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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Buick Week: Buick to the Future!

    Drew Dowdell - Managing Editor, CheersandGears.com

    December 7th, 2012

    Today is the final day of Buick Week. So far we’ve looked at the four new or refreshed vehicles in Buick’s lineup. It is kind of hard to believe that the Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal are now the two oldest designs, in that order, Buick offers.

    Buick Week:

    Day 1 - 2013 Buick Verano Review

    Day 2 - 2013 Buick Enclave First Drive

    Day 3 - 2013 Buick Verano Turbo First Drive

    Day 4 - 2013 Buick Encore First Drive

    Day 5 - Buick to the Future!

    What is coming:

    LaCrosse: The current LaCrosse debuted in 2009 as a 2010 model. At just three model years into its current run, the LaCrosse still holds its own, but the competition is increasing and newer, and sales are sagging. The Lexus ES has been refreshed, Hyundai has a very competent entry with their Azera, the Toyota Avalon is all new, and Lincoln has a new MKZ with a broad range of fuel-efficient power trains. We are expecting to see hints of a heavily-updated Buick LaCrosse during the coming auto show season.

    sml_gallery_10485_205_338737.png
    Regal: Buick’s German-bred sports sedan typically does very well in reviews, but in a rough economy more consumers are opting for the more economical but almost as premium feeling Verano. Buick and Opel are already preparing a refresh of the current model.

    What is not coming:

    GNX/Grand National: Buick laughed off the suggestion of a GNX when asked directly.

    What we’d like to see:

    It is no secret that around CheersandGears.com there is a desire for more body styles to be offered by the various GM divisions. Buick has a rich history of coupes, wagons, and convertibles, yet they offer none of those body styles at the moment.

    We humbly submit these suggestions:

    med_gallery_51_134_8579.jpg

    Image copyright General Motors - Modifications by Andrew Currie

    Buick Verano Convertible: Based on the Opel Cascada, this convertible can lower its top in 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The Opel version is powered by a re-worked 1.4T and the new Opel 1.6T with 200 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque. Stateside, we hope to see the 1.6T and the 250 hp version of the 2.0T from the Verano Turbo. We would prefer to see Buick add this to the Verano lineup to strengthen that brand within Buick rather than bring the Cascada name stateside.

    med_gallery_51_134_119719.jpg

    Image copyright General Motors - Modifications by Andrew Currie

    Buick David: Based on the Opel Adam and in homage to the founder of Buick, David Dunbar Buick. This cheeky little compact would be a premium entry in the segment to go up against the likes of the Mini-Cooper, the coming Mercedes A-Class, and Fiat 500 Abarth. In the Opel versions, though there are three engines available, none generate more than 100 horsepower. A direct-injected and turbo-charged engine is said to be coming. So as not to clash with the Chevrolet Sonic, maintain a premium status, and continue with Buick’s history of turbo-charging, we suggest the Buick David come with the 148 horsepower 1.4T from the Buick Encore as the standard engine with the 200 horsepower 1.6T optional. With a target curb weight of just 2,200lbs, this would be a Goliath entry into the premium hot hatch market.

    Buick is a brand on the move. It is one of the few brands, especially of premium brands, to lower their average buyer age recently. Buick’s average buyer age has dropped 7 years over the past 5 model years. They have increased their sales conquest rate to over 43%, increased sales while reducing the number of models, and two of their four models currently on sale are in segment leadership positions.

    Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter as @cheersngears

    *Both the Buick Verano Convertible and Buick David are wishful thinking on our part. They are in no way "news"; of future Buick vehicles. Images of the Buick Verano Convertible and Buick David are based on copyright of General Motors images under Creative Commons license and are not for commercial use or distribution.


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    I won't lie, I kind-of like the idea of the Buick "David". I think something like that done right could really keep Buick's momentum going and drop the average buyer age even further.

    I'm dying to see what they do to the revised LaCrosse--it's a winner already--hopefully they won't screw it up!

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    If produced, your Buick "David" would be the most interesting thing in the entire Buick lineup. I think it looks great, and I hate tiny cars.

    Cheers!

    Another Cheers! for the format and scope of this article (as well as its execution).

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    I would like to see the Opel Astra Turbo OPC brought in here. With the growing small hatch market and more upscale cars coming into play in the small car market that one would be a home run mechanically and styling wise. Even the GTC would be nice.

    But I know they may have to make some cuts in the OPC as it is $42,990 in Europe and would be too expensive to amount to much here. I am sure they could get one optioned to near $30K and still keep the turbo engine.

    Edited by hyperv6
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    I see this as a way to make Buick really cool with the younger crowd again.

    Sort of like the "trendy" automotive segment, huh! I think Buicks could attract the crowd that would never consider a "Chevy". I work for a global (Danish) pharmaceutical company in Princeton, NJ. Several people car shopping that I've spoken to like Chevies but say they could never see themselves owning one (too low on the status symbol ladder; Cruze and Volt were the cars dicsussed). Now soeone has bought a new blue Buick Verano and a lot of these same peole are saying how nice it is and something they would look at. GM needs to realize there's a market for Chevy-branded products and there's also a market for something other than a Chevy that's progressing up the symbol ladder. Here's where Buick fits in.

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    I ran into that exact issue with a co-worker. Enamored with the Volt, and remember I work for an Electricity retailer, but wouldn't buy a Chevy... went off and got a base model 3-series instead.

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    I'm the opposite, Buicks have mostly turned me off over the years (with some notable exceptions).

    If they chose to create things like "David" and an Alpha coupe styled like the Avant concept, I'd start paying attention again.

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    I think Buick and Chevy sedans both appeal to older folks so it turns off a lot of buyers. Chevy Cruze, Sonic or the Cobalt before it seem like the car for 20-somethings that can't afford better, the Malibu/Impala are either rental cars or for the grandparents that can't afford a Buick. My first car was a Chevy, I owned one in college, and then I moved on, I can't ever see myself buying a Chevy again because of the down-market image.

    Buick after being for the 70+ crowd for years has done a good job trying to change the perception, but I think they are still mostly a Chevy in better sheet metal. Buick may not get overlooked because of downmarket image, but Buick doesn't have a lot of cool-factor going for it to bring in younger buyers.

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    You would actually buy / not buy a car based on the ABA on that model? Don't you think you get a better value in a car purchase suiting yourself rather than buying based on what you believe others think about your vehicle?? I mean; I realize that's the vast bulk of BMW & mercedees buyer's initial SOP, but it doesn't translate; that's why those companies have such abysmal owner loyalty numbers. Look at Jag- their rejection rate (non-repeat sales) is 84%. What's the market image there?

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    The Wife and Daughter love the Convertible, The Buick David they say is a perfect competitor to the Mini and they can see it being driven around the cities. They like the style better than the mini, but the wife did say the Buick grill was a bit too big for the car over all.

    Both have positive thumbs up from the females and males in my house hold who would love to see and buy something like these two cars from an american manufacture.

    Nice job and congratulations to all those that contributed to this awesome write up and images. Way to go.

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    You would actually buy / not buy a car based on the ABA on that model? Don't you think you get a better value in a car purchase suiting yourself rather than buying based on what you believe others think about your vehicle?? I mean; I realize that's the vast bulk of BMW & mercedees buyer's initial SOP, but it doesn't translate; that's why those companies have such abysmal owner loyalty numbers. Look at Jag- their rejection rate (non-repeat sales) is 84%. What's the market image there?

    It isn't about average buyer age, Chevy just has had a low rent, rental car image for years. Not as bad as Doge, but still, when you sell Cavaliers, Cobalts, Impalas and the best you have to offer is the 08 Malibu which was class average there isn't a lot in their main line to get excited about. The Camaro helps the brand image, but for 10 years they didn't have it, and the Camaro just isn't my sort of car.

    Buick is a little different, it was the senior citizen brand for years, the LaCrosse continues that, the Verano and Encore seem very girly, similar to how Mercury was and VW is with the Jetta and Tiguan. Not that that is a bad thing for Buick half of car buyers are women, but Buick makes nothing that interests me, and their brand image does nothing for me either.

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    I think a Verano convertible is good, because the Opel convertible is a good design that looks elegant and upscale. GM also needs a convertible other than the Corvette/Camaro, and a convertible that is affordable and more about elegant looking and every day driving and not straight line power. Buick needs the convertible to compete with the VW Bettle and Eos, Chrysler 200 (it's rubbish but people buy it due to lack of choices), Mini Convertible, etc. I think there is always a market for affordable convertibles and hardly any manufacturers outside of Europe make convertibles anymore.

    I don't think the Buick David is a good idea. The Encore is already their small, tall car, and they have the Verano for a sedan. Plus the name is as bad as the Mercedes Karl or the Chrysler Walter. No one wants a car named Karl or Walter or David.

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    The article and the chops are very well-done. I like the idea of the Adam coming over as a Buick, and the Cascada is already very Buick-y. Both would make excellent additions to the lineup.

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    Hmmm... maybe I should have DF chop one up as an Oldsmobile and we could call it the Ransom.

    The article and the chops are very well-done. I like the idea of the Adam coming over as a Buick, and the Cascada is already very Buick-y. Both would make excellent additions to the lineup.

    I'm just adam-ant ;-) that the Cascada use the Verano name in the US. It is easier to sell one name with multiple body styles instead of having to market and sell multiple names.

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    I don't think the Buick David is a good idea. The Encore is already their small, tall car, and they have the Verano for a sedan. Plus the name is as bad as the Mercedes Karl or the Chrysler Walter. No one wants a car named Karl or Walter or David.

    the David and the Encore are very different vehicles. David is to Encore as Mini-Cooper is to Mini-Countryman.

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    Well you know I am a big advocate of more bodystyles per nameplate. Verano convertible it is! AND... they both need Ventiports on their hoods. Verano ragtop 3 per side, David, two per side.

    Edited by ocnblu
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    A lot of people would buy a Cascada in a heartbeat if it was offered here. In terms of more relaxed convertibles you have the 200 (not that great) and the Eos (overpriced and bland). A hardtop variant would be cool too.

    I'm mostly looking forward to seeing the new 2014 LaCrosse which should clean up/soften some of the front end styling and bring more in line with the Enclave.

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    I wish Buick would make a modern version of a traditional full size sedan like Toyota does with the Avalon, or Hyundai with the Azera or the old G-body LeSabre. The current LaCrosse is bad in so many ways that I have actually seen customers get in the car, start it up and not even bother going on a test drive. In fact some customers have actually come in asking if my buddies dealership still have any leftover or low mileage Lucerne's left in stock. Buick has thrown away much of it's traditional clientele in favor of bringing in these so called younger buyers. That's all fine and well but it's the older buyers that have the money and want comfortable smooth driving roomy cars. Right now the Enclave is the only vehicle on there lot that even remotely fits that bill. IMO the new 2014 Impala is a much better car than the current Lax.

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    Ponchoman49, I could not agree more. The newest Lucerne is nowadays a Cadillac XTS. I would still make the argument that the XTS should have been a second-gen Lucerne, but GM did not see it that way. I kinda like the newer LaCrosse; it just seems more like a midsize car than a large car. The 2014 Impala seems to otherwise fill the bill for those of us who lack Cadillac $$$ for the XTS.

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    The New the car is coming and it will address a larger Luxury car a RWD performance sedan.

    The is a lot more going on than they are telling you. The Refresh on the Lacrosse is a very short term deal. I would expect we may see something in the next two years coming to market for 2016-17.

    GM's priority is Cadillac and once they get most of their line in place they will work on Buick. Even GM does not have the money or the staff to do both correctly at one time. Also with each Cadillac model moving up in price it will make more room for Buick so it is not stepping on Chevys or Cadillac toes. Right now Buick is stepping on their own toes because they getting squeezed by the out going CTS.

    Edited by hyperv6
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    The New the car is coming and it will address a larger Luxury car a RWD performance sedan.

    The is a lot more going on than they are telling you. The Refresh on the Lacrosse is a very short term deal. I would expect we may see something in the next two years coming to market for 2016-17.

    GM's priority is Cadillac and once they get most of their line in place they will work on Buick. Even GM does not have the money or the staff to do both correctly at one time. Also with each Cadillac model moving up in price it will make more room for Buick so it is not stepping on Chevys or Cadillac toes. Right now Buick is stepping on their own toes because they getting squeezed by the out going CTS.

    An Alpha car to replace the LaCrosse or the Regal?

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    I wish Buick would make a modern version of a traditional full size sedan like Toyota does with the Avalon, or Hyundai with the Azera or the old G-body LeSabre. The current LaCrosse is bad in so many ways that I have actually seen customers get in the car, start it up and not even bother going on a test drive. In fact some customers have actually come in asking if my buddies dealership still have any leftover or low mileage Lucerne's left in stock. Buick has thrown away much of it's traditional clientele in favor of bringing in these so called younger buyers. That's all fine and well but it's the older buyers that have the money and want comfortable smooth driving roomy cars. Right now the Enclave is the only vehicle on there lot that even remotely fits that bill. IMO the new 2014 Impala is a much better car than the current Lax.

    I agree with most of what you say except the traditional full size sedan comment. Maybe you are too young to really know what a full size sedan is, but I can tell you that the Avalon and Azera are mid size cars not full size. In fact the auto industry is trying to reboot what a full size sedan is by saying these cars are full size, but anyone who knows history can tell you these are nothing but mid size cars.

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    I wish Buick would make a modern version of a traditional full size sedan like Toyota does with the Avalon, or Hyundai with the Azera or the old G-body LeSabre. The current LaCrosse is bad in so many ways that I have actually seen customers get in the car, start it up and not even bother going on a test drive. In fact some customers have actually come in asking if my buddies dealership still have any leftover or low mileage Lucerne's left in stock. Buick has thrown away much of it's traditional clientele in favor of bringing in these so called younger buyers. That's all fine and well but it's the older buyers that have the money and want comfortable smooth driving roomy cars. Right now the Enclave is the only vehicle on there lot that even remotely fits that bill. IMO the new 2014 Impala is a much better car than the current Lax.

    I agree with most of what you say except the traditional full size sedan comment. Maybe you are too young to really know what a full size sedan is, but I can tell you that the Avalon and Azera are mid size cars not full size. In fact the auto industry is trying to reboot what a full size sedan is by saying these cars are full size, but anyone who knows history can tell you these are nothing but mid size cars.

    They probably are considered full size by interior volume, the same way the Taurus, Impala, etc are.

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    Verano vert and "David" are absolutely spot-on for the current markets. Hello, GM has nothing to compete with FIAT and MINI--this would be it. Except I f@#king hate the David name. Not that GM marketing has ever been worth anything, but call that little thing Roadmaster, and market it with a series of wacky techno/Dutch-BDSM-themed ads.

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    The New the car is coming and it will address a larger Luxury car a RWD performance sedan.

    The is a lot more going on than they are telling you. The Refresh on the Lacrosse is a very short term deal. I would expect we may see something in the next two years coming to market for 2016-17.

    GM's priority is Cadillac and once they get most of their line in place they will work on Buick. Even GM does not have the money or the staff to do both correctly at one time. Also with each Cadillac model moving up in price it will make more room for Buick so it is not stepping on Chevys or Cadillac toes. Right now Buick is stepping on their own toes because they getting squeezed by the out going CTS.

    An Alpha car to replace the LaCrosse or the Regal?

    I expect the Lacrosse. I expect the Regal to remain FWD or if it does go RWD it may be on the sub Alpha hinted for Chevy. Either way the Alpha will be a V6 and 4 while the Regal will remain a 4 cylinder.

    I wish they had not used the name Grand National as a hint as it will not be that kind of a car. Buick is not going to be a traditional Muscle car and a name like that will hurt it in both camps. GXP could be used as it is non descript enough.

    That is just my hunch as there is so little news on these.

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    With Pontiac gone, Buick needs to step up their excitement! game on at least a couple of models.  They need a RWD high class performance car, like the Riv, Wildcat, and GN were, with the option (at least) of 2-door bodystyle.  The Regal GS, while nice, somehow misses the mark... whether it be the 4 cylinder engine, or the four door body... something is missing from the formula.

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    Buick is not going all RWD and big power in all models.

     

    Look for them to go more Audi like where they will offer a full range and I get the feeling they will also offer AWD and FWD in most all lines. You have too keep in mind this is also Opel so they will take on a very Euro flair with some American hallmarks.They will also attend to the needs of Europe as well as America. Lest we also not forget China.

     

    Names and images like Riv, Wildcat and Gn mean little to them and even if they reuse the names the images will be much different in this age.

     

    I already see a lot of Audi 7 styling profile  in the present Buick Mules going around.

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    Hopefully they'll be a considerable bit less generic than the A3.

     

    The A7 has a very inelegant look to it. I like the idea of a hatch in general, but it's half-baked here. With the rear seats up, the amount of space inside above the belt line is nonexistent, yet it dictated the entire profile of the car. Just as efficient to engineer a full rear seat back fold down inside a sedan 3-box.

     

    Sometimes I think the fad WRT CUVs is getting taken too far.

     

    I hope the next LaCrosse gains MORE decklid rather than less.

    Edited by balthazar
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    Well, I wasn't holding my breath- I saw the way the current one was going vs. prior.

    Not making much sense IMO other than catering to what's faddish. Which I understand from a business standpoint, but still...

     

    The LaCrosse is a very 'thick' car; this move will only accentuate that in a less positive manner. 

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    Drew thanks for the back up and confirm what I thought I saw.

    The A7 is a mesmerizing car and one of the better looking cars we have out there today.

     

    It has that coupe look and while it sacrifices some ergonomics for styling it really sets the car apart from the generic sedan out there like the Camry and Civic sedan shapes.

    From what I hear the Malibu will carry a little of this too in the styling they have chosen. It will be much more sleeker than the present car and less upright. It will have a little more Impala DNA.

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    Lets get to the Buick Acenir. That is the real news at Detroit. I had a peak at a Holden version last year in a Holden commercial an it is so much more than I expected. This one will make the top five of the show for sure.

     

    Welcome to Buicks future.

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