Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

For Buick, Good Names Go Bad

21 posts in this topic

For Buick, Good Names Go Bad

Brand's Vehicle Quality Gains Are Offset

By Decision to Dump Sagging Nameplates

August 13, 2007

What do the Buick Regal, Buick LeSabre, Buick Park Avenue, and Buick Ranier have in common, besides being Buicks?

They all scored among the top three in their class in J.D. Power and Associates survey of vehicle dependability for 2007. And all are out of production.

This is another one of those good news-bad news stories for Detroit's struggling auto makers.

First the good news: For the first time, General Motors Corp.'s Buick brand tied Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand for the top spot in the "Vehicle Dependability Study," which surveys owners of three year old vehicles and compiles their reported problems into scores and rankings. Lexus has been alone at number one spot in this survey for 12 years.

GM's Cadillac brand and Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury brand scooted in at three and four respectively, ahead of No. 5 Honda and No. 6 Toyota. The spread between Lexus and Buick and No. 6 Toyota was 33 problems per 100 vehicles.

Toyota and Lexus didn't suffer a meltdown, by any means. Lexus models placed first in five segments, more than any other brand. Toyota brand models placed first in four segments, including large pickup trucks, the last stronghold of the Detroit auto giants. But for GM, Buick catching Lexus in long-term reliability is an important achievement the auto maker can use to further its case that it has left its quality sins of the past behind.

Now the bad news: Buick will face a challenge to get the most out of this coup, in part because of Detroit's tendency to dump nameplates in response to poor sales or a weak brand image.

Consider the Buick Century and Buick Regal. They placed No. 1 and 2 among mid-sized cars, beating the segment's highly regarded best sellers, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

As J.D. Power points out, a reputation for good, long-term reliability usually translates into a concrete benefit for consumers in the form of higher resale value. On average, three-year-old vehicles retain about 56% of their initial transaction price, Power says. But cars with good reliability reputations can hang on to as much as 15 percentage points more of their value after three years, according to Power data, which is something customers remember. Brands such as Lexus, Toyota and Honda that manage their marketing strategies with resale value in mind have tended to gain share even as overall sales have declined.

What J.D. Power's new survey suggests is that anyone looking for a reliable three-year-old used vehicle now might consider adding the Buick Century and Regal to their lists. Too bad for Century owners that Power's data suggests the discontinued Century currently doesn't get many lookers. It's holding just 47% of its new price, well below the industry average.

Beyond that, how will the Century and Regal's good scores help the new Buick that has taken their place in the mid-size segment? Can you even name it? (Answer below.)

George Hoffer, an economist at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies automotive sales and marketing trends in detail, says in a draft paper that Detroit's impulse to conjure up new names for a car could be one reason why Detroit brands keep losing share -- despite the evidence that the best of Detroit's new models have achieved parity with Toyota and Honda, the quality image leaders for the industry.

"For domestic lines a renaming results in a 22.22% decline in market share growth for that year. Nor does market share growth rebound in the model year after the renaming.," Mr. Hoffer writes in a draft paper.

The Century and the Regal names died in large part because they were associated with Buick's image as either an old person's car or a rental car. As Buick sales have declined, GM has pared back the number of Buick models to fit the brand's shrinking share, and tried to reposition Buick as a less pretentious version of Lexus – with cars that are dignified, ultra-quiet and highly reliable. Vehicles such as the stylish Buick Enclave crossover wagon, built to attract would-be buyers of the Lexus RX models, reflect this strategy.

Out-Lexusing Lexus was never going to be easy, since the real Lexus does what it does quite well. One thing Buick has that Lexus doesn't is a real heritage in the U.S. market. The problem is how to remind people of the heritage without also reminding them of the sour taste left behind by some Buicks of the recent past?

Ford's new Chief Executive Alan Mulally earlier this year decided that Detroit's formula for atoning for past sins -- consign the offending vehicle name to the memory hole and spend millions to launch a new name -- is nuts. That's why Ford will this fall revive the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable names. (The Sable, by the way, placed third in the latest Power dependability study among mid-size cars, not that "we're No. 3" is the strongest advertising pitch.)

Buick plans to do its best to promote the J.D. Power tie with Lexus, as it has with similar positive quality rankings in the past., says spokesman Dave Darovitz. "Perception lags reality. Now that perception has caught up with reality. We are just now starting to get credit," he says.

It would be easier if GM hadn't let cars like the Regal and Century slide so far that killing off the names seemed like a good idea. Chalk it up as another legacy cost for Detroit to overcome.

ANSWER: The new midsized Buick is the LaCrosse.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have to admit that changing the model names probably was not a great idea for Buick.

I think LaCrosse and Lucerne should be dropped when the redesigned models hit the market (I believe GM has already planned to do this; let's hope that they stick with the plan). I also hope that if they do bring over a compact sedan on the Delta II platform, please do not keep the current model's Chinese moniker of Excelle. There are many who remember the Hyundai fiasco that was graced with this name (although the spelling is different).

Names that the Buick brand should consider for future models: Skylark, Regal, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Riviera, Rainier, Rendezvous, Electra, Invicta, and Century. Just make sure to apply these valuable names to some great products, please!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucerne should stay and LaX is gone after 2008 or 2009 when the EP II Regal debates and it will be the same for both China and the US. Actually it is getting designed over there but actually that might be a good thing. The Park Avenue name is coming back by 2011 with a redesign Zeta based car. The Lucerne/DTS should stay FWD for traditional buyers. I have a feeling we will not get the current China Park Avenue because we will get one in 2011 anyways. It will be totally redesigned and sweet I would bet.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think changing the names hurts the Brands image for many car enthusiasts, and confuses everyone else.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The article has a point: Japan Inc can fudge a lot of things, but faking a great American history just won't work, so why aren't GM and Ford doing more to capitalize on that? More to the point, GM must avoid, at all costs, using acronyms or numbers in their models.

Maybe I am just senile, but I would rather drive an "Imperial" or an "Eldorado", over a GS69XPL41 anyday. We have enough damned numbers to remember, without remembering the model number we are driving!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Century, Lesabre, and Regal are fine cars, but GM stopped updating them.

Remember for years the Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in America, but GM failed to freshen/redesign/modernize it and people stopped buying.

The Lesabre was introduced in 1959 with a coupe/convertible/wagon/sedan offerings.

As of the mid 80s it was down to just a sedan, no wonder why young people turned away. Regal was a coupe for years and then it became a sedan only.

GM made some bad decisions and really ruined those names.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree and disagree...

I think it is stupid to throw out legendary names but at the same time, I think the message of the JD Power study that american cars in general an the Buick brand as a whole (despite what models it sells---because the ratings have been consistent despite model changes) are as reliable as Japan Inc. THAT'S HOW GM MUST PITCH IT!

In fact, I would like to see GM & Ford team up to promote american cars in general.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most if not all the Buick names of the past have respect or could get that respect back. Let's take the storied Buick Skylark nameplate for example.

First, it was a limited-run convetible based on the Roadmaster in 1953-54. Then, it resurfaced on a top-shelf version of the compact 1961 Special (and both were redesigned for 1964 and upgraded to mid-size status. Then, Skylark replaced Special Deluxe as the series name for those mid-sizers for 1970 until the end of that design in 1972, when the Century name was revived to replace it for the 1973 model year. After a two-year hiatus, the ho-hum Apollo (Buick's Chevy Nova clone) was a restyled 4-door notchback sedan, with the 2-door notchback coupe and 3-door hatchback coupe reviving the Skylark name, and the sedan doing so for 1976. And unlike the similar Pontiac Ventura (and 1977-79 Phoenix)/Oldsmobile Omega, neither of which really went anywhere in sales, Buick's compact sales jumped to become the second-best selling GM compact in the late 1970's (behind the Nova). Sure, Skylark still looked semi-similar to Nova and the others, but a decent amount of luxury and the respected Skylark name gave it the jump that Apollo/Ventura/Phoenix/Omega never really had.

Even with the downsized, front-drive 1980-85 X-Cars (Chevy Citation, Pontiac Phoenix, Olds Omega), the Skylark retained its second-best selling position (again, behind the Chevy, well ahead of Phoenix/Omega, which actually sold well in 1980) despite all the later recalls, ill-workmanship, etc., even right through the 1985 sedan-only line.

Enter the 1985 N-Body cars: Pontiac Grand Am, Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais, and Buick Somerset Regal 2-door notchback coupes (the latter dropping the Regal prefix for 1986; renamed Skylark for 1988). The 4-door notchback sedans for all three arrived for 1986, yet Buick kept the Skylark name, as put best by the 1903-2000 Standard Catalog of Buick by Krause Publications: "...yet Buick's version had sold well, and they still felt there was a lot of power in the Skylark name, which first debuted on a convertible in 1953." However, from this generation to the end-game, fleet-only 1998 Custom V-6 sedan, Skylark was on the decline because in my simply-put opinion, it was a lousy, uncompetitive, and in the case of 1992-onward, ugly car.

I know its long-winded, but this example, that I've been reading upon lately, demonstrates that there is power in a name. And look at the Buick Century. Yeah, most of its audience is old people, but I see families in that car too, and it was a very good car when we had ours (a 1989 Limited sedan). And Century's of course, are still quite plentiful. And some people would really rather have a Buick.

But to Buick's feature: Lucerne is a successful car for Buick. Just make sure the 2011 looks like a Buick and has more power and luxury than it does now. Century is my preferred name for a FWD/AWD mid-size because its worked so well in the past. How about LaCrosse becoming like the concept car of 2000-a Mercedes-Benz CLS-style car based on the mid-size (G8) Zeta chassis?

And another example which also has worked is the Nissan Altima. In its first two generations (1993-97/1998-2001), they were ugly, dumpy, underpowered, fat little cars that were neither mid-size nor had a V-6 option, but were instantly popular and instantly made people forget about the boxy, unpopular Stanza compact it replaced. And of course, look at the 2002-06 Altima. Not ugly, it was acclaimed for its styling, as well as its move up to mid-size car rankings, a car finally worthy of competing head-on with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord kings. And its passenger and cargo room was of course far improved, and the previous Altima (2002-06 I mean) was a dramatically different car than its two predecessors before it. Thus, the product can improve the name as well, and the name can improve the product's popularity (like the Skylark before 1986).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More to the point, GM must avoid, at all costs, using acronyms or numbers in their models.

You mean like Pontiac G3, G5, G6, G8? :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buick has a myriad of promising historic names that just sound good. The biggest mistake I see Buick made is killing the decades-long-run of the LeSabre... but considering it's now replaced by a successful Lucerne it might not be worth the effort to revert back to the traditional Buick name.

The LaCrosse which I think is already virtually set to be renamed back to the Regal during its next generation. Which I think most can agree will be a positive move considering the Regal never had a bad image. However the LaCrosse did its job in showing the new direction of Buick while not abandoning the previous customer base. The LaCrosse replacement should be an amazing vehicle as long as they stay the course the Enclave provided.

Skylark, Electra, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Century, Regal, and Roadmaster are all traditional Buick names that have lived through decades (the least used surprisingly being the Park Avenue) and have enticed millions of buyers in total... I mean in reality names like Lucerne or LaCrosse do not evoke an image, and even less do the alpha-numerics. I don't care what studies the motor companies use to justify alpha-numerics but they're the epitome of evil for something that is going to be such a big part of your life. Virtually all companies have resorted to it too, Buick should not be afraid to draw from its heritage strongly because there is a lack of creativity in the automotive industry today and consumers know it, that's why when Buick brings back the port-holes you see them on everything from Chryslers to Toyotas. Having unimaginative names won't interest people forever, they are going to want to have a car that has a name, especially a name they can remember instead of calling their car a CST, 4-series, QX212. The solid names of Buick's past are profit waiting to happen.

However I'm not opposed to new names... I think the Lucerne is a decent name and shows the elegance that Buick is trying to portray in its more refined image, basing it off of the city in Switzerland. And I really love the Enclave name because it's cultured and describes Buick fans in an automotive world gone polarized... they still are aiming for affordable luxury. Not glut or trimming all the fat.

Edited by Cananopie
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buick has a myriad of promising historic names that just sound good. The biggest mistake I see Buick made is killing the decades-long-run of the LeSabre... but considering it's now replaced by a successful Lucerne it might not be worth the effort to revert back to the traditional Buick name.

However I'm not opposed to new names... I think the Lucerne is a decent name and shows the elegance that Buick is trying to portray in its more refined image, basing it off of the city in Switzerland.

Agreed.

LeSabre was always synonymous with a very good, reasonably-powerful, well-equipped large car...but not much more. Even thoughout history, LeSabre got no respect. I love the name, its origins, what it represents, and the cars that carried it, but I can rationalize and even come to appreciate Lucerne. For the type of car Lucerne ended up being, it really couldn't be called a LeSabre or Park Avenue; its a different sort of Buick.

LaCrosse, however, was a total mistake in my estimation. First rule of automotive nomenclature - never use a popular concepts name unless a) the concept is over 10 years old or b) the production car is similar to the concept. That was the biggest mistake. For those in the general public who do not track GM's every move as closely as we do and do not understand the depth and bredth of the carmaking procedure, there was a stunningly-beautiful LaCrosse followed by a dowdy LaCrosse four years later. If there were no concept LaCrosse, there would be no association and therefore no seriously high expectations.

Second evidence of mistake comes at the perfectly acceptable Regal nameplate. Regal itself as a car seems, IMO, an anomoly for Buick. Born from the Century line, it was always the rowdier midsize car and the performance variants made a name for themselves. Regal seems to resonate more with popular culture from those hi-po RWD G-bodies to the ghetto donks to the cult following the late Regal GS built for itself.

LaCrosse should've been badged Regal from the start. The Century name admittedly held zero cache after being thrown away on the A-body for so long.

  • Regal CXL would be equal to the LaCrosse CX.
  • Regal CXS would be equal to the LaCrosse CXS.
  • Regal GS would continue, powered by the Series III 3.8l s/c V6.
Equipment levels would be similar to the CXS, but with preforated bucket seats, metallic interior trim, a limited selection of exterior colors, blackout chrome trim all around, smoked taillamps, lip spoiler, performance wheel/tire set, chrome-tipped dual exhausts and maybe a gentle aero kit. CXS would be luxury/sport with gentler handling and the sophistication of an un-detuned 250hp 3.6l VVT V6; GS would be sport/luxury with crisper handling, ride etc. Two distinctly-appealing Regals at minimal additional cost (more s/c 3800IIIs)

The 3800 III s/c would've died as it did, GS would've been replaced by the current Super, and no one would've asked any questions. Regal's credibility remains intact (maybe knocked up a notch), the desire for the '97.5-04 GS would've been satiated, and the LaCrosse moniker wouldn't have been sullied.

So simple GM should have done it.

But what do I know, I'm just a fanboy. :scratchchin:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have to admit that changing the model names probably was not a great idea for Buick.

Won't that means the names to top next few years would then be swapped with the Allure and Lucerne??
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LaCrosse should've been badged Regal from the start. The Century name admittedly held zero cache after being thrown away on the A-body for so long.

  • Regal CXL would be equal to the LaCrosse CX.
  • Regal CXS would be equal to the LaCrosse CXS.
  • Regal GS would continue, powered by the Series III 3.8l s/c V6.
Equipment levels would be similar to the CXS, but with preforated bucket seats, metallic interior trim, a limited selection of exterior colors, blackout chrome trim all around, smoked taillamps, lip spoiler, performance wheel/tire set, chrome-tipped dual exhausts and maybe a gentle aero kit. CXS would be luxury/sport with gentler handling and the sophistication of an un-detuned 250hp 3.6l VVT V6; GS would be sport/luxury with crisper handling, ride etc. Two distinctly-appealing Regals at minimal additional cost (more s/c 3800IIIs)

The 3800 III s/c would've died as it did, GS would've been replaced by the current Super, and no one would've asked any questions. Regal's credibility remains intact (maybe knocked up a notch), the desire for the '97.5-04 GS would've been satiated, and the LaCrosse moniker wouldn't have been sullied.

So simple GM should have done it.

But what do I know, I'm just a fanboy. :scratchchin:

The only problems I see with that are the following:

Pontiac would've never allowed that type of Regal GS when it wasn't allowed to do that with its Grand Prix. Pontiac demands the sport and even encroaches in to Buick territory in quality in order to get the best of both worlds (like the GTO) but the problem with that is that the sales weren't nearly as expected. Buick has shown the ability to sell what Pontiac hasn't (like the Aztec).

Next is as good as that sounds for a Regal GS, I can already see how many threads in C&G alone would be devoted to the waste that is the s/c 3.8 liter in a vehicle that otherwise could be desirable. Not that would be my opinion, but plenty would spread the fire (as many are doing now with the Supers) that Buick is trying to make dated styling and technology work in a world captivated by bells and whistles blaming it on GM ignoring the division "as usual."

However I'm glad the LaCrosse isn't a Regal. I prefer my '02 Regal over a LaCrosse in styling anyday. To me the LaCrosse is derived more from the Century in external styling, keeping it vanilla to keep the customer base of the hundreds of thousands of Century buyers of years passed. The LaCrosse replacement, slated to be called the Regal, hopefully will be more deserving.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So simple GM should have done it.

I always thought the same thing... But I'm happy that the Allure as we know it is not a Regal... It just doesn't look like one.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only problems I see with that are the following:

Pontiac would've never allowed that type of Regal GS when it wasn't allowed to do that with its Grand Prix. Pontiac demands the sport and even encroaches in to Buick territory in quality in order to get the best of both worlds (like the GTO) but the problem with that is that the sales weren't nearly as expected. Buick has shown the ability to sell what Pontiac hasn't (like the Aztec).

Next is as good as that sounds for a Regal GS, I can already see how many threads in C&G alone would be devoted to the waste that is the s/c 3.8 liter in a vehicle that otherwise could be desirable. Not that would be my opinion, but plenty would spread the fire (as many are doing now with the Supers) that Buick is trying to make dated styling and technology work in a world captivated by bells and whistles blaming it on GM ignoring the division "as usual."

However I'm glad the LaCrosse isn't a Regal. I prefer my '02 Regal over a LaCrosse in styling anyday. To me the LaCrosse is derived more from the Century in external styling, keeping it vanilla to keep the customer base of the hundreds of thousands of Century buyers of years passed. The LaCrosse replacement, slated to be called the Regal, hopefully will be more deserving.

ugh..no offense of course, but the 97.5-04 and 97.5-05 regal's and century's (respectively) are practically the same. Differences being in the body side molding, chrome on the tail lights, grille and bumpers. Otherwise exactly the same parts (excluding the engine and a few other features).

Nothing against the regal of course.

I tend to agree with most on the nameplate issue, bring back the old names. Heck, it'll atleast get people looking, I know my dad always looks at the Malibu (though doesnt buy them, but he always considers/examines them) because he had a 350 malibu back in the day.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My $0.02

The Buick Lineup should consist of these six model names:

- Enclave (nio changes)

- LeSabre (fwd car replaces LaX)

- Park Avenue ZETA minstream sedan (range topping INVICTA trim)

- Electra 225 (long wheelbase Zeta sedan)

- Regal (two door version of P.A.)

- Century Special (baby buick)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However the LaCrosse did its job in showing the new direction of Buick while not abandoning the previous customer base.

How did the LaCrosse show a "new direction" for Buick exactly?

Basically it's a reskin of the decades-old W-body architecture......with a decades-old 3800 V6 (base engine) and a decades-old 4-speed automatic transmission......a standard bench-seat (unknown practically in today's market)......and driving dynamics that refuse to abandon Buick's floppy and floaty ride-and-handling?

Can you SERIOUSLY call this a "new direction?"

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The LaCrosse is hardly a 'floppy' ride. There is a difference between smooth and floaty; the LaCrosse's tuning is geared towards the former.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The LaCrosse is hardly a 'floppy' ride. There is a difference between smooth and floaty; the LaCrosse's tuning is geared towards the former.

Absolutely.....totally.....DISAGREE.

Even LaCrosse CXS has a degree of float in it that is more than expected....but it's acceptable.

CX and CXL are just as floppy and floaty as Buicks of old (coming from someone that's spent ALOT of time in all manner of Buicks.)

I've always said the CXS suspension tuning should be the LaCrosse baseline.....not the top-level offering.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did the LaCrosse show a "new direction" for Buick exactly?

Basically it's a reskin of the decades-old W-body architecture......with a decades-old 3800 V6 (base engine) and a decades-old 4-speed automatic transmission......a standard bench-seat (unknown practically in today's market)......and driving dynamics that refuse to abandon Buick's floppy and floaty ride-and-handling?

Can you SERIOUSLY call this a "new direction?"

Okay, the best way to respond to this is to understand that there are different perceptions than your own involved here when talking about an entire brand. And especially, in fact, when it is a brand that typically isn't tailored to your specific taste.

#1. Most people take absolutely no account of the length the architecture has been in use for. While this determines the general length and look of the vehicle it certainly is not the most important factor to most. I mean people get really bent out of shape over architecture and, of course, it is due to the architecture that certain negative points can occur... however GM is working with what they have considering drastic and multifaceted competition that arose as short as about 30 years ago. Some things will be dated but does that mean they're worthless? Does that mean they are obsolete? No. GM has used the venerable W-body with success considering its age. Constantly having absolutely no mercy in this respect is tiring because hindsight is 20/20. So we have to remember GM couldn't afford to bust out a whole new architecture to fit O.C.'s desires with the reverberating budget constraints imposed upon them (obviously the corporate bureaucracy is always going to waste unnecessary money, but this is a factor we must include with every corporation, so claiming that if this or that wasn't done they'd be able to make a new platform in time is really pointless, especially not actually knowing intimate information). But in all the architecture only as so much influence on external design and comfort which is what is really at the forefront of most peoples minds while searching for a new car (granted it has a lot to do with something like storage or roominess but it is in the midsize car segment and has no extremely serious defaults in this regard).

#2. Dismissing the fact that the 3800 is a desired engine by many people both on and off C&G doesn't make your point accurate. After two separate 3100 engines had blown gaskets I was certain my next vehicle was going to be a 3800 like my original and I was thankful that they still made them in my 2000 Regal albeit a few generations newer than my original 87 LeSabre. The 3800, if treated right which is basically just being on top of oil changes, is virtually indestructible. This is a solid opinion of most people who own 3800s. I would say the most intelligent article I read on the pushrod engine was from the user dwightlooi in this thread. A few things are important to note here:

Yes, he advocates for both and even prefers the DOHC but he certainly shows that overhead cams are also ancient technology and it is not the pushrod which stands alone as dated. However he also notes that things that are dated about the pushrod isn't necessarily anything about the DOHC engine but the technology applied to the DOHC engine. The reason why this technology is not applied to the pushrod is, as he notes, public perception of hoards of O.C.'s demonizing the pushrod. Why put money in to technology people are ignorantly proclaiming dated even though, as he mentions in the article, the pushrod has some great viable purposes? Because no matter what we do positively with the pushrod engines people will ignorantly treat it as if it was yesterdays garbage... even though OHCs were used in World War II.

Now, the question stands, why would this decades old, perceivably dated engine still appeal to loyal Buick buyers? Aside from Buick having a certain pride of considering this engine "theirs" it is an extremely venerable, easy to fix, cheap engine. Buick is supposed to appeal to practical people and the reason Buick has been selling less vehicles is because practicality is out of fashion in todays bells-and-whistles America. The article mentioned above admits that the pushrod has less parts and lowers costs and the 3800 in particular is reliable on a level many engines could never attest to. But, and I am not picking on you specifically but the mindset that you (O.C.) share with an obvious majority of people. You also seem strong enough to not take my references to you as personal attacks, you are just my example since you called my reasoning out (fairly). But as I was going to say, the O.C.'s of this world repeat the mantra of DOHC = better despite the higher costs and despite the probability to be less venerable and more expensive to fix down the road. The mindset of a stereotypical Buick owner considers the reliability of a vehicle and that is why Buick is now sitting on top of the reliability charts with Lexus and they did this with their "dated" engine. So while it may not carry the bells and whistles the O.C.'s of the world are fond of it certainly appealed to those of us who were thinking about the frequency of mechanic visits and the price of them down the road. And the 4-speed transmission attached to this engine is a winning combination that millions of vehicles have proven.

So now we are seeing the positive aspects of what you made seem an atrocious vehicle, mainly being reliability. Reliability appeals to the reason in us. What doesn't appeal to the reason in us is spending unnecessary amounts of cash to get this reliability... which is what Lexus does. Affordable luxury- thats the way I see Buick and have always seen Buick. Before the LaCrosse Buick spent its time almost strictly appealing to this mindset- the mindset that one can have luxuries but not have to spend like a CEO executive to get them. However in our increasingly polarized society where people narrowly view things as being luxurious or commonplace with less and less room to be in the middle Buick has no choice BUT to cater to this crowd. The reason why Buick has seemed behind the times UNTIL the LaCrosse is because conservative styling, conservative design (including bench seats) all appealed to a very reasonable group (that have lived through depressions and wars and aren't out to prove how luxurious they are) but are now dying because of their age. Naturally Buick has to appeal to this younger and more image-oriented culture that has infected America.

Now your question was, in what way did Buick make the LaCrosse a turn in this new direction to appeal to this more image-conscious (read: boastful and flaunty... not characteristics of reason) younger crowd? The LaCrosse has a much higher elegance than the Regal in materials and build quality. Sure- it's not the materials made out of Lexus but I've always prided Buick on having enough reason to not appeal to the common childish whining that occurs with materials one might not even touch... but rationality is quickly evaporating in America's products in this new century and Buick had no choice but to sink or swim. The quiet-tuning is another swing in this direction for those who can not possibly withstand the minimal wretched road noise (and also those who must get easily irritated about a lot of things in life that don't deserve a second thought) but however the "library quiet" of Lexus was unrivaled and Buick stepped up and showed that it doesn't cost what Lexus makes you spend to get that very same quietness. The style also took a bigger step towards current elegance, the LaCrosse easily does not fit in the previous generation of Buicks and while the weakest of the bunch, fits more with the current generation of Buicks. The point was to show that Buick did not lose all its reasonability (and conservative styling cues that they've been catering to) and still is attempting to make a quiet, tightly put together vehicle with decent materials for a still affordable price and with the reliability of Buick's past... especially since those customers buy often and in cash. Oldsmobile is a good reminder in what happens when we lose a customer base.

In no way am I saying that the LaCrosse was perfect, because I personally am not a huge fan of it, but that is because it's incorporating things that aren't very important to me (I have no desire to have the absolute most quietest interior on the road, I have no need to boast that). However this does not mean I'd prefer a jet turbine instead. There is a reasonable degree for everything and I cherished Buick for always thinking reasonably. And while the current and future generations of Buicks are priced slightly higher I still believe they are still attempting to occupy the ever decreasing reasonable group in America that does not need to boast the best or nothing at all. Naturally the LaCrosse gave Buick the quality attention and modernity that was really missing with the previous generation of Buicks... while NOT abandoning their very wealthy and giving crowd that expects reasonability.

In the end I think we can both agree that the direction Buick took to lead up to the Enclave (given the resources they had available to them at the time) was the appropriate one because a vehicle like the Enclave now unites both the reasonability that I (and the older generation) pride in Buick as well as your image conscious bells-and-whistles keep-with-the-time attitudes. Believe me I am not mocking you when I say that about you, it is a common mindset with most Americans... I feel it's a narrower view than I'd prefer to look at things... but it's understandable to see where you're coming from. I just choose not to rate things as "newer and more complex = good and older and out of style = bad" and it's reasonable not to think that way (and it's reasonable to have some compassion for a brand put on the back-burner). I'm looking for quality (not fussiness) and reliability (not contemporary).

While you can make solid arguments for what you think a vehicle should be, it is important to remember that it isn't your mindset alone that is out there, and it wasn't you that had compassion for a reasonable brand when it was low on funds because it was not you shelling out the money for those vehicles... but many people did, and they liked what they bought.

Edited by Cananopie
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0