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Should Buick build a new under 20K vehicle?

13

Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    I don't disagree with you, kernick. That GM's survival is in serious peril is a given, and we also know that GM's survival doesn't guarantee Buick's. My comments are based on the assumption that GM will manage to turn itself around. They're conditional on this. So, what I'm saying is that IF Buick should survive, at some point a business case could be made for a well appointed, well optioned model below the LaCrosse, since the 2010 LaCrosse reportedly will weigh ~4,000 - 4,200 lbs. (with AWD). Why is this unreasonable?

    Of course, there's little to discuss if we assume that Buick won't make it.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    NO they needs omeone with a big cleaver to come in and make the decision to shut down Saturn, Hummer, Saab, Pontiac (or Buick). These little cuts they are making aren't going to save them the $2B they are currently burning through each month.

    Chapter 11 or bust.
  • I stumbled across this topic and my mouth dropped wide open. A 20k Buick? You've got to be kidding me....then I saw that this question was posed 3 years ago. (still, even then... a 20k Buick??? No way.) This is part of why GM is in trouble now.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I believe that GM messed up a bit when they aligned Caddy-Chevy and B-P-GMC. I like the idea of Caddy targeting the sportier Germans and Buick being the American equivalent to the more luxury oriented Lexus and Acura. I'd pair these two together as the aspirational brands you move to after you've "arrived" in the world.

    When they killed Olds, they killed the wrong brand. Pontiac should have been axed, imo. Olds was the middle class brand in the mix where folks too affluent for a Chevy but whose pockets were too thin for Buick and Caddy spent those 'tween years until they could move up the ladder. There were a lot of Delta 88's and 98's on the road in the late 70's and early 80's until GM suffocated the brand with some of the dullest designs of the late 80's and early 90's.

    Pontiac goes away and Chevy steps up as the bread and butter / apple pie / youthful sporty division, assuming Pontiac's old role. As it stands, econobox Aveo's and Cobalts are sold beside big money STS, XLR, DTS, etc. A rather hodgepodge, confusing mix huh?

    As for the trucks, what does GMC offer that isn't a cloned Chevy? If you don't kill GMC, then differentiate them a bit. Work trucks, heavy duty and thinly optioned basic trucks are sold as Chevys at the Chevy-Olds place. If you want leather, DVD's, navigation, etc. then those are truly "professional grade" GMC's which you will find over at the ritzy taj mahal Caddy-Buick-GMC store across the street, keeping with the higher end image of Caddy/Buick.

    Saturn: lost opportunity, good bye
    Saab: what were you thinking? besides jumping on the merger/acquisition bandwagon, what was Saab going to offer GM? a stronger European presence/revenue source maybe? --give it back to the Swedes
    Hummer: good times are a distant memory, good bye

    Regardless of what happens: just like location, location, location in the real estate business, its design, design, design with autos. Design brings them in the door, quality keeps them there. Thin the cloned models with greater differences between the ones that remain. Return to the old days when driving a Caddy actually meant something different than driving an Olds or Chevy or whatever. Give the brand managers and design teams a specific goal to work towards.

    I hope GM can pull it off. As for the dealerships, I hate to see people lose their businesses but a thinning should have been made long ago. I also hate to see a small town lose its dealerships but I can't see how it is sustainable any more.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,388
    I agree with what you've said almost word for word.

    Despite all the problems GM faces now and the current market there is nothing that product can't cure. I really don't think that current management understands this.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    "I really don't think that current management understands this."

    I'm certain they understand it 100%, but have laggged in their desire and effort to introduce enough winning designs to catch a rapidly moving target. One strong head wind they face is weak finances, since it's very expensive to revamp the product lineup.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    Well the good thing GM has that helps them is they design one vehicle and the just rebadge the hell out of it (with some styling and sheetmetal tweaks) and voila! they get a whole new lineup?
    So overall, GM just needs to:

    - Design a new full size car that will go to Chevy, Buick, Cadillac
    - Design a small car that can go to Chevy, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab

    The rest is already covered.

    They have a midsize car - Malibu/G6/Aura/9-3/Lacrosse
    They already have a compact crossover coming - SRX/Torent/Terrain/Cheapuinox/9-4x
    They already have full size crossover - Enclave/Outlook/Arcadia/Traverse/next Escalade
    They already have a full size BOF - Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade
    They have two identical pickup truck lineups

    Sounds like they are almost done revampint the lineup. :blush:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    This is exactly why GM is faltering. They dont get why their adge engineering doesnt work anymore and are still not willing to change. is dead and should be dropped. Its over. The magic that got me to buy Buicks in the past (conservative, luxury, elegant, reasonable) is gone with the Electra, Park Avenue, Century, LeSabre. I have no interest in the LuCrosse. I would buy a Toyota first over any Buick now. Let it die.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    edited November 2010
    Buick will introduce the Verano for 2012, a Buick variant of the Chevy Cruze. Many Americans are cynical about Buick, but recent models suggest that Buick has learned from past mistakes. Maybe it needs to learn still more, but it seems to be on the right path.

    How could the Verano improve on the Cruz? Here are my suggestions: First, it should feature independent rear suspension, for improved ride and handling. Second, exterior styling, and interior design and materials, should be upgraded. Third, more power, to go with the upgraded suspension and premium image. The Verano doesn't have to offer super car performance, as long as it's noticeably better than the Cruz, Civic, Corolla, etc. Fuel economy will suffer a little, but the target market for this car doesn't demand the very best fuel economy.

    As for price, forget about $20,000. This car will start at a little under $25,000, and go for something over $30,000 fully loaded GS version. The GS should be exciting to look at and to drive, in the spirit of the pre-WWII and mid-'50s Centurys.

    That's how I see it.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Let's first start with the Cruze, since the Verano is based on that. It's over-priced for what you get, unless Chevy plans on large discounts to move the product. The typical Cruze is going to sticker for over $20K. So yes you rightly noted a nicer Cruze - the Buick Verano will be closer to $25K.
    That's a lot of $, especially when the larger, more powerful, and fairly fuel efficient Sonata is right there.
    As I said before, if GM can't bring a car to market that matches the competition in quality and performance, yet sells for 10% less to make up for the stigma surrounding GM due to its history, then GM will not have a hit.

    A Buick Verano at $25K, will just be another wishful grasp for a "savior" for GM or Buick, just as each of their introductions ove rthe last 30 years has not been a homerun for GM.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    edited November 2010
    You mentioned the one car in particular, the Sonata, that keeps auto executive of virtually every brand awake at night. While it's not perfect, from what I've read, the Sonata is outstanding in its class in two categories that really matter, fuel economy and value. In addition, it ranks high in exterior styling and performance. Finally, it doesn't seem to have any major faults.

    Hyundai will soon introduce a new generation Elantra, which will compete more directly with the Verano than the Sonata does. Also, next spring Honda will introduce the next generation Civic, and I recently read that a new Acura model will be based on the Civic. This compact Acura may be the spiritual successor of the Integra/RSX. So, it looks like the Verano will have strong competition. Therefore, your point is well taken. Still, I think it's premature to count the Verano out before its even introduced. I think it'll have a decent chance if it's clearly differentiated from the Cruze.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,234
    Unfortunately, the old GM is trying to resurrect itself. Buick successfully improves its image and ups its margin thanks to LaCrosse, Enclave (and I think the new Regal). So what now, let's degrade the hard won success and over proliferate our models. The Cadillac Cimmaron is back! A cheap Buick will just cheapen their image. What next, rental car lot dumping?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    edited November 2010
    I foresee an upscale smaller Buick, not a cheap one. Smaller and cheap don't have to be synonymous. Although time will tell whether GM gets it right this time, I'm confident that management understands why the Cimarron failed in the marketplace.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    edited November 2010
    Sure Buick can make an upscale, smaller Buick and sell some. Any automaker can sell anything they make in some numbers. But Buick does not need another low-volume car. Why do I say low-volume? Because the upscale, smaller market is already established here in the U.S. - the Europeans have had vehicles in that categories for years - Volvo C30, Mercedes, Audi A3, BMW 1 and 3 series, and with the exception of the BMW 3-series there really has been no success.

    GM needs a couple of vehicles that people can get passionate about. I'm talking passionate - as in the original Mustang passion, Jag E-Type passion. They need to sell hundreds of thousands of a model. They don't need a Chevy-clone 4-cyl. small vehicle at $25K+.

    Buick and GM need clearly superior vehicles right now, not another me-too, at a high price. I'd certainly take a nicely loaded Scion TC at $20K MSRP before I went to GM for 1 of these Cruze vehicles that will likely cost MORE! The Cruze should be optioned the same as the Scion TC and be 5-10% less. Option a Cruze out. GM still is not competitive many times.
  • C'mon, what's wrong with this?

    link title

    lol, never mind. I couldn't even post that with a straight face... :D

    Cimarron 2.0
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,388
    I'm with you! No. No. No.

    Buick is just getting its act together really well. Do NOT blow it.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,234
    Where does Regal fit in after Verano, even if it is up-scaled? An upscale Verano gets into Regal terriory which is already getting into LaCrosse territory. Reminds me of DeSoto, Olds, Pontiac, etc.

    Upscale or not, I don't see a re-badged Lexus Corolla. Buick needs to decide what it wants to be. Chevy is already a mass volume product, so it seems to me niche market (for lack of a better term) with lower volume, but higher margins makes more sense for Buick. If gas gets (and stays) over $4 or $5 a gallon, then they can visit compact cars (and probably get better margins on it). But I think at even $3/ gallon a Verano only degrades the image GM is trying to build for Buick.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    edited November 2010
    You make some good points, but I think there are some valid counter arguments for the Verano. For example, Buick can't ignore the ever tightening federal fuel economy standards. It also needs to be prepared for the possibility of $4+ gas.

    There may not be a Lexus built on the Corolla platform, but I read that Acura will introduce a car based on the Civic platform, Infiniti plans to introduce a compact below the G25, and that Lincoln will use the 2012 Focus platform for a new model.

    It's certainly possible, even probable, that the market for upscale compacts isn't large enough to accommodate all these models.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    edited November 2010
    There may not be a Lexus built on the Corolla platform, but I read that Acura will introduce a car based on the Civic platform, Infiniti plans to introduce a compact below the G25, and that Lincoln will use the 2012 Focus platform for a new model.

    Well, the civic based Acura could be one of 2 things. First, Canada, for years! has gotten a Civic based model known as the Acura EL. It really is a poorly executed attempt at a luxury Civic IMO which is probably why it doesn't get sold here in the States.

    The other option which seems more likely is the rebirth of the wildly popular Acura RSX which developed a cult following for it's great chassis, S2000 sourced gearbox (one of the best in history IMO) and huge aftermarket appeal for the tuner folks. It could help bring back some of the (much needed) mojo for the Acura brand. And a completely different target than the Cimarrano...

    The compact below the G25 (which is a big car) is supposedly going to be a hybrid model to compete with the HS250 from Lexus. And as much as it's not helpful in maintaining Infinitis "sports sedan" image, they are in need of a fuel miser as their lineup isn't that efficient at the moment.

    Now, the Focus based Lincoln has me curious. Do you have any links to this one?
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    edited November 2010
    For example, Buick can't ignore the ever tightening federal fuel economy standards.

    I don't believe Buick as an individual brand has to meet and average Federal fuel economy standard. As part of GM, Buicks's numbers are simply mixed with the rest of GM's divisions, and a single GM number is generated. So Buick could sell vehicles that get 10 mpg on average, as long as other divisions in GM made enough economy cars to bring the GM average back up.

    I too see a problem with Buick offering a few range of size vehicles, just as Chevrolet offers that. This cloning of vehicles, causing market overlaps, with the only difference beiong styling and a few options, has failed once at GM, it's just failed at Ford with the closure of Mercury, and the Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler setup has failed a couple of times.

    Yes some of the Japanese have done this overlap as well, and I would say that they have not been huge successes either. Acura, Infiniti, Scion, and Lexus do not sell that many vehicles.

    IMO, a Buick or a Cadillac or whatever brand you have stand for some image. If the federal government mandates something that causes you not to be able to make a that brand then close the brand down! Start a new brand, which stands for what you can make.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    I agree with what you said, except that the Acura that developed the cult following you referred to was the Integra. The RSX was really nice too, in my opinion, but, like the Civic on which it was based, it was criticized by Honda/Acura aficionados because it no longer featured a double wishbone suspension.

    Sorry, but I don't recall where I read about the Focus based Lincoln, but it was in the last two weeks. It may have been in Automotive News or Motor Trend. I'm sure it'll appear again soon if there's something to it.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I really think the main reason these auto brands lose focus, is because the brand is not successful and the market may change due to external forces (like government rules), and the brands sales decline. The people with an interest in the brand doing well, then constantly petition the parent corporation to allow it to make a desperate non-traditional, brand move. They want to get a product that can add some volume and sales activity, even if in the long-run the brand-identity is damaged, and the parent spent more $ getting them new product than it was worth.

    I see a lot of value in brand identity. Every brand should stand for something. You know what a Ferrari stands for. You know what a Fiat or Toyota stands for. You know what the name Rolex stands for; you don't want to see Rolex want increased sales and therefore sell a $200 model in Sears! I think it's desperation and counter-productive (most times) when brands try to change who they are.

    If Buick sees large, luxury cars fading away, the answer for Gm would be to shutdown Buick, and start with a fresh sheet of paper, to create a new division.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    " Every brand should stand for something."

    I agree. By the way, what does Fiat stand for, as contrasted with, say, Volkswagen, it's main competitor?

    "If Buick sees large, luxury cars fading away, the answer for Gm would be to shutdown Buick, and start with a fresh sheet of paper, to create a new division."

    Whoa! Buick is probably not your cup of tea, nor mine (I've never owned one), but as one of the oldest brands in the auto business the name still has a lot of brand equity. Do you just throw that away and start over? I think it's easier to turn a brand around, as Buick has been doing, than to start with a clean slate. What about the dealers, and the costs associated with discontinuing a brand? Also, let's remember the Saturn example. Okay, okay, GM made some bad mistakes with Saturn, including not putting those resources into Chevy, but still...
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    By the way, what does Fiat stand for, as contrasted with, say, Volkswagen, it's main competitor?

    I don't know a ton about Fiat, both brands understand they have a middle-class market. They mainly put out affordable vehicles. They don't try to be everything to everyone. When VW has wandered from their brand image they have failed - can you say Phaeton. I believe that when VW wanted to do luxury vehicles properly they bought a luxury brand (forget whether they own Bentley or Rolls).

    If Buick has been near-luxury, large smooth vehicles that is what they should make and please that segment of the market. They don't need an upscale SUV, that should be GMC's market, and they don't need a Chevy Cruze. And Chevy does not need near-luxury cars that might infringe on Buick.

    GM's resources would be best spent not making so many models that steal sales from one another; competing with each other at price and size points.

    but as one of the oldest brands in the auto business the name still has a lot of brand equity.

    You think so? I think Buick has a negative brand-value to GM. It makes me think of the old GM, the many bad Buicks of the 80's and 90's, and of 60 and 70 year old, badly dressed guys on their way to the track to put $2 on each pony. Sorry Lemko, that's the way I see it. Buick also reeks of the Tiger Woods issue, and the whole golf-club stodginess. The only Buick I've ever really liked is the Riviera from the mid-60's.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    edited November 2010
    I agree with you in principal regarding your second paragraph, but Buick is proving us wrong, by selling a lot of Enclaves. As SUVs go, the Enclave is nice looking, and it has been generally praised by the automotive press. It appeals to a different customer than the GMC

    "I think Buick has a negative brand-value to GM."

    I think Buick sales and status in China is proving you wrong on this. In the U.S., Buick's brand equity suffered a long, extensive decline, beginning around the mid-'70s, and lasting until recently. Things are finally turning around, as evidenced by the LaCrosse, Enclave and Regal.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I agree with you on Buick in China. But that is exactly what I said about brand-image. Buick has a bad brand image here, but of course the Chinese don't know that. So ok - keep the Buick name in China. "Buick" is nothing but a name or badge stuck on a vehicle.

    As far as the LaCrosse, Enclave and Regal go, you're probably missing the point that those vehicles could be selling better if they didn't have a Buick logo stuck on the car. There are many people who won't go to a Buick dealership even if they clone a Jaguar XJ and sell it for $40K. Those vehicles might be selling okay despite the Buick logo.
  • I wouldn't be too misled buy the success of Buick in China...China still has a large population who have a grudge against Japan for some sort of history the two have together that I don't really have any in-depth knowledge about. Also, Chinas car boom is in its infancy and if you look at the home grown Chinese offerings, they make Grampas Buick look like a Rolls Royce. The atrocious crash test ratings of the home grown offerings make a bicycle look safer.

    link title

    :sick:
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    edited November 2010
    When your sales tank as bad as Buicks have over the years, then the increases aren't as impressive...

    image

    Nowhere to go but up... China saved Buick from oblivion.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,232
    From the early pictures and the description, the Verano looks very promising.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,388
    Yes, it does.

    When they first said they were going to do this I was dead set against the idea but it looks like they did their homework.

    The pictures I have seen make it instantly recognizable as a Buick and much less so as a car off the Cruze platform.
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