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Flybrian

Buick Bringing Brown Back

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Brown is the new Buick
Enclave's cocoa metallic could be new color of luxury
Posted Image
Sharon Terlep | The Detroit News


Once synonymous with grit and grime, brown has come to embody something entirely different for a generation of Starbucks-obsessed consumers.

Something luxurious, tasty even. A little like a latte.

At least that's the thinking behind General Motors Corp.'s decision to launch one of its most critical new vehicles -- the Buick Enclave crossover -- in a brunette hue called cocoa metallic.

Brown rides haven't been hip since the 1970s. But GM is banking on a brown renaissance, already under way in the worlds of fashion and interior design, to take hold in the auto industry.

"It used to be that when you asked people what they associated brown with, it was mud and dirt," said Chris Webb, GM's creative designer for interior-exterior color. "Now, it's luxury.

"We call it the Starbucks effect."

With that in mind, GM cast the Enclaves used in ads and at auto shows in the cocoa color. It was the hue that adorned the vehicle when it debuted as a concept at the 2006 auto show in Detroit and the color used when Buick rolled out the final version in Los Angeles last year, Tiger Woods in tow.

GM is trying to position the Enclave, which hit showrooms this summer, to compete with such luxury names as Lexus, Volvo and Acura.

It was the last of GM's crossover trio to go on sale, preceded by the sportier GMC Acadia and more affordable Saturn Outlook.

The Enclave is central to GM's efforts to revive Buick's flagging U.S. sales. Given its importance, much thought was put into what color would grace the vehicle when it debuted at auto shows and in advertisements. Webb was particularly interested in the story of delivery giant UPS. Instead of scrapping its brown-and-yellow logo, seen by some as dowdy, UPS embraced it. Thus the now-famous "What can brown do for you?" campaign was born.

Since then, Webb said, studies show more consumers recognize the UPS name and the company's market share is up 3 percent.

Color emphasizes curves
Posted Image

Buick could use a similar boost. Sales are down 28 percent through June.

But the Enclave, with sales of 3,659 in the first half of the year, is generating enthusiasm among dealers and auto critics.

"Color can do amazing things on the look of the car," said George Kang, an analyst with Edmunds.com, an online auto site.

"Especially on how the lines appear."

Kang said the Enclave's cocoa helps emphasize the vehicle's dramatic curves and styling.

Mated with the Enclave's glowing blue headlights, the vehicle mimics the brown-and-blue combo popular in the fashion industry.

Silver has gone mainstream

More variants on brown are likely to hit the road as automakers look for new colors to distinguish luxury rides. Silver used to do the trick, but that's mainstream, Kang said, and companies are looking for new options.

"Brown is being marketed as an upscale, luxury look," said Karen Surcina, color marketing and technology manager for DuPont Automotive Systems.

In a DuPont survey of the most popular car and truck colors of 2006, brown was at or near the bottom of the list in every segment. Only green, gold and orange scored lower. But cocoa metallic is the most popular color for the Enclave, adorning one of every five cars sold.

Jay Singer and his wife fell for the Enclave after seeing it at the Detroit show last year. A longtime loyalist of Chrysler minivans -- and usually red vehicles -- Singer was surprised to find himself falling for a brown Buick.

"Everybody has a silver car -- right there that turned us off," said Singer, a school teacher in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio, reached through Edmunds.com's car consumer forum.

The cocoa was especially appealing, combined with a leather interior in a color called cashmere.

"I said, 'If we get it, it's got to be in that color,'" Singer said. "It seemed symbiotic. I guess it's a good thing when you have that kind of emotional reaction."

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Note 1: I would love to see Cocoa Metallic on both Lucerne and LaCrosse

Note 2: This makes me feel better about my buying Sixty8's caca brown LeSabre
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I think that brown is a beautiful color. But the first Enclave I saw on the road in Lexington was the White Diamond Tri-coat and it was gorgeous.

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not that the original owners will care (cause it'll probably be a distant memory), but I bet it looks like $h! in 10 years

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Agreed about note 1. But furthermore, the color should remain a Buick exclusive.

Damn straight. I think it looks horrible on the Outlook and Acadia.

I've always thought of brown as luxurious. Chocolate brown interiors...yum.

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I kind of thought brown had a mini-comeback with GM already in the early 2000s with Bronzemist... Saw alot of that colour for a while!

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Cocoa metallic is available on late 2007 Lucerne's (I saw one at my local dealer and had to double check that is was indeed a 2007 and not an early 2008). It will be available on the 2008 LaX as well. A Cocoa interior is available on the LaX CXS and Super also.

The sales figures stated are misleading as the Enclave wasn't even in dealerships until end of April, beginning of May.

Also, the RDV was available in brown in it's first year, but not after that. A little ahead of it's time I guess.

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What can Brown do for you?

Fly's new LeSabre is a nice luxurious shade of earth tone. :D

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>>"Instead of scrapping its brown-and-yellow logo, seen by some as dowdy, UPS embraced it. Thus the now-famous "What can brown do for you?" campaign was born."<<

Is it just me, or is that slogan just AWFUL? I am not able to see any positives in it.

>>""Everybody has a silver car -- right there that turned us off" "<<

Uh-oh, somebody get mercedes on the phone.

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I dunno. It might look like &#036;h&#33;. :lol: Just kidding.

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Good call on this being on the LaX and Lucerne and being Buick exclusive.

Also, this is a great piece of market research...you need to do more of this GM. You didn't look at Lexus and say, "That's what we need to do." you just went out and trusted yourself.

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When I first got my Impala I wasn't too sure how much I liked Bronzemist, but after driving it a few years, I absolutely love it. Easy to keep clean and it looks absolutely gorgeous (to me at least) in the sun after a fresh wash. Not sure if it would be my first choice on the Enclave as I think the Enclave is beautiful is white diamond.

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not that the original owners will care (cause it'll probably be a distant memory), but I bet it looks like &#036;h&#33; in 10 years

You're right... in 1984 my parents bought a new Reliant... the color looked so dated and ugly in just a few years.

I mean, I love the brown leather--I thought it looked GORGEOUS on the Joseph Abboud package on the Regal back in the early 2000's.

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I think they should have called that color, bowel movement. :P

Bowel Movement Metallic.
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Exactly! :P

Now, is it an extra cost option?
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My question is could we bottle that as a scent and sell it like they do the new car smell! :smilewide:

Okay, too far...

:AH-HA_wink:

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I do like the brown on the Enclave...but I can only really see that color working out well for Buick. Brown Caddys I don't think would be nearly as classy.

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>>"You're right... in 1984 my parents bought a new Reliant... the color looked so dated and ugly in just a few years."<<

There ARE no new colors- ask Crayola. Oh; 'fashionable colors'- I for one have never bothered to 'keep up' with what's fashionable, it's time-consuming enough just keeping up with what's functional and I never seem to get along with those who place any sort of importance on 'that's hot'.

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Good call on this being on the LaX and Lucerne and being Buick exclusive.

Also, this is a great piece of market research...you need to do more of this GM. You didn't look at Lexus and say, "That's what we need to do." you just went out and trusted yourself.

I agree 100%!

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>>"You're right... in 1984 my parents bought a new Reliant... the color looked so dated and ugly in just a few years."<<

There ARE no new colors- ask Crayola. Oh; 'fashionable colors'- I for one have never bothered to 'keep up' with what's fashionable, it's time-consuming enough just keeping up with what's functional and I never seem to get along with those who place any sort of importance on 'that's hot'.

got that right. for almost a year i thought they only made silver colored vehichles... thats why my colorado is sunburst orange. wanted yellow but i knew even i would get tired of that in a year. i still get tons of compliments on the orange. the brown on the new silverados is not favorable, this brown does a good job of accentuating the bodylines.

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Good call on this being on the LaX and Lucerne and being Buick exclusive.

I'm surprised no one has made an ex-LaX joke yet! :P

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