By on May 10, 2016

2016 Buick Verano Turbo

The Verano, Buick’s four-year-old entry-level sedan based on the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze, will join the Century, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Reatta, Riviera, Roadmaster, Skylark, and numerous other cars in Buick’s mass grave at the end of the 2017 model year (hopefully far, far away from Harley Earl’s resting place).

Automotive News reported yesterday that its GM sources say the Verano, while living on in China, won’t be renewed on this side of the Pacific. Verano volume tumbled 30 percent between its U.S. sales peak in 2013, the Verano’s second full year, and 2015. Buick is now generating nearly six in ten U.S. sales with just two crossovers, while the brand’s four car nameplates combined for a 3-percent drop during the first four months of 2016. That’s before Buick adds the Envision to the middle of its crossover lineup and before Buick kills off the entry-level car that generates more than one-third of the brand’s passenger car volume.

So, if it’s not too impertinent to ask, not too morbid or irreverent to inquire, how long before Buick discontinues its whole North American car division in a quest to become America’s crossover-ized answer to Land Rover?

Oh, we know the U.S. market is far from Buick’s most important. If Buick, with record global sales in calendar year 2015, is going to develop traditional sedans for the Chinese market anyway, you argue, it won’t be the most difficult task to sell those cars here, as well. And that would be a terrific argument if there wasn’t proof in the Verano’s not-yet-confirmed U.S. cancellation that General Motors is perfectly willing to develop a Buick car that won’t be sold in America. The Verano’s not the only one, either.

2017 Buick LaCrosse

Closer to home, Buick also has a new sedan in the hopper. The 2017 LaCrosse is a looker. Better yet, it looks decidedly premium, in accordance with Buick’s desire to be taken seriously as a premium brand, and not just an upmarket Chevrolet.

But this is 2016, not 2002. Buick won’t sell 160,000 LeSabres and Park Avenues LaCrosses in 2016. The previous LaCrosse averaged little more than 50,000 annual U.S. sales between 2011 and 2015, and sales plunged 31 percent between 2010 and last year.

A handsome car? The 2017 LaCrosse certainly is, but it won’t be a common car. Rivals direct and indirect are all in the same boat, failing in recent years to match the level of demand they achieved a decade ago.

The next LaCrosse isn’t the only new Buick car. Buick’s Opel Cascada twin produced 2,487 sales in 2016’s first four months, including an April in which the Cascada narrowly outsold the Mazda MX-5 Miata. But we know better than to believe a convertible can save a car brand.

As for the current Regal, sales of which the Verano cannibalized, Consumer Reports praise hasn’t turned into marketplace acceptance. Regal sales are rising modestly in 2016, but Buick’s U.S. dealers are on pace to sell half as many Regals in 2016 as they did in 2011, the current Regal’s first full year on the market.

2016 Buick Encore

Yet as the four-pronged Buick car lineup’s U.S. sales volume fell 3 percent in the first-third of 2016 — and the non-Cascada Buick car trio’s sales predictably tumbled 11 percent — the brand’s two crossovers combined for a 12-percent year-over-year increase.

The Encore, Buick’s best seller is up 21 percent to 23,808 units, more than the Verano and LaCrosse combined.

Buick’s nearly decade-old Enclave flagship is recovering (slightly) after last year’s (slight) decline and is on track for its highest-volume U.S. sales year ever.

These two models produced 54 percent of Buick’s volume in the first four months of 2015 — and 57 percent one year later. Despite the car division’s losses, brand-wide Buick volume is up 5 percent in 2016, outpacing the industry as a whole.

2016 Buick Envision

But these are current figures, not taking into account the Verano’s demise and the Envision’s arrival. IHS Automotive anticipates an extra 38,000 Envision sales in calendar year 2017. Based on the steady introductions of SUVs/crossovers at other brands and the utility vehicle market’s continued growth, it’s safe to assume the Envision won’t eat into Encore and Enclave sales totals.

Add 3,100 monthly sales of the incoming Envision to Buick’s total, subtract 2,700 monthly sales of the departing Verano from Buick’s total, and suddenly Buick’s U.S. operations aren’t crossover-heavy — they’re crossover-dominant. The Encore and Enclave now account for 57 percent of Buick’s sales. In the incoming Envision/departing Verano scenario just described, nearly three-quarters of Buick’s sales will come from the crossover department.

Incidentally, that’s not completely out of sync with many premium players. Through the first-third of 2016, 68 percent of Lincoln’s sales derived from SUVs/CUVs, 64 percent at Acura, 58 percent at Cadillac, 81 percent at Jaguar-Land Rover, 58 percent at Infiniti, 57 percent at Lexus, 62 percent at Porsche, and 71 percent at Volvo.

Most mainstream brands, on the other hand, continue to sell more cars than SUVs/CUVs, although the difference is decreasing in size.

Regardless of the formulation at rival brands, Buick’s cancellation of the Verano is undeniably caused by the brand’s rapid utility vehicle growth rate. How can Buick sell an upmarket small sedan when there are newer, high-volume small sedans challenging the Verano in terms of luxury content? How can Buick sell an upmarket small sedan when, more and more, upmarket buyers are looking for greater ride height, liftgates, and all-wheel drive?

Indeed, if the trend that’s causing the Verano’s North American demise is further cemented by the Envision’s arrival, one must wonder whether Buick’s other cars will, sooner than later, suffer a similar fate.

[Images: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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91 Comments on “The Verano Is Dead, But Should Buick Sell Cars In America At All?...”


  • avatar
    86er

    I Envision some manufacturer, perhaps not Buick because of legacy considerations, moving to an all-crossover lineup as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

    I really can’t see crossovers completely replacing sedans in the general market, as sedans can generally accomplish basic commuting duties (house to office door, little to no errand-running) more economically and younger people won’t necessarily require the higher lift-in that older knees favour.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      While crossovers may not completely replace sedans, they will certainly come close.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        We’ve been here before. Back in the early ’80s, hatchbacks ruled over smaller sedans. Then people got tired of riding in the same compartment as their stuff. The market split and sedans and minivans almost completely killed off the hatchback. It could happen again.

        I recently replaced my wagon with a sedan. It’s nice to have an actual trunk again.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Mitsubishi has already gone all-crossover, or so their press releases said.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    81% of JLR sales are Land/Range Rovers? Holy sh*t. No wonder I’ve never seen an F-Type outside of the Philly Auto Show.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Of the company’s 32,077 U.S. sales in 2016’s first four months, 25,993 (81.03%) were Land Rovers. This will change, of course, with improved availability of new XF, the new XE’s arrival, and the new F-Pace coming on stream now. In the U.S, Jaguar last outsold Land Rover in 2004.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    OK what if Buick mixed it up a little bit and sold the Verano without a pesky powertrain expressly to be entombed in? The blue rinse set would go gaga for such an exclusive sarcophagus.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Orange

      The 2 liter turbo?

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      I don’t think the blue-haired crowd pays much attention to the powertrain (although no one would miss the mediocre 2.4 liter four). The blue-hairs are more into comfort, quiet and a smooth ride and that is NOT a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Better for GM to finish euthanizing the Buick cars (except maybe the big one) and eliminate their historic powertrain restrictions on Chevrolet.

      They bumped the power on the Encore not the Trax. They had a Verano Turbo but no performance Cruze.

      Time for the SS badging to return and have it include a +50hp bump over the top non-SS engine in the Chevrolet lineup on all cars.

      They always diminish Chevrolet to protect Buick, and it’s not working.

  • avatar
    NN

    The Envision will likely become their best seller, despite being made in China. The American consumer will not care (Encore from Korea anyways). This will likely open the door for most/all future Buick’s to be Chinese made, and it will become the de-facto Chinese GM brand. Sales will trend down over time but profit margins will be healthy and there will always remain a core clientele; even if it largely transitions from elderly drivers to the Chinese diaspora in the US. It will all be good business, because keeping the brand on life support in the US is necessary to sustain the brand image in China in the long run, where sales are massive. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if the Chinese-supplied GM cars end up being quite good.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Envision looks like a Kia where someone glued a chrome bar on the back. Dislike.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I’m much more offended by the Envision and its inevitable Chinese-built Buick successors than I am by Korean-built Hyundais and Kias.

      Hyundai didn’t take a giant handout from U.S. taxpayers to save it as an employer of Americans, only to renege on that implied promise once it recovered its solvency. That’s what GM is now doing, and in my personal view, to hell with them.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Aside from the defunct Riviera, Buick ideal in my mind is unpretentiously successful and a little old fashioned, like the cultured country doctor who still makes housecalls. Not much room for compact executive sedans or milquetoast near-lux midsizers there, especially with the CUV-success Buick is enjoying.

    Maybe Buick would have sedan stalwart – and potential Avalon competitor – on the corporate cheap with a tarted up Holden Caprice pitched as a reborn Roadmaster; this assumes GM killing the already-invisible Chevy SS.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      At least one Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker would only ride (he didn’t drive) in Buicks. They lent an air of respectability without being pretentious like a Cadillac, Lincoln or Imperial.

      As I age into the previous Buick demographic, I am starting to appreciate the quite and affordable whiff of luxury that our inherited and certainly not in pristine condition one provides.

      Given a choice, I think that I would be quite happy to purchase a medium sized sedan, with a quiet and plush ride, a nice big driver’s seat, velour interior and a proven reliable 3800 engine and transmission. A nice highway cruiser. Something to drive the family/friends to early bird special dinners, to the golf club, drive grandchildren around in and to church on Sundays.

      Certainly there must be many other consumers out there who appreciate those qualities?

      Unfortunately it seems that Buick cars have devolved from top end reliability to the type of European car problems that Dave from Calgary has experienced.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        The Chretien government shuffled around in Roadmasters, if memory serves.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Are you calling Opel European Premium? :)

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        “At least one Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker would only ride (he didn’t drive) in Buicks. They lent an air of respectability without being pretentious like a Cadillac, Lincoln or Imperial.”

        I was about to say “we have Lexus for that, now,” but then I remembered the Toyota Avalon. All of the Buick qualities you were missing, but with proven Japanese reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        I still own a 2001 Lesabre. I won’t go into how many things have failed on the car in 100K miles, but let’s say that out of 30 cars I have owned thus far, it’s near one of the worst in terms of overall reliability. It put the stake through the heart of my desire to ever own a GM car (but not truck) again.

        If you are looking for a Buick, I’d recommend staying away from the 2000+ models due to the multiplexed, VIN-encoded module distributed electrical system that requires a dealer visit to program the VIN into replacement modules in order to work properly. But that is typical of most modern cars today, like it or not.

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          Redmondjp,

          Been there too, totally agree, glad to be rid of mine.
          The previous (1999 and earlier) was a better car in terms of fit and materials, not to mention reliability.

          I’m at the age that used to be the domestic Buick demographic and based on what that car put me though, I’m done with GM.

          The Avalon made the same year our Lesabres were built is still one I’d heartily recommend for a comfortable, durable , low cost DD full size sedan, if you can find a lightly used one. It’s the car that Buick could never aspire to compare to back then…

          So for me, Buick will never be on the radar.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          My 00 blue LeSabre Custom and my friend’s red 01 were both very reliable with only a few wheel bearings and normal maintenance items. I did have to replace the plastic elbow on the passenger side in the engine bay but that was a cheap part. No other issues and both the 3800 and 4T65 have been bullet proof. I traded mine in with 150K on the clock and by friend’s 01 Limited had 120 btw.

          My parents liked my 00 LeSabre so much they purchased a 2001 Bonneville which they had up until last year when dad passed away. It too was very reliable and never left them stranded. It too needed a couple of wheel bearings, a rear sway bar link and an intake gasket but then it had 124K miles at the time. Mom sold it to a relative who is still driving it to this day. I really miss my 00 LeSabre actually. The fact that I still see loads of these cars with well over 200k still driving around tells me they aren’t bad cars at all. The fact that we see them all the time in near pristine condition at the auctions with mileage ranging from 100K to 300K is very telling. Buick owners tend to take very good care of there vehicles and it’s very noticeable.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Larger cars are terminally f*cked in just about every market. It is a soon to be dead segment just like convertibles, wagons, and nonsporty 2-doors. GM should start gorging at the turbo4 CUV trough before other manufacturers get too much of a head start.

    Some of brought this up on the Chrysler 300 discussion this weekend. The large car segment is cratering so badly, I don’t see why FCA should bother replacing the LX. A FWD Pacifica-based one will just sell about the same. The US-headquarter OEMs spending money right now on something that isn’t a CUV or truck seems like a waste. I bet the new Lacrosse is only over 55K in sales for its first full year.

    Buick’s car division died in August 2008 anyway…

  • avatar

    Why not just buy a Chevy Malibu?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Why not just buy Dodge Charger with a V6?

    • 0 avatar

      And if Chevrolet continues to be allowed to maneuver in the marketplace as Ford has done for 40 years (albeit at Mercury’s and sometimes Lincoln’s expense), “why not just buy a Chevy Malibu” should become the question.

      It’s already the question with the Cadillac XTS.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      The Malibu is ugly, but, if it had some more power, it could have charm.

      I walked around the lot of a very high volume Michigan Chevy dealer last weekend, and I looked at the Malibus. Nobody is stocking the sweet spot – the 2LT with the 2.0 Turbo engine – a stripper with some power.

      I saw only a $37k one with the 2.0T – but you had to pay for a leather interior from some Russian whale’s briss.

      There were $22k ones with really tiny engines – I am convinced they said 1.4 L, 1.5L, and 1.8L, but the website suggests that perhaps only two of these are actually still being made, and so I hope they repented of this decision to try to motivate a midsize car with such a horrible engine.

      Somewhere under there is an Epsilon II engine mount, and that can take the 3.6. Put that Buick hyper suspension from the Super to use in a Malibu SS and an Impala SS.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Nobody thinks about what makes car go it seems; instead everyone’s all about the videogames…

        …until they look down and see not Flintstones playing on their new car’s screen – but actually their little millennial legs living the Flintstone self-propelled dream.

        Doh.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        The 1.5T and 2.0T are the only engines in the Malibu.

        Did you stop to think that maybe the lower trims with 2.0T aren’t in stock because….people are buying them?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        NA 2016 Malibu’s are only available with 2 engines. A 163 HP 1.5 turbo and a 2.0 liter turbo 4 cylinder with 250 HP. the 1.5T, which is the same size engine Ford uses in there heavier Fusion is peppy enough for most average buyers and the new Malibu lost about 300 LBS of weight bringing the base model down to a little over 3000 LBS. C&D clocked an 8 second 0-60 time with an LT Malibu( the same as a 2.5 SE Camry) with the base 1.5T so it is competitive I would say.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Once upon a time, or to be specific, 15 or more years ago, here in Middle America the Buick sedan was the standard ‘last car’ bought by bluehairs. Since then, thanks to GM’s well-executed plans to make multiple subsystems of their cars fail at about 80K miles in a desperate quest to generate return traffic in their dealerships, the senior sedan market has moved en masse to the Camry and Avalon. And it ain’t coming back; these Toyotas will truly last long enough to be last cars for millions of Baby Boomers. If Buicks are to sell here, they need to sell to a generation too young to remember being screwed by GM for decades on end. And that generation wants crossovers. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Let’s see, the Regal sucks, the Lacrosse kinda sucks, the Verano was decent but had limitations and was ultimately a nicer Cruze for a different distribution channel. You can’t get a V6 in two of the three, you can’t get AWD in the nicer of the two “sporty ones”, the post 3800 Buicks have all had reliability issues, resale still sucks on any Buick, and at least one is coming to you straight from Shanghai. Buick is dead, as is Cadillac, and I’d argue most of Chevrolet. The zombie RenCen will continue to stumble in USDM and rely on its truck margins to keep producing record profits. Till they can’t. Sounds like another strategy of a similar zombie Chrysler…

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Buick should get out of the ‘wanna be BMW’ market asap.

    Take the Malibu and Impala, add sound deadening everywhere it fits, drop in the plushest seats their suppliers can make, and sell it for more than the Chevys will ever sell for. Even better, use old platforms to squeeze the last bit of cash out of them. Or use new platforms and charge out the butt to add safety technology and/or AWD.

    You want an AWD Malibu? Buy the buick. It works for Acura/Honda.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Without passenger cars, the Buick-GMC channel would be putting a lot of eggs into a truck/crossover basket. That’s a pretty risky move.

    Maintaining a separate Buick-GMC channel after the bankruptcy was a very bad idea; there should have been just two US distribution channels (mainstream and luxury), not three. But now that there are three, it would be a mistake to not manage them accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Gotta agree w Pch101 while suv,Suv is in now , maybe cars will come back in a decade or so who knows, Buick can keep some cars to fit their profile, big cushy and fairly low key kinda of like a Park Ave used to be.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      I agree, and it can’t be that expensive for GM to sell Opels with different grills in the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Especially now that gas has inched up more than .60 cents per gallon in the past 2-3 months and continues to inch upward. The forecasters are already convinced it will be at 3 bucks per gallon by years end and continue to surge up thereafter for 2017 and I think there right but we will see. If gas goes back to 4 per gallon you will see a shift back to efficient cars and hybrids etc again I’m sure.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    The only reason that Buick is left stinking up the joint is because the Chinese love the brand and that meant that to get Chinese money for the bailout, Buick had to be retained and Pontiac had to go buh bye. Without the Chinese love (and employment levels that the Chicom government required), there would be no more Buick – and we’d be better off for it.

    Cancel Buick – stick all the CUV”s to either GMC or to Cadihack and then at least you’ll have GMC being more than a cross dressing Chevrolet.)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Or should Acura’s paltry 50,000 less units sold than Buick last year have it head on the chopping block?

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Of course they should sell Buicks here, it’s between Chevy and Caddy, Olds and Pontiac were indeed redundant brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      If we wanna get pedantic, Pontiac and Buick should’ve been axed, since Olds was #3 in the 5 brands, exactly in the middle.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      I’m still dismayed that they killed Olds and kept geriatric Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I agree, I liked Olds. I dont like all Olds, but they were “sporty-luxury” in a way Buick can never be. Yes, Buick had the badass Grand National, but Id rather have a V-8 Olds anyday. Their large cars were nice, too.

        I still want my last-of-the-RWD 88 Royale Broughm coupe. Big, pillow-top seats, smooth Olds 307 under the hood, oh yeah. I want one of those with the half vinyl roofs and have an aftermarket sunroof shop install me a tinted, removable glass panel above the front seats.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          And the very last cars actually looked distinctive and attractive again! Even the bargain-basement Alero and the obviously-a-rebadged-Chevy-Venture Silhouette.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          I absolutely love my mint 1987 two tone blue Cutlass Supreme coupe with the 307, bucket seats, gauges, alloy wheels and the wonderful F-41 suspension upgrade. It turns heads wherever I go and just drizzles with class.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Every near-luxury brand is doomed by the fact that mainstream brands have lifted their game to near luxury levels (and sometimes beyond). A world where a top spec Kia Optima is way more luxurious than an mildly options 3 series, simply doesn’t have any room for an in-between market niche.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I think you’ve got it there. There’s little that a $35K TLX does better than a $35K Accord, and it’s actually much worse in the engine department (4 cylinders vs 6).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Doesn’t TLX offer a V6?

        • 0 avatar
          jefmad

          It does. But the V6 will cost more than $35K.

        • 0 avatar
          qwerty123

          Yes, and it starts at $35,750. He could have made his point better with a 32K comparison.

          http://www.acura.com/tools/bap/build.aspx?ProductLineName=TLX#_i0_-model-UB1F3GJW-TTpVQjFGM0dKV3xFQzpOSC03MzFQfEhDOnVuZGVmaW5lZHxJQzpFTnxPOnxPMjp8

          http://automobiles.honda.com/tools/build-price/trims.aspx?ModelID=&ModelName=Accord%20Sedan&ModelYear=2016

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Yes, the TLX V6 may start around $35K, but it’s relatively bare bones. I was thinking of the 4-cylinder car with the $4K trim package that would make it comparably equipped to a high-end Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yup! When my 2013 Accord Touring hit the market (for right around $35k), it had Adaptive Cruise and LED headlights. The headlights were a Honda/Acura first, and ACC was only available in the RDX SUV and the RLX.

        Now, this same stuff can be had in a Civic which only gives up a little materials refinement and lumbar-support, and seat/mirror memory to the Acura. (And the ILX still doesn’t get lumbar even when it gains the memory functions. And a better warranty.)

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      This is largely true. It could probably work if they’d hold off on loading up the top trim Chevrolets to let Buick get those customers, but they might lose some customers who cross shop when they’d just buy the Chevy if it existed. As long as an LTZ or Premier trim Chevrolet has all the same features as the Buick (save AWD) then Buick is mostly squeezed out.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Buick will (already is, more or less) move to an all-import fleet soon enough. China is enamored with the brand, and GM likes the profits. While some of us care, I suspect the majority of consumers here in America won’t give three flips that their “All American” Buick is actually made in a country that is neither friend or ally to America. Mark Reuss responded to me that the move to produce and sell the Envision was only a minor player in their grand scheme, but I see it (and the Encore) as a trend in moving more and more production out of the country. Buick will soldier on as a largely CUV/SUV-based captive import brand…and will sell more vehicles than ever if the largest percentage of their lineup is indeed majority SUV/CUV. I guess my mom’s Verano is already an orphan nameplate, and barely four years old!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I didn’t realize the Regal had been around so long without any meaningful updates, either. 2011 is a long time ago in car terms (especially for what they ask for the Regal.)

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The Regal was updated heavily in 2014 with optional AWD, the newer 259 Hp 2.0 turbo engine, new wheels, front fascia, rear end with LED taillights and a heavily revised interior and part way through got the eAssist setup so I would hardly say it hasn’t had any meaningful updates since 2011. It also gained an available stick which wasn’t offered initially and upgraded on the safety front by adopting the LaCrosses Safety and alert systems.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      If it moves to an all-import fleet that will kill the comparatively small number of sales that go the “buy ‘murican” crowd.

  • avatar
    cwa107

    I don’t see why there needs to be a stepping stone brand between Chevrolet and Cadillac at all. For that matter, why is GMC necessary (beyond perhaps commercial trucks)? There was a time when additional diversification was needed at GM when they owned such a huge marketshare, but the company needs to be smaller and more agile — and getting rid of brands (beloved though they may be) is the right answer.

    Axe Buick in the US where the brand has little cachet, beyond the official car of the Geritol set. Include a free case of Ensure with each new Impala you sell and you’ll still capture that market. Sure, keep it around for China where it’s still considered an aspirational brand. But everywhere else, focus on making Chevrolet as solid of a brand as Toyota or Nissan. They’re already moving it upscale, getting rid of interiors by Rubbermaid and even comparing it to luxury marques like BMW and Audi in their advertising. Why have a “tweener” brand to add confusion?

    • 0 avatar

      A 1956 power play by GM toward franchisees is the reason.

      From TTAC, Feb 2008:

      “In 1956, GM President Harlow Curtice unilaterally extended dealer contracts to five years, making it much more difficult to cancel inferior dealers. Curtice’s rationale: placate dealers furious for having unwanted cars forced upon them. Former GM President Alfred P. Sloan was aghast at the deterioration of ‘the once respectful and mutually-beneficial relationship with dealers due to GM’s heavy-handed tactics.’

      GM’s tactics led to Congressional hearings and franchise laws that overwhelmingly favored dealers, making it extremely difficult and expensive to shed dealers and eliminate divisions. Forty years later, it cost GM over a billion dollars to shut down Oldsmobile.”

      Strong franchising laws protecting dealers was the result of the General’s strong-arming of those dealers.

      That’s why brands that needed to be put to sleep 30 years ago continued to exist for so long. It’s why Oldsmobile lasted so long after the shutdown announcement.

      Chevrolet already holds 70% of GM NA’s sales. Just make better Chevies and move Cadillac upscale enough that they could credibly build the ultra-premium models for which they were once world-renowned.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      GMC is around because it makes money, pure and simple. Credit the US’s thirst for trucks. You cant justify killing a division that helps pay the bills, even if it pleases internet commentators.

      Buick wouldnt represent “America” in China if it didnt exist in America. Besides, with its crossovers at least, it isnt really bleeding money here.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    At the risk of being a broken record, Cadillac, or I should say ESCALADE, should have been GM’s answer to Land Rover. Buick doesn’t have anywhere near the brand equity to pull something like that off. An Epsilon based midsize Escalade would be a high volume high profit product for sure.

    I think Buick is playing it smart by shifting to crossovers. I was going to say the LaCrosse should be a Cadillac, but it already is lol. If they can move enough volume under both brands to justify both versions… why not? Regal is probably past its sell by date… again, broken record, with a sexy exterior (i.e. IMAJ), roomy interior, and a PHEV powertrain, it would have made a better Cadillac. But w/e. If GM gets this all right it will be by accident.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      How is the LaCrosse a Cadillac? There’s a new LaCrosse launching on Epsilon II while the XTS is EOL. The CT6 is a car that’s roughly the same size (a bit larger I believe) but is on its own RWD platform.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      If I remember, there was speculation that this generation ‘Slade was going to be based on a unibody platform above the SRX. But the decision was made to keep the ‘Slade on the BOF platform, because PROFIT I suppose.

      Am I close?

  • avatar
    DrSandman

    Ahem. Grand National and GNX. All will be forgiven, Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      GNX V6TT on ATS platform, you say?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Without 3800 this is an empty gesture.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        “Ah, the 3800, immortalized on urinals across America. ‘3.8lpf/1.0gpf\'”

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I dont know if it would sell, but all the parts are there.

        Take a CTS-sized Alpha car and put on Buick styling, take the truck 4.3L, destroke the engine to 3.8L and add turbos, add the 8-speed transmission. Set price at $1000 more than the Camaro 2SS. *presto!* Grand National.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          No one wants a Buick CTS with a truck engine.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I do…

            Actually, I just want an ATS/CTS with the 5.3L V8 in unboosted form.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I wouldn’t build it, I’m just saying it is *possible*.

            If I was GM 90% of my product effort would be on trucks, CUVs, and SUVs. The other 10% would be on the Camaro, Volt, and Corvette. All the other cars go into pure vine-rot mode.

            I’d go on the Sergio plan – if it is a car then it can f*ck off.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        We sold a 2004 LeSabre last year that had 385k miles on it and it was the original 3800 engine to the car. All the dealer documentation was in the glove box. It still started up and purred like a kitten and the body and interior were impossibly clean and well preserved. It spent much of it’s time traveling back and forth to Florida from Upstate, NY. Gotta love those old fart owned cars.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    GM *could* go Chevrolet > Cadillac like Ford does with Lincoln (if Mercury was ever in the same league as Buick, that was well before my time) but they aren’t there yet.

    A completely loaded Mazda3 GT doesn’t hit $30. It gets very close, but it doesn’t cross that barrier. Neither does the Civic Touring. The Golf 1.8T does, but it’s nice enough to do so. The new Cruze ain’t, nor does it have the cachet of any of the above. It’s still a Chevy at the end of the day, and base models will still be stocked waist high at any airport rental counter.

    For a Cruze to go past $30 as a mainstream model it needs more power. I’m not talking about a low volume Focus ST competitor, it needs a larger mainstream engine choice with a horsepower number that starts with a 2. It also needs nicer plastics, and more attention to detail. The interior is now very competitive in its class, but it’s still well within it’s class, not a class above.

    So GM has a few choices. 1. Create some kind of “Cruze Platinum” trim or whatnot, to replace the Verano. 2. Drag Cadillac downmarket so that it has a car to compete with the 1.8T Audi A3. Or 3. Leave the Cruze and ATS where they are, and leave a hole in the lineup and have customers go somewhere else.

    The Malibu and Impala have the exact same problem. You might be able to get $37K for an Impala 2LTZ (or at least put that on the sticker) but you ain’t gettin’ $40. To GM’s credit they are both now very competitive cars, but they are competing with Camcordima and the Avalon, not Acura, Volvo, or Lexus.

    So you have the same choice. Make a midsize, high $30s to mid $40s Front/AWD Cadillac to compete with the ES350 while the ATS does battle with the IS, or quit that market too.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    No need to worry. When China enters its 2008 style slump/bubble explosion, not if, GM will go under. The Chinese government WILL NOT bail out GM. Take it over, maybe, but not bail it out.

  • avatar
    honda1

    You know, the more I think about it, GM sucks pond water.

    Chi-com buicks, jusy build them and leave the p’sos there.
    GMC trucks, pro grade, no that belongs to Ford.
    Chevy, jusy hohum, trying to beat Honda and Toyota, will never happen.
    Caddy, haha, what a joke, their new team has it going on!

    I agreed with the bailout back in 08, but now, ef’em!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    IIRC, at the time the Verano was launched, there was comment that it was too close to the Regal in size and price. Amazingly (and not just to me) the car was fairly successful. Now that car sales are on the downhill slope, it makes sense to cut one of the models loose. Honestly, I never imagined the Regal would have made the cut.

    I had my 2009 Pontiac in for it’s 100K mile service recently. I was given a 1200~ mile 2016 Regal Turbo 2.0L S. A very nice car, very much in the same vein as the G6, but far better assembled and equipped. I’ve only ever sat in Veranos, but the first time I sat in the Regal Turbo, I was hooked. I can’t say the same about the Verano.

    I agree with another poster further up the thread that Buick should continue to sell cars wherever they can. I believe we will hit peak SUV at some point in the next several years. I look back to the years the minivan was on the upswing: every manufacturer was so anxious to get in on the action they even sent weird home market models over here that barely fit into the FWD minivan ideal. That statement includes a couple of domestic makers, too.

    Before long, everyone will have their SUV, look around and decide they want something else. It will be good to have a few car models around then…

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      There’s a new larger, longer Regal in the pipeline. Based on the current Malibu it has the rear seat-room that the current Regal lacks and it promises to cut into the sales of the new LaCrosse.

      With the new Regal being significantly larger than the Verano, I’m surprised they didn’t keep the Verano around as an entry-level model. Buick had done a good job of distinguishing the Verano from the Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I agree with your entire post geozinger.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    GM had product differentiation down to a science, then as Jack B wrote a while back watered it down by introducing options and tarted up models that blurred all distinctions.

    Combine that with poor quality products and the mass marketing/downmarketing/downsizing of Cadillacs and you had a recipe for disaster.

    I say that with sales and profits up due to a current boom market that GM should totally restructure and redefine and maybe reintroduce some old marques. Of course due to their bureaucracy and dealer related issues this cannot happen.

    1. Cadillac: high end luxury vehicles North American market centred
    2. Buick: Chinese/Asian market ‘near luxury’vehicles
    3. Chevrolet: mass market front wheel drive vehicles, North American market centred
    4. Opel/Vauxhall/Oldsmobile: ‘world’ vehicles, sold worldwide
    5. Holden/Pontiac: rear wheel drive performance centred cars, sold in North America and Australia (and maybe the UK)
    6. GMC: trucks and cargo vans, sold worldwide

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