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Buick LaCrosse

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  • really too bad about oldsmobile. GM could have done wonderful things with nameplates like Cutlass, 4-4-2, and Eighty-Eight. Ford also came pretty darn close to axing Mercury division, but I'm glad they kept it going. I wonder what could have happened if Bob Lutz had come on board at GM sooner--maybe we would be drooling over the 2005 Olds Rocket, or 2006 StarFire. waht a shame!
  • Some poster was going on and on about "nothing but warmed over platforms".

    Well, what are the Cobalt, 500, g6, CTS, and 04 Malibu? Still not interested, then go get a warmed over 2004 VW Jetta (in its 6th year, and they say GM is slow). Or the Audi A8 Edsel.

    Also, Accord sales are slipping, while Altima and Camry are still growing. Maybe Honda isn't going to 'take over' as predicted?
  • bretaabretaa Posts: 130
    Regarding the LaCrosse:
    I was at my Ford/Toyota dealer today getting my Contour SVT an oil change and got another look at the current Camry models... Whew, insomnia on wheels. It might have the most dull, characterless interior I've seen in a long time. I have no doubt the LaCrosse will compete very well against this car.

    To tomcat630:
    That "some poster" you mentioned was probably me, and I fully stand by what I said. You're right that VW and some other European makers don't have a more rapid product cycle than the US makers, but the big difference is that VW and others had *class leading* products at introduction and are still winning comparison tests now! How many GM products are winning comparison tests either in their first or 7th year? Let's take a look at all the "old" cars still winning Edmund's own Most Wanted:

    - Sedan under $25,000: The "old" Passat
    - Sedan under $35,000: The "old" 3-series
    - Wagon under $25,000: The "old" Passat
    - Coupe under $25,000: The "old" Golf
    - Coupe under $35,000: The "old" 3-series
    - Convertible under $25,000: The "old" Miata
    - Convertible under $45,000: The "old" 3-series

    Thank goodness for the Corvette, because none of GM's older or "newer" non-SUV's made the list. We'll see how the Cobalt, 500, and G6 do in comparison tests and the marketplace when introduced. The Malibu, while competent, has generally been in the mid to lower end of most comparison tests to date (how will it do in 6 years?) and the very good CTS, while a deserved commercial success, generally also falls in the mid to lower end of comparison tests.

    Listen... I want the US makers to be the new "standards of the world." The reality is they are facing a competitive market and have a prestige, perception, and residual value gap with the public that they helped create (by GM's own admission in recent commercials apologizing). They're going to have to do what Toyota, Honda, etc. did long ago: not just be "good enough" and match the competition, but *beat them* and that means shorter production cycles on cars that currently aren't acknowledged as best in class...

    - Bret
  • This subject isn't DIRECTLY related to the LC, but it does reinforce my question that Saturn will be slotting into the soon-departed Olds' place. Which then makes my query as to Buick's position even more rightful.

    http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=04677767
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Two points:

    The Camry's interior may be boring, but it uses very high quality materials, is well constructed, and highly ergonomic.

    As far as I am concerned, Edmunds.com is not an automotive testing authority. I put little faith in their vehicle reviews (which often seem frought with factual errors) or comparison tests. When they pick up the game and start really showing themselves along the lines of the better publications, thats when I'll take them seriously.

    ~alpha
  • bretaabretaa Posts: 130
    Chevyguy: Regarding the role and place of Buick and the LaCrosse, I actually think GM has got it right here. I really do think there's a place for an American Lexus: a slightly upscale, smooth, refined, and elegant division for a slight premium price. I think a respected American equivalent to the ES330 would be fantastic (which is essentially what the LaCrosse is).

    Saturn is going to fill the "import/VW intender" class which currently Chevy is too, well, basic (crude?) to compete for and Pontiac is too brashly American (not a bad thing). Buick won't fit for the above reasons. I think Saturn building *faithful* American versions of European Opels can be quite successful. I think the Vectra, Tigra, Astra, et al would be fantastic and successful fits for Saturn and competitive against VW.

    Alpha01: I'm sorry you don't like Edmunds. I think they're fantastic, and frankly, it doesn't matter. Whereever you look (Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Automobile, Motor Trend, Canadian Driver, whatever your "trusted" source), outstanding older designs like the Passat, 3-series, Miata, Jetta, Corvette, Dakota, etc. are all still praised and wind up at the top of comparison tests.

    My point is really simple. Even outside of product cycles, you have to build world-beating products that everyone for the most part agrees are world beating, as you just pointed out about the Camry. If this LaCrosse and the next two are clearly top-draw products above their competitors, Buick will be able to enjoy the kind of kudos, prestige, and residual values that Toyota now basks in.

    - Bret
  • if you have a look at some of the other forums at edmunds, ones in the vein of "worst auto manufacturer" and "owner horror stories", you'll find that many many MANY of the posters including myself are absolutely disgusted with VW because of their terrible quality control, reliability, and after-sales service.
    until two years ago, VW offered a 2-year warranty on all their vehicles. wow. 2 whole years. VW must have a lot of faith in their product.

    to be fair, they recently extended part of their warranty to 4 years, but car magazines and automotive sites like edmunds often receive brand new cars direct from the manufacturer, without having to deal with the life of the vehicle. in my opinion, VWs have a pretty lousy record as far as customer satisfaction goes, regardless of what the so-called "experts" say. they are attractive-looking though.

    our buick le sabre, on the other hand, has been a reliable and comfortable stalwart in our family garage. it has met and exceeded our expectations, and the service staff are not at all surly or difficult. i think that bodes well for buick as an automotive brand that people can trust and enjoy. and no, i don't work for buick :P
  • bretaabretaa Posts: 130
    6thbeatle:
    I agree with almost *everything* you write, but I believe you and many others aren't getting my underlying point. I know VW's have terrible reliability and Buick is strong in this regard. That's one of the reasons I didn't buy an Audi recently. But guess what?

    The public still wants, *desires* even, VW's!! Even people who know the reliability record take a chance since they aspire so much to own the car. I was talking with a co-worker of mine (an amazingly smart guy) who just bought a new Jetta TDI. I was talking about the reliability issue with him and he virtually said, "I have a hard time believing those reports when I look at the body or feel how solid and well built my car feels." I have two friends who own Jettas and have fallen head over heals for them, viewing them almost as fashion accessories despite them not being extremely reliable. One is buying a sister a New Beatle and the other is almost morally committed to getting a new Passat. As in interpersonal relationships, love can be blind, and VW is building cars people emotionally bond with and love.

    Bringing this back to Buick and the LaCrosse, frankly, building cars that are "reliable and comfortable stalwarts" alone *hasn't* boded well for Buick. Their sales are down badly despite them having done this for 20 years. They need cars that people want and desire and love. The market is just too competitive now. I think the LaCrosse is a really good start, but they need to go further and do more. Lutz knows it and Buick hopefully knows it. That's why Lutz held the car back 11 months to improve it. I think it'll do well.

    - Bret
     
    PS: Before anyone mentions how the Toyota and the Camry does well by just being a reliable appliance, notice that Toyota has recognized this as a problem now and is swinging into action for the future. They want those Passat buyers too.
  • yes, I agree, if the vehicle cannot stir your blood, it's already lost half the battle. VWs DO have great emotional appeal compared to a buick, and I know many people who swear by them, but I wonder how much VW depends on image rather than substance for sales, in reference to the consistently excellent advertising campaigns that VW employs, promoting a hip sophisticated lifestyle, with the VW driving experience identified as a soundtrack to your life.

    I see a lot of potential for buick right now, but they are definitely not considered hip or trendy right now. but things can turn around quickly when someone is determined to make changes, and I can see Buick responding a lot faster than VW in this regard. Buick has more resources at their disposal than VW, and more manpower too. I also think Buick under Bob Lutz's leadership is more determined than VW because they have more to prove.

    Cadillac was in this very same position a few years back, and now are seen by young kids as being relatively cool cars, even the big seville STS has attracted teens and lowriders. Some of this again has to do with positive potrayals and product placements in the proper scenes--a cadillac CTS was used in a major chase scene in the hugely popular film "The Matrix", and guess what? It's become a sweet ride for a new contingent of car enthusiasts and buyers.

    VW does not appear to be addressing their own problems because I believe they are complacent in their public brand awareness, ignoring the growing whispers about their horrendous quality control, abysmal reliability ratings, and scary customer service.
  • "VW and others had *class leading* products at introduction and are still winning comparison tests now!"

    "Class leading" my foot, a 1999 (first year) VW Jetta did poorly in a Car & Driver comparison test and has not won any others since. Look it up.

    Also, their quality is definitely "class leading" as in "leads in defects".

    BTW: The new generation 2005 Golf is selling poorly in Europe, and VW is losing profits/sales here, too. Hardly "class leading".
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    VW did pretty lousy in the initial quality study back in May: http://www.jdpa.com/presspass/pr/images/2003028bfull.gif

    But they did even worse in the long-term dependability study in July: http://www.jdpa.com/presspass/pr/images/2003050bfull.gif

    Right in between Isuzu and Suzuki, with Daewoo and Hyundai really close by.
  • The only awards VW has won are for their trendy commercials. (sarcasm)
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    VWs sales are down right here in America due to their stale product lineup. Buick and VW are evry similar in terms of lack of new cars and both have suffered declining sales. I don't respect places like Edmunds because they constantly rant about the quality of domestic models (often with no proof) and praise VWs in spite of their below average quality. Edmunds, and most of the automotive press, has decided that high quality is measured by the quality of the interior. Nice interiors are a plus, but they have no bearing on the reliability of a make or model. Most, if not all, of GM's brands are more reliable than VWs, but you arent going to find too many GM models on edmunds most wanted list. The Toureg is being praised left and right by MT, Motorweek and others but we have no idea how its going to hold up over time.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,897
    aren't the subject here. The clue is in the discussion title :)

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I would consider a LaCrosse.
    American cars still have character.
    I drove a Accord V6 30 minutes before I drove the Intrigue. I bought the Intrigue.
    It just had something that the Accord didn't. The Accord was almost too perfect. No soul.

    Looking forward to driving a lacrosse to see how the CTS motor translates to FWD.

    The lack of a 5/6 speed is a valid criticism.

    My Intrigue had a huge hole in acceleration when it shifted into 2 nd gear.
    The DOHC motor was weaker in torque at lower rpms than a pushrod so acceleration would fall off and not build again until over 3500 rpms.

    I am hoping that the VVT motor will ameliorate that lack of torque, but a 5/6 speed with closer ratios would help even more.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    As sad as the death of Olds is (we have an 02 Bravada), I would rather see GM use it's resources on fewer cars and build / market them well than spread out too much on 5 more models and another brand. That said, it seems to me that killing Buick made more sense than killing a more modern line up like Oldsmobile.

    What is done is done, GM must move on and re-build Buick now.
  • gweilogweilo Posts: 118
    Is it really true that the Lacrosse's rear seat doesn't fold down?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I don't know, haven't found any pictures posted anywhere that show the rear seat.

    If it does not have fold down seats, that is a fairly major oversight, given the intense competition in this segment.

    It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, as we have a minivan in the family, so I have only used the fold down seat option two or three times in the four years I have owned my Taurus, but it could be important to many, even if they truthfully don't use the feature much.

    With the stiff competition out there, every manufacturer really needs to sweat the details, or risk losing market share.
  • The GP has a 60/40 split rear. Same car right?
    But knowing GM........
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    According to what I've seen, the LaCrosse doesn't have memory seats either. The 500 does. The Avalon does. Another unfortunate omission.
  • So wait...the LaCrosse doesn't have...

    -memory seats
    -no 60/40 split rear seat
    -no navigation--not even as an option
    -no standard side-curtains, but they are available/standard on the higher model

    Geez GM, you come out with a pretty decent looking car that looks like it could sell, but you skimp on the features!!! Grr...that's why I'm so mad with GM right now..
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    we can always hope for a LaCrosse Ultra- one with everything that's above, plus maybe a five speed TipTronic automatic.
  • We can hope, but like the Rendezvous, GM will only introduce one a couple of years later, giving the competition to catch up and maybe even beat them. The problem with GM is that they do too little, too late.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    and that gives time for Lexus to add some stuff to the ES330. (the LaCrosse's competitor)
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    Another thing the LaCrosse lacks is 8 way power seats. Even a Camry has that.
  • No 8-way!?! OMFgoodness!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Sorry, I dont see how the 33K-40K ES330 is a competitor to this car, which is replacing the pedestrian Century/Regal, especially if this car starts in the 22-23K range as expected. I'm think competitors are going to be the 500/Montego, Avalon, 300 Touring & Limited, the Amanti, the XG, the Maxima, etc.

    ~alpha
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    Good point. The next LeSabre will be priced in ES territory, but it will still be a FWD full-size.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    ES330 competitor? Umm yeah and the ES330 is an S Class competitor.
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