By on July 20, 2017

2018 Buick Regal GS - Image: BuickUse whatever designation you must, but you know what we’re asking. In 2017, is Buick one of America’s premium brands? A competitor for Lexus and Audi? A rival for BMW and Jaguar?

On July 19, Buick released the first images, specs, and pricing details for the next-generation 2018 Buick Regal GS. While dropping the price of the basic Regal to $25,915 — not that much money for a 250-horsepower 2.0T midsize hatchback — Buick apparently improved the sporty GS in every way. The result: the GS is only ten bucks away from being a $40,000 car. The more powerful Ford Fusion Sport is $5,510 cheaper. The Audi S4 is some $12,000 more costly.

But Buick is more than just an intangible no-man’s-land price point. Buick is also a brand that sends mixed messages: advertising that suggests it’s not worthy of praise on the one hand; the new Avenir sub-brand on the other.

What say you: is Buick just another luxury wannabe, or is Buick selling premium goods at a discount?

2017 Buick Encore - Image: BuickSitting in the back seat of my mother’s white 1986 Buick Century, I had no idea as a child that Buick was, had ever been, or ever would be a luxury brand. Decades later, driving a quiet, relatively common, 138-horsepower Buick Encore, a staple of Buick circa twenty-teens, I wondered if Buick was, had ever been, or ever would be a luxury brand.

But forget what other people think, and don’t assume you know what I think. For the purposes of this QOTD, dismiss the belief that Regal GS buyers will never be prospective Audi S4 owners who just decided to save $12K. If only for a moment, reject the idea that your neighbours would never cross-shop the Buick Envision with the blue-collar Chevrolet Equinox.

You decide. On your ledger, in your mind, with your money — is Buick a true American luxury auto brand? Is Buick forever resigned to toil in mainstream obscurity with Chevrolet, Ford, and Honda, or does Buick earn unusual status as Detroit’s Acura?

[Images: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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108 Comments on “QOTD: Is Buick a Premium, Luxury, Upmarket Auto Brand in America, or Not?...”


  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    I love my local Buick dealer, and the product is getting better all the time. Mary may actual fix GM, that would be so awesome.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    It depends on who you ask. I started driving in the 90’s. To me, Buick is and always has been a nice car (not premium) with an old age demographic. Not luxury, not incredibly exciting, and built off other GMs and Opels (not upmarket). I do agree they are getting better and GM is trying so very hard to appeal to a younger crowd, but I would buy something else.

  • avatar
    jmo

    FYI I’m getting a bunch of WordPress errors – contract your administrator, etc.

    As for Buick… They are supposed to be a premium car like a Volvo or an Acura not a luxury car like a Mercedes, Jaguar or a Cadillac. For it to make sense brand wise in the US, Cadillac would have to field an S-class rival a SL, AMG GT, G wagen, GL. In that scenario Buick would sell premium class rivals to the RX, MDX, ES 350, Q5, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Yeah, Cadillac is the one that needs to start pushing upwards. GM has this weird thing about pricing cars over $100k. Buick on the other hand seems to be filling its niche quite nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The only $100K GMs anyone is paying for are fully loaded Escalades and Z06s. GM is wise to keep Cadillac out of those waters; it ain’t happening, at least until they make something exciting and class leading at that price point.

        • 0 avatar
          turbosasquatch

          Chicken or the egg I suppose. Is it their image that prevents them from selling $100k+ cars or the fact that they offer no such thing that is inhibiting their image?

          I say they make a Bentley Continental or Wraith competitor and shoot for the moon. The El Miraj fits that bill.

    • 0 avatar
      dmoan

      Acura and Volvo are both considered to be luxury not premium brands.

      XC90 was just awarded best new luxury vehicle. I don’t see any Buick in any of luxury car ranking or sales chart unlike Acura and Volvo.

      • 0 avatar
        JRoth

        I don’t know who you mean; this is all in the passive voice. Are considered by whom, was awarded by whom?

        Personally, I think the idea of Volvo as a luxury brand is absurd, although I’m aware they’ve been moving upmarket. But here’s a telling anecdote: my wife’s uncle was a successful master carpenter in an Austrian village. He lived a simple life in an apartment above his shop right in town. But his one indulgence was getting a Volvo, and his neighbors thought this was snobbish. The punchline is that everyone who isn’t from this little town thinks this story is hilarious, because who the hell thinks driving a Volvo means you’re putting on airs? Now his brother-in-law—my father-in-law—has been driving a Mercedes for 35 years; that’s a luxury car. If he still lived in America, I’m pretty sure he’d pick a Buick over a Volvo, assuming the cars were really comparable.

        • 0 avatar
          dmoan

          Talking in passive voice makes you cool in interwebz. On serious note XC90 took home Top gear luxury SUV of the year award and I believe same with Motor trend as well.

    • 0 avatar
      YeOldeMobile

      Yeah, I would place Buick on the level of Acura or Infiniti for sure. There’s something about the brand that just says “Good.” Not great, not amazing, not top of the line.

      Wasn’t that always the point of Buick? Cadillac was supposed to be GM’s top-tier brand. Buick is not.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Can I cheat and call it “entry-level luxury”?

    It’s funny but my in-laws said they would never buy a Buick. I think they’re subconsciously raging against the dying of the light.

  • avatar
    HEOJ

    I vote the Acura of Detroit! Mind you I don’t hold Acura up there with Lexus, Audi, etc. I think is in that small space between mainstream and luxury along with Audi(where Mercury tried to be) and where Mazda is aiming to go. The new GS is on my list of potential replacements for my Legacy along with the TLX they are some of the few now luxury, midsize V6 cars that have both interior and exterior styling that I like!

    • 0 avatar
      HEOJ

      Non luxury not now luxury oops.

    • 0 avatar
      JRoth

      Agreed. Acura is a clear step below M-B, BMW, Lexus, and that’s where Buick is trying to be. IMO their vehicles stand out just enough among domestics (and I think the new Regal looks to be gorgeous, and plan to test drive the wagon as soon as it’s out).

      I think the key distinction is respectability vs prestige. If you see a doctor or a businessman driving an Acura or Volvo, you sort of nod: makes sense, she’s doing well. If you see them in a Lexus or M-B, you think they’re either doing very well or trying to express that they’re doing very well (depends on the models, of course, but I mean the tops of the lines, not the C-class types). And I think that Buick, after not doing so for most of my life*, is getting close to this. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that since I might actually be driving one in the near-ish future.

      *not entirely: I always understood that a 60-something in one of the better Buicks (i.e., not the Century) had probably done well for himself. Come to think of it, the best description for traditional Buicks might have been “car driven by the wife of a successful doctor/businessman”. He got the Caddy or Lincoln, she got the big, cushy, reasonably prestigious next-best.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Depends on your zip code and your continent.

    Personally, I put Buick in the “upmarket” category with Acura and Volvo. So a little below the underdog luxury brands like Genesis, Infiniti, and Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Yeah, if Buick isn’t upmarket then neither is Acura and Volvo.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        In 100% agreement with Ajla.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I’m with you on Acura, though, as I’d put Acura as the Honda to Buick’s Chevrolet, that still implies to me that Acura nudges above Buick in the pecking order. Also, I don’t think that Buick has anything that can compete with the MDX in the country club wife market.

        But Volvo has separated itself from the others in its small pack ever since the XC90. My entirely uneducated guess (based on observation around Boston) would be that the average household income of a Volvo buyer is 50%+ higher than that of an Acura or Buick driver.

        • 0 avatar
          JRoth

          Volvos have gotten pricey, no doubt; I’m not 100% convinced the prestige has followed. But I suppose it’ll get there; I remember when Audi was arguably a bit downmarket from Acura, and I think Volvo is following a very similar path.

          Start as a respectable, but fairly niche, Euro maker; make some cars of distinction; bump the price and increase the distinction; pick a model and make a big move. On the last part, I’d say the A4 and A6 were noteworthy for years, but then the A8 came out (can’t name a model year, but circa 2000-05), and suddenly Audis were near-peers of BMWs in a way that would have been laughable 10-15 years earlier.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      Agreed. At this point I would say that Buick is percieved a step below Acura, but Buick has moved up from the 1990s when they offered things like the Century and LeSabre, and Acura is moving down from the days of the Legend and Integra.

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        That Century was just a cash cow for GM. They deferred refreshing that platform for years because it just kept selling. They were all over the place. I had a Skylark at that time, which while the smaller car was clearly more advanced and luxurious. The Century looked like it belonged in another decade, which it kind of did.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          The A-bodys (Century, Cutlass Ciera, Celebrity, Pontiac 6000) were the ultimate example of “sow’s ear into a silk purse”.

          GM took the bones of the X-body (Citation et. al.) which was truly terrible and made a cash cow out of it with the A-body.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Basically, Buick is GM’s current version of Oldsmobile.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Yes, it has moved down market – but kept the premium prices.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Buick has not moved down market. My god, do you remember how many Centuries they sold?!

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I agree with quaquaqua, how could Buick move down market after decades of selling cars like the N body Skylark? You were more likely to find a 1990s Skylark with manual windows than you were a Taurus or Camry. Most Mercury Sables were better equipped than the equivalent Century.

        The new Regal is not “down market” compared to the last one, or the Verano for that matter (and those were better than previous small and midsize Buick cars by a long shot). Starting with the first Enclave, in earnest, Buick has been continuously moving UP market, not down.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    From a Buick owner/driver…

    I believe that Buick wants to be a Premium brand, but I would go with Upmarket Value.
    The Buick brand certainly does not carry the panache that MB, BMW, or Lexus have nor do I believe that anyone other than me actually cross shops Lexus to Buick. I personally found the Lacrosse AWD to be a better car for substantially less money than a GS 350 AWD.

    Anymore though, I find the designations of Luxury and Premium etal to be nonstarters. We all know that you can option up a Chevy, GMC, Buick, RAM, Chrysler, or Ford to have the same features of any ‘luxury’ car produced. Honestly, how do you make the argument that a GMC Yukon Denali with every box checked is not a luxury car/SUV? GMC is a truck brand, that will produce for you a luxury SUV.

    The Regal GS pictured is a nice car, but at 40k will be lot poison.

  • avatar
    turbosasquatch

    Buick is upmarket but perhaps not luxury. A base buick has a lot of features compared to more common brands base models and can be optioned higher than other brands, that qualifies it as a premium brand for me.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    No.
    Not when you regularly promote your brand Nationally at anywhere between 15%-25% off MSRP.

    This brand is not being cross shopped and compared with the likes of Acura or Audi.
    Based on their reputation (and random observations of the actual drivers vs. those shown in the commercials), they are being cross shopped with the likes of the Fusion Platinum, Pilot Elite and Maxima SLs – the top trim of mainstream players, not top tier.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I find Buick a one trick pony at best, selling Opels again. I did love my Opels back years ago. However good they are, they are not lux cars. But value for money, they rate well. If Buick can keep from trying to put their identity on them and the French can build them correctly they will be a great car. However, again, no one seems to want cars.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Luxury doesn’t mean the car. It hasn’t meant the car since GM screwed up their brand segmentation 40 plus years ago. Even subprime punchlines like Kia sell outright excessive cars now. Luxury means paying extra for a badge that tells the world that you paid extra.

    Buick is no closer to that than Kia.

    I’m also having repeated login errors here for the past two days.

    • 0 avatar
      roverv8i

      Dan is on the right track in my opinion. Is supposedly nicer leather and a better sound system really worth more money? I’m thinking of comparisons such as Avalon to ES350. It’s not really the car but the statement and/or the experience. You get (usually) better treatment at Lexus then Toyota even if you have bought the cheapest Lexus on the lot. I feel that was in my experience. I could have bought an Accord with a V6 but got a smaller TSX. Also, it does help that I got a great deal.

      How is Buick perceived by most people, not just us gearheads? I for one appreciate that I can get a nice Kia, I just have to be willing to be associated with the people buying Rio’s on 7 year subprime loans. Buicks are like Acuras, etc but I think with not as much of a premium rep. When my wife took the then new TSX to work one day and peoples comments confirmed that most there think of Acura as more expensive than they are. At my work not so much. Definitely depends on the demographic. Drive a Boxster out into rural areas and you can get the same type of thinking. I have had first hand experience with people that do not know a Boxster from a 911 and they don’t get there Denali cost them more than my ride.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I also agree with Dan. Take the very nicest vehicles from some mainstream brands and they are in many ways 90+% or closer to what another $10-$20K might buy you in a similarly positioned vehicle from a luxury brand with perhaps less equipment to boot.

      Luxury brands are all about letting everyone know you paid more. That in your mind, you are better than the next guy because you allegedly have money. Its about what others think, social status and social climbing.

      Buick isn’t there. I would put it on par with Acura for the most part. A semi-premium trim of other offerings from the mother ship. Like Mercury, except Buick at lease not uses distinct sheet metal.

      The 2017 Buick Enclave is still on sale. It has analog digital displays, keyless entry and ignition is not available at any price, its moonroof has a manual sunshade. It is decidedly not premium. But it is a nice ride, has very nice looking sheet metal, appropriate bright work. I test drove the new LaCross. Similarly, it is nice indeed. Nicer than any Camry or Accord Ive been in, but I never felt I was driving a luxury car.

      So my vote goes to upmarket trim of more mainstream vehicles. I love the new Regal GS and TourX. If I were in the market in the next year or so, it would be on my short list. But, in all honesty, so would the new Camry and Accord.

  • avatar
    John R

    Yeah…for me I guess they’re okay products now, but growing up every buick I saw was clapped out with a hubcap missing. Even today there are still a few of those still limping along and whenever I start to hold the brand in higher esteem I see one then say, “yeah…pass.”

    I know the brand does well in China, but they should have shuttered the brand along with pontiac in North America and sold this regal, the other buick products, and the (what is now) SS as GMC’s. To me the the GMC brand is more a par to Acura than buick is.

    Really, I’m more interested in the Kia Stinger GT than the GS and they’re roughly the same MSRP.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    The GMization of Buick is nearly complete. It can no longer fly under the corporate radar at The Tubes. It is not long for this world, unless its’ CUVs keep it alive.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Buick is not a luxury or a premium brand. Buick is a middle class brand.

    Buick is become Oldsmobile, but the Oldsmobile that said you had arrived at the middle class, not the Oldsmobile Ciera that said you had given up on life.

    The oddity is the haziness of what middle class means in America when you can’t be a company man anymore.

    The Chinese sensibilities play well with Buick as not ostentatious, but having a little something special. The Verano, at least on paper, looked like a more special version of the Cruze, especially with the ultra-comfortable seats. The new LaCrosse (they wouldn’t even show me one at a dealership) looks, on paper, to at least be nicer and different from an Impala. The Enclave was their first real return to being something definable – Enclaves have always been nice. I hope the new Regal is better than a Malibu (which Chevrolet sucked all the fun parts of cheap-and-cheerful out of with the 2013 MY abortion).

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Buick apparently improved the sporty GS in every way”

    Buick doesn’t do anything. Opel does, Buick sells. Is Opel a premium brand? Opel is like VW. Do we compare VW to Lexus or MB? Buick is trying to play Volvo.

    Buick sold 223,055 cars in 2016. It is more than Audi, more than 2X than Lincoln. So, it works. But if you ask me, “do you want $40K Opel?”, I will say – NO!

  • avatar
    Rocket

    To this point I’d define Buick’s position as upper mainstream. A luxury brand needs to be aspirational. I don’t think any of Buick’s current models are. The Avista and Avenir would have dramatically changed the brand’s image, but heaven forbid Buick step on Cadillac’s toes when big brother is already struggling. If the Regal drives as good as it looks, and the Avenir trim level takes hold throughout the lineup, I’d consider promoting Buick to “premium” brand status. I don’t think I’ll ever call them a luxury brand, however. The badge simply doesn’t have the required cachet.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Until the mid-1960s Buick was the brand for bank presidents, doctors, and other professionals that wanted prestige, luxury, and performance, but felt a Cadillac was too flashy. Buick was definitely a step up from Oldsmobile and Pontiac, and non-GM competitors such as Mercury and Chrysler. But GM lost control in the 60s with too much platform sharing and a lack of brand discipline – Chevy was allowed to go upmarket with the Caprice and Cadillac was allowed to go down-market in pricing and quality, and the middle brands in the GM hierarchy had no place to go. Olds and Pontiac are gone, but Buick still doesn’t really have any clear place in the GM brand set, which also means it is difficult to place with regards to outside competitors. Ideally Cadillac should go upmarket to compete with the foreigners, and Buick might sit more clearly as a “traditional” American luxury car that would compete with Lincoln and the Chrysler 300, but that market isn’t very big anymore so probably isn’t viable. If it wasn’t for those crazy Chinese, Buick would be dead.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Stingray65 has nicely summarized the problem. Buick was for generations perceived as the car of choice for those who ‘could be trusted’. Well off, yet not ostentatious. The local Doctor, the Bank Manager. Your accountant. Those who put function ahead of style and knew value.

      Canada’s populist Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker rode in Buicks as being seen in a Cadillac would have destroyed his populist credibility.

      However Buick’s traditional American competition has largely disappeared. And Cadillac has to a great degree slipped backwards. Entry level offerings from ‘premium’ or ‘luxury’ brands have taken over this segment of the market.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Buick only exists in the U.S. thanks to Chinese sales, and those Chinese sales are predicated almost entirely upon the supposed cachet of the Buick brand in the U.S.

    As the shine continues to fade on the tri-shield over here, so too will Buick’s appeal in what is now its largest market. I suspect Cadillac will ultimately follow a similar path, too.

    • 0 avatar
      JRoth

      I think that badly misreads the Chinese market. Buicks have been selling in big numbers over their for, what, 10-15 years now? It has its own existence, reputation, and cache. Hell, IIRC, they have or will soon have China-only models. Maybe it would take a hit if it halted US sales, but Chinese car shoppers are not checking on Buick’s US reputation before going to the dealer (do they even have a dealer system over there?).

      BTW, I’m not denying the original value of its perceived place in the US market, just its current significance.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Maybe “near-luxury/upmarket.” I can only speak from recent experience with my mother. After 30 years of mid-stream Toyota products (Corolla/Camry/Corolla), she wanted something that she perceived to be more upscale. She briefly toyed with a few-year old Mercedes C-class, as she thought her “final” car would be something like a MB, but she looked at the Verano, drove it and loved it. Not sure what that says as far as what Buick is or isn’t. But she thinks it’s the nicest car she’s ever owned, the size fits her desire and need and the color combination, comfort (the thing is seriously quiet on the road) and features makes her feel that she got something a cut above.

    Oh…and TTAC…FIX YOUR SITE! This is getting ridiculous to have to spend 10 minutes logging in over, and over, and over!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “TTAC…FIX YOUR SITE!”

      YES.

      Oh and who thought it was cute to limit comments on the right to five and cut the editing comment time from sixty minutes to five min? WTF.

      Do you need IT help or new IT management? I can do both.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I don’t think it is hyperbolic to say that the login shenanigans on this site have risen to the level of !!OMFG!!

      Presumably someone wants TTAC to be taken seriously since you are now reviewing new cars like the rest of the automotive media at a rate not seen possibly ever, but the site has no EIC and a commenting and log-in system in shambles that seems aimed at driving this portion of the audience away.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Not anymore. Next?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I had an X3 rental recently. German “luxury”. I had to take it back the next day because the “oil level below safe minimum level, stop driving car” warning came on the screen.

      So, who wants to be luxury anyways. Luxury = more crap to break in 3 years/60000 kms.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Yesterday I said I take a new 2018 Camry V6 any day over the Buick Regal GS, even though the new Buick looks good. Problem with Buick is they have no identity. Reliability of Toyota is tons better. Their resale value relative to Toyota and Honda is bad. Walk into their dealers and mostly it is GMC vehicles that get the respect. Walk into a Toyota dealer even with a Corolla, and you get respect.

    Yet Buick survives because they are now a Chinese brand and they sell some CUVs. Long as Chinese buy Buicks, GM can afford to sell a few here, next to their bread and butter GMC trucks/SUVs.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Unfortunately Buick exists to give GMC dealers a full line of vehicles to sell. This is why the abominations like the Encore and Envision exist – those former Pontiac Grand Am/G6 customers have to have something to buy when they trade (if you can’t talk them into a Terrain.)

    Eliminate the Encore and I think there’s a good case for Buick being a semi-premium/near-luxury brand.

    Yes the Regal GS and Lacrosse are on my shortlist for next vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      How about a gently used stickshift Verano?

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged Miata Man

        DANGER, PrincipalDan! Danger!

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Verano? Why wouldn’t any rational human being just buy a Cruze with the RS package? ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Which motor did Cruze RS come with? Verano offered 2.4 which IIRC does not suck.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’d say Dave’s car on the whole was a steaming pile of poo.

            The Northstar Cadillacs were wonderful too – when they ran.

            Although I admit that my view of an RS Cruze is colored by the fact that the one I saw most frequently was driven by an under 30 mother of a student who had the habit of dropping her child off while wearing nylon running shorts.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Dan, the Cruze RS is a rocker panel kit, some 18″ rims…. and RS badges. Same lame wheezy engines as every other Cruze. It was the 2.0T (which itself has been solid) that called to me. Honestly, if I could have gotten something like a Cruze SS with the 2.0T, the Verano would never have been on my radar.

            You’re right though, my car is a steaming pile.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Because some people (my mother, for one…see my comment above). The Verano is a much nicer ride for her than our Cruze (with the RS package). It’s quieter and arguably more comfortable. We like both our RS and my mom’s Verano, but for longer drives, I’ll take the Buick.

            Different strokes.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            @threer.

            Fair counterpoint, and I’m gonna look flip floppy here. The Verano cruises (hehe) on the highway amazingly well, and we love it for that.

            I’ve said before and again, “i’d recommend A verano, just not MY verano.”

            So, I’m obviously salty about how my car ended up, but a 6AT Verano turbo not made on a Friday is a great cruiser.

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    I don’t think Buick has the prestige of the traditional premium/luxury brands.

    I think of Buick as a high-end Chevy, like Mercury was sort of a high-end Ford.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    It seems to me that Buick is where Volkswagen is. Damaged brand with decent products trying to be something it’s never been…. A premium brand.

    If this new regal is as good as it looks, they’ll have a more compelling argument – for people buying sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I can’t say I can agree with that, 50 years ago Buick would have been considered a premium brand, and would have had products like the Electra 225 and Riviera to back it up. Like a lot of GM brands they slipped in the 70s and aren’t really considered that premium today, but I don’t think it’s correct to say they’ve *never* been a premium brand.

      Volkswagon has recently offered some premium products, but has never been a premium brand in North America.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I don’t think its upmarket. It’s more like an Accord Ex or Civic EX that goes all the way to Touring + AWD. If the interior is better than Accord or Civic than its an Acura.

  • avatar
    Shinoda is my middle name

    Well, let’s put it this way….I am a C-Class owner. If I were to ever by a GM vehicle, Buick would be the make.

    Principal Dan…..your view of the Cruz was colored how by the owner in the nylon running shorts? Positively or Negatively?

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    This isn’t an easy question to answer, because for my entire lifetime, Buick has sold very nice, solid, American-style luxury right next to badge-engineered cheap crap.

    Consider a 1977 Park Avenue vs. a 1977 (Monza) Skyhawk.
    Or a 1984 LeSabre vs. a 1984 (Citation) Skylark, or 1984 (Cavalier) Skyhawk.
    Or a 1996 Riviera vs. a 1996 (Grand Am) Skylark.

    Today’s cheap Buicks (Verano, Encore) aren’t crap like their predecessors, but they’re not “premium, luxury, upmarket” either. But the high-end Buicks have always been “premium, luxury, upmarket” – to me, anyway.

    I’ll always love the ’97-’04 Regal GS, though. Comfy seats, torque for days, a nice car in a uniquely American way.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    I think the strength of Buick has been access to GM’s portfolio of Opel vehicles from Europe. While Opel is more of a mainstream brand in Europe, it’s difficult to assess how that translates to the US Market, in terms of premium, luxury, or upmarket. However, I associate Buick more with Lexus or Infiniti, than I would with BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. I think another commenter summed it up best as “entry level premium”. With the recent sale of Opel, and GM’s exit from Europe, Buick will be facing a bigger identity crisis than ever. If it weren’t for Buick’s presence in China, they would have likely been axed in the GM bankruptcy. As a result, you could argue that GM’s capital would have been better utilized, with more aggressive investment in Cadillac, which has had an ongoing decades-long identity crisis, and a struggling product portfolio, especially with the absence of more CUVs. I believe once Buick’s product pipeline from Opel dries up, we’ll be seeing more China-designed and China-exported models to the US, like the Buick Envision.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I swore I’d never buy a Govt Motors vehicle ever again. And I haven’t and I never will.

    But even if Buick weren’t Govt Motors, I’d still never even think of looking at it. Despite all those “THAT’S A BUICK?” commercials, it’s still a Buick.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Is thrat a Bruick?

    Bruick, subsidiary of Daewoo and next HQ in Shenzhen!

    All the “goodness” of GM reliability with Korean design and Chinese-level of pride in fabrication!

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      DeadWeight, I don’t see Daewoo having much input to future Buicks unless that engineering team takes over work on midsize and larger platforms Opel used to do. I do see Buick manufacturing in China with the extra length versions also getting exported to the US. The Chinese Buick designs will have more angry predator “dragon” in them without the graceful lines of the 60s Rivera. Independent of questionable styling to appeal to Chinese customers, fabrication quality will be dependent on QC requirements and enforcement of those requirements.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    As the owner of a recently purchased Buick Enclave, I can say that the dealership experience is more Lexus than Chevrolet.

    The car itself IMO is also as pleasant to drive as the Volvo XC90 and MDX I looked at. It’s a Cadillac SRX without the unnecessary bling. The badge on it doesn’t scream “look at me, I’m wannabe rich”, which is just fine since all I wanted was a nice family car, not a status symbol.
    I see Buick as a quiet, yet on par rival to other premiums and a bargain for anyone willing to forego a propeller or star on the hood.

  • avatar
    George B

    Buick makes nice enough mass market cars, but nobody is going to feel envy when the valet delivers your FWD proportioned Buick to the front of the restaurant. Buick could occupy a market position like Acura so long as they don’t slap Buick badges on some poorly proportioned subcompact.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Buicks are Opels and Holdens.

    So, this makes them a “working” class vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Which current Buick is a Holden? NOT which ones are also SOLD AS a Holden, because Holden sells nothing but rebadged global GM cars.

      The only cars shared with Buick were developed by Opel, not Holden.

      Oh but they sold a RWD Holden years ago in China that was a flop. Maybe that counts so you don’t have to admit you’re wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Johnni
        Please stop with your bullsh!t trolls.

        Current Holdens are very Euro and Opel. As Vauxhall was really Opel.

        Even the 3.6 V6 is an Aussie designed engine done in collaboration with Caddy. It is now a “working class” engine across the GM range.

        What of the Commodores? They are (used) Pontiacs, Caprice, SS. These are working class vehicles in Australia.

        The US might have lower quality vehicles than us and Europeans for the working class;)

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Ummmm????????????? Johnii dumb dumb,
        Years ago in China?? WTF??

        Years ago in China if ANYONE could afford a car they were fncking rich and not the workers.

        Wow, Denver.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    No.
    It is a poor man’s Cadillac, which is a poor man’s German sedan…

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Once this Regal GS has 5-8k hood cash thrown its way from GM, along with the deep discounts you’ll get from the dealer, this Regal GS will become the coveted “Most Awesome Vehicle for 10k off MSRP in the Under 40k Price Range for Non-Pretentious People over the age of 60”

  • avatar

    Not even close.

    I’m a 36 year old male.

    I don’t know a single person who would seriously consider a Buick (or a Lincoln for that matter).

    • 0 avatar
      donnyindelaware

      I’m just a year or two younger than you and I feel the same way. Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on something nice looking and different. This car reminds me of the Chrysler 200 in when fully loaded with the nice wheels it looks really nice. At the same time Im afraid that it will end up a piece of shit that will cost me an arm in a leg. I have the last gen Acura TSX and soon will be paid off and I hate the look of the TLX. Im not a Lexus fan and Infiniti does nothing for me since the G was discontinued. I will be keeping my TSX for a while I presume.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    Here in DFW, partly due to good dealers in great locations, the Enclave and increasingly Envision are often seen in the better parts of town. And I see more Encores than I would ever expect. Conversely, the sedans are rare enough to be actual counter-culture statements. For every new LaCrosse there are still dozens of clapped-out teal 1998 LeSabres dragging the brand down the street with them (although the high survival rate is impressive in itself, and I’m sure attributable to LeSabres and Park Avenues being a retiree’s choice even back in the 80s and 90s…)

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …if chevrolet is wal-mart, buick is montgomery ward…

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Are they a premium brand? No, at best, they are “entry level luxury”. In other words, much more elegant and plush than a Chevy, but not nipping on true luxury brands.

    This isn’t to discount the progress they’ve made. They’re not nearly as bad as they had been in my lifetime (1982+), it seems real effort is being made to carve out a niche in this bracket with Buick. I can see them stealing sales from the Lexus ES, Acura TLX and other entry level luxury cars with the Regal and the elegant LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Not luxury nor premium. Why? Cloth seats. Base level Buicks come with cloth seats. The traditional premium makes such as Acura, Volvo, Infiniti, etc all have leather standard.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      I wish base level Buicks still came with nice, plush cloth seats. IIRC, the last one that did was the 2013 LaCrosse. Now they are some combination of vinyl and cheap cloth. I think the outgoing Regal came with leather only, so that is kind of premium.

      Many premium and most luxury brands come standard with leatherette on their lower models now, and the masses don’t know the difference.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I pray for the day when luxury means being able to choose cloth seats again. Like the Japanese still do. For some reason it’s cemented in the American mind that if there are leather seats involved (even the fake stuff), then you’re rolling in luxury. Never mind that you’ll burn in the summer and freeze in the winter.

      These days, you can’t even move up to the middle trim on a mainstream compact car without having to deal with cheap vinyl. And now people can tell us how great it is that even those kind of cars can have all the “amenities” of a luxury car.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I have nothing against a high-quality cloth seat, but all the stuff in cars these days seems to be that rough, scratchy, hard material. Between that garbage and leather, the choice is clear.

        I don’t know about buring and freezing, with modern window treatments I can’t imagine the interior temp difference would be so great. Also there are such thing as pants.

  • avatar
    r129

    In most cases, I think Buick competes with the higher trim levels of mainstream brands. It is certainly true that a Buick rarely costs more than an equivalently equipped Chevy. Among other premium brands, its closest peer in status is Acura, but somehow I don’t see people cross-shopping those brands very much. The LaCrosse vs. Lexus ES comparison is more likely, and that is only because Lexus is unique among luxury brands in offering a large FWD sedan. As you go higher into the Lexus lineup, there isn’t much of a comparison.

    Buick’s traditional competitor, Mercury, is gone now. While the Titanium Fords have filled much of that void, It also seems to me that Lincoln has moved downmarket and is more directly competing with the higher end Buicks than Cadillacs with the exception of the Navigator and maybe Continental.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I don’t think Buick is a premium brand, at the moment, but it should be one in the future. Cadillac is trying to be aggressively styled sport sedans to compete with the Germans sports sedans. Buick could easily be comfortable cruisers with less aggressive styling, which would work in China, and still be useful in the US. GM could operate an American version of BMW and Mercedes out of the same company, but without the AMG equivalent since Buick doesn’t need to compete with Cadillac.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    To me, Buick is associated with the older, elderly generation.
    It’s time that Buick is revamped to re-invigorate its image to the younger generations or else it’ll perish.

  • avatar

    I cross shopped Regal with Fusion and Mazda6. Mazda6 had outdated interior and noisy and weak engine. But Regal and Fusion (Titanium) both had 2.0T and quiet and smooth ride. Fusion had better engine, I would say upscale compared with economy car sounding Buick engine. But Buick GS had higher quality interior than Fusion – in that sense it felt more premium. Fusion though had more sporty feeling and had larger trunk and interior so I ended up with Fusion I do not see how Buick is different from Acura or Lincoln but it is not at same level as Infiniti, Lexus, Germans and Cadillac.

  • avatar

    The Sloan ladder is dead. Buick used to be the car above Olds but below Caddy. Today, I’d put it as more luxury than Chevrolet, but not up to the standards of Cadillac. Maybe Acura. What is a Buick today, anyway ? Now that a CPO caddy is a 20-25k car, it’s not like the badge is unaffordable. Of course, BMW and Mercedes have also sold out/gone downmarket, so, short of Bentley, Maybach, Maserati or the big “F”, where do you go for a big name ? McLaren ? Won’t take the foursome to golf. Today’s market is a mosh. Everyone makes something for everyone-CLA, 320i, now abut against the Q50 and ATS. Buick ? Somewhere in GM land

  • avatar
    DudeMcLovin

    Wow I can’t believe this question was even asked. I have never or will ever consider Buick a luxury brand. I’m still bitter about GM choosing to nix Pontiac in lieu of keeping the Buick brand to appease the commies.

    That being said, Buick’s marketing is all over the map (as mentioned) and the only people I actually see driving a new one make me want to punch them in the face. No I don’t mean old people either. Mainly hipster fucks.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    As pointed out above, it’s sort of middling entry-luxury with Acura and Volvo. It’s not really all that premium, and it’s not upmarket.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Buick is GM’s Chinese-driven brand that also sells some product in their secondary, less important market, the USA.

    And no it’s not luxury, it’s Sino luxury.

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