bespoke. Whether Buick on its own is profitable or not I couldn’t tell you, but combine its volume with Chevrolet’s *car* volume and together they probably are since most Buicks are simply an extra layer of margin on a Chevrolet at this point and Buick/GMC soak up additional capacity in GM plants. If one of the brands -and more importantly one of the three distribution channels- had to be killed, Cadillac makes the most sense. Cadillac could slim down to three or four models and be sold by both Chevrolet and Buick/GMC dealers if need be, there is no logical reason for it to be a full line brand other than huge surplus of 933 Cadillac dealers left over from the glory days .

        MY14 SRX Luxury AWD – Starting MSRP $45,775
        4dr All-wheel Drive 6-spd automatic w/overdrive | Engine: 6 cyl | MPG: 16/23 | More

        http://www.cars.com/go/configurator/styles.jsp?myid=14684&year=2014

        MY14 Cadillac SRX AWD “Luxury” – Extra Clean, <= 20K

        05/28/15 ARENA IL $36,600 19,080 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        05/18/15 ORLANDO $35,400 19,579 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        05/18/15 ORLANDO $33,800 20,028 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes

        Average

        05/21/15 DETROIT $33,100 27,805 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
        05/28/15 LOUISVLL Lease $33,900 28,342 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        05/13/15 CEN FLA Lease $29,000 31,565 Avg BLACK 6G A No
        05/04/15 BALTWASH Lease $31,001 32,843 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes

        MY14 Mercedes ML350 AWD – Starting msrp for 4MATIC: $50,290
        4dr All-wheel Drive 4MATIC
        7-spd automatic w/overdrive | Engine: 6 cyl | MPG: 17/22 | More

        http://www.cars.com/go/configurator/styles.jsp?myid=15018&year=2014

        MY14 Mercedes ML350 4MATIC – all

        05/15/15 PALM BCH Lease $48,400 3,537 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
        05/20/15 MILWAUKE Lease $47,750 6,504 Avg LUN BLU 6G A Yes
        05/08/15 SF BAY Lease $47,700 8,169 Avg PAL SIL 6G A Yes
        05/19/15 OHIO Lease $47,250 9,041 Avg PLR WHT 6G A Yes
        05/07/15 RIVRSIDE Regular $42,750 11,469 Below GRAY 6G A Yes
        05/06/15 MILWAUKE Lease $46,500 12,733 Avg PLR WHT 6G A Yes
        05/12/15 PA Lease $45,991 13,038 Avg WHITE 6G P Yes
        05/20/15 MILWAUKE Lease $45,500 14,012 Avg IRI SIL 6G A Yes
        05/07/15 ALBANY Regular $45,000 18,347 Avg White 6CY A Yes
        05/27/15 ATLANTA Regular $42,750 21,846 Below LUN BLU 6G P Yes

        • 0 avatar
          Tomsriv

          Cadillac doesn’t need much to fix it. Just a few tweaks and they will sell. Start by getting rid of CUE.
          They are on the right track with unique Cadillac only engineering.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Step 1: Keep doing whatever works in China.
    Step 2: There is no Step 2. GM has been effectively surviving (or not!) without Buick for decades in NA and can continue to do so. Grab opportunistic sales and call it a day; focus development resources on divisions that matter in this market.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Its tough with Chevy right there. I feel like top trim Malibus and Impalas are just as nice as the Regal/Lacrosse at a 5-10K discount.

    I still think Chevy should look at building some PHEV Epsilon II Cadillacs. Give all the old Buicks one chance at a FMC and see how that goes. If they don’t catch move them up to the more profitable Caddy brand.

  • avatar
    dwford

    With BMW and Mercedes creating whole new lines of FWD based vehicles, Buick can easily be that counterpart to Cadillac’s RWD based vehicles. Buick just needs more of everything – more models (midsize CUV), more luxury (that Encore interior ain’t great), more sport (GS turbo models for everything).

    The generic Buick brand advertising has hammered home the “new Buick” theme in a more effective way that the nostalgic or apologetic ads we got from Cadillac, Chrysler or Lincoln, but now we need ads for the cars! Why am I supposed to buy a Buick instead of literally anything else? No one knows, and that’s the problem.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    GM just needs
    Chevy
    Caddy
    Chevy Trucks
    Then commercial.

    All manufacturers just need
    1. mainstream
    2. upscale
    3. Trucks, etc. (if they so choose)
    4. Commercial (if they so choose)

    Chevy/Buick/Caddy (Pontiac/Olds,”GM”, Saturn) only fractures precious resources to devote to getting the mainstream brand running a peak efficiencies, in MY OPINION.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They need GMC. It prints money.

      But since they need GMC, they also need to give GMC dealers more product. Therefore, you have Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Thanks for saying this. I dont think too many here get it.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          People forget how important the Sierra is to GM’s bottom line. They move around 200K Sierras a year. It also has the highest transaction price of any full sized truck (F-series tops out a little higher, but starts way lower).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I would have attached GMC to Chevy stores, positioning it as a professional fleet sub-brand with specialized customer service.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That makes too much sense for GM.

          Nevermind that Ford has no problem moving a ton of Platinum and King Ranch luxo trucks without the extra dealerships.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, it probably would not have been easy, and it would have involved a fair bit of trauma (i.e. shutting down many GMC stores while simultaneously expanding existing Chevy franchises, or vice versa) during a severe economic downturn.

            The Buick Enclave also gave GM management hope that the brand had a future, as it lowered the average age and raised the average transaction price.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I understand why they didn’t do it, but it may cause more headaches in the long run. Like you said, GM still has too many stores. They missed their opportunity to trim Cadillac and Buick/GMC dealers.

        • 0 avatar
          skygreenleopard

          Eh, then you expose its one weak spot – its overlap with Chevy. IMO you need to keep them separate. Different issue with what you do with Buick, of course, but it’s the whole reason why Buick/Oldsmobile (boring), Pontiac (sporty) and GMC (trucks) were cobbled together at dealerships in the first place. Pairing any of those with Chevy makes them redundant (RIP Pontiac and Olds).

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        This ia true, but if it “prints money” why do they need Buick at all??

        Is it need or want?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well when trucks stop selling like they did last time, what does GM do with GMC then? They also have to support the dealer network, not just GM in general.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          GMC sales alone aren’t high enough to support the existing dealer network.

          GM should have cut a lot more dealers during the bankruptcy, but it would appear that GM remains intent on maintaining market share for the sake of it.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        What you end up with though is a showroom with a combination of weak brands – GMC/Buick, and may times now Cadillac. Starts to look like an FCA showroom where for each product category the customer has to switch brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Tomsriv

      Do you not take styling into account when you buy a car or truck? Their are some years where I like the GMC more than the Chevy. Many times I like the Buick more than the Chevy sedan. It doesn’t cost much to change the body panels. If it gets them more sales it is smart.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I remember seeing a stat near the end of the Buick Century run where the average buyer one year was 81. The only person I know closely that owns a Buick is 93. The customer base is dying…literally…All that being said, the Regal is a decent car but the younger demographic Buick wanted did not buy in (you can get a lot of nice cars for the price of a Regal) and people are realizing the Encore is a stupid, overpriced Daewoo…

    • 0 avatar
      FThorn

      Have you driven a Buick Encore?
      I think they are great for filling the desire for people to sit up higher, but not have an unwieldy large SUV. I find their design to be attractive, as well. The appointments are very nice, too.

      • 0 avatar
        klossfam

        I have and the problem is you can get a mid trim level Audi Q3 or loaded VW Tiguan (both only 6-8″ longer) for the same price as a loaded Encore. No comparison with an Encore – the Audi and VW are in a different class in all driving dynamics areas…Now that the Honda HR-V in EX-L trim is out (same size as the Encore), that’ll really cut into Encore sales not to mention the Chevy Trax – being that it is the same platform as the Encore). The Mazda CX-3 could be the real death blow, however…Certainly the Encore is tuned more for the ‘softer crowd’ when it comes to ride. In addition, the Encore is massively overpriced as well…I almost spilled my beer at the car show in Feb when I saw a $34k sticker on one…YIKES! Even with massive discounts, there are so many better choices…

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    Guys, the lineup is just a little stale and missing one or two more models to fill in the gaps.

    As others have noted, sedans are losing popularity, and two of Buick’s four models are sedans.

    I don’t think Buick is broken, so much as it’s simply lacking in fresh product after several years of trotting out new cars regularly. There are new products coming, no doubt, but to have highs you also have to have lows.

    The Buicks of today are worlds away better cars than the buicks of just 10, or even 5 years ago. You don’t rebuild a brand overnight either.

    That all said, I think the point about Buick being stuck in a vehicular “no man’s land” holds a lot of weight. The mid-tier automobile is a lot like America’s middle class; it’s just kinda of disappeared. On one hand, that lets Buick pretty much have the market to itself.

    But is that market enough to sustain even a single mid-tier car brand? That’s the real question here.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Also, is Buick really a separate brand?

    I always think Buick/GMC should generally be treated as a monolithic brand, as with only a few exceptions its Buick/GMC dealers and where you have a solo dealership (there is a Honda/GMC in Napa, that will soon be standalone GMC as the Honda side gets a separate showroom), it would probably make sense to convince the dealer to add the opposite.

    As such, although the lack of a midsized SUV hurts, it doesn’t hurt as bad for GM as it would for say Acura, as the typical shopper picks out the rugged-looking GMC version instead.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The problem isn’t just with Buick. With a fickle all over the map buying public that keeps changing there reactions and tastes with factors such as gas prices and the latest fad car companies like Buick and Acura, to name two, are finding it really hard to keep up with what this younger generation wants. Of course GM is partially to blame as well with outdated drive trains and interiors such as in the Enclave which has an engine that goes back two generations ago and an interior designed in 2009. The 3 sedans all use an older less efficient and powerful 4 cylinder than Chevy is on there Malibu and Impala, the LaCrosse is a poor excuse for a so called full sized sedan (it’s really a mid size with a compact sized trunk)the Regal is a decent mid size car that rides hard and has 4 cylinder only engines and has reached the end of it’s shelf life and the new Verano can’t get here soon enough.

    Throw in the lame commercial “that’s not a Buick”- well what the hell is it and people are all the more confused what they are supposed to be. Older folks don’t really like them and not enough younger people do either so where is the focus?

    Fixing Buick for 2016 for this moment in time would involve-

    Completely updating the Enclave with new LGX 3.6 engine, 8 speed transaxle, refreshed and bolder styling and an all new interior with all the latest bells and whistles. A weight loss is also advisable.

    Introduce a new mid size SUV with Buick styling, 4 and 6 cylinder power, 8 speed automatic and head of the class towing capacity for a lower price than Enclave

    Upgrade the tiny CUV Encore with a better engine and fix the cheap economy center armrest

    The Avenir concept should be brought to light as Buick’s flagship sedan and the LaCrosse dropped with optional V8 or TT V6 power offered

    The Regal should be redesigned like the 2016 Malibu with less weight, a std 1.6T optional 2 liter T and some sort of V6 GS model maybe with the new LGX 3.6 and 8 speed transaxle

    The Verano redux is already in the cards but for NA this car should have a performance 2 liter T and 8 speed plus 6 speed stick offered

    Next advertise advertise advertise!!!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Whether Buick is “broken” or not, to me, the problem appears to be they are forced to incorporate elements of Pontiac, Oldsmobile and touches of Chevy thrown in for good measure.

    Trying to be all that has forced them to lose some of their identity – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but I believe it may have gone too far and they need to pull in the reins a bit and focus more on what makes a Buick a Buick – a nice range of cars sandwiched between Chevrolet and Cadillac.

    Chevy, you need to pull back the top-end Impala a bit as well – you are well into Buick’s territory and blurring the lines.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’m shallow, but so are all my millenial peers, and Buick doesn’t pass the cocktail party test:

    “What do you drive?”
    “A Buick.”
    “Oh..”

    Now, you can go on and explain that it’s not a bad car, it’s different now, whatever, but you’ve already lost. Put almost any other brand in there instead of Buick, and do you feel the need to explain yourself? And the point of the test is not to IMPRESS anyone, but whether or not you feel the need to explain/justify it. Say “Chevy” or “Honda” or “Ford” and no one is going to think anything of it. Say “Buick” and your next step is trying to justify that purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      When I go to cocktail parties:

      “What do you drive?”
      “A C-Max”
      “WTF is that?!?!”
      “I also own an MkT”
      “………”
      “F you guys, I’m going home”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        People need to respect your authoritah.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Or buy used Lincolns instead of having $500/month 3-series leases.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Don’t bring thinking into it.

          • 0 avatar
            GS 455

            I test drove an MKT Ecoboost and I really liked the ride and handling but I hated the lack of rear visability. CR keeps harping about poor ecoboost reliability. How has your MKT been? Any problems?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No problems besides the panoramic roof not opening all the way on tilt and the the rear seat not folding flat because of a broken wire.

            We bought the car used, so the previous owner could have pulled the level too hard or something. We rarely use the 3rd row, but fold the 2nd row for Ikea, Home Depot, Costco, etc trips. The panoramic roof was getting stuck because the seals and track need to be cleaned.

            I did have the dealer do a couple things before I picked it up. One was replace the PTU and trans fluid and the other was replace the Transmission Range Sensor (TSB for the TRS). Those two things are the most common transmission related issues with D-platform vehicles.

            I’ve literally had zero issues with the 3.5EB. It’s been a peach. No carbon build up either. If you can live with the rear visability issue, find a clean used one.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This is it. Buick = old and boring, its hard to overcome that reputation. Even their ads basically admit people don’t even know what a Buick is or looks like. As mentioned if you have to defend your purchase you have already lost. Caddy suffers from this as well but its slowly turning the corner. While most people would still question a Caddy purchase those in the know might come back with “V series? …nice!” However Buick has nothing like that. The Grand National is LONG gone. GM killed the wrong brand – Pontiac should have stayed.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    What’s wrong with Buick?

    They’re not Pontiac.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      What’s wrong with Pontiac?

      Nothing, because the one I always see is the Vibe, which is basically a Corolla with an SUV shell and a different badge.

      Yeah, I can see why Pontiac lives on in song and story.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not sure where you live but the Bonne, Grand Prix, Montanas, G6s, and of course G8 live on. Most of the J-bodies and N-bodies seem to be gone though, even in these parts.

  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    There have been a number of comments that have referenced the lame “That’s not a Buick” ads and I have to agree that they have not been helping the brand. My reaction to the ad (the car jockey one), the first time I saw it was: “So what your telling me is that after 50 or so years of advertising the triple shield badge, people don’t look for it when they are looking for a Buick.”

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Worse.

      “That’s not a Buick” campaign implies this: I was expecting to see an outdated, boring, oversized, velour-draped yestertech wanderyacht and I can’t find it.

      The campaign REINFORCES the stereotype Buick is old, out-of-date, out-of-touch, out-of-style. It’s nothing but a rehash of Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.

      It doesn’t work. It didn’t work.

      By pointing out the negative — acknowledging it, reinforcing it — and then attempting to say, “But look, we’re different now!” only reaffirms to the under-70 crowd that Buick is still for men who wear their pants pulled up to their ribcage and wear shoes which fasten with velcro. This may not be true any longer, and the brand may indeed consist of competitive, modern vehicles, but there’s no way this campaign invites interest, consideration, trial or purchase.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Kill it. With how vehicles are optioned from mainstream brands there is no room for a brand that is a nicer version of those vehicles. Toyota pulls it off with the more pedestrian Lexus models because of the brand. Buick’s sales would be easily absorbed by Cadillac and Chevrolet. Id have Cadillac/GMC franchises and Chevy Franchises.

  • avatar
    Parousia

    This coming from someone who bought a lightly-used Verano Turbo MT and added a Trifecta Tune to trigger the Check Engine Light… and do rolling burn-outs in 2nd gear when the boost came up. Make Buick GM’s affordable/mainstream performance brand, while continuing to offer a quiet ride. They could start by bringing over the SS from Chevy and use Cadillac V-Sport engines (detuned by 15hp to keep the crest-sans-wreath crown happy) all day long. Take the new Camaro, drop a bucket of plush on the interior, find some additional HP hiding in the ones-and-zeros and VOILA-GNX. Make the brand compete with what Dodge is becoming, with an extra dash of near-luxury.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Buick will die in NA when all the Boomers have and I just wish they would embrace and go with that reality.

    They can still sell boucoup tall cars here if they forget the brainwashed-by-Germans and mostly financially incapable younger folks.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Ford killed off their Mercury brand. Chrysler killed off Plymouth. GM should do the same for Buick.

    GM has the mainstream Chevy brand. And Cadillac at the top end. Both of these brands cover the middle with their loaded Impala and stripped out ATS models. GM does not need Buick.

    Seven years after GM’s bankruptcy and the reimagining of Buick, I only think of three scenarios when I see one on the road: 1. Old Person, 2. GM employee, or 3.Cheap Lease.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    One word: product.

    Buick should be sitting pretty. The luxury/premium segment is where the action is. Buick should be getting volume and margins, but they are not.

    Their big problem is that every one of their offerings is half-assed, just like almost every GM product has been for the past 40 years. If you don’t agree, then name one thing that Buick does better than anyone else.

    I find that particularly sad because one of my grandpas was a “Buick man,” back in the day. The very notion of identifying with that brand seems absurd today: they have no identity.

  • avatar
    Mjolnir427

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Buick. I do know large numbers of people buy a Buick and trade it in a short time later. Data analysis. Find out what they’re being traded in on, then parse the differences. That will tell you what actual Buick owners don’t like about their car, and what’s wrong with Buick by extension.

  • avatar
    pheanix

    1. Buick needs to fire the people in charge of those commercials. A bad commercial can be a complete turn-off and we’re talking a massive campaign here. How many people have that degenerate music surface in their head when they see a Buick? Does it make them want one? How many people remember the classy girl making a vomit face at the low income kid eating his sandwich? Does it make them want a Buick? And the housewife waving at the pudgy neighbor guy making her hubby feel bad? Who are you catering to here? People in general – including those who prefer finer things – are not all shallow snobs. I’m 33 – so a millenial whom Buick apparently is targeting with some of these cars – and I would not want to be seen in one partly because of the idiotic commercials.

    2. Get a reliable midsize SUV for North America, fast. I have a couple of friends who would consider a Buick alternative to a loaded Rav 4 or a CRV. They’re the ones who haven’t been paying attention to the commercials – fortunately for Buick they don’t really watch the TV at all except the news, and all they really care about is what CR writes about your cars – but you don’t have the product they need. The Encore is too small, the Enclave too big.

    3. The Enclave is not only too big, it is also largely pointless outside of China. Yes, I occasionally see Northshore housewives hauling kids in them. But I see them hauling kids in Escalades more. Current model year Escalades. Those who want big/garish GM SUVs usually will buy the biggest/most garish one available.

    4. Stay classy in your advertising, especially if you’re trying to move pseudo-upscale product. Sexy sells. Classless has never been sexy.

  • avatar
    udman

    Gm has a huge problem on it’s hands with the Buick Brand here in North America, which will only be solved if GM decides to enter another bankruptcy proceeding (and with the ignition switch debacle currently underway, don’t count that out just yet). If they try and shut down Buick right now (as they did with Oldsmobile over a decade ago) if will cost them billions in unnecessary legal fees, pending lawsuits, and ill will from customers, dealers, parts suppliers, and on and on…

    Let’s take a look at what happened when they shut down the Oldsmobile Brand for a moment… Because of each state Franchise Agreements, the affected dealers simply kept the signage in prominent display, until GM paid a ransom (sometimes totaling millions) to the dealer to just go away. Now take into account what it would cost GM today if they tried the same thing with Buick.

    Sharing the same building with GMC is not helping the brand either, as the Enclave and the Acadia is essentially the same vehicle in different trim. And while GMC has the Terrain, there will probably be no Buick equivalent unless it is a clean sheet redesign.

    So, what to do with Buick in the meantime? Well, all of their current platforms need to be replaced with new, up to the minute designs. The Cascada will be a good start, as it will capture the buyers who used to buy Toyota Solaras and Chrysler Sebrings, and they will be popular with the rental car counters in Florida. A new Verano is needed with a new nameplate (Century, Centurian, Special perhaps?), update the Regal and rename it as well (Regal for a German Engineered sporty sedan was all wrong), Replace the Lacrosse and make it a bit larger, and do something different with the Enclave (make the nose a little longer so it doesn’t look like a minivan…)

    It will take a visionary to set Buick right here in the US, but it can happen…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Regal was supposed to be the next gen Saturn Aura which is why it doesn’t belong in the lineup.

      “GM originally planned to sell a modified version of the Opel Insignia in North America as the second generation Saturn Aura, but changed strategy after deciding to discontinue the Saturn brand.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Regal

      “do something different with the Enclave (make the nose a little longer so it doesn’t look like a minivan…)”

      Lambda *is* a minivan, one for those to ignorant to realize they are driving one and not a “big tough truck”.

      “GM’s product board has not approved cancellation of the minivan program. But those close to GM say it’s a safe bet the board will do so, based on declining sales in the segment, the high cost for GM and a belief that crossover vehicles can fill the void.

      “The Lambda crossovers will do most anything a minivan can do – except for the sliding doors, which a lot of people don’t like,” says a source familiar with GM’s product plans.”

      “Hall predicts minivan sales will continue to decline.

      “There are not enough Gen-Xers to backfill. And as for Gen Y, nobody knows if they will want to buy minivans,” he says.”

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20061122/REG/61122002/gm-will-dump-minivans-rely-on-crossovers

      “She wouldn’t say the M word – minivan, which would have been ideal for their needs. The Ford Freestyle was too wagonish, the Chrysler Pacifica too minivanish, and the full-size SUVs were too unwieldy.

      She liked her 1996 Jeep Cherokee and was enthusiastic about the new Jeep Commander, but couldn’t buy a vehicle that got just 19 or 20 mpg on the highway.

      Her wishes were not extreme and are about to be answered by a trio of so-called “crossover” SUVs from General Motors – the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook, today’s tester.

      Dealers are getting good supplies of Outlook now, Acadia bows early next year, followed by the Enclave next summer. Each will have distinct exteriors and its own array of special features.

      GM may have a crown waiting for its effort on these crossovers. They offer enough truck image, minivan function and advanced technology for safety and driving security. ”

      http://www.paramuspost.com/article.php/20061229115557645

  • avatar
    r129

    As others have mentioned, most of Buick’s lineup is pretty stale right now. The Enclave is ancient, the Lacrosse is from 2010, Regal is from 2011. They were supposedly “refreshed” but are basically the same vehicles. The people who liked these vehicles bought them in their first couple of model years, and when it comes time for a replacement, I think most people don’t want to buy the exact same vehicle again.

    I also think that some of the vehicles are too expensive, the Regal especially. The price has crept up over the years since its introduction. It should start around $26,000 or so, not $30,000. People seem determined that vehicles from Chevrolet and Buick cannot or should not overlap in price, but that was never the case historically. I know Buick is trying to position itself as a “premium” brand, but the Regal simply is not a premium car.

    I’m not saying that Buick should be as redundant as Mercury was to Ford, where it’s a car with the same basic sheetmetal with a different grill and taillights that costs $500 more. However, Buick used to capture a fair amount of mainstream buyers who were looking for something a bit nicer or more unique than what the mainstream brands like Chevy offered. I think Buick would do well to try to capture more midsize sedan and midsize CUV (which they need desperately) buyers who are not necessarily shopping in the premium segment. As the Encore/Trax has shown, there is room for both to exist without cannibalism. They shouldn’t offer bare bones trim levels, but start out where an upper-middle trim level Chevy would be, and go up from there to a trim level that has exclusive options and engines that Chevy doesn’t offer, and nicer interior materials in all versions.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I think you’ve circled around the big issue: Buick is defining itself relative to Chevy and Cadillac. That’s got to stop if they ever want to compete against anyone else. They have to be their own brand.

      Do you think that Audi and Lexus tell themselves “we can’t offer any car that’s got the value proposition of a Chevy, or the luxury/performance of a Cadillac”? Of course not. Buick is competing against the with one hand tied behind their back.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “Do you think that Audi and Lexus tell themselves “we can’t offer any car that’s got the value proposition of a Chevy, or the luxury/performance of a Cadillac”?”

        No.

        But you might notice that Audi doesn’t try to make something that competes on price with the Passat or Jetta, and the ES always costs more than the Camry or Avalon…

        (Okay, the top-end Avalon starts higher than the base ES.

        Comparable options fix that real fast, I believe.)

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Quite the opposite, VW, Audi and Skoda (in Europe) compete head-to-head and actively go after each others’ customers. A CC costs about the same as an A4, a Touareg is competitive with a Q5 (and a Cayenne), a base A3 will run you the same as a loaded GTI.

          What I meant to say (and I realize it’s not very clear) is that Audi and Lexus aren’t constrained by GM’s short-sighted brand hierarchy.
          Audi can sell an Escallade competitor, or a Corvette competitor, or a CTS competitor, but Buick can’t. They are not playing with a full deck.
          They can’t compete within GM, and that means they can’t compete outside of GM.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Buick needs a compelling product. As mentioned in the above comments you can get the same thing in other showrooms, which are just as nice for less dough. See Impala, Malibu, Cruz. Believe it or not, you can option a Chevy up to mirror a ‘luxury’ car. I personally feel the Luxury car segment no longer exists. There is no differentiation between the options that can be had on a Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW that can’t be found in your local Toyota, Ford, or Chevy showroom. Just check all the boxes and voila, you have a Luxury Camry complete with leather heated seats navigation etc.

    Killing off Buick, IMHO, is a non starter. You would have to kill off GMC as well. Too many dealers with too large a lobbying voice with NADA and franchise laws behind them. Combining Cadillac with GMC would alter significantly from their vision of keeping it a niche brand with far fewer points. Use Denver as an example, 3 Cadillac points in the city and 8 Buick GMC points in what we would call the metro area. There is no reason to have 8 Cadillac stores in the area as they cant buy ke enough Escalades to stock everyone appropriately. You could however disperse the cts and what not to make them all look enough like a dealership though. No one actually buys them here, so you only need one or two.

    It has been noted here that we need more variety of cars to choose from. Personally I think we have reached and perhaps exceeded saturation. Too much cost in R&D etc to have so many low volume products in the shelf. Even with platform sharing, I just don’t see how this pencils. GMC being the outlier as they have always been literally rebadged Chevys. Change the grill, the plastic cover on the steering wheel and off you go. Not too much expense with that.

    In the end, as an armchair CEO/qb the only option I see to remove Buick form the market is another BK liquidation which may leave the public even more sour on GM than they currently are. The thoughts of one completely unqualified analyst…..

  • avatar
    geo

    Maybe they could stop advertising the fact that people consider a Buick to be something awful. When has a campaign like thus ever worked?

  • avatar
    Jim Broniec

    This is actually quite the prescient ask, as I’ve spent the last week and a half driving an ’03 Regal with 125K miles on it. It drives worse than my 98 4Runner OR ’09 Civic, which combined have over 300K miles on them. It comes down to fit and finish and brand awareness.

    There are things they SHOULD be focusing on in their advertisements:
    – smooth ride
    – quiet cabin
    – lux finishes

    They don’t focus on that – instead they’ve built a marketing campaign around the lacking recognizability of their brand.

    Which is a failure of vision and execution.

    Don’t tell us how unrecognizable your car is – tell us why we should be buying it. Get some social feedback loops describing why and how, specifically, Buick is a new brand with new ideas and new direction.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Obviously, what Buick needs is a pickup truck.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    IMO, they need to stop trying to fight their age perception issues and embrace them.

    “Buick: the last car you’ll ever need.”

    Focus on comfort, ease of use/ownership and call it a day.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      “Buick: the last car you’ll ever drive, Grandma!”

      (All kidding aside, my own mother, who is in her late 70s, will be buying a Buick in a few weeks!)

  • avatar

    Retro Riviera. Excuse me “Heritage Design” Riviera. Bring it back as a high-end competitor to the Mercedes E-Class coupe. Or jump into the overcrowded “4-door coupe” market, and go after the CLS. Yes, they are both incredibly stupid ideas, because even with Cadillac’s massive effort to out BMW BMW, they aren’t selling very many sports sedans or coupes. But imagine what a reimagined Riviera would look like, maybe with the upcoming 500+hp CTS-V drivetrain…

    I want to see the 2015 version of clamshell headlight doors!

  • avatar
    TW5

    Buick needs to complement Cadillac. Cadillac is moving towards Art & Science with American swagger from Gotham. Cadillac wants to make new vehicles edgy and daring. They want to conquer Germany. Thankfully, Cadillac has invested in engineering, too.

    Buick needs to be West Coast Swing. Laid back. Plush. Elegant. Quiet. Roomy. GM should move the Buick HQ to San Francisco, which serves multiple purposes. First, they immerse themselves in laid back California living with proximity to the wine growing region, and they aren’t too far removed from Hollywood glamor. Silicon Valley is next door for technological personnel. Second, the West Coast is closer to China, and California has much more intimate trade relations with China than the landlocked Midwest. Chinese tourists and business travelers generally make first contact with the US in California, and Buick needs to make in-roads in the market to create the perception that Buick is a popular luxury vehicle in the US.

    Old world imperialism and New World beneficence and style. Plus, if GM doesn’t move Buick to SF, they are leaving the West Coast wide open for Lincoln or an upstart like Tesla.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    A problem is the lineup. The Enclave quarterbacks the lineup, the Encore is special teams. The sedans are deadweight. Forgetting AWD, the Honda Accord is better than all of them and also a better deal.

    The name also doesn’t command the premium they try to charge for it. To most people Buick isn’t a luxury brand. It’s something old people drive. People think of the crap Buick chruned out in the 90s-00s not the good stuff in the 50s-60s.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    People are forgetting that Buick exists in the US to complement the GMC portfolio. GM doesn’t necessarily need a midsized Buick CUV because there is the Terrain at the same dealership. Maybe it would make sense for GM to bring it here, maybe not. I don’t know why they have the Enclave and Acadia on the same dealer floor, but nothing about the Lambdas makes any sense.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      You’re right – a Buick midsize CUV can’t exist as long as the Terrain (which would occupy the same price range) does. GM has painted itself into a corner on this one.

      Meanwhile, the smashing success of the overpriced Encore will soon end – cash on the hood, for sure.

      GM needs to pull a rabbit out of the Buick hat, and get rid of the crappy, repetitive advertising campaign.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Everyone is coming for the Encore now. Acura CDX (possible), Lexus NX, and Audi Q3 from above, while the HR-V, Renegade, and even Trax are putting pressure on from below.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoom91

      The Terrain is pretty ugly, and I feel like a midsize Buick CUV, assuming it’s the Envision, would appeal to people cross-shopping the Lexus RX, Acura RDX, etc, whereas I highly doubt those vehicles get compared to the Terrain. Guessing they could undercut Lexus in price and chase higher volume.

      • 0 avatar
        Tomsriv

        Thank you zoom zoom. Why don’t commenters understand that styling can make or break a car and some people prefer the bold GMC and others like the more classy Buick.

  • avatar
    MarkZ06

    I attended the NYIAS in New York and the Avenir was a stunner. Unfortunately, Buick personnel at the show all concurred that the chances for production for slim…always mentioning the issue of GM worries about cannibalizing potential CT6 sales which is a huge investment for them.
    ..And herein lies the vision problem with Buick. Buick execs always say that a car like the Avenir will have potential for sales success once Buick is fully perceived as a near-luxury brand in the marketplace…but passing on an upscale non-generic flagship design will only guarantee that such perception will remain a distant dream.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “always mentioning the issue of GM worries about cannibalizing potential CT6 sales which is a huge investment for them.”

      Which will fail for a number of reasons with or without Avenir. That’s not to say Avenir would be a success itself, but I would bet on the no nonsense approach Buick will have to take to fit their price points than the asshattery Cadillac will put in their model (Four engine choices! low volume hybrid nobody will buy! partial aluminium body! whale skin interior! Four computer touchscreens!). GM will simply have to decide if its about making profit or building unprofitable Cadillac models which are subsidized by truck sales.

      I agree with your Buick assessment, I just hope Cadillac and failings don’t have the internal protection the Corvette had/has vs any competition from the other brands (Reatta, Allante, Fiero, Sky/Solstice serve as my examples).

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    From this discussion, one thing is abundantly clear. Buick has an identity crisis.

    In an era where luxury brands are aggressively pushing downward, the opportunities for GM to keep to it’s mainstream brand segmentation are vanishing. I’d wager the same problem would affect the Chevy / GMC overlap too if that segment weren’t growing well.

    TV advertising in an era of cord cutting is a game of diminishing returns. Buick no longer has any heritage to sell the folks who still watch TV commercials. To me this suggests that they should double down on the Opel angle.

    Do your vehicles stand out in the real world? Buick styling is, at very best, anodyne. These days if you can’t look amazing, look hideous – at least people will do a double take and notice your ghastly rolling monstrosity. Only very strong brands can prosper in the no mans land in between (Hi Honda!)

    If all else fails, go China only.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    I say stop crying and if you truly want a Buick the fact they are unloved should make them great used vehicles. I call that WIN/WIN :)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Lack of 3800
    Bulbous styling
    Opel models
    Turbo ain’t cool

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Solution:
    1. Sell Buick name to the Chinese while it still has some equity.
    2. Close the gap between Chevy and Cadillac (see new Impala for good example)

    Fixed.

    GM-wiling to accept small percentage cash settlement for help. Lower 8 figure numbers should do.

    Chuckle.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    The whole idea of three brands is stupid and it just doesn’t work.

    Imagine if Honda announced a new ‘entry luxury’ brand between Honda and Acura. We’d laugh them off the earth. Same with Toyota and Lexus.

  • avatar

    I hate the ad campaign. It’s dorky, confusing, and reminds me of AMC’s desperate “What’s a Matador” pitch back in the ’70s.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Did we ever figure out what the Matador was?

      The ads to me strike me as a complete rehashing of “Not your father’s Oldsmobile”, but made to be more campy.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    The only reason GM kept Buick is because the Chinese find Buick prestigious. The first cars bought by the last Chinese emperor in 1912 were Buicks, and the brand is still considered upscale over there.

    In the US, a Verano is just a glorified Cruze that GM tries to market to older buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “In the US, a Verano is just a glorified Cruze that GM tries to market to older buyers.”

      Funny thing is that it’s got the DI 2.4 Ecotec (no turbo) and an available 6-spd manual – a combination that’s a bit hard to figure, other than avoiding being a “Cruze Clone”. Maybe an analog to a 2-series?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Not true, Verano is simply the Cruze done correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Well, at least update it to the 2.5 that’s in my Malibu (but then the manual tranny might not bolt up(?).

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Verano runs the Gen II Ecotec 2.4 LEA variant (180 hp (134 kW) @ 6700 rpm/171 lb·ft (232 N·m) @ 4900 rpm). MY13-15 Malibu run the Gen III Ecotec 2.5 LCV variant (197 hp (146.96 kW) @ 6300 rpm/191 lbf·ft (259 N·m) @ 4400 rpm).

          There would be a slight bump in HP and Verano would get the Gen III. As a buyer, I’d rather have the older motor assuming it was proven and reliable because 17bhp doesn’t excite me, but I suspect the next Verano will get the Gen III as you suggest.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Ecotec_engine#LCV

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I *think* that the 2.5 is a bit more efficient than the 2.4.

            I know that it moves my Malibu quite decently, in a Verano it could be called “quick”.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Buick can’t be fixed in the USA. Just kill it already.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    One thing I think Buick DESPERATLEY needs to do is make Leather STANDARD on all vehicles. Sure keep cloth as a no-cost option for the vocal minority, but it really doesn’t help their premium image to have vehicles in the showrooms with fabric straight out of a $20k rental Impala.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    I’m no expert on GM anything, but based on all their various (mostly aged) products I’ve encountered, as well as a brand-new CTS-V back when, and more recently a brand-new Regal, I can tell you that GM is the company that consistently makes the worst interiors, relative to time and class, of anybody who’s a major player in the USDM.

    ’07 CTS-V? Busy, overwrought plastic, mediocre seats, stupid pointless plastic trim piece bonking my knee every time I lifted off the gas, miserable rear headroom. The driving experience was surprising and brilliant, but as something to sit in, it was $50k worth of garbage.

    ’15 Regal? Busy, chintzy plastic, mediocre seats, miserable rear headroom. Every single panel (in a showroom demonstrator with 5 miles on it) creaked and flexed with finger pressure. My 250k mile 22-year old BMW’s dash is more solid. The automatic shift surround is particularly offensive. Now, the outside is very nicely styled IMO; Buick is one of the few automakers who still respects clean elegance. I also highly respect that a mainstream non-crapbox non-super sedan is available with a proper manual.

    But I don’t buy cars to look at them from the outside. Just as with humans, the exterior is the first part of attraction, but above a certain threshhold it’s ultimately just bonus points. The interior is not bonus points; it’s what I’m actually interfacing with when I drive, and it better be good. If not high-quality, then at least giving a sense that money was spent on functional design and other parts of the car, not wasted on hideous dashboard styling at the expense of materials quality. Next to basic mechanical function/reliability and efficiency, it’s the most important aspect of a car for me.

    GM has regularly produced attractive exteriors since at least the 30’s. On the inside, they continue to be ill-conceived, over-styled, under-built, and disappointing. In that respect, nothing’s changed since the Malaise Era.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Wow! So many posts. Brand equity or schadenfreude?

  • avatar
    alluster

    Whats wrong with Buick is no compact CUV(most popular segment atm) and 80% of it’s lineup is near the end of their life cycle. The minor sales slump will be temporary until the Envision. It has the potential to become the most popular Buick, outselling the larger Enclave 2:1, similar to the Equinox vs Traverse.

    YTD Buick sold 68,700 (average 13,750/model) compared to Acura – 54,500 (average 9,000) and Infiniti – 43,821 (average 4,869). If Buick has a problem then Acura and Infiniti are worse off. Buick doesn’t have standalone dealerships unlike Acura and Infiniti.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    GM would be better suited using the Volt and other related powertrains and start over with a brand new brand. Buick is dead rehashed nonsense. Cadillac other than the V8 based ones are complete rubbish and the plan out Mercedes is stupid. Mercedes is not and should not be the target. They should have focused on Lexus but since at that point I don’t even see that happening at least be better than the Koreans.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Enclave is ancient and skates by on incentives and its massive size. When it’s finally replaced, I would expect a healthy YoY pop like we’ve seen with the MDX and Tahoe triplets.

    Lacrosse is old and in a dying segment. Does anyone under 70 really want one more than a Lexus ES or Genesis? Lacrosse will die when the last generation of folks who aspired to own a full-size Buick pass on.

    Regal is a pretty car but makes zero sense in the American market: too expensive and too small. Pretty much everyone who can afford the GS wants a 328i instead. Wouldn’t exist if GM didn’t already make it for Europe.

    Verano is reasonably successful but dorky-looking; again, nobody young is going to pick it over any other FWD luxury competitor. Really only good for downsizing seniors.

    Encore succeeds due to a (previous) lack of competitors. Can it compete against more modern, more attractive, and better-designed HRVs and CX-3s? Doubt it.

    Were I Buick, I would simply photocopy every Audi design and sell it at a cut-rate price, Chinese-style. No base models, big wheels and pleather standard on every car. Put a drop-dead gorgeous body shell on the Corvette platform and sell a Buick Yukon with matte paint and quilted leather interior. Drop a sh*t-load of cash to put them in the hands of every hot young actor and “taste-maker” under 35. Kick the old salesmen with combovers to the back office and hire a staff of young, good-looking “brand ambassadors” to push the models on the lot and in social media.

    Would Buick do that? Hell, no- they’re not about to piss off the chrome-loving Chinese and AARP members who pay the bills.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Buick needs a new halo car. I would love that to be a large, RWD V8 coupe called Riviera or production version of Avenir, called Roadmaster.

    But that won’t fly in today’s world.

    So, Buick needs to do a large, four-door coupe-crossover (e.g. something like BMW X6, but not ugly), with a powerful engine and luxurious interior. It needs to be called Roadmaster.

    If there are some money remaining after that, they need to do a stylish version of Camaro that’s not for rednecks and call that a Riviera.

  • avatar
    matador

    I’m in my 20s, and I own a LeSabre and an Audi A6. So, I should be one of the people that GM wants to target (I think, at least). I prefer my 1995 LeSabre to the Audi A6. Here are my thoughts:

    Buick needs to make powerful, plush cars. Restyle everything, and make it plush. The entire Buick portfolio looks dated. Make a flasgship- Take the Avenir, and call it the Park Avenue. Take the Chevrolet SS platform, and make a Roadmaster- including a sport wagon. Make a Riviera, too. I’d put it on the Volt platform- between the Volt and ELR. You won’t sell many, but make it the halo car, and fill it with tech.

    Make all of your cars plush and smooth. Buick will never be able to beat Audi at their own game, so quit trying. Do what you do best- big, powerful, plush.

    Badge the GMC Terrain as a Buick. You’re missing a huge market by not having a mid-sized CUV.

    My Riviera and Roadmaster wouldn’t be hot sellers, but they would give two halo cars- both excellent.

    Now, importantly- get people in the doors. Offer the best warranty you can, and offer some free service (Say oil changes) to any car, provided that the person test drive a Buick. Any Buick is fine, but you have to test drive one. Do it as often as you like. You’ll get tons of people in the new Buicks. Now, if you make the cars the best that you possibly can, those people will be impressed. When they buy their next new car, they might just buy a Buick.

  • avatar
    stodge

    What is Buick trying to be? Luxury? Don’t even think about it. Near luxury? Nope. For me the failings are:

    – exterior style; or lack there of. Despite Buick trying to convince people their cars are stylish, they’re not. And that grille has to go. In fact, the whole front end looks dull.
    – interiors; lots of plastic and cheap feeling buttons and knobs, looks and feels cheap, nothing to write home about. For me, Buick interiors feel like Chevrolet + $1. And that’s not saying much. The Verano doesn’t even have lumbar adjustment!!
    – dimensions; people questioned the Regal when it was so close to the Verano. They’re both tight inside. The Lacrosse might have more interior space, but it’s a large car, larger than most probably want.
    – comfort, or lack there of again. I hate the Regal seats; it feels like I’m sitting on a wooden bench. I’ll say it again – the Verano doesn’t even have lumbar adjustment!! Even the GS’ seats are uncomfortable to me; rock hard and too narrow.

    Positives?

    – you can get ’em cheap
    – the Regal GS is “interesting”, or has potential
    – um

    Oh, one last thing I forgot. To me, Buick (and to some extent Chevrolet) fails because GM isn’t really trying that hard. It’s like they can’t be bothered.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I loved Buicks. I drove Electras and Park Avenues for 30 years. Now I drive Suburbans. OK I am an old guy (62) and Buick can do without my demographic, but if so they need a new one.
    Buicks are now forgettable expensive Chevies with big grilles.
    They should be LUXURY cars with big grilles for people who don’t want a Cadillac.
    Not everyone wants an SUV. Some people want a very nice car.
    Lincoln has the same problem. Too many SUVs. They also should be LUXURY cars for people who don’t want a Cadillac.
    P.S.- GM has not had good management since Alfred P. Sloan retired.

  • avatar
    hifi

    No brand can exist forever without reinventing itself occasionally. Every brand needs an occasional jolt to create excitement in the showroom, to keep consumers engaged and to keep a brand from settling into too narrow of a niche. The current LaCrosse is a great looking car, but it hasn’t changed since they launched it six years ago. The Enclave hasn’t changed in nearly a decade. The invisible Regal, in any trim level, is isn’t competitive. What else do they sell… the Verano, the Encore…. Zzzzzz. Where’s the sub-Cadillac V-series apeshit stuff that makes no sense? Where’s the gorgeous Riviera? Where’s the GNX? Where’s the Reatta convertible? Buick has been completely focused on China and emerging markets where people are enamored with anything that isn’t a rickshaw, and Buick has neglected their business within developed countries.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a flagship, a convertible, a sports car or an SUV. Buick needs to build exceptional cars that keep people alert and excited about the brand..

  • avatar
    Tomas De Torquematic

    Well, for one, the brand hasn’t been a viable export for about fifty years.

  • avatar
    Tomsriv

    The Buick Avenir is what they need! Bring back RWD. If it had a V8, all the better. I am 37 and I have been driving Chrysler products the last 10 years because I love the 300/charger/Magnum. I still see 05-10 300’s everywhere. People love those cars. GM can’t figure out that they need a RWD car to get a chunk of the market.
    We are actually looking to get an Enclave for our family. It is one of the best 7-8 passenger SUVs. My first choice is the Dodge Durango, but the wife likes the less masculine styled, more smooth looking Enclave. Plus she likes the Buick name more. It’s going to be her car so she gets to decide.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoom91

      If I may offer my two cents, as the owner of a GMC Acadia….do not get a Buick Enclave unless you are leasing, or planning to sell it before the warranty is up.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I haven’t heard many good things about that trio at all. A coworker had so many problems with his 14 Traverse that he got the dealer to take it back as a lemon, and give him a 15 Traverse.

        I do like the Enclave in pearl white, with the C-pillar emblems. It’s very Cadillac-y.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          The white Enclaves do look “Cadillac-y”.

          I would never get another Lambda platform car. Many, many things have gone wrong with ours. Including the engine throwing a rod. Shame, as they are “nice” vehicles, but not built to last at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Tomsriv

        From what I’ve seen in reliability ratings the 2012 and up are good. Previous years are poor.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          I would hope that after 5 model years they would have resolved the issues. Which ratings, Consumer Reports? TrueDelta? JD Power?

          • 0 avatar
            Tomsriv

            Consumer reports. I’m thinking it couldn’t be less built to last than our 09 BMW 328. That thing is a nightmare to work on. No dipstick, no temp gauge, torx head bolts on the air cleaner. Everything is designed so you have to go to the dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @Tomsriv

            I totally agree that the newer BMWs are a headache for DIY, lacking dipsticks and whatnot, but does that make them “not built to last?” Did you have problems with the engine/powertrain? That N52 3.0 is generally well regarded.

            You have to remove the front wheel to change a lightbulb in the Acadia….

            The fact that it took GM 5 model years to bring reliability up to, I assume average, shows that the Lambda platform/powertrain had some serious, serious flaws/problems when it was introduced. Transmission wave plate failures, stretched timing chains, leaking sunroofs, power steering issues, HVAC problems, etc. Many cars are redesigned after 5-7 MY. Lambda is a weird exception and MY 2015 is the 9th without a real redesign. 2013 was a mild facelift.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      The Buick has the nicest interior of them, IMO. European-style grab handles on the door panels, instead of the flat ones like most American cars.

  • avatar
    Tomsriv

    Buick should be a cheaper Cadillac with slightly different options. Cadillac has CUE infotainment and I can’t stand it. Buick and the rest of GM have a much better more conventional infotainment system that I like. I would much rather buy an expensive Buick with the good infotainment system than a Cadillac. But I can’t get RWD in a Buick so I’m not excited about them.

  • avatar
    jayzwhiterabbit

    Buick’s reputation as a stodgy brand will probably never be overcome. Whatever happened to the “doctor’s hot rod” thing (if that’s what it was). Thirty years of cheapo interiors and lame cars, that’s what. The new buicks are really nice cars, but so is every other brand now. Too little too late.

    Their sport utes are better. I like the styling of the Enclave and the new little crossover. It is the future of luxury cute-utes. If any of them deserve kudos, it’s that new one.

    • 0 avatar
      Tomsriv

      I think you need radical product to get people passionate. Chrysler had the same reputation in 2004. The 300 changed that. Now mainstream products like the 200 have a wider audience due to the 300s success.

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