By on July 28, 2016

2016 Buick Envision

General Motors today fêted Buick as the planet’s fastest-growing volume automaker. Ignored in GM’s press release was the Buick brand’s declining volume in Buick’s home market.

As if we needed more evidence that North America is an increasingly unimportant component of Buick’s future plans — Buick is discontinuing the Verano, its most popular car model in the U.S. and the most popular Buick overall in Canada — GM revealed that Buick added more Chinese sales between January and June than the whole U.S. Buick division managed in toto.

Only one year ago, 19 percent of the Buicks sold around the world were delivered in the United States. That figure fell to 15 percent in 2016’s first-half as global Buick volume jumped 20 percent and U.S. Buick sales dipped 2 percent.

Upon GM’s exit from Chapter 11 in 2009, we understood that “New” GM chose Buick over Pontiac because of China. Though American customers chose Pontiac nearly 70-percent more often than Buick over the previous five years and while Buick volume had declined in the U.S. every year between 2002 and 2009, the tide was turning on the other side of the Pacific.

In 2003, for instance, Americans registered more than twice as many Buicks as Chinese consumers.

By 2009, Chinese customers were driving away in nearly 90-percent more Buicks than their American counterparts.

Buick USA China sales chart

Fast forward to 2016 and China now accounts for more than eight-in-ten Buick sales.

Indeed, Buick reported 34,700 more sales in China in January alone than Buick’s U.S. outlets reported in the whole first-half of 2016.

In June, Chinese crossover buyers acquired more than 14,000 Envisions while the Excelle GT, essentially our Verano, attracted another 26,000 buyers. This occurred during the same time span in which the entire Buick brand — Encore, Enclave, Verano, LaCrosse, Envision, Regal, Cascada — generated 16,575 U.S. sales.

With the Buick Verano dead, we asked in May, should Buick sell passenger cars in America at all? Then we were curious in June as to why the Envision was launched in the U.S., at least at first, without an ad campaign.

Do such questions even matter? Forgive us for wondering now whether GM needs to be troubled by anything Buick does, or doeth not, in America. U.S. Buick sales in 2016 are half as strong as they were in 2002, yet 2016 will be the fourth-consecutive year of record global Buick sales.

You can almost hear the Buick tri-shield badge mock under its breath. “America? Whatever.”

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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88 Comments on “Buick Don’t Need You, Son...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    Buick is GM’s Chinese outlet for sales and production now. Save for the Lacrosse and Enclave, the rest is slowly (or not so slowly) either being sold or made overseas (yes, the ‘vert is hergestellt in Deutschland). While Mark Reuss might have tried to convince me in an email exchange a few months ago that the Envision was only a matter of exploiting capacity in China, there is little doubt in my mind that Buick is much more relevant in China for GM than it will ever be moving forward here in the US. Sad, really. My mom bought a new 2013 Verano largely on my recommendation as a capable (and American-made/assembled) entry-luxury (sort of) sedan. She still loves the car and I guess she’ll now keep it until the wheels fall off (or 10 years, which is her norm for keeping a car). I guess Buick is about as relevant to our market as, say, VW…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Proof positive that in order to be profitable and pertinent a brand or even a manufacturer need not depend upon the American market.

    Hence Suzuki, Citroen/Peugeot, and even Mitsubishi and VW do not need to bend over to accommodate the whims of North American consumers.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Buick sold more than Acura the last few years and lead them again this year, should Acura even exist?

    Every Buick sold(aside from Envision) shares with another or three models in GM’s lineup. Who is cashing in on this cow?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Acura is useless and should go away.

      Buick is slightly less useless than Acura in the US, but is very useful in China.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I don’t think Honda will ever give up chasing the premium customer. And the MDX by itself sells enough copies to make Acura worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        ajla nails it.

        Someone in the B&B wrote yesterday about the euthanasia plan for Acura.

        RDX and MDX become Hondas and dig out legacy product names. Keep the luxury trims as special packages and expand markets.

        The ILX is basically propped up by near give away lease deals.

        The RLX they pointed out is being outsold by the Chevy SS (that is what they wrote I didn’t confirm – if someone has other data please share)

        Really Acura exists only for the RDX/MDX and to waste marketing dollars. Honda really ran the division into the ground with terrible industrial design, tone deaf products, and moving far away from the formula that made them great in the first place.

        • 0 avatar
          TheDoctorIsOut

          Bring back the Integra and Acura could be relevant again. I know I’d buy a modern GS-R instead of that wimpy ILX. Hell even the name “ILX” sounds like the noise you make when you’re about to be sick.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Buick is still useful in the US as there are plenty of “luxury” buyers who would trade RWD for a lower price and more room (Acura, FWD Lexus models, etc.).

        Unlike Toyota with Lexus, GM basically splits its luxury lineup between Buick and Cadillac – on the basis of FWD vs. RWD for the most part.

        Buick is doing fine as essentially a 5 model brand (with the Verano going away and the Cascada being a niche model) with most of its lineup due for a replacement.

        Sales should improve (even with the loss of the Verano) when the new Regal, LaCrosse and Enclave hit the lots, not to mention Envision sales getting fully up to speed.

        As for Acura, even the RDX and MDX have taken a sales hit thus far this year when demand for crossovers is red hot.

        Both those models are seeing increasing competition from other FWD crossovers.

        Before, the RDX was the only compact, transverse FWD “luxury” crossover on the market, but now there is the NX, MKC and the new (to the US market) Envision.

        The MDX has been just about the only mid-size, 3-row FWD crossover on the market, but Volvo and Lincoln finally updated the XC90 and MKX and a 3-row Lexus and Cadillac crossover are on the way.

        And that’s not counting mainstream branded crossovers like the new CX-9 which impede into luxury territory or the upcoming Genesis crossovers which will offer RWD at the same price-points.

    • 0 avatar

      On this shrinking cow.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    It’s ironic that the US brand most associated with geezers & bluehairs should be dwindling away just as our society becomes top heavy with them.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The newest crop of blue-hairs remembers the malaise era and at least around me tends to buy Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Most geezers and bluehairs I see nowadays are driving European or Japanese cars, at least where I live. They’re the ones that got burned by brand-new American cars of the 1970’s and specially the 1980’s, and have an unforgiving memory.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Well, there *is* Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Speaking of which, all the oldies we’re keeping alive artificially via drugs (and concurrent massive Medicare expenses) are doing terrible things to our national debt, and also our overall mortality outlook.

      We need to staaaahp doing that.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Corey – as a business owner I’ve bought medical insurance for 40 years. It was never free, even if the WWII accommodation to make it tax free and expensible made it look that way for the past 3/4 century. Now that I am more likely to need it, I wouldn’t be pleased to see it taken away. How about you – do you plan on growing old?

        End of life heroic measures are another issue altogether. One health care exec acquaintance observed that doctors can’t really help you live longer beyond a certain point, but they could make it hellish to reach that point. Even young people should have end of life instructions as part of a living will. I do. Do you?

        The ACA certainly did wonders to contain healthcare costs (/sarc)….. and 2017 is when a lot of Fed subsidies disappear, so it will get worse for the new Prez. After all, its always the current Prez’s fault. Of the 24 health care co-ops, 14 are now tits up and most of the rest are circling the drain. Heckuva of a job, Federales.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          chuck, I’m going to foolishly take the bait as usual and let somebody bait me into their political side comments in what’s supposed to be a car thread on a car site. But a couple of facts need to intrude on your narrative:

          1) The Affordable Care Act, jerry-built mess that it is, exists at all because the conservative Heritage Foundation thought it up as a way to address the urgent problem of uninsured Americans without doing the logical thing: expanding the vastly more (yes, more) cost-efficient Medicare program to cover everybody, which is essentially what every other major industrialized nation in the world does.

          2) Once that deed was done, the very same political party that fights bitterly to shrink government (whenever it doesn’t involve weapons systems or your bedroom) has dragged its heels furiously at the state level to deliberately sabotage the law, exactly as they pledged to do on every issue at the meeting convened by Newt Gingrich when that wrong-color president first took office over 7 years ago.

          That certainly isn’t all there is to say about the ACA (its actual name, not that pejorative one affixed to it by Republican paid semantics expert Frank Luntz with the stated purpose of making it unpopular). But it’s impossible to have any rational discussion of the topic without reminding of those basic points.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The difference between all those decades ago and today is the prescription drug aspect. Medicare was supposed to be a short and more gentle slide to death in a couple of years. Now it’s a ladder which people cling to for two or three decades, prolonging the inevitable and costing a fortune in the process.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Corey

            If I’m still around when you are a healthy and vigorous septuagenarian, I’ll ask you to review that position.

            As to cost, from the 1970s when I started paying for health care myself, it could be 30% of salary (average of white collar and clerical in businesses like mine). It never was cheap, even if most people wrongly assumed it was a free benefit/right.

            One big problem with ACA is it was rolled out complete. That’s not how you implement a complex system.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m referring to Medicare only, not regular employer sponsored group health.

            In any event, just off me if I’m old and dying. :)

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          Most young people act like they will be young forever. (That’s the case with most of us, it pretty much comes with the territory.) They are in for a rude awakening.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        No pal, notgonnahappen.

        In the first place, we vote. Religiously.

        In the second place, one of the subtle pleasures of life at this time is being secure in the knowledge that you’re busting your ass to support me. And I plan on living long and well.

        And no, I don’t give a damn what happens to you after I’m gone.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Tim, would recommend enlarging the graph to full column width. The numbers are too small to be readable without expanding the image.

  • avatar

    Ultimately, just move Chevrolet upscale and make Buick Chinese-only. Kill GMC and position Chevy like FoMoCo’s done with Ford for fifty years.

    GM should be Chevy and Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I agree – I’ve thought that since 2009.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Budda, FoMoCo didn’t position Ford that way for about the first 45 of those 50 years. Their Buick here was Mercury.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Totally disagree.

      Buick makes $$ for GM offering affordable FWD “luxury” (like Acura or what Lexus offers with the ES, NX, etc.).

      Ford is no more upscale than Chevy w/o the Vignale line which isn’t offered here and remains to be seen whether it will be successful in Europe.

      GMC makes a ton of $$ for GM and would make even more if GM had been quicker to give them more product.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Even Tesla outsells Buick now, and about 17 other brands.

    http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

    *InsideEV’s estimates for Tesla sales differ somewhat from Tim’s numbers.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, as a “geezer” or (gray) hair 65-year-old, premium brands, as desirable as they may be, isn’t as attractive to older drivers perhaps because retirement isn’t as rosy as it once was for all too many people – I’ll find out 8 months from now myself. Most cars are very capable and comfy and roomy enough for many, plus, why should I spend more money than necessary when a Chevy will more than do for me?

    BTW, I’m keeping my almost-100K-miles-in-4-years 2012 Impala ’til death it does part – certainly not me!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Back in 2009 when GM was cutting makes, I said that they should make a Buick a China-only brand. And that GMC should be cut, too.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      GMC was kept because GM executives impressed their federal overseers by showing them statistics that GMC fetched larger margins for the exact same vehicles than the Chevy truck brand did.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is no surprise, it just goes to prove that China is the largest and fastest growing market for vehicles. There are over 300 million Chinese just in the middle class. China is where America was in the post WW II. Not only cars and crossovers will be dominated by Chinese influence but trucks will as well in the future. Ford is now expanding into China and Jeep has been in China for a while.

    It doesn’t make sense to kill Buick or GMC in the USA, since both are making money. Buick sells a lot of crossovers. There is not a lot of difference in price between a well optioned Chevy and a comparable Buick. If you were comparing Cadillac then yes the difference would be significant.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I do see a lot of Buick Encores about – at least around here – and most are driven by the geezer crowd.

    My old man, against my advice, bought a Buick Enclave to replace his Saturn Outlook, which he hated to the very end.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The plan to save Buick has clearly made sense in global markets. Had GM sold it a Chinese brand would have snapped it up, and GM would not be enjoying the market they have in the largest car economy in the world.

    The question is starting to rear its head – does Buick have a reason to exist in North America? The answer to that one is starting to look like no.

    The wild card in this is the next round of products and what they do. The lack of a full lineup of CUVs/SUVs has definitely been an issue – that gap is being closed. The LaCrosse suffers from the outstanding Impala being sold sans an AWD option. Additionally the Epsilon II vehicle platform is dated – a new one is just around the corner. The Regal has been all wrong from the word go. Too close in size to the Verano, too close in price to the LaCrosse. The GS was priced INSANELY and changes to the model came too little too late.

    Buick’s abandoning of a category they basically created (compact near-luxury/luxury vehicle in North America) is a bit surprising. Numbers are down but they still enjoy a very nice slice of the market. Pure speculation – could there be something else coming to fill that gap?

    Right now if you want a near-luxury/luxury vehicle when the last Verano leaves the lot, you have no option from GM – and the ATS is price non-competitive in the class (with a cheesy interior)

    If GMs 3 vehicle lineup for CUV/SUV at Buick gains traction, and the new LaCrosse/Regal are more worthy within the class (I’ve never disliked the LaCrosse, but trunk space and interior volume versus exterior girth are issues – and I’ve never driven a 4-cylinder version which I’m guessing was just AWFUL) then Buick should be fine.

    I wouldn’t buy a Cascadia but I saw my first one in the wild and it is GORGEOUS. It had a crowd around it in the grocery store parking lot and it was right out of a commercial, “that’s a Buick?” Another example of a car that photographs “meh” but presents well in person (Lexus IS I’m looking at you for that one too).

    Lots of questions — but if the new product launches fall flat — the only reason to keep Buick around in North America is GMC can’t stand alone as a dealer. Why keep GMC you ask?

    One word.

    Profit.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      The Regal is pretty inside and out to my eyes, drives nicely and is even liked by Consumer Reports. Its problem is very simple, and curable in the next iteration: reshaping the roofline to give it some rear-seat headroom so it’s better than useless as a four-seat car.

      With the Verano gone, it could have a place in the Buick lineup as a lower-priced alternative to the LaCrosse, which has traveled upmarket some more for ’17.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      1. Agree with you on cascada, looked way better in person and bigger than pictures.
      2. I would think that brand image of Buick in China stems from Buick’s American heritage. Killing Buick in US will hurt that. As long Buick’s can be profitably sold here, Id say keep the Buick, if only to protect the brand in China.
      3. I think Buick needs coherent brand management rather than being bits and pieces of other GM brands. They should have the money to put together a dedicated central brand management team a la Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ APaGttH & 01 Deville – You’re definitely onto something with the “looks better in person” opinions. This seems to be a phenomenon that’s arisen in the 2010s. I hated the C7 Corvette when I first saw pictures of it, but I quite like it in person. I’m no fan of Lexus’ new design language, but the NX 200t photographs as hideous while looking middling in person. (Part of that is that the regular trim looks better than the F Sport, and the F Sport usually is the one being photographed.)

  • avatar
    readallover

    I am curiously awaiting the next gen Regal. Lighter, better engine and an actual backseat you can put adults in, hopefully they do not price it as if it is a BMW or Cadillac.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Saw my first Envision in the wild the other day. Looked pretty good. Neither ludicrously tiny and goofy like the Encore, nor ponderous and gargantuan like the Enclave. The Goldilocks Buick!

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I don’t see an issue, the Chinese are welcome to Buick. It can be the Chinese brand for GM.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    How long though until younger Chinese consumers view the brand like current young American consumers do?

    I understand how Buick does well in China because it has a history over there as a “regal” brand, but Buick had that in the US also and most people now avoid it like the plague.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I’m not sure Buick was ever really “regal.” Perhaps mid-America and pseudo-aspirational in the sense of being a step above a Chevy back in the day.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        It was definitely a luxury brand underneath the flagship Cadillac that people wanted to move up to from their Chevrolet.

        So something like Acura or Infiniti would be regarded today.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        You had to have been around back then to appreciate what owning a Buick meant – it really was a step up without the snobbery of a Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          Doctors, lawyers and top businesspeople used to buy Buicks back in the day. Then in the 1970’s GM began putting the Buick name on all kinds of pieces of crap (Apollo, Skyhawk, etc.) to make the brand more “mainstream”, and gradually threw its equity away.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Agree with jacob_coulter, Zackman, & Roberto Esponja. I had a great-uncle who usually drove Buicks. His life in bullet points:
      – lived and died in the first eight decades of the 20th century.
      – small town, middle class childhood, but a bright guy who graduated from a top-2 professional school.
      – very successful career: partner in a big city business; taught at a top-tier professional school; co-authored a book that’s still in print

      His first car was a 1920s Cadillac, which was a hand-me-down from his father-in-law; his last car was a W123 Mercedes. Almost all the cars in between were Buicks, though. Generally, they were nice but not the display of wealth that a Cadillac, Lincoln, Imperial, or Packard would have been. There was a desire to stay under the radar and not irk one’s clients, colleagues, or boss.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    One question I haven’t seen answered is *why* the Chinese buyers like Buick. Is it something intrinsic about the brand, or is it perhaps the association with American luxury? If it’s the latter, then GM has to continue selling Buick in the US to maintain that image. It doesn’t have to sell *well*. It just has to exist.

    If you think of the US Buick as a marketing expense for the Chinese market, it makes a weird sort of sense.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Sun Yat Sen is considered the father of modern China. In the 1920’s he rode around in Buicks.

      For the Chinese, nothing says you’ve arrived to the upper middle class like a Buick in the driveway.

      That is why Buick is so popular. It is cultural and it is deeply rooted into their view of status, which is extremely important to the millions of Chinese that enter the middle class each month.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is true, and Sun Yat Sen is one of the few things the Communists in Beijing and Nationalists in Taipei (Taiwan ROC) agree on.

        “which is extremely important to the millions of Chinese that enter the middle class each month.”

        This is so telling while simultaneously sad.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        You posted this just as I posted mine. Thanks, AP.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I have very, very little relevant knowledge of Chinese culture but it seems so odd that what someone drove in the 1920s could have such a huge influence on where people spend thousands of dollars in 2016.

      • 0 avatar

        I heard that the Party functionaries ride Audis though. Not Buicks.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          And Jeeps and BMWs; I think this is what I heard somewhere.

          Buicks would be more of a middle class success story thing.

          There is also an affection for Volvos (perceived to be higher-end, by some, than Audi, Jeep, and BMW)…at least that is what I think I heard somewhere ;-).

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Some other B&Bers know this answer better than I do, but I believe Buick acquired a luxury image in China by being the longtime vehicle of choice for diplomats.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Gotta get me one of them GL-8 Business Editions, based on the trusty old U-body :)

    Apparently you can get one for about $13,000 USD. Then again that’s spitting distance to a much more modern Caravan AVP here in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      “Trusty” and “U-Body”? I guess when compared to a Windstar.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Perhaps not the best word choice, but yes they weren’t the worst things in the world either (compared to windstar in particular as you mentioned).

        Ultimately I think Caravan>U-body>windstar.

        There used to be a B&B member that swore by u-bodies and ran one up to over 200k miles.

        My fiance’s family had a disastrous experience with a Montana back in the day (never-ending electrical issues), but it seems that mechanically they are not too bad. Intake manifold gaskets on the 3.4, and like all transverse vans, transmissions need to be looked after. I think that actually may have marked the end of their string of GMs going back to the 80s (Calais, Jimmy, Astro) and a switch to an all-Toyota fleet: ’07 Highlander, ’09 Prius, ’12 Camry, ’13 Camry Hybrid, ’13 Rav4, ’13 ES300h. Once they aquired a taste for ‘yotas, I guess they really went nuts LOL.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Is there anything more potent as a symbol of the corporate sell out of North American workers than the juxtaposition of Chinese Buicks and the sad condition of Flint, Michigan? Maybe the bailout of GM by American and Canadian taxpayers, in order that may export more of our jobs to China. Pathetic.

    Buick has nobody but itself to blame. You might aspire to owning an Avista if they ever built one. Nobody aspires to owning a Verano.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Um, let’s try some real FACTS here.

      GM and FCA have increased production (and hiring) in the US by a good amount since the bailout.

      No jobs were “lost” to China as every automaker that is serious about the Chinese market builds in China in order to not be hit with that rather large auto import tariff.

      The reason why the Envision is being imported from China is b/c it was already being assembled in China and based on estimated US sales, didn’t warrant GM spending all that $$ to retool another factory to build the Envision.

      It’s the same reason why GM didn’t retool one of its plants in Korea to build the Impala.

      Plenty of capacity already at Oshawa and Detroit to supply the Impala to Korea.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Still baffled that they killed a top seller. Verano must have been eating away profits with warranty claims.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      “eating away profits with warranty claims”

      wasn’t the 2013 Verano rated most reliable 3 yrs later by JDP?

      http://media.buick.com/media/us/en/buick/home.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2016/feb/0224-jdp-buick.html

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Being an ILX competitor wasn’t exactly a lucrative market.

      Cadillac will likely eventually get that small sedan, altho likely to delayed until Cadillac gets to its higher priorities (crossovers).

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Tim,
    You’ve missed an essential truth about Buick: China *is* Buick’s home market.

    The US is just an add-on so that GMC buyers can find something for their elderly parents in the same showroom.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The stereotype of Buick being a geezer brand is much overdone. One of the most popular crossovers in my neighborhood is the Buick Enclave which is very popular among the 30 to 40 year old soccer moms. I see more geezers driving Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla,Hyundais of all kinds, and Hondas. If you were turning the clock back to what some of the elderly drove in the 80s and 90s then I would be more inclined to agree with you. Some of you are too young to remember that many of today’s elderly were much younger 20, 30, and 40 years ago and many drove Japanese and European cars. When you get older you don’t all of the sudden develop an urge to buy a Buick when you have been driving imported cars for years. Some of you need to lose the stereotype. Some day if you are fortunate you too will get old and then you will have the next generation tell you to go away because you are taking up space and costing the taxpayers money.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I’m 41 and I really want a Buick Lacrosse. What a great car to lay down miles in.
    As for the car for oldsters? You have to give Toyota the nod. I read somewhere the average age of Camry owners was 65, this was quite awhile ago as well. I certainly won’t ever own a Lexus as they just scream old upper middle class/middle management white guy for me to have one in the garage.

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Where do auto planners get the idea of “moving up”, from Chevy to Buick to Cadillac. Seems to me that most people be happy with a new Chevy. So what’s the big attraction to Cadillac? How much better is a Cadillac sedan than a Chevy sedan? What’s the cost to the buyer to move up?

    Car content is getting better all the time. Moving up a couple of generations in the same model yields big improvements in features,fit and finish without moving up to a more expensive marquee. I’d be satisfied getting rid of a multi-generation old ride for a current generation new ride, no matter what brand it is.

    I just don’t get the basic premise here. A Chevy Impala looks like a pretty good sedan, and I don’t see any rationale to a Cadillac (or Buick).

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      It was the old Alfred Sloan hierarchy at GM: Chevy as first new car, then Pontiac whilst sowing your oats. Later in life, climbing the ladder, you’d get an Oldsmobile. Then a Buick in upper-management. Then you hit CEO, or retire, and you reward yourself with a Caddy.

      As Jack wrote some time ago, that got screwed up when they started making cars like the Caprice Classic (slotted above the Impala), luxurious versions of Pontiacs, sporty Buicks (GNX FTW), and started including things like A/C as standard. (The badge-engineering didn’t help either: take a side-shot picture of an early-’80s GM A (Ciera, Century, Celebrity, 6000), B (Impala/Caprice, Bonneville/Parisienne, Delta 88, LeSabre), or C-Body (98 Regency, Electra, Caddy DeVille/Fleetwood), Photochop the front and rear details and side mirrors away, and replace the wheels with dog-dish hubcaps, and the average person-on-the-street would probably not be able to tell them apart!)

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The only Buick I really like is the Enclave which is a surprisingly attractive vehicle in the luxury crossover field.

    Everything else is “meh.” Even the Envision and Encore. “Meh.” Theoretically, Buick should be able to offer luxury versions of Chevrolets, but the actual cars have been disappointing.

  • avatar
    The_FOG

    So, let me get this straight: instead of celebrating the success of an American brand in China, we’re bitching about ‘relative’ American production numbers? With that in mind, American production that is no doubt mostly pure profit due to GM’s platform sharif and Buick’s China sales? With that in mind, from a brand that 1) still sells comparably to its primary competition.. in America. And 2) has absolutely KILLED it in the hottest segment (crossovers) in the market… In America.

    Typical TTAC anti-GM garbage.

    • 0 avatar

      We’re not celebrating or “bitching” about Buick’s current state of affairs. It’s great that Buick is seeing success in China, just as GM thought it would before it decided to keep the brand post-bankruptcy. However, it’s interesting to see that Buick’s success in China doesn’t translate to success in the United States; that Buick’s global success doesn’t rely on the United States at all. Additionally, a large portion of Buick’s sales domestically were thanks to the Verano (which won’t continue) and the Encore, two vehicles that can be had for less than $25,000 in the United States. This, from a brand that says it’s a “premium” marque. This, from a brand that is losing domestic market share. This, from a brand with no millennial brand equity.


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