By on March 13, 2018

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir, Image: GM

“When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them.” Thus spake Robert Farago nearly thirteen years ago when he started the General Motors Death Watch. Just fifty-one months later, General Motors filed for Chapter 11. Our august founder got his wish. Or most of it, anyway. The weak-sister brands were sold off — although, looking at the stunning resale value of Hummer H2s on the West Coast, one wonders if perhaps that nameplate should have been retained; it would certainly play well in an era where $100,000 is the new normal for a loaded full-size SUV. (One also has to admire Farago’s Muad’Dib-style prescience regarding Donald Trump’s relevance in the future, but that’s slightly besides the point.)

Robert was wrong about one thing: while General Motors did die in the the legal sense, most of what normies consider “GM” is still very much present and accounted for. I recently sat down with a senior “New GM” person who told me, “We used the bankruptcy to keep the good people and make some much-needed changes,” by which he meant “cutting the dead wood.” I think that much of the current product line reflects that rejuvenation. The Corvette is the world’s finest sporting automobile, at least on the value-for-money scale. The Equinox has been a bright spot for more than half a decade now. The Denali line is a license to print money, and justifiably so. I’m no longer much of a skeptic when it comes to the General. Last year, I did something I’d never done before: I spent nearly 60,000 of my favorite dollars on a brand new GM product. While there are certainly criticisms to be made regarding America’s largest-by-a-whisker automaker, I believe it is now safe to say that the company is on solid footing everywhere from 755-horsepower supercars to electric-dreams city commuters.

Except, of course, for Buick. That’s got to go, and nobody’s going to miss it.


Before any of the business-school dropouts get too excited, I should note that I am not suggesting the death of “Buick,” the Chinese brand that sells Chinese cars to Chinese people. That seems to be doing pretty well, and it’s a big part of the reason why China is now a bigger market for GM than the United States. No, I’m talking about the walking-dead nameplate currently limping zombie-like through hundreds of rural showrooms.

To begin with, Buick is now clearly the dumping ground of GM product. If you look at GMC, for example, you’ll see fresh faces and shiny grilles and waiting lists for products like the four-cylinder Terrain. Buick? Well, they have

* A Korean blob (Encore)
* A Chinese blob (Envision)
* A Polish blob with a folding roof (Cascada)
* A sedan that nobody buys (Regal)
* Another sedan that nobody buys (LaCrosse)
* A monstrous CUV that weighs 4,800 pounds in its cheapest FWD variant and which has no visible market whatsoever (Enclave)

In January of this year, Buick sold under 14,000 vehicles. Half of those sales went to the Far East Encore/Envision duo. This is considered “good news” by the servile lapdogs of the automotive press, who will turn around and tell you in the same breath that the 2018 Honda Accord is a “slow seller.” A quick look at the numbers tells the truth: The Accord, by itself, outsells Buick by about 30 percent. The CR-V sells more than double the volume of the entire Buick brand. The Honda product that most closely matches Buick’s overall sales? The Pilot, by itself. That’s amazing, because the Pilot isn’t that popular. Once you remove the imported cars from Buick’s sales totals, the brand trails the Odyssey… and finds itself in a dead-heat race with the Honda HR-V.

Imagine a Honda dealership where all you could get was the HR-V. That’s pretty much your Buick showroom, plus a few ringers from the Chinese crowd.

This disaster didn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth noting that Buick was often the fourth-best-selling brand in the country during the Seventies. It’s been all downhill from there, but these last few years have been particularly dismal, no doubt in part because the marketing and advertising that supports the brand has gone from bad to worse. It’s at the point where all but the most committed journosaurs are stepping off the Buick bus; despite some very expensive West Coast luxury travel and accommodations tossed their way during the past few months, I can’t find anything but the most lackluster copy-and-paste faux enthusiasm among the shrimp-and-Rascal-scooter set. One of my little sources in this business tells me that Buick PR is being very generous to people and getting nothing in return. What could be more pathetic than trying to cosplay Geoff Day at his prime only to have people treat you like the people who stand in the aisle at Costco asking you to try a new DirecTV package you don’t want?

I could go on, perhaps by talking about the LaCrosse Avenir that costs nine thousand dollars more than a Lexus ES despite possessing a nearly identical silhouette to the ex-rental Impala that your local CarMax is selling for $17,995, but this is probably an outstanding opportunity for me to honor Mr. Farago’s historical 800-word limitation. Buick should be shuttered here in the United States. The resources should be devoted to Chevrolet and GMC. It’s time to cut down the last stand of that old dead wood. Pick up the axe and start swinging.

[Image: General Motors]

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238 Comments on “Buick Death Watch 1: Buick Must Die...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Agreed

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Then do you agree Acura and it’s similar amount of namplates that sells less than Buick, also should be a goner?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Misery loves company.

        If that’s the best defense for Buick in the US…

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Acuras are desirable.

        Look who buys Buicks.

        • 0 avatar
          phoon

          Acura is worse if anything…. their best car is the TLX and even it is inferior to the accord unless you must have awd or a v6. The whole lineup is rather ugly also.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The best car in the Acura lineup is the MDX Advance, and it’s not close.

            I seriously considered buying one, but ended up going the old-school SUV route instead.

          • 0 avatar
            chiefmonkey

            “The whole lineup is rather ugly also”

            An egregious understatement!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Aside from ones named NSX, no they’re not.

        • 0 avatar
          tnk479

          Acura product is struggling right now, but, help is on the way. The new 2019 RDX is right on target. You can bet on the TLX getting the new 2.0 turbo and 10-speed that’s in my new Accord Sport. With SH-AWD, that’s going to be a fun car.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          My mother, for one…but I agree that the Verano she bought back in 2012 could have been badged as a Chevy and she would have still loved it. While I like the Regal (I’m half German), I just don’t see enough of Buick to see the point in it sticking around, other than to sell to China. I’d be all for us making Buicks and selling them to China, but see the article about unfair trade practices in China to figure out why we can’t. If Buick went away here in the US, not sure it’d be missed. I’d rather see Pontiac come back (and not be just another channel for cars made everywhere BUT the US).

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Acura TLX is for older, poorer males.

          “According to J.D. Power research data, 65% of TLX buyers are men, matching the average for the Compact Premium Car segment. They are slightly older than average (58 years of age vs. 56), and they’re making less money than average…”

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          There is not one Acura I would consider. Period!

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Thornmark, guess who will have a 5 crossover lineup? Not Acura.

          Buick just announced five(5) new crossovers including new platforms and redesigns.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Acura and Buick should both be gone.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Agreed to this?
      “The Accord, by itself, outsells Buick by about 30 percent. The CR-V sells more than double the volume of the entire Buick brand”

      so what do you offer, for a company that sells around 156K cars, stop selling them and stop raking 4 Billion dollars for them?

      You know, I heard that average Pizza Hut restaurant clears under $30K in profits. Is this so little that they should close most of them?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Didn’t expect this much commentary from a one word utterance other than, well,the word Drumph. LOL

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buick died in August 2008 anyway.

    mlive.com/flintjournal/business/index.ssf/2008/08/saying_goodbye_flint_engine_no.html

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      Buick is going to die one way or another. No one under the age of 60 considers the brand and the economy where the remaining dealers are located is dying.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The average Buick buyer is 57 years old, Lexus 56, and average new car buyer 52 years old.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Buick dealers are also Cadillac dealers. Did you just explain why Cadillac isn’t selling either? GM shut down the low volume dealers outside of large population centers, and eliminated sales to some of their most loyal customers. Those large population centers aren’t dying economically, but the brands are, because their models can’t compete with the choices available.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Interesting for a brand that can’t compete that the much talked about new Regal Tour X just beat out a Subaru Forester and VW Jetta wagon and it’s sales performance increased 126% for the month of february with the new model gaining the sales.

  • avatar
    raph

    What would it cost GM to shut down Buick? I’ve read it was horrendously expensive to kill Oldsmobile and over at Ford Mercury.

    GM was fortunate with the bankruptcy since They weren’t burdened with those cost when they shut down and sold off brands like Pontiac and Hummer.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The quick rinse bankruptcy was a huge benefit to GM. I thought back then that the only brands that deserved to live were Chevrolet and Cadillac. I still think that.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        I’m no business school dropout, just know a little about the market, and I’ll never ever own 1 share of GM no matter if it goes to $6 trillion per share.

        How the bondholders got turned upside down in the “bailout”, and of course wiping out the shareholders, the vast majority of that damn bailout was to support the UAW.

        So Mary, blast away, keep trying to position GM as a “services company”, prop up that P/E, go for it.

        GMC needs to survive, Caddy too as long as the brand is weighed towards the cash cow SUVs, and maybe keep Chevy alive and just try and get close to the offerings from Honda and Toyota.

        The Bolt is the red-headed stepchild at most dealerships, if that’s how the company really thinks about EVs, stop building the darn things.

        Otherwise, you can flush everything else down the toilet. Did I mention that I’d never own another share of the company?

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Greater minds than mine, i am sure, did the math and business plan for this whole “a brand for every segment” approach back in the early 90’s but i could never, ever, ever, ever wrap my head around it. SURELY the overheads of different brands will kill the profitability of offering the customer differentiation? SURELY that is what trim levels are for no???

    I was always puzzled by the behaviour and now, some near 25-30 years later, we are still seeing the damage those silly decisions did. The overhead must be a KILLER, everything from dealers to service bulletins to tooling to letterhead to advertising … surely it never made any sense to have Chevy, Buick, GMC, Saab, Olds, Saturn, Pontiac, Cadillac etc etc etc etc etc … boggles the mind how it ever made a lick of sense to anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      It would have been far smarter to have “General Motors” dealerships that sold all the brands, with each brand having unique and different models…

      Chevrolet = basic family cars

      Pontiac = sporty cars with the same level of amenities as Chevrolets

      Buick = entry level luxury

      Oldsmobile = entry level luxury with increased levels of sportiness. Basically the Pontiac equivalent for the luxury tier

      Cadillac = proper luxury

      GMC trucks = either luxury trucks, or proper working grade trucks

      Instead we have a situation where the only difference between their brands are looks, as in which one looks less dreadful.

      GM has brands and model names that have some real equity if they are used correctly: Roadmaster, Rocket (88), Chevelle, Bonneville, 442, GTO, Nova, etc.

      It kills me that GM could absolutely do the retro thing SO well, and give people modern versions of legendary cars…and then they produce turds like the SSR, HHR, the modern GTO, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Garret – duh.

        GMs problem is how dealers would have been culled in that situation.

        I have 2 GM dealers in my county of 75,000 people. I know which one I’d like to see die and which one I’d like to see live but I wonder which one GM would pick if they had to?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Garrett, those 6 brands that you list still seem to be parsing a market very very thinly, particularly with a CUVs overrunning everything. I don’t see a big distinction between Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Buick there.

        • 0 avatar
          a5ehren

          Yeah. You could do the same by having a trim level that denotes “same car with stiffer springs and a different tune” like all the other makers.

          All Pontiacs are “Chevy ST”, all Olds are “Buick GS”, etc/

      • 0 avatar
        TheEndlessEnigma

        Garrett….why the heck do you need that many brands for the market?

        Chevrolet – Basic family cars, sporty cars, entry luxury, trucks
        Cadillac – Luxury and luxury performance

        Pontiac – killed
        Buick – kill it
        Oldmobile – killed
        GMC – kill it

        It’s funny that you say “the only difference between their brands are looks” because without horrendously massive overhead needed to engineer cars specifically for all the different brands you’d like to segment you will be left with badge engineering a vehicle design into each of the brands and trim levels…..which is what GM did and does….because it is massively expensive to design a car for each and every badge.

        Let’s go into the way back machine and think about the Chevy Cavalier…and Buick Skylark….And Cadillac Cimarron…and Oldsmobile Firenza….and Pontiac Sunbird. Those are all the same chassis, body and basic interior fittings with different brand badges, some slightly varied body styling and slightly different interior body kit. Yet in the end….every car was a Cavalier.

        Instead….let’s design models within a brand to appeal to different markets and actually sell to those markets.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      I agree, it never made sense to me either. Just do what Toyota does:

      Mainstream: Toyota
      Luxury: Lexus

      Mainstream: Chevrolet
      Luxury: Cadillac

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      @Alfisti

      The number of brands was not so confusing as the degree to which GM diluted the underlying concept until they reached the point of total brand cannibalization. To the outside observer it was a dozen sucky brands all competing for the same marketshare. Brand dilution is what drover overhead costs, too.

      The saddest story of the lot was Saab, imo. GM had basically purchased a manufacturer that owned an iconic vehicle, and the tweed jacket intelligencia spoke about it in reverent hushed-tones as if if they were talking about an early-911. It seems that GM only needed to give the Swedes a platform and a powertrain, and then let them work their weird Scandinavian magic. Instead, GM required them to rethink the interior as well, which killed the cult of Saab 900. Opportunity squandered. The end was inevitable no matter how many new vehicles GM built when they took complete control.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      Alfisti, you forgot Hummer, Geo and Asuna. I’ve probably also forgotten some.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    During The Great Reckoning, I’ve always wondered why Pontiac got the axe and Buick survived. The Word at the time was that it was All About China, but I’ve never understood why they couldn’t continue the brand in China and kill it here.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Lutz agreed. He said Pontiac was the winner and that Buick was a “dead brand”. We’ll never know about Pontiac, but he was certainly correct about Buick.

      There are no Buicks, Buick= Geo, a hodgepodge of unrelated commerce united under a tainted banner, Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      “I’ve never understood why they couldn’t continue the brand in China and kill it here.”

      Short version: China loves Buick due to its historical perception of cachet in the United States. Kill the brand here and that (misconceived and now utterly laughable) cachet disappears in its largest market.

      • 0 avatar
        aquaticko

        I have to kind of doubt that. Buick’s prestige may have originated in the U.S., but Buick’s been in China long enough, with a strong enough image on its own among the Chinese consumer, that it’s got a life of its own there. If Audi was the Party Car circa a decade ago, and it and the other Germans have retained their all-to-predictable place on the top of the branding hierarchy, Buick sits comfortably in a spot not totally dissimilar from ’90’s Honda in the U.S.–a car everyone knows is nice, but not one which is so loud about it that it’s purchased specifically for that communal knowledge.

        Whether or not that kind of space–wherein you have a nice car, and everyone else does, too, but no one feels the need to talk about it–continues to exist is a question which won’t be answered by economics or business, but people who study capitalist consumer culture. However, the experience of every other advanced capitalist country does suggest that, long-term, it probably won’t.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The problem is dealerships. Kill Buick and you have a bunch of dealers that will only have trucks to sell. They’ll sue you. You can’t give them Chevies to sell because then the Chevy dealers across the street will sue you instead. It’s cheaper to just keep giving them spinoffs of Chinese and European product (plus the car that the Impala should be).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That’s my question as well, dal. It won’t be cheap, and given that Buicks are all basically inflated-sticker versions of Chevys, GM has little incentive to do anything but maintain the status quo.

      I also wonder what killing the brand here does to it in China.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Kill Buick and you have a bunch of dealers that will only have trucks to sell.”

      I’m willing to bet that many dealers would be fine with that.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      dal20402, you’re probably right about the cost of closing dealerships. But if they can do it, they should, now matter how much the stock takes a hit.

      Nowhere in my mind could I ever imagine that I would stroll into a Buick Dealership. Never.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly. For the longest time, Buick has simply existed as a car line to go along with GMC’s trucks, crossovers and SUVs at the same dealerships. Only…now 50% of Buick’s lineup is also crossovers.

      The demands of dealership networks is what got GM in trouble in the first place. I imagine it’s the reason for those final U-bodies (Chevy Uplander, Buick Terraza, Saturn Relay, Pontiac SV6). Despite the fact that they were as unchanged as could be, they allowed most GM dealerships to have a minivan to sell.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah.

      Most Dealers would be THRILLED to kill the Buick brand. That albatross frequently keeps hem from hitting their SFE targets. The only reason Buicks get sold is when the dealer flips a GMC customer to an Enclave.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You think GMC dealers would be happy to sell a lineup with zero sedans and no CUV smaller than the Terrain? (I’ll grant that the Enclave would work fine as a GMC.)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          GMC sold a Lambda, Acadia, until 2016.

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Lambda_platform

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, and then it moved the Acadia into the Edge/Murano “premium 5-seat” segment. If Buick died, GMC would surely need the big 7-seater back.

        • 0 avatar

          I know they would. I just sold a $10,000 a month ad package to a Buick GMC Dealer, and we had this very conversation.

          • 0 avatar

            Even so, they know that holding a franchise is a valuable piece of property that contractually obligates GM to give them a big bag of money if they take it away, and they aren’t going to give that up.

            I also suspect that the value of a Buick franchise depends on where the dealer is located, and that one near, say, The Villages, really wouldn’t want to lose it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          They might be happy until the next big gas price spike. Or credit crunch. Then they will be looking for a bailout.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        Seems like they already have. The Buick dealerships here have very little inventory. If they actually had more options sitting on the lots, maybe folks would be more interested.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The cost of killing Buick without the benefit of Bankruptcy would be very high. I think GM keeps Buick around because its presence in the US helps branding in the Chinese market. Plus, Buick has very good quality numbers that are close to Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I can’t help but to agree with Jack on this one. I’m sure the idea has been tossed around in the GM board room.

    Buick will die in North America. The question is when.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    such a good point about hummer, it could be such a great jeep competitor. as far as I can tell, gm still owns the brand. I guess the money is better spent on buick sedans…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    In the same sense that the Mitsubishi Mirage deserves to die, so does Buick. There’s no compelling reason to buy any Buick, as Jack rightly points out, and that includes the new Regal, which is underwhelming, to say the least.

    But buyers gave GM 219,000 reasons for the brand not to die last year, and if each of those sales represented a higher-priced version of a Chevy, then GM will be loathe to walk away from that.

    And then there’s this: most, if not all, Buick stores share space with GMC, and those dealers won’t want to give up sales, even if they’re horrid little Encores. A dollar earned selling an Encore is still a dollar.

    You also wonder if doing away with Buick here damages the brand in China.

    Then again, doing away with Buick also opens up more “premium space” for Chevys, and more “entry level” space for Cadillacs.

    My advice for Buick would be simple: forget about selling LaCrosses and Regals. CUV everything.

    Prediction: the brand keeps limping along.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ll agree with your points, but not with your example. The Mirage is 20% of Mitsubishi sales, and Mitsubishi and the Mirage are both inexplicably on the rise. My suspicion: the Mirage fills a low-end niche like no other new car.

      I used to think the Mirage and Mitsu should die, but not so much anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Gslippy: Without playing to the credit-challenged meme that lower-end cars seem to do on this board, I think your assessment of the Mirage’s place is correct.

        My youngest wants to replace her old van with something more economical and easier to park. More than once I’ve been tempted to steer her toward a Mirage. Low cost of entry, stout warranty, (should be) low maintenance costs.

        But, we’re also GM supplier family. We could get an equally good or better deal on a Spark (but with less warranty coverage). When it comes time to do the deal, I’ll leave it up to her choice.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      “Then again, doing away with Buick also opens up more “premium space” for Chevys, and more “entry level” space for Cadillacs.”

      This is where (for me) the logic dies.

      There should not be any more premium space for Chevy. I really feel that Cadillac should not produce anything smaller than the CT6. They should have produced something like the Elmiraj by now but, SUV uber alles. If this were the case, there would be plenty of room for Buick as it exists now.

      Also, GM did sell the Hummer and Saturn brands. They did not sell the Pontiac brand. This used to give me hope, but ~10 years on, I’ve stopped holding my breath.

      I thought that Farago got lucky with his prediction(s). I also think someone who wasn’t focused solely on GM’s demise would have also called out Chrysler’s and Ford’s distress, too. I’m horrible at prognostication, so I’ve no leg to stand on, but I have noticed the New GM has been highly centered on being profitable even if it had/has to do things differently than it did before.

      • 0 avatar
        tsoden

        Actually the sale of Saturn fell through. “On September 30, 2009, Penske had ended its deal with General Motors. The deal between Penske and General Motors had ended because of Penske not finding another manufacturer to buy the Saturn brand.”

        Ref: wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Corporation

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          I remember that now, vaguely. (2009 was a bad year for me, so a lot of this stuff of fell off of my radar.)

          As I remember it, wasn’t the Captain (Roger Penske) going to do a deal with Renault/Ssangyong to bring new cars to the US (After the legacy Saturns were exhausted)? I’m pretty sure that Carlos Ghosn shat on that idea.

          I suspect the shatting took place because Nissan was headed for bottom feeder status and didn’t need internecine competition from the Captain’s stable…

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Yes the new Regal is so bad it’s sales went up 126% for February and climbing and it’s wagon Tour X variant beat a Subaru and VW in a recent comparo. Doesn’t sound underwhelming to me.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The existence of Lacrosse means that I can go down to the Buick dealer and buy a Lacrosse with the same equipment as the Impala Premier for the same price. And the Buick is on a newer platform with a longer wheelbase than the Impala.

    I’ll drive both the Lacrosse and Regal GS before making my next purchasing decision but then I’ll be driving vehicles from all sorts of market segments as long as they are within my budget.

    Buick is a cheap way to give the GMC dealers something else to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Check out used Lacrosses, Dan. I was at CarMax the other day with my daughter looking for something for her, and found this one – 2017, 10,000 miles, leather, etc – $25,000 (and that’s CarMax’s inflated pricing):

      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/727638155/overview/

      That’s one helluva nice car for that kind of money. And in my neck of the woods, there are tons of these. with similar miles. Apparently GM addressed low LaCrosse sales by selling a zillion of them into rental fleets.

      It does nothing for the brand, but it’s a great deal. If I had any interest in a big, non sporty sedan, it’d be at the top of my list to check out.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        But I want the 5 year/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty on the NEW one. Plus a new Lacrosse can be had for LESS than $10K more than that used example cited. Just FYI.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, the price I cited was typical CarMax vapor. 28 could probably tell us what one would go for in the non CarMax world, but I’d have to think a reasonable price would be +/- $22,500, and that’s for 10,000 miles, leather, nav, heated/cooled seats, etc.

          That’s a TON of car for the bucks.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wanna say I clocked the 17s at 27ish (think AWD) as Dan and I discussed it a few weeks ago.

            But I wuz wrong!

            MY17 Buick Lacrosse FWD V6 Premium

            $22,200

            Typical Range
            $21,100 -$23,200

            MY17 Buick Lacrosse AWD V6 Premium

            avg: $24,000

            Typical Range
            $21,600 -$26,500

            Funny I was just thinking that’s a 20K car why is it priced so much?

            Pity this model is not powered by the LORD, or it would make the Church’s buy list. 28 trusts not these cams over heads. Witchcraft, ’tis.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Is that new or used, 28?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            Used, of course. Most under 30K miles, I presume mostly early trades, professional cars, factory sale, and maybe fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      SMIA1948

      The Buick Lacrosse has a 13.3 cubic foot trunk, compared with 16.7 cubic feet for a Honda Accord and 19.0 cubic feet for a Chevy Impala. A big sedan with a tiny trunk is a stupid thing.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Trunk space of double the Accord, optional AWD, base 2.0T, and 4/50 warranty starting $24,999 make the 2018 Regal Sportback very appealing. And that is before discounting.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          The Accord is a much better car than any fake Buick sedan.

          Ask Baruth; he said so in R&T.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I want to see you two brand whores battle to the death on here. That way there will only be one of you to pimp, pimp, pimp their corporate overlord.

            Norm Vs. Thorn. WHO WILL WIN?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          That’s why I’m hoping for discounts on the GS model by the time I’m looking. I think the Sportback with folding seats is the right solution to the problem of tiny mail-slot trunk openings.

        • 0 avatar
          jbm0866

          I have to agree with you there, and the TourX is also very appealing (to me at least) as well. Question is, now that design and manufacturing is under the Citroen/Peugeot wing, will GM continue rebadging Opel Insignias as Buicks? Will the Insignia be killed off altogether?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Your quoting trunk space for the previous generation LaCrosse. The new one is 15.8 or only a whopping .2 cu.ft. less than a full size Toyota Avalon but more than Nissan Maxima that has a paltry 14 cu.ft. Oh and the amazing Avalon and Kia Cadenza do not even have folding rear seats according to C&D

  • avatar
    phoon

    I have to disagree with this incredibly negative review. I see buick as comfortable understated decent vehicles that need one more generation of decency to regain their reputation. The facelifted envison is quite attractive and certainly better than either the terrain or equinox, the encore is one of the more attractively styled mimi crossovers and the new regal sportback and tourX are very interesting. If they keep it up with offering unique products to fill niches that Cadillac and Chevrolet don;t, i can see them becoming a great niche brand. Who the hell complains when we get a new and attractive wagon and liftback??

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I continue my philosophy that it needs to be all about choice. If people want a Buick-badged vehicle, there should be choice for as long as it remains profitable for the manufacturer.

      But with so much better on the market, the question becomes, “When will the market shake out the crap that isn’t profitable?”

      I was an Oldsmobile fan until GM killed the brand. GM should market the Buick line in China and greater Asia, and import Buick cars into the US as a niche brand.

      Better yet, GM should get rid of Buick and GMC altogether. That’s waaaaaay past due.

      And after $11Billion of taxpayer bailout money, GM continues to stagger on because GM has the full faith and credit of the US Treasury behind it.

      Such a deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      I agree. Buick makes the best looking cars and CUVs out of all the GM brands imo, and better looking than most competitors too. The clean understated styling is a refreshing counterpoint to the grotesque and garish overstyling that’s all the rage these days.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Barth was just bitter that my similar priced Verano Premium 2.0T lost less value after discounting than his Accord V6 in three years.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Your Verano sucked. That was a mercy killing. Veranos have lousy resale because they are dead.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          This is true, shockingly so. I’m just glad my mother runs a 10-year cycle on car purchases. Her 2012 Verano is worth so little now as to be almost comical. Still, she loves the car and intends on keeping it the full ten, so what do I know? As opposed to the 2003 Corolla I sold for her when she bought the Buick that had people offering me MORE than I advertised it for.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Thornmark, the Verano Premium 2.0T costs less and depreciated less after discounting than Jack Accord Coupe v6. That was discussed over a year ago. So .ugh for Accord excellent depreciation which why he still has it.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The only source of complaint is of course TTAC.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““We used the bankruptcy to keep the good people and make some much-needed changes,” by which he meant “cutting the dead wood.””

    Dead wood brands, dealers, pensioners, factories, possibly some staff? Maybe. However if IT was any indication, the dead wood still floated as recently as 2015.

    “The Equinox has been a bright spot for more than half a decade now. The Denali line is a license to print money, and justifiably so.”

    Equinox came out in 2005, Denali trim long before even then.

    “I’m no longer much of a skeptic when it comes to the General.”

    Jack you’re not paying attention. Cruze, while impressive and successful, was greenlit by the failed regime. The current regime decided it needed more Daewoos and added several, how’d that work out? It took two in pipeline products, a Pontiac and Saturn, and sold them as a Cadillac (ATS) and Buick (Regal) respectively. Both have been extremely unsuccessful in their intended missions, the former perhaps more than the latter, it being a quick Opel badge job.

    In the time of the new regime, Cadillac has become a complete a dumpster fire. Alpha aside, they took a reasonably successful product, Sigma CTS, and plummeted sales by forcing it onto a mauled Pontiac platform AFTER it was obvious ATS had completely failed in terms of sales. During the new regime’s product planning, it failed to plan for any CUV in the 2010-13 period and instead relied on the SRX second gen, which was greenlit and produced by the previous management well into 2017. The new regime greenlit the WTF, errr ELR, which was quickly memory holed and also what is now called CT6 (which itself is simply the new Seville). The new regime came out with outrageous pricing on all of its refreshed or new models only to be tempered by the media and reality (CT6 fiasco, CTS/ATS selling 20K below msrp, etc). They then had the balls to think it could pull off fruity coffeehouse bullsh*t with a 933 strong dealer network (2015), and legacy tainted since 1980 in nearly every way possible. Gare Dreatly.

    Chevrolet has also not been immune to disarray. The GMT900 to K2XX did not go over as planned. Ford gambled on aluminum and won, where was GM’s innovation in this market? Then the Z06 issues in 2015:

    https://jalopnik.com/looks-like-chevy-is-fixing-the-corvette-z06s-cooling-pr-1784072034

    When you f*ck up Corvette, it indicates a major dysfunction somewhere in the company.

    Buick is a hodgepoge of imported garbage and your points are valid, but it won’t be going away as you’d like. The whole point of GMC is Chevrolet for more money. Given how the legacy dealer network was designed, I don’t see GMC moving in to Chevrolet dealers, and I’d be hard pressed to see it move in with Cadillac since they will likely share models. Buick will continue to be miscellaneous in order to keep GMC in a sensible home. I could see it used as a place for experimental models or concepts, how Oldsmobile was used by Cadillac R&D, as opposed to using Cadillac for this purpose and leaving a pile of failures in its wake. But as to your basic point, Buick must die, it did in 2008/09.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I don’t see GMC moving in to Chevrolet dealers”

      Maybe Canada is different than the USA but I see combined GMC/Chevy dealers all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In the US, many Chevrolet dealers are standalone. Here Pontiac was usually mixed with GMC (C-P-C divisions) and are/were seen as more upscale than Chevrolet.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Equinox came out in 2005 – Jack actually means how long it has been GOOD.

          Go drive a 1st gen Equinox, total POS. I drove a V6 AWD model from Gallup, NM to Phoenix AZ. When I got finished I popped the hood to check for the V6 cause I’d have sworn it had a 4 cyl.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I drove an MY12 V6 once, was good for what it was (not sure if 3.0 or 3.6 DI). The first generation was 3400 and 3600 (prob the multiport version). The 3400 powered much of C-P-C at that time and my guess is the model was too heavy for it. No different than the Aztek, which was also another 3400 special. The second generation defaulted to an Ecotec I4 with a whopping 186 bhp @ 6700 rpm and 171ft-tq at about 5 grand. The LNJ 3400 produces 1 less bhp and more torque probably at lower rpm, how is this a significant improvement over gen 1?

            “The LNJ makes 185 hp (138 kW) and 210 lb⋅ft (285 N⋅m).”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_60°_V6_engine#LNJ

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      what 28-cars-later said.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Cadillac pricing is actually quite good. The Luxury trim ATS is comparable to a BMW 330i. The ATS costs $5,000 less and it weighs less than the BMW. The ATS makes more power and costs $5,000 less than the C300, and the ATS is more or less on par with the Audi A4 TFSI.

      The problem with the ATS is that the 3.6L V6 has been behind a huge paywall. In 2018 the paywall is about $10,000. It’s a contemptible state of affairs because Cadillac works so hard to pitch a value proposition to potential buyers and then they ruin the value proposition by slapping a $10,000 premium on an engine that could be construed as the simpler powerplant. The ATS-V cost $10,000 more than an Audi S4. That’s roughly $100 for each horsepower over the S4. If you option the ATS-V all the way, it costs more than an M3 or C63 AMG. Even if the ATS-V is better, it doesn’t have the pedigree to demand that sort of money.

      ATS styling is also out of step. It still has the high beltline and hight hood/truck lines from 10 years ago. The Germans have gone back to the low-slung look, particularly Audi, and the sales figures are paying off.

      CTS failed for one reason – Dare Greatly. When you’re trying to sell a unique vehicle that straddles the mid/full segments, but you come up with a dud like Dare Greatly, it might be time to fire everyone……maybe with a firing squad.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Someone said it better in a later post, but you have to rationalize or explain your Cadiwreck purchase to your peers. You don’t have to do that with A4, C300, and 330i as people still think those are real choices (I don’t but I’m an outlier). ATS has to be *much better* to be taken seriously, not on par, not slightly better for a little less money I’m not sure if the V6 model is the cats tats or not, but it can’t command such a premium over superior Teutonic iron as the brand is a joke. I think we agree on this in your last sentence of the first paragraph.

        I agree the styling is wretched but so is most of the industry and proles are lining up for some of it.

        Clever pun, but CTS failed in my estimation because it was just a slightly longer Alpha, and it had already fallen flat on its face. Keeping Sigma II going until they figured something else out would have been a much better idea.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          If you live in the Tri-State area, and you work in a professional boiler room in Manhattan, you will spend the rest of your life trying to justify your existence if you buy a Cadillac. The same may also be true in LA or SF. However, it’s not the case in Florida or Texas.

          So Cadillac might not sell as well as they’d like the in the 1st and 3rd biggest economies in the US, but they will do fine in the 2nd and 4th biggest state economies and most everywhere else.

          It’s not a matter of product. The ATS already has about 100hp more in base trim than its base trim German competitors. No one cares. ATS costs less. People complain about cheapness. On the coasts, it’s all about social themes and conformity. Cadillac worked hard to lose control of this demographic. Cadillac marketing will have to work hard to make people perceive the ATS as better. They can’t do it the easy way with spec sheets.

          That’s why I contend the CT6 was sunk by Dare Greatly. Airball.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel J

          Good lord. I stopped keeping up with the Jones’ a long time ago. I could care less about what others think I drive. Neighbor got an A4 and is hating the thing. He’s been trying to rationalize that purchase for a while, as it seems to be in the shop alot.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Ditto here. Still driving my horrible dated 2013 W-body Impala that just keeps trucking along reliably day after day with not too far away from 100k miles. Meanwhile most of my friends with there SUV’s are complaining left and right about tire wear and noise and replacement costs, crap mileage. high costs for everything that goes wrong etc. And then there are the German car owners like VW and Audi who can’t seem to go a month without either a scandal, recall, failed part or a break down on the side of the road. I have actually had to go and rescue a co-worker that owns a 2012 Jetta 3 times now.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Really what GM should do is keep prices the same but replace every longitudinal application of the NA 3.6L with a ~360hp version of the 5.3L V8.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        ATS has no back seat. It’s a 2 seater with 4 doors. Who TF thought that was a good idea? Seriously, if that person is still at GM (probably), why haven’t they been fired?

        CTS has a small back seat – as small as my late model 3er. Give me a break.

        The CT6 had a chance, but the septuagenarian crowd has been on team Lexus for some time. It’s a blah car marketed at nice but blah dealerships with a blah sales staff… at least for the one near me.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    They’ve also used the same annoying song in their ads for what seems like a decade, maybe longer.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Isn’t this a classic case of, “It’s cheaper to keep her?”

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The Riv, the Deuce and a Quarter, the Wildcat, Skylark Gran Sport…whittled down to vapid CUVs and Chinese knock-offs. Buick is like Keith Richards, it died years ago, it’s just not taking it well.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    In all seriousness, they should keep the brand and market it to the older crowd. Leave out the tech laden things like touch screens. Make them more user friendly for people who don’t use Apple carplay/pandora. My 75 year old mom would like a new car but has no desire to learn all the new things. Her sister got a Soul last year and they were not happy about the lack of a CD player.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      I would kill to be able to buy a modern car in which ALL the user interfaces were analog in nature or at least used physical switches, dials and levers with the “one function per button” approach.

      Moog is a great example of how to execute on this. They make synths that appeal to the “I want to fiddle with knobs” crowd while also offering totally modern operation behind the scenes including patch memory and the ability to download patches, full MIDI control, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Isn’t that what Toyota already does and is for?

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Incorrect. Short sighted.
    Short-slightness killed Hummer. Hummer should never have been a full brand, but more like Denila. Had Hummer always been part of GMC or merged in the bankruptcy (the GMC-H1, 2, 3) it could have continued as high end special models and been minting money now. (and could have a reputable, very profitable, Jeep Wrangler fighter based on that platform).
    Looking ahead and assuming “all trucks” is very questionable thinking. Instead won’t the future have a lot more need for effective, efficiently produced, differentiated products. Even in an SUV dominated world more originality is needed. Will there be more of a market share benefit from one more chevy blob SUV, or something on the same underlying platform that looks completely different.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      IIRC from Ratner’s book and maybe others, word from the very top of the Obama administration was that Hummer had to go regardless of business sense, because it offended the tree huggers.

  • avatar
    dariosycco

    I don’t agree at all. Gone are Pontiac, Isuzu, Mercury, Scion, Saturn, Hummer, Suzuki, etc. Who knows what happens to Mitsubishi and if Mazda loses Toyota partnership, they could be next too. Do we really want the choice 70s version of Eastern Europe had? Trabant, Fiat and Lada? Cars in NA already start to look alike, where you see nothing but mainly 4 or 5 nameplates. I want choice. If GM finds Buick viable, so be it. Leave it be.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      This. I’m starting to worry there won’t be any choices left except SUVs and quad cab trucks, unless you are super rich in which case there will always be sports toys and Rolls.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I like Buick interiors…
    Other than that why they kept Buick over Pontiac is beyond me.
    They already have Cadillac, so with Buick you get a watered down Cadillac, what’s the point?

  • avatar
    Coolcar2

    Hmm quite the negative Nelly! I would disagree regarding the Enclave, plenty of people in my area own and/or cross shop this CUV with the MDX, Pilot, QX60, etc. It is a capable, roomy SUV that has some cache with the upwardly mobile that do not want a minivan. I don’t think the Regal hatch will sell well but the wagon may find a niche within the Suburu/Audi crowd looking for an alternative that won’t break the bank. I agree the Encore and Envision are crap and don’t deserve the badge. If they put the right engine in the Envision it would sell better.

    • 0 avatar
      AlfaRomasochist

      Base 2018 Enclave is 4358 lbs. Within spitting distance of its rivals in the sector and way below the 4800 lbs that Jack pulled out of … thin air.

      • 0 avatar
        Coolcar2

        Exactly and if the MPG are similar to it’s rivals do buyers even look at the weight of a vehicle? I know I don’t and I am 99% sure the majority of women that drive these can care less.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        The thin air of the GM Fleet website, even!

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Hey, Jack! No fair backing up statements with researched factual information from a published source! Party foul…

        • 0 avatar
          AlfaRomasochist

          Looks like the numbers on both GM Fleet and the Buick site carried over from the pre-redesign 2017. Both 2017 and 2018 show 4724 FWD / 4922 AWD, which makes no sense for a completely redesigned car. Somebody at Buick marketing done screwed up.

          The Traverse / Enclave / Acadia triplets lost around 400 lbs in the redesign. Sadly I’m in the exact demographic for these and all the reviews made a big deal about the weight loss when they came out. None of the reviews where they actually weighed these things came close to 4800 lbs.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Buick has a set of strengths and opportunities to compete in the US market, and GM would be wise to utilize them, rather than letting the brand die. I’ve written this many times so I’ll try to be brief.

    There seems to be two different competing philosophies regarding automobile design and manufacturing. One philosophy is to build cars with high initial quality, lots of cool features, and constantly changing new powertrains. The other philosophy is to stick with what you know by building vehicles with proven components according to formulas that are familiar to customers. These competing philosophies are quite noticeable in the luxury space where the European manufactures compete for initial quality and performance customers, while the Japanese compete for the long-term reliability, residual value, and comfort crowd.

    The American manufacturers, in their relentless pursuit of compromise, somehow ended up in no-man’s-land. The way out of this self-imposed hell is by leveraging their powertrain portfolios which have been among the most diverse, regarding the reliability vs. performance spectrum. GM, in particular, has a unique opportunity because they have two luxury brands that can function in the luxury space, Cadillac and Buick.

    We already know Cadillac is going after the Germans, at least most of their major product decisions seem to be pointing in this direction.

    Buick needs to go after the Japanese, specifically Lexus. GM has the powertrains. They have the obscure fuel-sipping technologies (Atkinson vs. cylinder deactivation). They have a brand without a distinct position in the US market. All they need to do is send a few people to understudy at Cadillac and Denali. Everything else is in place.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Forgot to mention the threat to Buick is GMC. Lexus benefits from selling the LX and GX models. These are GMC territory. Therefore, Buick can’t get too “trucky” or they will step on GMC’s toes, and those guys at Denali are minting money right now.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Buick shouldn’t be getting trucky at all. It’s GMC that needs to get back to being trucky. What’s “professional grade” about shrinking the Acadia so dramatically, ruining the utility the old model used to have? What’s “professional grade” about making the Terrain look like a Chevy Bolt? GMC needs to stop making CUVs and start making SUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Agree, but I have this weird suspicion that the pro-GMC factions in GM probably perceive GMC as a Jeep competitor. Therefore, they imagine GMC can build a bunch of masculine-looking soft roaders and say “Professional Grade”, and people will come running.

          As you point out, they should spend more time working on body-on-frame vehicles, if they want to carve out a niche for themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “build a bunch of masculine-looking soft roaders and say “Professional Grade”, and people will come running.”

            Works for FCA. How many Jeeps do they still sell again? Two?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            Jeep has been cultivating a potent offroad brand by building real products and by garnishing their compromises with Trail Rated nomenclature. Jeep has something to dilute when they build nonsense like the Compass and Cherokee.

            GMC hasn’t made an effort in the offroad, active-lifestyle segment since S-10 based Jimmy. It was introduced 23 years ago. I think the smallest platform they have is the Yukon, which has a 116 inch wheelbase, and it’s as wide as a country line and designed to carry a small block V8.

            I guess people can be easily fooled, but it’s an uphill battle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree, a brand must have equity to dilute first and GMC does not have the off road chops Jeeps enjoy[ed].

          • 0 avatar
            dwford

            28,

            those soft road Jeeps are really making a name for themselves in the real world. I had to drive around a Renegade stuck at a stop light on a snowy hill the other night. Front wheels just spinning uselessly. I was in my 2012 Sonata with all season tires and had no problem, even from a dead stop.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Buick must die, it has to look like an accident though.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    What does Buick offer that can’t be had in a Chevy showroom? Nothing.

    Buick should make a pickup truck.

  • avatar

    it’s the marketing, always has been.

    Buick’s the Buy!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Also, I want a gigantic modern sedan at a reasonable price. There are no truly big cars anymore aside from the ultra expensive brands. Give me a decontented long wheelbase CT6, but make it even bigger. And I’m not talking just about leg room, it has to be as wide as a full size pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      I agree. A car with a *real* backseat would be nice. Sometimes I pick up my daughter and her roommate at the airport and they always comment about how “roomy” my Charger is, lol. I tell them “No, my ‘72 Lincoln was roomy and my ‘67 Newport was roomier.” Even though they were two-doors.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Even an 80-inch-wide car, the maximum legally allowable, wouldn’t be as wide inside as those ’60s and ’70s machines. Modern crash structures in the unibody and doors take up several inches of width.

      But the buyer who wants a wide back seat is now buying a full-size pickup or SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        dal, you are right. Which just proves that buyers really haven’t changed what they want or need, they are just forced to buy trucks and crossovers to get it now, because sedans aren’t what they used to be.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I think the buyer led that change, rather than being forced into it.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          big Buicks, CT6, Avalon, Impala and the departed SS, Hyundai Genesis and probably a few more are big sedans with big back seats. None of them sold well. Hell, look at the new Camry and Accord – those are big cars with big back seats, too.

          No one is forcing anyone to buy CUV/SUV if they want a big car. It’s the height that is selling most on the wagons on stilts.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Just as intended.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Looking at the numbers in the Wikipedia link, Buick was in fifth or sixth place throughout the 1970s, and didn’t get to fourth place until 1980 (it was fourth in ’81, ’83, ’84, ’85, and ’86), and even managed third in ’82. I grew up in the ’70s, and can remember that practically every other car I saw on the road was a Cutlass Supreme.

  • avatar
    George B

    Are there any stand alone Buick dealerships or are they all Buick GMC dealerships? If they all sell GMC too, I’d start by focusing CUV development under the GMC brand. Then I’d have Buick focus on either a Camry competitor or a Avalon competitor, but not both. I’d guess a Buick sedan should be more like an Avalon, but would defer what customers actually buy. I think the medium large sedan should be a fairly long wheelbase design to appeal to Chinese and American customers, not a short length for Europe design. If the Buick brand for China has other products that make sense to sell at a Buick GMC dealership, import them into the US. Just don’t dilute the Denali license to print money with cheap looking crap.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    If anything, GM should have killed Buick (at least in the US) and kept Hummer. The proposed H4 (from the HX concept) could have given the Wrangler a run for its money. I still see a fair number of H2s and H3s on the road, any they’re usually shiny and well cared for.

  • avatar
    carve

    I’m 40, and Buick has negative brand equity for me. The Regal would have to be drastically better than a comparable Lexus, Acura, Audi etc. for me to even consider it.

    If there’s no brand equity, why keep it? It’s just a name.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    You are right about one thing (not a bad average for an auto writer) the Corvette is cheap.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    My question is, how much of the interest in Buick in China is because of the American connection? If none, fine, Buick should die outside China. But if Buick is popular because it’s perceived as representing American-style luxury, then it needs to continue as a live American brand. It doesn’t need to do well – it just needs to exist to allow that perception to continue.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I doubt most Chinese people are aware of GM’s lineup here, any more than most Acura or Lexus buyers were aware of those brand’s home market nonexistence in 1990.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s probably right, but I also think “Buick dies in America” is the sort of headline that would pierce people’s bubbles and damage the Chinese brand. I think the combination of that and the dealer issue in my comment above is the reason Buick won’t go anywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “the reason Buick won’t go anywhere.”

          dal, Buick is changing, or at least TRYING to change its image.

          Hence the push toward younger, more attuned upscale car buyers.

          IMO, Ms Barra is the best GM CEO has ever had. I’m not a GM fan any longer but will give her the credit she deserves.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            They’re trying, but without being given the resources to succeed. I don’t blame GM management for that. I think it’s a sensible way of dealing with the reality of two redundant dealer networks that you really can’t consolidate.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” I think it’s a sensible way of dealing with the reality”

            Me too.

            I have always voiced my opinion of folding GMC into Chevrolet Trucks, as an upscale version of the lowly Chevrolet trucks, and donating Buick to GM of Shanghai.

            But so far, no takers, no listeners, and no nibbles by GM Management.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      I don’t think Buick ever had the cachet of Cadillac or Lincoln abroad. Even if it was mostly anecdotal.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Just looking at it, it seems like Buick’s at the intersection of maximum dollars for minimum effort, aside from doing something ridiculous like creating another K2xx variant with the Buick badge. They absolutely could make Buick compete directly with Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln and Acura (and then take Cadillac further upmarket), but that’s a lot of time, money and effort. Buick is making *enough* money, so I bet nothing will change in the near future.

    However, now that Opel and Vauxhall are gone, any new models will probably have to be developed specifically for Buick, which does change things considerably.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I suspect we’ll see only trimmed-up, quieted-down Chevrolets once the Regal is gone.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree. Buick is the new Pontiac in this regard.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I was skeptical when I first read it but I agree with those posters who theorize that the next product replacement cycle the Malibu/Impala and the Regal/Lacrosse will be replaced by one sedan that tries to stretch across both segments.

          I was looking at the local Chevy dealer’s page for giggles and noticed he does not show ANY Impalas in stock but has several Malibu Premiers he would gladly sell you. (I also noticed the crook has them listed for more than MSRP with a $1500 UV/paint protection package.)

  • avatar
    dwford

    The real problem, besides the meh cars, is that buyers are sheep, and they don’t want to have to rationalize a Buick or Cadillac purchase to their friends. Few people can pull off the trendsetter stance among their friends – most that try get eye rolled. So the conquest possibilities are limited. Despite the fact that in general the cars are all competitive, right now it is only the insane deals that keep people coming in the doors at GM dealerships.

    Cadillac needs to move upmarket, not down. GM is never going to put up enough money to match the crazy lineups that the Germans have, so they really can’t afford to be selling at the low end. Let Buick have it. Why is Buick trying to sell $25k vehicles in competition with Chevy? Dumb.

    For sedans, let Buick have the Regal starting at $30k and the LaCrosse starting at like $38k, then Cadillac comes in with the CTS at $50k and the CT6 at $60++. Give Buick the Alpha platform to sell as a Cascada coupe and convertible.

    For the CUVs, Buick needs the Encore, Envision, a new crossover based on the GMC Acadia, and the Enclave. Cadillac needs the XT4, XT5, an XT7 based on the Traverse, and the Escalade.

    Since GMC is lurking around the same showroom, the Acadia needs to switch to the GMC Canyon platform as a truck based SUV, so it has differentiation from the Buicks and Cadillacs.

    Then all these need to have the right sized motors. No putt putt 1.4Ts, 1.6Ts, or $50k 2.0Ts. All Buicks and Cadillacs should have effortless power, add EV power to them if they can’t put larger engines in (like all the latest supercars do).

    Buick has decent styling for everything except the Encore, but Cadillac is a mess. I hope the XT4 is the last of the bad styling to come out and not the first of the “new” styling direction.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The real problem, besides the meh cars, is that buyers are sheep, and they don’t want to have to rationalize a Buick or Cadillac purchase to their friends”

      Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

      “Cadillac needs to move upmarket, not down”

      It cannot and I doubt it will ever be able to ever again. Too much hubris and delusion in the division.

      “Why is Buick trying to sell $25k vehicles in competition with Chevy? ”

      Because Buick is Pontiac now and Pontiac was always within a hair of Chevrolet with some products.

      “No putt putt 1.4Ts, 1.6Ts, or $50k 2.0Ts”

      I agree, much of those poor choices though was predicated on the fact the models were Opel or Daewoo imports and GM did not spend the coin to alter the powerplant.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      “The real problem, besides the meh cars, is that buyers are sheep, and they don’t want to have to rationalize a Buick or Cadillac purchase to their friends.”

      Correct, and that’s why Cadillac and Buick must be facsimiles of other brands and formats for the time being (though I support the CT6 decision). The new Regal is basically a dimensional clone of the Lexus ES 350. Buick needed to make an effort in the interior and resist the urge to re-educate their few brand ambassadors (who are surely Series II fans) by insisting they settle for an LTG turbo not an LGX V6 in standard trims. Fail.

      The good news is Buick can fix the powertrain problem by creating a lazily tuned version of the LGX that mimics the 2GR. Buick Regal will be halfway home at that point.

      Regarding Cadillac and Buick, GM ought not stratify by price or equipment. Instead, give them different missions and let buyers figure out what is inherently more valuable. Also, the people in their marketing departments need to realize there are symbols and themes that are quintessentially American and American manufacturers can more readily tie themselves to these icons and themes. As visually appealing as Cadillac marketing was in the mid-00’s, tying Cadillac to Led Zeppelin was maybe not the smartest move.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        The old Cadillac ads were a mystery. They seemed to target a younger buyer, but used 70’s music. I guess to Cadillac marketers used to the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers ARE a younger demographic.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        ” by creating a lazily tuned version of the LGX that mimics the 2GR. Buick Regal will be halfway home at that point.”

        I’d like to see some dyno comparisons and get some insight from powertrain engineers to help understand how did Toyota get that “effportless/oozing” sensation so nailed down in the 2GR which in non-DI form was in the 270hp range and why does it feel so much more satisfying to drive around than a nominally more powerful GM LFX 3.6L with 300hp+?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Buick and Cadillac are profoundly damaged brands (other than the Escalade). I think you’re right – to spend as much as GM wants to fetch for Buick and Cadillac vehicles, they’re just not worth it. Socially, they’re a terrible value.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    GM has a problem with branding reputation.

    Take VW. VW has a number of brands, like GM. But VW was able to construct greater differentiation between the brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Yeah, VW and Skoda don’t mesh as easily as Chevy and Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      It is curious, isn’t it? That GM would operate so many brands in the exact same segments, without any apparent knowledge they are cannibalizing themselves into bankruptcy court.

      Anyway, there is plenty of room for Buick and Cadillac, if GM differentiates them correctly, but it will take discipline, and they won’t be able to play favorites.

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Buick made some unique, GREAT cars–the original Wildcat, the Roadmaster and the Riveria. They don’t deserve to die and I’m glad the Chinese are keeping them alive, cause we sure aren’t getting it done.

    Personally, I’m an early part of the 2nd generation Equinox fan club, buying a 1st year 2010. However, to replace it we did NOT buy the 1st year, 2nd generation Equinox NOR the 1st year, 2nd gen. Buick Enclave. Our local Buick dealer is multi-branded with GMC and Honda, and in December we contributed to the Honda Pilot outselling the entire Buick line. We wanted to upsize (which eliminates the new Equinox which is a downsize from the last generation), and in face to face competition the Pilot beat the pants off the Enclave.

  • avatar
    Larry Evans

    With GM’s withdrawal from Europe, Buick product will be Chinese cars. By waving an American flag over it, no doubt it will get more people to try Chinese cars than if it was a Chinese brand.

    Speaking of Europe, GM said that it absolutely needed Opel during the bailout, which raised the cost to the taxpayers. Now that they sold it for $2.3 Billion, we should get that back to cover part of our $11.2 Billion loss on bailing out GM.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “we should get that back to cover part of our $11.2 Billion loss on bailing out GM.”

      Oh, I agree wholeheartedly!

      But no such luck.

      To be painfully honest, the handouts, bailouts and nationalization of GM in 2009 set the precedent that the US government will step in and keep GM afloat, even as a zombie.

      What a huge stick for GM to wield on the planet knowing full well that GM has the backing of the full faith and credit of the US Treasury behind it. Not many automakers have such leverage over their competition.

      Yeah, that’s more than enough to keep GMC and Buick operating no matter what the cost.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Buick is a Chinese brand now, and will likely source its new models from China when the Europe-derived models reach the end of their life cycle. Because of this, the brand won’t fare well in the US in the future, and is unlikely to survive in the long term. This applies regardless of how many people in here diligently pay lip service to the ridiculous notion that Chinese cars have supposedly become competitive and have decent build quality by now, because consumers know better and will vote with their wallets.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I find it hilarious that so many on here think the average car buyer knows or cares where their car was made. They know the nationality of the BRAND and that is IT. The overwhelming majority of buyers have no idea their Honda, Toyota, or Subaru was made in US as an example. Nor do they care. GM cars are “American” whether they are made in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Poland, or China to the average consumer.

      The Chinese can make anything from iPhones (and Volvos) to lead-painted toys, you get the quality you pay for.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      It cracks me up when people go on the Internet to say the Chinese can’t build anything decent. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the electronics said people are using to post their insights …. were made in China.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        And I’m constantly baffled by how surprisingly many airheads there are who somehow think that pointing out the fact that the Chinese manufacture cheap consumer electronics should be of relevance in this automotive context.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        And it’s a proven fact that the majority of Chinese goods are throw away junk that doesn’t last. The proof is all around us at any given moment.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I did and still think dropping Hummer was a mistake. They were premium products flying out the door at premium prices and there was plenty of space for them and Jeep.

    I think the current Buick lineup would have been more successful as Pontiacs. Sell them as Buicks in China and Pontiacs here. Plus we can have a Firebird again.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Buick will die as an American destination brand. All Buicks will be either Chinese market(like Envision) cars or badge-engineered Chevrolets.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’ve been saying this since the bankruptcy fiasco. Pontiac AND Buick needed to be shuttered. GMC dealers need cars to sell? All those Holdens and Opels should have been branded as GMCs.

  • avatar
    sensiblebuyer

    Could not disagree more. Buick is superior to virtually every similarly positioned brand including Acura, Infiniti, and I’d even say Audi. I would not even dream about purchasing an Acura or Infiniti but am considering the refreshed 2019 Envision for a new vehicle this spring. Technology, design, and comfort are all superior. Audis may have the worst interiors I’ve ever laid eyes on.

    Buick did not earn the honor of being the most dependable mass-market brand for nothing, don’t see Honda with this title. The quality, comfort, features, and luxury is all there. Would be incredibly stupid to kill off a brand like Buick, as the brand is doing fairly well in both the US and Canada, not to mention China. In my neck of the woods Buick dominates among mid-luxury brands, barely see any Acuras or Infinitis and when I do its hard to not be taken aback by the horrendous over-styling.

    Credit must be given where credits due, regardless of personal feelings towards GM/Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Along the Lake Erie shore where minimum price of a entry hone is one million there are allot of Buick Enclaves and even a TourX this past weekend. Mostly Buick when you get away from the Lake too.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Buick did not earn the honor of being the most dependable mass-market brand for nothing, ”

      Famously said the man before contemplating a Chinese Envision.

      Granted, the Michigan-made Lambda Enclaves are no treat either in terms of quality, one may in fact assume that THEY are the Chinese-made product.

      • 0 avatar
        sensiblebuyer

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way, shape, or form a fan of Chinese products, however, I understand the logistics of building the vehicle in a market where 90% of the copies will be sold. Guess its just an unfortunate coincidence. I’m not going to shut out one of the best contenders in the segment for that one aspect.

        Having said that, it may be built in China, but is still designed and engineered in Michigan.

        Don’t recommend you disregard it without at least test driving one. The comfort and ride-quality is unreal, blows the competition (especially the RDX) completely out of the water.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    I recently purchased a Buick for Mrs. Crashed who loves GM cars. The dealer experience has been fabulous. The dealer experiences I have at Chevy have been terrible. So bad in fact, that I will probably not return. GM has a design language and sensibility that many people like. If the car holds up and she is treated well, there will be another. They are a bit pricey for what they are, but there is always cash on the hood just around the corner.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      There is a reason Buick buyers have a positive and top rated dealership experience, who wouldn’t be happy only having to go there for free oil and filter changes?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I guess I’ll take the opposite side, and I’ve no love for Buick.

    But here’s what I see in my Buick world.

    – the cars are likely fairly profitable, even with discounts.
    – Buick provides a compliment to GMC dealerships, essentially giving an “upscale” full lineup to customers that don’t want Chevrolet or Cadillac, and I suspect that is not a small market
    – Buick scores consistently highly in quality and reliability ratings
    – most Buick dealerships I know of have reputations of mom and pop places that really do right by their customers. You could argue the customers are paying too much perhaps, but I’m willing to bet repeat customers at these Buick dealerships is high. And because customer aren’t beating them up on price, I bet profitability on the sale is quite good.
    – I honestly do think there is a space for Buick in that Chevrolet is too pleb and Cadillac is too sporty and flashy (you could go on about Cadillac in another thread but that is what they are today), but Buick strikes a nice balance of enough class and quiet and smooth you can’t get outside of Lexus. That has value (even if Buick marketing botches the entire thing…again another topic)

    We all at least used to talk about how pointless GMC is (make it all a Chevrolet, they’re just rebadges anyway!) and yet here we are eating crow while General Motors laughs all the way to the bank.

    And I see Buick the same way. It has value, it likely has good profitability. I actually believe that if they could get a more consistent marketing message across, like GMC (valid or marketing vapor or whatever), Buick could also bring in the $.

    Biggest reason to can it from a shortsighted sense? Buick sells mostly cars in a crossover and suv world, which is GMC bread and butter. But I can’t blame Buick for market preferences.

  • avatar
    Idrivejunk

    Sounds like they need new leadership, and rear wheel drive cars. With their own in-house designed engines. No more LS and eco-tech crap.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Buick can die AFTER they produce one last Grand National, not before.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I really don’t get the whole “kill all the things” attitude around here. Is choice a bad thing? I have to think that GM is not completely stupid and continues to decide that Buick is worth slightly more alive than dead in the US.

    I swear some of the B&B want to have nothing but some single generic car, truck, and SUV available. One size fits all.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Just speaking for myself, the bile I have toward GM isn’t to limit choices… it’s because of a desire to see them succeed and at the same time watching them continue to make boneheaded decisions on pricing and marketing and product mix. Especially Cadillac.

      85k for a CT6. I mean… c’mon.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        GM is like that coworker you have who everytime management gets within 10 min of firing them they shit out something brilliant and coast on it until the next time they’re 10 min from being fired. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        “Dang it GM, is that you don’t have the WILL or don’t have the SKILL?!?!?”

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The problem with GM is the fail to differentiate anything. All of their brands and products become a melange of under-performing blandness. If Buick doesn’t change it needs to die, but GM would do much better to use it in another capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      This seems to be the shocking trend towards everything these days. I want choice dammit. An Impala is not the same as a LaCrosse. Just because they share the name Epsilon in there name doesn’t mean they are identical. Just go and test drive an Impala LT with the 3.6 and then drive a 2018 LaCrosse. The entire car feels, rides, handles and looks different. They have different shift levers, different engines and transmissions, the LaCrosse is on a newer platform and it rides like a tomb it’s so quiet. It also has stop/start and cylinder shutdown unlike the Impala and achieves better MPG. You also can’t get messaging seats, that cool brown interior or the trick suspension. And it also offers AWD that Chevy doesn’t.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The Toyota, Honda, and Ford; yes Ford marketing reps are smiling politely about the demise of Buick. Conquest sales? No, just those who used their common sense. More importantly; who will be translating those TRIFECTA TUNE instructions from Chines/German as needed?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I drive a Buick.

    A leased Buick.

    I took over someone else’s lease.

    But, I drive a Buick.

    (Regal GS)

  • avatar

    David Buick is spinning faster than one of his “valve in head” engines.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/davidbuick2-450×337.jpg

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Jack Baruth

    Regal up 126%; Accord down 15%
    Cascada magic roof folds down in seconds; Honda magic seats uncomfortable as all hell to sit in
    Lacrosse large sedan; Honda nothing
    Encore Original compact crossover; HRV cheap Japanese knockoff
    Enclave large crossover that can fit adults in all 3 rows; Pilot large transmission repair bill.

    Cue the Matt and Kim music

    It’s Alright; It’s Alright; It’s Alright you see
    Ah oh oh oh oh

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Jack Baruth

    BTW-FTM the Lesux ES is nothing but a bloated Camry in drag.

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    Others here have well-spoken comments about how Buick’s problem is … Cadillac. I believe they’re right. Specifically, Cadillac’s philosophy.
    Buick should adopt (re-adopt?) the “almost there” philosophy currently used by Cadillac. Every Cadillac review has something like “CTS is 5-series or E-class sized at 3-series or C-class price”. Or, “CT6 is ALMOST flagship-but premium mid-sized priced”.
    That approach would work far better with Buick, to differentiate their models.(“More than a Chevy, ALMOST a Cadillac”.) Cadillac should go head to head with flagship models, and use perceived value below those flagships to beat them. (Note that perceived value includes not just price, but materials quality–and perhaps factory-supported lease residuals–as drivers to the brand.) No more of “The Cadillac interior is great–for a Cadillac”. Make it great, period. And Buick must be seen as its own value statement, not just “I just bought a little bit nicer Chevy with a price premium.” Buick has to be demonstrably a cut above, and perceived as worthy of price.
    Yep, there’s a pricing component here–Buick’s is “you can see instantly why I’m worth more than a Chevy, and a Lexus value proposition (the “you get what you paid more for approach”) and Cadillac’s value proposition of “more is more” (yeah, our flagship is priced like their flagship, but you get so much more–warranty, features, same or better design/build quality, same lease payments). Each approach stresses value separate from price with that subtle distinction between the “almost” approach and “we’re here, you import guys get to play catchup now”.
    It’s all about perceived value at this point.
    PS. I’m also a believer that it’s a mistake for Cadillac to go as small as the ATS. Mercedes/BMW didn’t go that small in north America until after they’d built their brand on larger sizes (e-class, s-class) or performance (5-series and large 7 series; the 3-series was their performance car that “happened” to be small.) They developed the brand cachet to go smaller/downmarket AFTER their brand was established (A-class a prime example). Cadillac needs to stay out of that low-end-sized/priced market for the moment and continue to restore their reputation.
    And yeah, I’m a Buick and Cadillac fanboy–I really want ’em both to succeed.

    • 0 avatar
      northshoreman1

      “Cadillac should go head to head with flagship models, and use perceived value below those flagships to beat them.”

      I mis-typed on that; it should read “use perceived value ABOVE those flagships to beat them”.

      Sorry for the error

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I hope Buick doesn’t die. When the local dealerships finally get some decent Regal Sportback and Tourx inventory, I’m heading down there to try them out. I might just buy one.

    I had a Pontiac Grand prix, and the reason I purchased that over a Chevy is the same reason I’d buy a Regal over a Malibu. The Malibu’s interior is not the greatest and its standard engine is 160HP. Its actually more expensive to get Malibu with the 2.0T than a base Regal. While the base Regal doesn’t necessarily have a “premium” interior, it looks close to Mazda 6 quality and top trim Camcord interior.

    So for me, its another option.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    About 20 years late, but yeah… not saying they wouldn’t be shuttering Pontiac/Oldsmobile now if they had the chance, but it would be fun seeing what a 2012 Oldsmobile Regency would’ve looked like.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Kill GMC as well. Offer Denali trim vehicles at the local Chevrolet dealership.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely correct. If you kill Buick you MUST kill GMC.

      GMC gives Buick dealers a truck to sell.
      Buick gives GMC dealers a car to sell.

      Kill only one and the other twists in the wind. Just get rid of both and devote the resources to making Chevrolet – one of the small handful of brands who can be “all things to all people” – and Cadillac – onetime “Standard of the World” – the best they can be.

      • 0 avatar

        This is incorrect.

        Everybody seems to forget that many, many Buick GMC dealers throughout the country are actually Buick GMC Cadillac dealers. Buick is pretty much irrelevant in these stores—they’re lucky to sell more than 15 units a month, and most of that is Encore and Enclave. The cars are non-starters/

        Caddy dealers, not Buick dealers, need trucks to sell, and the GMC brand has real status in flyover country.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The 2018 line up is this:

    Regal Sportback/TourX
    LaCrosse
    Cascada
    Encore
    Envision
    Enclave

    Take out the Regal, LaCrosse, and Cascada as those are dead after this product cycle. Given that the Buick and GMC share sales channels, and GMC in general is a brand licensed to print money, Buick should in fact depart the US market.
    The next Encore could be redone as a GMC (I think they had a concept a few years back), the Envision overlaps the Terrain and goes away, and a new three row CUV shared with the planned Cadillac product is added above the Acadia/below the Yukon.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Buick deserves to live. It’s issues can be fixed with good management.
    Less choice is not good.
    Less negativity is good.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Finally a post worthy of 200+ comments after multiple days of lackluster posts. I am happy for TTAC.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Kill Buick (sort of). For Chevy, create upscale versions of existing cars – upscale Impala is a new Caprice, upscale Malibu is a new Chevelle. Maybe these are based on current Buicks, maybe not. But, try to keep people in a Chevy, instead of having them ‘graduate’ to a Lexus, Acura, Infiniti.

  • avatar
    russification

    lamborghini should change its name to “schlitz”

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Do you guys make things up as you go along. The base price of a V6 Lexus ES is $39945 for 2018. The 300H is base priced at 42815.

    The 2018 Lacrosse starts at 30490 for the eAssist version and ends at 45795 for the FWD Avenir or 47995 with AWD that Lexus doesn’t even offer on the glorified Camry chassis. None of these figures add up to the Buick costing 9K more than the Lexus and your comparing a base trim car with no options to a top spec Buick is just ludicrous.

  • avatar
    NoID

    On a side note, in 5-10 years when we’re discussing the failure of Alfa in the US, I look forward to the next Deathwatch chapter: (Alfa) Romeo Must Die.

    Not that I relish the thought of Alfa dying here…I just don’t anticipate the brand receiving nearly as much traction as it needs in order to survive here, barring platform sharing and/or a heavy emphasis on utility vehicles.


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