By on August 16, 2017

2018 Buick LaCrosse - Image: BuickAs General Motors seeks to get the company’s U.S. inventory down to the industry average of 70 days’ supply by the end of 2017, once-prominent passenger cars are inhibiting the company from achieving its vital goal.

At Cadillac, where even the company’s three utility vehicles have far more than 70 days of stock, the brand’s four car nameplates have 137 days’ supply. At Chevrolet, where the brand’s somewhat excessive light truck inventory is largely due to an intentional increase in Silverado stock, there’s a 128-day supply of passenger cars. Granted, that figure is worsened by a stop-sale on Chevrolet Sparks that limited the city car to only 1,132 U.S. sales in the last three months and by a necessary Corvette stockpile in advance of a Bowling Green shutdown.

But it’s at Buick, where new and old designs alike are suffering from dramatically lower-than-anticipated demand, that GM’s inventory reduction methodology doesn’t seem to be taking hold. According to Automotive News, Buick dealers have enough LaCrosses in stock to last until the July 4th holiday next summer.

How did Buick develop such a LaCrosse glut, and is there a silver lining to this black inventory cloud?

To be fair to the LaCrosse, it’s hardly the only Buick causing U.S. dealers to pave new overflow lots. There’s nearly half a year’s worth of Buick Envision inventory, roughly seven months’ supply of the departing fifth-gen Buick Regal, five months’ supply of the Buick Cascada convertible even as prime convertible season comes to a close, and even 111 days’ supply of Buick’s top-selling Encore.

But the LaCrosse takes inventory to a whole ‘nuther level.

GM’s not unaware of the issue. The company cut shifts and laid off workers at the Hamtramck, Michigan, assembly plant where the LaCrosse is built alongside the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevolet Volt. Through the end of July, total Hamtramck production was 31-percent lower than in the first seven months of 2016, Automotive News Data Center figures show. LaCrosse production in July, specifically, was down 64 percent, year-over-year.2018 Buick LaCrosse interior - Image: BuickBut prior to the slowing of LaCrosse production, General Motors was building the LaCrosse in the kinds of quantities that suggested GM anticipated full-size sedan success. And the LaCrosse, even early in the third-generation’s tenure, was not enjoying the predicted level of success.

Last year (2016) ended as the LaCrosse nameplate’s worst calendar year ever. From nearly 93,000 sales in 2005 (its first full year) to 61,178 sales in 2010 (the second-gen’s first year), General Motors reported only 27,582 LaCrosse sales in 2016.

GM is technically on pace to sell fewer than 23,000 in 2017, but it appears increasingly unlikely that the LaCrosse can climb even that high. Its rate of decline recently increased, with July volume plunging 56 percent, year-over-year, to only 1,028 units, less than half of the total Buick sold in June and less than one-third of the total the LaCrosse produced in May. The LaCrosse nameplate averaged 4,300 monthly sales just three years ago but has sold fewer than 2,000 copies in six times in the last 12 months.Buick LaCrosse sales chart 2015-2017 - Image: © The Truth About CarsWhile selling far fewer LaCrosses in July 2017 than July 2016, GM did, however, sell LaCrosses at a far higher price point this year. Last month, the average transaction price for the LaCrosse grew by $4,788, Buick tells TTAC. Year-to-date, the LaCrosse’s ATP is up $3,431. In fact, while LaCrosse sales dive lower and lower each month, the customers who are still paying for the LaCrosse — and such customers do exist — are paying significantly more. The average transaction price for a LaCrosse in July was $1,957 higher than it was in June and $545 higher than it was in May.

If this offers some solace to General Motors’ corporate HQ, it does little to decrease the massive quantity of LaCrosses available across America. GM doesn’t want to sacrifice the long-term residual value of a near-premium car such as the LaCrosse by reverting to a fleet-first philosophy or by chasing customers with aggressive discounts.

But by what other method is this massive LaCrosse glut ever going to be cleared?

Not surprisingly, the LaCrosse was listed in a recent rumor of cars GM plans to cut by 2020.

[Images: Buick; Chart: © The Truth About Cars]

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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61 Comments on “There’s Enough Buick LaCrosse Inventory in America to Last Until the 2018 July 4th Holiday...”


  • avatar

    every time I see a Buick on the road, I’m surprised someone bought it. There are so many options out there, offering the same or better car, for less money. I don’t really get the appeal, so I’m not surprised they have a lot of inventory.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      No one can tell me what “buick” is… and I’ve even owned one.

      I mean its clearly not a highline. Anyone who cares about brand will buy Cadillac, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, etc.

      Its also not a value car. Anyone who cares about getting value for their dollar will buy Chevy, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda.

      so WHO buys buick? Like what is a buick buyer? why do they buy?

      I almost bought a buick once… I thought the Buick Regal GS was a treat- Manual transmission, decent luxury, decent performance. then I found out they discontinued the manual (I understand WHY they discontinued it, but that was also the “only” value proposition from the brand). I went and test drove a used one when I finally found it, and… HOLY TORQUE STEER. I know people bought them and loved them. they are kind of a unicorn, but I opted out. I do see why people would have bought it though.

      Once they discontinued it however…. I don’t know why anyone would buy a current buick. Not that I “dislike” buick, but they aren’t any “nicer” than the cheaper options and don’t have the brand panache of the highlines.

    • 0 avatar

      This. I cannot comprehend why anyone would buy a Buick. I have no idea what the brand stands for.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Our nanny drives a newer Buick. It has a license plate frame from a local Acura dealer, so I can only assume she went to buy an Acura and this was more appealing for whatever reason.

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          I never considered “what the brand stands for”. I know that I wanted a nice comfortable, powerful sedan that had the looks and features I wanted. That’s what I have with this Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            YeOldeMobile

            But why a Buick Lacrosse over a similarly priced Acura, Infiniti, Lincoln, or Audi?

            Like, I love Cadillacs but I would not seriously consider buying/leasing one from this product cycle now that the Alfa Romeo Giulia exists.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>so I can only assume she went to buy an Acura and this was more appealing for whatever reason.<<

          It was the cheapest thing on the Acura lot, traded in on a new Acura.

          They were probably as desperate to get it off the lot as the original Buick dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>This. I cannot comprehend why anyone would buy a Buick. I have no idea what the brand stands for.<<

        Let's say your rural town only has a Buick dealer. My grand dad always bought Hudsons, Hudson went out and it became an Edsel store & that's how he became the owner of a 1958 Edsel Citation.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          I don’t understand the Buick hate (probably too strong of a word for me to use). It provides entry-level luxury and a lot of comfort for a reasonable price. There’s a substantial audience for this kind of vehicle. That audience doesn’t generally visit automotive enthusiast forums.

    • 0 avatar
      HunterS

      I was 38 when I leased a 2012 Regal Turbo. I went with the Buick because I loved the looks of it and how it drove and handled. The service area was close to Lexus standards (regular maintenance; never had a problem with the car). I also liked the heritage of the Buick name. Previous “adult” vehicles were a 2010 Lexus IS250, and before that a 2006 Volvo S40 T5. Only reason I didn’t buy the car off lease or get another was due to mine having a CarFax on it from somebody hitting me, and the dealership wouldn’t play ball on a new Regal. I went up the road to the Lincoln dealership and picked up a 2015 MKZ (which on this one I bought instead of leasing, and absolutely love). I’m obviously not brand loyal or a brand snob, and would consider Buick again.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Sadly, I think the same thing every time I see a new Acura these days (except maybe the MDX, but everyone I know who bought one really wanted an X5 but couldn’t justify the cost).

      This “middle class” of entry luxury is being pushed out.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Middle Class of luxury is getting pushed out?

        I don’t know why someone would think that?

        My Sonata was only $37k, and the Mercedes CLA starts at 29k.

        The cheapest brands and the most expensive brands completely overlap now.

        The cheap brands now offer high levels of luxury features.
        The expensive brands now offer budget offerings.

        Once again, if you “care” about brand, you’ll buy a budget highline.
        If you “care” about value, you’ll get a cheap brand “luxury” model.

        There is no “middle ground” anymore. it got squeezed to death by the two extremes.

      • 0 avatar
        dmoan

        @sck

        Or wanted third row seating that actually seat more than children which X5 does not have. And Mdx is easily outselling X5 while X5 has higher incentives.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Or they already owned an X5, and didn’t want to repeat the same mistake twice.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The MDX doesn’t outsell the X5 by much – YTD, 28,282 vs. 27,145.

          Greater incentives or not, the X5 ($57k) starts at a significantly higher price-point ($44k for the MDX) and gets significantly pricier one you start adding options, much less go for something like the X5 M.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Change Buick’s name to Bruick and follow the lead of the Envrision and make them all in China, assembled with a minimum of 88%-made-in-China parts (sourced from lowest priced bid parts from suppliers in Guangzhou Province), and put a silver ‘Mao Of Excellence’ square badge where GM used to put ‘Mark Of Excellence’ badge…

    …and Trifecta Tune each one at Chinese factory build-site so Norm can get his mininum of at least 376 horsepower/444-lbs ft of torque and 53.7 mpg City/78.9 mpg Highway on each new 4-cylinder Bruick.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “GM did, however, sell LaCrosses at a far higher price point this year.”

    Local dealers are advertising decent (not Impala or 300 big, but still sizeable) discounts on these so GM must have been giving them away in 2016.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    My 70ish next door neighbor just replaced her 2005 Lacrosse with a 2017 Camry. Even diehards fall.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Lexus has durability and exquisite build quality, Mercedes has (had) the snob factor of the logo, Honda has economy, Hyundai had (had) a cheap price, Kia even more so, Toyota has (had) a reputation for quality, Mazda has inexpensive driving dynamics, BMW has expensive driving dynamics, VW has “German engineering”, Volvo has safety and comfortable seats, Subaru has funky station wagons for unmarried women, Ford and Chevrolet have something for everyone, Saturn had a better dealer experience, Jeep has off-road capability, Fiat has low quality ratings, Saab had quirkiness, Cadillac has luxury, GMC has utility, and Buick has… your grandmother used to drive one.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Buick has QuietTuning!

    • 0 avatar
      TheDoctorIsOut

      Growing up in the 1960’s many people including my father bought Buicks because for those in the luxury car market at the time they and the top line Oldsmobile 98 were less ostentatious and a more conservative choice than the Cadillacs. GM used to promote a stepping stone marketing plan for their cars as people moved up the economic ladder and they could afford better, more luxurious cars. Others, like my dad used to point out our neighbors’ Caddy de Ville sedans as his example and note that his Electra 225 had the same levels of luxury but without the overwrought styling and inflated price tag; think of Buick being a Michael Kors handbag compared to a Coach bag and you get the general idea.

      Though Buick tried periodically to bring a more youthful image to the brand with offshoots like the C-body based GS 400 or later the Skyhawk, nobody was really convinced that Buick was anything else but somebody’s second choice at the premium end of the market.

      Cadillac clearly doesn’t hold the same sway in the public’s imagination that it did even into the ’70’s and without that cachet neither Olds or Buick really had or have a reason to exist since then. Truly they would have been better off dumping Buick and revitalizing Pontiac, at least GM could still sell Pontiacs as a more sporty Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      RHD, Buick has durability, quality, (constantly outranks your beloved Lexus), comfort and value. It lacks excitement.

      • 0 avatar
        Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

        I once owned a FWD Regal… it had durability problems in the interior and the paint. It was dependable, though.
        Fast forward to 2017… I recently saw several car carrier loads of Buick Envisions on I-5 headed south… they give the impression of being the Chevy Aveo of CUVs. They didn’t look like a tiny step down from the Standard of Excellence. I can imagine seeing them in a few years in the parking lots of Dollar Tree and 99cOnly stores.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      “Subaru has funky station wagons for unmarried women”

      Bahahaha…spit out my coffee with that one.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I can understand why sales volume is down since every man lady and child wants a SUV or CUV. Its got to be a good car but its just made at the wrong time in automotive history.

    I personally cant stand SUV’s and CUV’s. I came close a few times in getting a Regal GS with a manual. They took that away and took away my chance of ever getting a Buick. I would have been one of the rare few that would have had a manual Buick.

    I suspect the new Regal will suffer the same fate.

    The Encore looks like a grasshopper.

  • avatar
    abitolder

    I guess that is the car with the fancy new design electronic gear shifter, since most buyers are older they do not want to get used to this new device, but as always, GM says we will build it and they will buy it, I guess this not happening. Thank god!
    Now that Mary Barra is sitting on the fence about the presidents CEO council, it is another reason not to buy anything GM. But I do not want to be political here!!!

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I didn’t check all the cars, but I can see why they can’t move any Cascadas. GM’s current “incentives” for the model consist of a lease offer only fit for garage-queens ($369 for 39 mos, with $6,229 at signing (though they’ll knock off $1,500 for conquest deals)… and it’s limited to 32,500 miles.)

    Oh, and if leasing isn’t your thing? 3.9% for 60 mos. If that’s an “incentive” rate, you gotta wonder what the “regular” rates are like!

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I shopped the Lacrosse when it was pretty new at the beginning of 2017. Beautiful car really in terms of exterior design. The interior is not all that special but still nice. The problem is, then and now I suspect, that GM isn’t putting cash on the hood early enough or in sufficient quantity. It is, unfortunately for GM, required as the large car segment is literally ….tanking.

    So you have a new model for first part of year with no incentives to speak of, in a segment that is disappearing before our very eyes coupled with unrealistic production goals. GM needs to stop making this vehicle today and not resume until healthy inventory levels are reached. This may be the fire sale of year as its nearly September and I assume the years worth of supply is almost all 2017 models. Its going to be a “December to Remember” at your Buick dealership.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Also, going full retard on stop start technology that cannot be turned off is a bad idea. I’d probably get used to it over time, but it was all I noticed on the test drive. Better come up with way to disable it GM!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Still on my radar and I’m about two years out from a purchase.

    In my area I see Lacrosses piling up on the dealer’s lot but I don’t exactly see a high willingness to deal.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Wow, Ford is generally selling more copies of new in 2013 C-Max every month than the Lacrosse. That seems a tad crazy.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    Any manufacturing concern that can let its inventory so exceed product demand deserves to be in trouble. Don’t they have managers and bean counters over there? Guys that know you can’t make 3 if you only expect to sell 2.

  • avatar
    Fred

    They should talk with Morgan. Their inventory is -300 days.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Well, 10 Morgans should be easier to move than 100,000 Buicks. Seriously, what is a 300 day supply at Morgan? I’ll guess 1000 cars.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        It takes years to get a Morgan. My dad ordered his in 1985..hence the handle; he took delivery in November of 1987.

        • 0 avatar
          karonetwentyc

          Two years to delivery was positively fast for Morgan at that time, but I can absolutely believe it.

          We had a Morgan distributorship in my immediate family at one time. Our annual allocation from the factory was six cars per year (we were in a *very* small market); the smart folks would figure out when in the year we placed the orders for our allocated cars, which we could then have the factory build to their specifications and deliver to the customer in the space of a few months.

          Customers who placed special orders through us outside of our allocation could expect a delivery time of anywhere from two to four years. This was in the mid-1980s through the late 1990s / early 2000s.

      • 0 avatar
        Ko1

        Negative 300 days means there’s an almost year long waiting period between ordering and receiving your car.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    GM continues to stumble their way through market perception. It seems like they view Buick as Cadillac light if Cadillac was viewed similarly to Lexus or MB.

    From various accounts, it sounds like the LaCrosse is a decent car. It’s just overpriced for what it is.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Where can I see inventory and ATP data?

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Building up a brand in a contracting segment while expecting both high volume and high volumes is pretty much impossible.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    From the reviews I’ve read the LaCrosse is a much better deal than the near identical Impala, which has been a total flop for GM.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Something about the looks of the Epsilon Impala, never sat well with me..I owned a 14 for 17 months. Underpowered but nice around town.

    I took a 16 LaCrosse demo for a nice spin…There again there was something undefined I didn’t like. Maybe it was the size? Ive owned a box Caprice ,and a 76 Parisienne and a W Impala LTZ. So its not like I was afraid of the size.

    The LaCrosse just didn’t suit me. I’m 63 years old, and have the income to afford such a car..I fit right into the demographic that should be all over this car…But it seems a lot of us in such a position agree . Its not the car for us.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Now if these were sitting EVs they could be C2G. Car To Grid – used as a giant battery to store charge that could be used to help out at peak demand. They’d actually be earning the dealerships something.

    July 4th 2018? By them I should have seen Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom June 22nd. Is that you LaCrosse?

  • avatar
    stodge

    When I was ready to buy I didn’t look at the Lacrosse as it’s too big for my needs. I think the exterior is ok but the interior is bland. I did sit in the new SUV (Envision) but it didn’t feel or look like entry level luxury. It looked lower, despite what Buick wants me to think. The Regal would be about the right size but it’s an aging vehicle with the worst seats I’ve experienced. It’s interior is hideous although the GS was interesting.

  • avatar
    pbx

    The 2018 Regal Sportback is looking very tempting. The GS even more so. From a guy who never gave a Buick a second look…or thought.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    If GM had labeled it the “WILDCAT”, like I proposed in 2011, they would all have sold out by now.
    Perception is Reality and LaCrosse spells Rental.

  • avatar

    I love my Lacrosse. the problem is GM Marketing, same old story. I’d clear the lots in short order.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You keep saying this, and as much as I agree with you that effective marketing can’t hurt moving product, and that GM has horrendous marketing (whether Chevy, Buick or Cadillac ads), high-quality, reliable, desirable things really sell themselves, even in the face of poor or little marketing.

      I’m going to disagree with you and state that Buick has a fundamental product problem and lack of any clear product
      identity.

      I’ll go further and state that vehicles such as the Encore is a $109/month travesty clown-car (CUV) driven mainly by blue hairs (with the exception of Norm’s Trifecta Tune Club and their 587 horsepower/62p-lbs foot torque, murdered-out Encores), that the Verano was a bad product for Buick, that the Enclave is overpriced and not very competitive, and the LaCrosse is not bad but is sort of like a version of tapioca (as are many of it’s competitors).

      Do I even need mention the Bruick Envision imported from Guangzhou? That is going to leave a welt.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You can only market so much against a trend of rising CUV sales and expect to win. Remember too that the LaCrosse has a Impala below it with no AWD option and a XTS/CT6 above it. The later is a better deal CPO used but a much firmer rude quality and status than a Buick.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    The Lacrosse is a great car and an exceptional value….used.

    I absolutely love mine. I laid down 200 miles on it today in quiet 82 mph cruise controlled bliss. Would I pay 43k for a Premium I AWD? No. But, the 20k plus tax that I paid for a 37k mile example made in 2014 was a deal all day long.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    My brother in law just got $6500 off msrp on a loaded ’17 Avalon. Buick can’t touch that on a number of levels.

  • avatar
    backtees

    Can’t wait for these to be 2 years out and be a heck of a buy. Had a 2000 lasabre that was the embarrassment of the family but the 3800 v6 just rocked. Dang I miss that bench seat. Yes, I’m 47 and I shop Buick.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I am getting use to the Buick LaCross! It is a car that I maybe getting in the future. Still kind of pricey for a fulloaded model at around $56K. I going wait till their is a big discount maybe in Winter time! I don’t like the steering wheel nor the look of the interior. Otherwise, it okay!

  • avatar
    415s30

    I’m in SF, I never see these cars. Someone moved here recently and there is one of these just like the picture for sale for $17k in the window. They just look like junk to me, not the style for around here.


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