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The Rebirth of Buick.........

cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
OK,OK, I'll take a kick at the cat:

With the success of the Enclave, and positive buzz over the 2010 Lacrosse, and an apparent mating of NA Buick with China's Buick (though not meaning Chinese built Buick's coming here) style wise, is this the rebirth of the US's second oldest remaining nameplate???
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Comments

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Ha, nope. Once you take out the fleet sales, I wonder if Buick is even outselling Mini YTD?
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Well, I doubt that the Enclave is a fleet darling. But, understand that right now the Lacrosse and Lucerne ride on 10 year old platforms. The Lacrosse will come to us as an Epsillon 2 variant in less than a year (do I smell a Lacrosse classic for Avis & Co???). If it is as good as the Aura, Malibu, and CTS, people are going to want this car.

    The buzz is also that this "Chinese" styling is to be the future face of Buick here in America.

    Lucerne replacement is still a couple years away.

    The question is going forward, will the "new GM way of thinking" and these new vehicles coming out of that be able to pull Buick out of it's sales malaise???
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    The answer is maybe or probably, IF the new designs replace the frumpy image with a good dose of cool factor.

    To me, Buick's post war zenith was the '55 model year, when you could be proud to drive a Buick, and the Century, especially, was cool. Some subsequent model years were also good. For example, for '63, when the Riviera was introduced, and again in '67, '69, '78, and '85, Buick fulfilled its mission of delivering substantial, comfortable, upper mid-range to luxury cars, in my opinion. Although The '78 and '85 large body Buicks were down-sized, they were roomy, comfortable, premium cars. However, despite some promising ralleyes, Buick never regained the cache' it had in the '40s (the '49 Roadmaster was drop dead gorgeous) through mid-'50s. The brand may have come close to regaining its glory some years, but then fell back, in years '57 and '58, for example. Like other domestics, quality problems played a major role in Buick's decline in the '70s and '80s, and the brand never regained traction.

    Let's hope the next generation LaCrosse demonstrates that the Enclave wasn't just an aberration.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    Nope. The new Traverse will take away sales from the Enclave. The 2010 laCrosse will compete more with the Malibu and Impala than with any other car. The Lucerne and LaCrosse are already nice vehicles. Don't you have to have an AARP card to shop at a Buick dealership. That type of image takes a long time to go away.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Well, you make some good points, dtownfb. I guess we'll have to wait and see whether Buick can change its image fairly quickly. As a premium brand, it doesn't have to attract the below 30 crowd, but it certainly must appeal to the late 30s and older crowd, instead of only (with few exceptions) the 55+ motorists.

    I don't know for sure, but I imagine one of the objectives of the Buick Reatta was to pull younger people into the showroom, but it failed to do that. I think the Reatta was nicely styled, but its driving dynamics weren't sporty enough. It should have offered a supercharged version with a tight suspension and a 5-speed manual, a Reatta "Grand National" or "GNX." That may have helped, and may have saved the Reatta.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    The vice-principal of my high school, who re-defined bland, drove a Reatta. That says it all for me.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    The problem I see is the Lucerne and LaCrosse were suppose to attract the younger crowd. Folks have been lukewarm to these cars. Not sure how a "re-designed" Lucerne will get this done. No one is buying them now and GM can not afford to market these vehicles the way they should. Like I mentioned before, they are already nice vehicles. No reason why more poeple shouldn't be buying them. Saturn has the same problem. Nobody knows about their lineup. People rave about the Malibu, Saturn had its twin, the Aura, a year earlier. Now you can't give away the Aura.

    GM has too many brands. They can't afford to keep them all and support them properly.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Look at these comments:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2008/09/19/spy-shotss-2010-buick-lacrosse-little-camo-pl- us-interior/

    The Lucerne outsells the Avalon.

    The current Lacrosse has been saddled with "looks like a 2nd gen Taurus"

    The Aura's biggest hurdle is that there are only 500 dealerships in the country.

    I doubt Traverse shoppers will be cross shopping the Enclave. 2 different price ranges. If the Enclave was too expensive, then the Acadia would drown out it's sales, which it doesn't
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    side by side:

    image
    Taurus

    image
    2005 LaCrosse

    Really. They're not THAT similar!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    The current Buick Lineup is a mixed one IMO:

    -The Enclave is selling well but it isn't that impressive to me as I think the market is shifting to smaller, lighter CUVs (Vue, Flex, CR-V, etc.). It is really quite "trucky" when you see it up close, the interior of the less than top line version is no nicer than that of a GMC Acadia IMO and the damn thing sits so high that the old folks who like Buicks will find it hard to get into.

    -The Lucerne has a crappy name but it's the only thing in the lineup with anything like the luxury land yacht appeal of the Buicks of yore. The styling while gimmick- free and clean is a little anonymous to my eyes.

    -The Lacrosse OTOH has little appeal even to the oldsters who gravitate to Buicks.
    You don't see many even in places like Florida and Arizona.

    Nope, Buick has a ways to go before it's reborn.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Actually, I didn't realize how similar they really ARE until you put pictures of them up side by side.

    I think the best thing Buick has going for it is this new Chinese styling. That Riviera they are going to produce for the Chinese market is the best-looking Buick in a long LONG time.

    And anyone contemplating the long-term future of Buick MUST at least take into account the strong likelihood that if Buick continues to be sold in the U.S. it will be Chinese-designed and built. China is a much more popular market for Buick, and the cars will eventually be designed and sold where they sell best.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    Always amazes me how folks try to show success by comparing a GM product to a Toyota or Honda product. The Camry alone outsells the entire Buick and Saturn divisions.

    BTW, Saturn had the same number of dealerships when it sold over 286k vehicles in 1994 with one vehicle. They sell fewer than that now with 5 vehicles.

    Here are the numbers that matter for Buick. In the calendar year 2002, Buick sold over 432,000 vehicles. Calendar year 2007, they sold roughly 186,000 units. And through August 2008 (7 months), Buick has sold about 99,000 units, down 21% compared to last year. Basically, they have dropped over 50% in 5-6 years and still sliding. Everyone acknowledges that the new car market will remain tight through 2009 due to the economic crisis. I'm not sure where these sales are coming from.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    Here are the numbers that matter for Buick. In the calendar year 2002, Buick sold over 432,000 vehicles. Calendar year 2007, they sold roughly 186,000 units. And through August 2008 (7 months), Buick has sold about 99,000 units, down 21% compared to last year.

    Just to show how far Buick has fallen...in 1983, they actually outsold Ford!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    Just to show how far Buick has fallen...in 1983, they actually outsold Ford!

    Wow!!! I couldn't find numbers that far back.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    I don't know how easy those numbers would be to find online, but I have some old car books that list production. Also, I should note that this is for cars only. If you combined Ford cars and trucks back then, they still would have been a close #2 behind Chevy.

    The 1980-83 period was a bad time in general for the domestic auto industry, but GM weathered it pretty well. Chrysler was actually back on track by 1983, paying their gov't secured loans in full that year, way ahead of schedule. But they were also a leaner company, and learning to survive on smaller volume. Ford was actually a wreck around that timeframe, too, but their troubles weren't as well publicized as Chrysler's.

    Anyway, in 1981 I think it was, Oldsmobile slipped past Ford and into the #2 position, and then Buick slipped into #3 for 1983. By 1984 though, Ford was on the rebound, as the economy improved, sales of the aero T-bird took off, and the Tempo proved a sales hit. I think they moved ahead of Buick for 1984, and then ahead of Olds for 1985, and a few years later they were outselling Chevy.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I owned a 91 Reatta. It was not sports car, but it was not a bad car. On the other hand, the Riviera of that period was probably just as good. I would point out that the Mercedes SL's in the 70's and 80's were not sports cars either and did not compare with the 300SL gullwing. The Reatta was a cheap SL knockoff of sorts and much cheaper than the Allante. Why GM thought they could sell both the Reatta and the Allante is beyond me. Neither sold well.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I have owned numerous Buicks, the last was the 95 Riviera. I liked the Buicks because I got a lot of the stuff that was otherwise only available on Cadilliacs, such as fully automatic climate control. The interiors were nice, but not overstuffed like the Olds Regency or Cadillac d'Elegance. But the 95 Riviera interior was too plastic for my taste, as was the 98 Aurora. I think that the Cadillac interiors on my 2002 Seville and my 2007 SRX are closer to what Buicks should have.

    I don't know if Buick's sales decline is related to the cheapening of the interiors or if it is a result of Buick offering very few models in the last ten years. Before Olds was dumped, Buick only offered the midsize and full size cars, basically two platforms. Now they offer three platforms.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    My judgment of the car is more on the owner than the car itself :P

    It seems the Allante was as close to an SL as a period SL was to a gullwing.

    GM was arguably at its most clueless in the late 80s and early 90s. And that's saying something.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    A co-worker of mine inherited a lowish miles 94 LeSabre from his grandparents. The upholstery itself is OK for what the car is, but the interior plastics and the dashboard itself are pretty laughable. I can't imagine it being any better when the car was new, either. The car has held up decently otherwise, but the insides don't make one think of a quality product.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    so-called "Top 10 Production Vehicles" (of all time), for its centennial, and Buick doesn't bear a mention:

    http://www.autoobserver.com/2008/09/gm-chooses-its-best-ever-cars-money-making-t- - rucks-noticeably-absent.html#more

    Indeed, Saturn, Cadillac, Chevy, and Pontiac all make the list with at least one vehicle, heck even SAAB makes the list (with a vehicle that was designed WAAAAY before GM had ANYTHING to do with Saab), but Buick gets dis(mis)sed...

    ...the list does not represent top sellers or anything, as the Silverado also is not on it. I guess I don't see the case for Buick being anything more than a Chinese division of GM in future, and if GM has nothing good to say about them for the centennial, maybe they are thinking the same way?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • yankeryanker Posts: 156
    Buick would get a lot more consideration if they would just raise gas mileage figures by 8-10 ^
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    A 1910 Caddy and the accepted milestone of the 1912 car? Certainly something else could be seen as more significant than the 1910 car. Even the space-efficient dowsized models, or maybe the early FI applications. Or for a Buick, maybe the first Century, which was a predecessor of the "performance" (for the period) sedan. The Saab is a dorky choice too, as well as the mention of GM tanks in neutral Sweden, and the idea of a 1930s Opel not being "politically correct" is silly.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Or for a Buick, maybe the first Century

    What year was that?

    Oh, and BTW, if Buick is "the US's second oldest remaining nameplate", what is the oldest? Is Ford older? Oldsmobile was the oldest until it was canned, right?

    As for GM's top 10 list, I thought it odd, yes. I merely included it in the commentary because it may indicate something about how important GM considers Buick to be in its grand scheme.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    The first Buick Century was the 1936 model. It was created by putting the big engine from the senior models into the smaller, lighter body. Whereas the Special had a 233 inline-8 with 93 hp, the Century had a big 320 inline-8 with 120 hp.

    I think Cadillac is the oldest US nameplate. It was founded in 1902. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903, although Henry Ford did build cars before that. Buick was also founded in 1903, but I don't know which one was founded first. Ironically, Ford was founded with considerable investment from John and Horace Dodge. Maybe that's where the Acronym "F Over Rebuilt Dodge" comes from? :P

    One other car that I think would be significant for GM is the 1939 Oldsmobile. First car to offer a fully automatic transmission. And believe it or not, it was a 4-speed!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,451
    I rented an '05 LaCrosse a few months ago and got 28 mpg driving on 2 lane highways. I thought that was pretty good. 38 mph would have been terrific.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Me, I would say 28 mpg is mediocre at best for all highway cruising.

    Is the time ripe for a Buick (and Impala, and Avalon, and...) with a small 4-cylinder turbo under the hood, as Lutz has intimated?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Is the time ripe for a Buick (and Impala, and Avalon, and...) with a small 4-cylinder turbo under the hood, as Lutz has intimated?

    Well, could we see that on the 2010 Lacrosse or the next gen Impala???
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Buick would get a lot more consideration if they would just raise gas mileage figures by 8-10 ^

    You mean like Lexus or MB or BMW have???? Yeah, right.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,162
    I wasn't aware a new Buick discussion was here. Glad to see it.

    What's missing? Respect. :P

    Well, in other ways are what we are talking about here. I miss a moderately priced full-sized car replacing the leSabre. The Lucerne does but seems higher priced with the 3800 and the replacement V6. The Northstar isn't what I want. I think I'm looking for a Camry/Accord sized car with full front seat option and a 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, or a turbo motor. The Lucerne just doesn't make it for a replacement for my older car or as a third car. There's something missing. And I think it is what leSabre was in the era in the 90s when it was the best selling full size sedan.
    Evan a used Lucerne doesn't interest me.

    A smaller car with a 4-cylinder turbo might suit. I want something that's got room, gets greater gas mileage than 31-33 like the two current leSabres, but still is living room comfortable after 6 hours on the road to Nashville, e.g. The Hondas and Camrys I've sat in don't impress me as feeling good after 6-7 hours on the road. The Accord seats were especially poor and the Camry seats impress me as feeling good at first but becoming irritating later.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Sounds like you want a time machine. People don't buy cars to do that anymore. They buy Tahoes and Highlanders.
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