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Speculation: Buick as a core brand...


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With Congress still yet to decide the fate of GM's return to profitability plan, Buick's role has potentially transformed from a 'niche' brand in the USA back into a core brand… a core brand that could potentially offer a full line of cars with the possibility of a crossover or two when all is said and done.

So, what should Buick's line-up look like when all the pieces fall into place? Several suggestions have been tossed around in other related topics, but let's try to consolidate our future visions of Buick's line-up here. A wishlist line-up if you will... I'll start:

(Yes, I'm borrowing from some suggestions already given because I agree with them :) )

CUVs

  • Opel Antara becomes Buick Rendezvous
  • Buick Enclave remains

Cars

  • NG Opel Astra or NG SAAB 9-3 (both Delta products) becomes a Buick Skylark or Skyhawk line-up of compact vehicles (sedan, coupe, & wagon.) (offer hybrid version) --- This is, of course, if GM decides to scrap the Delta II-based Buick already in development for China.
  • Opel Insignia become Buick Regal (SWB Epsilon II) (offer hybrid version)
  • Buick LaCrosse (LWB Epsilon II) remains. Could be renamed to Invicta. (offer hybrid version)
  • If G8 imports cease, instead import Buick Zeta-based Park Avenue to replace Lucerne. (perhaps share the assembly line with Camaro in Oshawa) Either that or give Buick a Sigma-based sedan to replace Lucerne and built at LGR. The Sigma Buick could be built in China as well.

Specialty/Niche Vehicles

  • Volt-based hybrid called Electra
  • Alpha-based coupe/convertible called Riviera (offer hybrid version)
  • Camaro-based coupe - Buick Grand National (gotta help prop-up Zeta production at Oshawa somehow.)
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Too broad. Buick needs to be tightly focused on mid-lux...unless all those small cars are going to be incredibly luxurious inside. Which GM is too dumb to do...

I like the Electra idea, though. GNX and Riviera? Combine them on the Zeta and call it Riviera.

Edited by Croc
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Buick should stay out of performance - forever.

Electra is a no-brainer. Needs to happen.

No Zetas, unless it is a production version of Velite with a DI V6.

Buick has a justified performance heritage just like all other traditional GM brands. There's no reason why the GNX, Grand National, or T-Type trim couldn't be reborn.

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Too broad. Buick needs to be tightly focused on mid-lux...unless all those small cars are going to be incredibly luxurious inside. Which GM is too dumb to do...

Buick will probably start near-luxury and top out at mid-luxury. A compact Delta II-based sedan similar to the 1st gen TSX (with Sedan/coupe/wagon versions) would be a perfectly fine entry level family of cars for Buick. That's what I'm suggesting the Delta II cars to be.

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You have at least one too many cars stuffed into one area. Either a Delta II based sedan on or a SWB EPII, but not both; Chevy doesn't even have that many cars stuffed between two sizes. I'd be in favor of giving Buick SWB and LWB EPII sedans.

I think Pontiac should be getting the niche vehicles you listed. If Buick has an Alpha, how are they going to differentiate it enough vs. the Cadillac Alpha without making it cheap? The Electra is an interesting idea, but if Cadillac is getting a Volt also, then again, Buick doesn't need one as well.

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You have at least one too many cars stuffed into one area. Either a Delta II based sedan on or a SWB EPII, but not both; Chevy doesn't even have that many cars stuffed between two sizes. I'd be in favor of giving Buick SWB and LWB EPII sedans.

That's fine, but GM is already developing Delta II vehicles for Opel, SAAB, & Buick... I figure at least one of the non-Chevrolet Delta IIs will have to make their way to the US considering at least two of them were scheduled to do so up until last week (under Saturn and SAAB)...

And remember, Buick's NA line-up is consolidating with China's. China will have Delta II, SWB Epsilon II & LWB Epsilon II... on top of Zeta.

I think Pontiac should be getting the niche vehicles you listed. If Buick has an Alpha, how are they going to differentiate it enough vs. the Cadillac Alpha without making it cheap? The Electra is an interesting idea, but if Cadillac is getting a Volt also, then again, Buick doesn't need one as well.

Well, my train of thought was based on that PCS already stated Buick will be getting Alpha. Take that for what you will...

Anyway. Differentiate? Do you believe a luxury Riviera Coupe is a carbon copy of a compact Cadillac 3-series fighter? I personally don't think it would be difficult to differentiate the two.

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Buick has a justified performance heritage just like all other traditional GM brands. There's no reason why the GNX, Grand National, or T-Type trim couldn't be reborn.

Yes there is.

That's Pontiac's job (in the same showroom).

That sort of duplication just can't take place any longer. It would unfocus both brands.

Not knocking the performance Buicks of the past, but it simply cannot be part of Buick's mission now.

Elegance in an affordable package has to be what Buick is all about. Classy but attainable, with bulletproof reliability and excellent resale. Luxury that makes sense in every metric.

That's not to say that they can be under-powered, or lacking in handling prowess, just that performance is not the main focus for the brand.

And absolutely not for the marketing, so no GNs or T-types.

And, a tight focus on Park Avenue and Riviera caliber style.

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Yes there is.

That's Pontiac's job (in the same showroom).

That sort of duplication just can't take place any longer. It would unfocus both brands.

Not knocking the performance Buicks of the past, but it simply cannot be part of Buick's mission now.

Elegance in an affordable package has to be what Buick is all about. Classy but attainable, with bulletproof reliability and excellent resale. Luxury that makes sense in every metric.

That's not to say that they can be under-powered, or lacking in handling prowess, just that performance is not the main focus for the brand.

And absolutely not for the marketing, so no GNs or T-types.

And, a tight focus on Park Avenue and Riviera caliber style.

How do we know that it's Pontiac's job or that it's duplication when we don't know which direction Pontiac will be taken? If Pontiac is to be limited to "niche" status don't expect performance Delta IIs, performance Epsilon IIs, performance Alphas, and performance Zetas... that's not a niche brand by any means but a full car line-up.

Even if Pontiac gets a couple of those, there will be room for a premium-priced performance vehicle for Buick...

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That's fine, but GM is already developing Delta II vehicles for Opel, SAAB, & Buick... I figure at least one of the non-Chevrolet Delta IIs will have to make their way to the US considering at least two of them were scheduled to do so up until last week (under Saturn and SAAB)...

And remember, Buick's NA line-up is consolidating with China's. China will have Delta II, SWB Epsilon II & LWB Epsilon II... on top of Zeta.

Well PCS has already stated Buick will be getting Alpha. Take that for what you will... Anyway. Differentiate? Seriously? You believe a luxury Riviera Coupe is a carbon copy of a compact Cadillac 3-series fighter? It wouldn't be difficult at all to differentiate the two.

If the Cadillac Alpha has a coupe, as it should to fight the 3-Series, then the two will be in a pretty similar price range in a market that isn't very big. Giving Pontiac something that's not premium and thus significantly cheaper will allow for a much bigger market to attract buyers from. You may be able to make them look different enough from each other to say they are "differentiated," but they're going to be competing for the same small customer base.

One of the most important and telling parts (to me at least), of GM's plan that it presented to Congress is that GM will consists of 40 models, 11 trucks/SUVs, and 29 crossovers/cars. I'm going to guess GMC gets one crossover which leaves 28 cars/crossovers between Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, and Pontiac. Your Buick model range consists of 9 models, which would mean Chevy, Cadillac, and Pontiac are left with 19 models. There is no way that is going to happen. I figure Pontiac gets 3 models, possibly 4; so figure Chevy+Cadillac get 16 models.

Chevy alone has: Corvette, Camaro, Aveo, Cobalt, Malibu, Impala, HHR, Traverse, Equinox, Gamma-based vehicle, Volt, and I would assume a crossover below the Equinox. That's 12 models, leaving Cadillac 4. No way Cadillac only gets 4 models outside of the Escalade.

A lineup of either SWB EPII or a DeltaII vehicle, LWB EPII, TE and Enclave, and perhaps one other car is what Buick should have (this matches the number of models Acura has); with Pontiac having 3 models, GMC one crossover, and Chevy 12 cars/crossovers, that leaves Cadillac 8 models, which may be one too many, I think 7 models is about right for Cadillac.

Basically my point is there's no way Buick gets 9 models, not if Chevy+Buick+Cadillac+Pontiac+GMC X-Over(s) accounts for 29 models.

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Contained within the same showroom, I would call it an error to market any Buick as a performance car while Pontiac lives.

I just think that is the reality of the the day.

Equally, a loaded Bonneville would be a taboo approach under this regime.

See what I mean?

The Buicks that have best represented the essence of the brand over the years, have had a timeless, elegant style. I see that as Buick's mission and as its strength. The Hot Rod Buicks of the past were more of a nod to serving a niche that has only made fleeting appearances on Buick's resume.

Focus is everything from now on for every brand.

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Sounds feasible, but a couple of things:

The CUV below Equinox will replace the HHR. HHR will not be remodeled IIRC.

What are the 7-8 models you intend for Cadillac?

If Pontiac is to become like Corvette is to Chevrolet, then Pontiac will not have 3-4 models. Buick can sell the volume compact cars. Pontiac will not be about Volume. In fact, for the sake of a halo vehicle for the BPG franchises, I'd prefer Pontiac to actually receive a platform-mate to the Corvette instead of becoming some type of Scion fighter.

Even Chevy is allowed to have a Camaro (Buick GNX?) along side the "Corvette" niche.

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Buick can have performance, but I feel it should be in the form of a sedan that's bigger than what Pontiac should offer; something on Zeta. Let Pontiac be small to small-midsize cars and Buick can be small-midsize (EPII or DeltaII) to large (LWB EPII, maybe Zeta... which would be performance-oriented).

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Sounds feasible, but a couple of things:

The CUV below Equinox will replace the HHR. HHR will not be remodeled IIRC.

What are the 7-8 models you intend for Cadillac?

If Pontiac is to become like Corvette is to Chevrolet, then Pontiac will not have 3-4 models. Buick can sell the volume compact cars. Pontiac will not be about Volume. In fact, for the sake of a halo vehicle for the BPG franchises, I'd prefer Pontiac to actually receive a platform-mate to the Corvette instead of becoming some type of Scion fighter.

Even Chevy is allowed to have a Camaro (Buick GNX?) along side the "Corvette" niche.

I can't come up with a legitimate 8 models for Cadillac without resorting to something silly like the X6 or 1-Series, but sub-CTS, CTS, STS/DTS, XLR, 2 crossovers, and something like the Z4/SLK would be 7.

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If Zeta wasn't currently doomed, I would love to see a Buick version of the HSV Grange here and a limited production Velite. It would be fine if the Grange had a powerful turbo six, but the car(s) simply can't be marketed as performance cars.

The performance they have must be understated.

Whereas, with Pontiac, it must be overt.

No way, no how, will Pontiac get a Vette clone.

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What if Pontiac received a Corvette-based coupe and sedan? To counter the Porsche 911 & Panamera? or perhaps a performance sedan/coupe along the likes of the CLS?

you have to make sure Pontiac's niche doesn't overlap with Chevrolet either...

Here's what I'm saying... GM decided against transforming "Corvette" into a brand of 2-3 high performance vehicles. However, all may not be lost since the "performance brand" is up for rethinking. If GMC & Buick are to become Premium/near/mid-lux brands... Pontiac's high-perfomance brand could become what GM decided against for Corvette. It would be in good company as halo vehicles for GM's premium outlet.

Edited by VenSeattle
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Contained within the same showroom, I would call it an error to market any Buick as a performance car while Pontiac lives.

No one is saying the car has to be marketed as a "performance" car in the same vein as Pontiac.....

Buick used to mean "Premium, American Motorcars." I don't find anything "premium" about floaty suspensions, coarse V6 and underpowered engines, and cheap interior trimmings.

Modernizing Buick, similar in essence to what the T-Types attempted to do back in the 80's, would add some american flash, style, and performance while retaining Buick's supposed core attributes of comfort, amenities, and road presence.

In their day (when the 3.8L was respectable in performance and technology for it's time) the Buick T-Types were some of the best driving cars in the market.....even if their interiors weren't up to snuff, or if the Buick brand image wasn't as it was in the glory days.

Look at it like Mercedes-Benz in a sense. Mercedes-Benz isn't really considered a performance brand by any stretch of the imagination. At least not in the same vein as BMW (or even Audi.) HOWEVER, look at how extremely popular the AMG variants are....not only in the press, but by Mercedes' own consumers. It casts a nice halo over the rest of the normal, volume-driven range.

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What if Pontiac received a Corvette-based coupe and sedan? To counter the Porsche 911 & Panamera? or perhaps a performance sedan/coupe along the likes of the CLS?

you have to make sure Pontiac's niche doesn't overlap with Chevrolet either...

I'd rather see Buick get something like that. Pontiac can't sell something that expensive. A Zeta Buick "4 door coupe" like the CLS would be perfect, actually. Wouldn't compete with the CTS that way, which could potentially happen if it wasn't somewhat of a unique product niche.

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With Caddy occupying the luxury performance segment alone, Buick and Pontiac need to split that mission in half.

I think Buick could be far more elegant than Caddy, not more luxurious, there is a difference.

Caddy has to dance with BMW, Buick has the luck to not have to, giving Buick a freer hand to be beautiful and elegant without the need to be brash.

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No one is saying the car has to be marketed as a "performance" car in the same vein as Pontiac.....

Buick used to mean "Premium, American Motorcars." I don't find anything "premium" about floaty suspensions, coarse V6 and underpowered engines, and cheap interior trimmings.

Modernizing Buick, similar in essence to what the T-Types attempted to do back in the 80's, would add some american flash, style, and performance while retaining Buick's supposed core attributes of comfort, amenities, and road presence.

In their day (when the 3.8L was respectable in performance and technology for it's time) the Buick T-Types were some of the best driving cars in the market.....even if their interiors weren't up to snuff, or if the Buick brand image wasn't as it was in the glory days.

Look at it like Mercedes-Benz in a sense. Mercedes-Benz isn't really considered a performance brand by any stretch of the imagination. At least not in the same vein as BMW (or even Audi.) HOWEVER, look at how extremely popular the AMG variants are....not only in the press, but by Mercedes' own consumers. It casts a nice halo over the rest of the normal, volume-driven range.

If I had made my case clear enough, you would see that we agree.

Think of it this way:

Pontiac is to BMW as Buick is to Benz

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Think of how you might re-do a '71 Riviera for the present day.

That car had an unmistakable style of its own, and it was powerful. But it's power was understated and adult, subordinate to the style and class of the car.

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Just don't think "small" with Pontiac or Buick... They must have completely separate, viable, justifiable existences. Pick a true market for each of them that they could attach themselves to and dominate without overlap with another GM brand. Pontiac taking on the "likes" of Porsche would keep Pontiac from overlapping... it would fit the "premium" expectations of the mid-tier trio and give Pontiac a mission that's true to the brand.

There's one thing GM has always done well... that's build expensive vehicles. If Pontiac had Boxter/911/Panamera fighters... those would be vehicles no other GM brand could honestly provide without being outside of its brand character.

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Just don't think "small" with Pontiac or Buick... They must have completely separate, viable, justifiable existences. Pick a true market for each of them that they could attach themselves to and dominate without overlap with another GM brand. Pontiac taking on the "likes" of Porsche would keep Pontiac from overlapping... it would fit the "premium" expectations of the mid-tier trio and give Pontiac a mission that's true to the brand.

There's one thing GM has always done well... that's build expensive vehicles. If Pontiac had a boxter/911/Panamera fighters... those would be vehicles no other GM brands could honestly provide without being outside of its brand character.

Not a bad approach.

To a point.

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I don't see a Pontiac Boxster selling very well, even if it is "only" $40k.

Pontiac = Alpha sedan, coupe, Solstice, stretched Alpha sedan

I see Pontiac as a rotating lineup.

At first, just one entry in three sizes.

I'd love to see all of those Alpha variants, but not at once. And not as the only Pontiac offerings.

Of the Current stuff:

G8, G8ST, and Solstice variants would have to do.

Slim, I know.

But then each would be rotated out for something new, my baby being the first out.

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Ven, I think if we sat down for a few hours we could devise a killer lineup for both brands.

With focus.

I actually do too. :scratchchin:

I have no desire for either brand to disappear, but I am 100% against either of them fighting for the same buyers ever again. Their product line-up can not be so similar to where they're always looking over their backs to make sure not to step on each other's tail.

The Buick brand should be free to grow where Buick would be able to successfully compete. Pontiac too. Finding that perfect harmony between the two brands would guarantee their long term survival.

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I don't see how you can have a "rotating" lineup. How does that make business sense and build a brand image? Young people aspire to own a 3-Series one day... BMW would be absolutely ludicrous to rotate what products it builds.

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I don't see how you can have a "rotating" lineup. How does that make business sense and build a brand image? Young people aspire to own a 3-Series one day... BMW would be absolutely ludicrous to rotate what products it builds.

Simple.

Pontiac will, by necessity, have to piggyback on platforms used for other products for the forseeable future. So they will have to make the most of it when a configuration becomes available. GM is unlikely to allow them a "family" of product (G8 variations, for example) unless they forego anything else. So, when a sport coupe becomes available- they do a performance version of it in full Pontiac style. Ditto when other configurations come into production, and the Pontiac version bows out early when the next big thing becomes available. And so on, and so on.

That way, the offerings are always fresh. And, eventually, a hot seller might be allowed to stay as a new model is added.

It's a tightrope that Pontiac should walk IMO.

Be daring, be brash, but be smart and use what's out there by riding on the volume brand's investments.

That way "make or break" isn't so immediate for any given model and Pontiac can remain unique at all times.

Kinda juxtaposed to the normal product cycles.

I hope my explanation make sense - the ideas have sort of outstripped the words tonight.

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I don't think Pontiac will have to adapt to whatever platforms are available at the time in the future... as long as Cadillac is around and they want a 3-Series-sized sedan, there will be Alpha. Such a vehicle should be a mainstay.

What future platforms are just going to come and go like that? There's always going to be Alpha if it ever gets here and there's always going to be something for cars bigger than Alpha for Cadillac. Pontiac gets the cheap version; Cadillac's not going to "rotate" products.

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I'd love to see Pontiac get out of the 'me-too' thing with Chevy...a lot of that comes from the dealers, trying to compete w/ Chevy, no doubt (rebadges like the G3, G5, Torrent)..

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I think Zeta will follow Kappa into the GM platform graveyard. The discontinuation of both platforms is ridiculous and pathetic, but I believe it will be an unfortunate reality. After the current G8 line and upcoming Camaro finish their model runs, Zeta will be history in the U.S. Alpha will essentially become the RWD car platform of the future in SWB and LWB versions (except for the Corvette's Y-body platform, which may also sadly be in jeorpardy). Cadillac will be the primary beneficiary of the Alpha platform, with a couple of specialty models developed for the other "core" brands: Chevy (future Camaro/SWB Alpha) and Buick (future Riviera/LWB Alpha).

I am also doubtful that GM will be quick to develop any large sedans anytime in the near future (if at all). After the G8 sedan, Buick Lucerne, and Cadillac DTS finish their model runs, midsize sedans will probably become the flagship sedans in GM's lineups.

I also don't buy LaNeve's proclamation that Pontiac will eventually be morphed into a performance niche division. I would love to see it happen, but I am doubtful that it will. There are just too many factors working against it. If GM even keeps Pontiac alive (which I also have my doubts about), it will probably be transformed into an entry premium niche division to complement Buick in the premium dealer network.

I do think GM intends to take Opel upscale with all of its future models, starting with the Insignia. This being the case, the next generation of Opel products should make suitable building blocks for the future Buick/Pontiac/GMC premium dealer network. If Saturn is discontinued or disassociated from GM, then I can see GM seriously considering utilizing future Opel products to make this premium dealer network solid and almost completely consolidated with the corporation's global resources.

Based on the above information (which are strictly predictions on my part), this is what I think the future lineups of the Buick/Pontiac/GMC premium dealer network will look like:

BUICK: Premium volume division.

* Electra: Rebadged Opel electric-hybrid 5-door (E-flex); styling inspired by the recent Flextreme Concept.

* Skylark: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra sedan (SWB Delta).

* Regal: Rebadged current gen Opel Insignia sedan (SWB Epsilon); sedan will be marketed as a 4-door coupe like the Passat CC.

* Invicta: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); the upcoming LaCrosse sedan renamed for the North American market (which is wishful thinking on my part).

* Riviera: Midsize flagship coupe (LWB Alpha); styling inspired by the recent Riviera Concept.

* Rendezvous: Rebadged next gen Opel Antara crossover (SWB Theta).

* Rainier: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Enclave: Large crossover (Lambda).

PONTIAC: Entry premium sub-brand.

* Fiero: Rebadged next gen Tigra "TwinTop" roadster (SWB Gamma).

* Solstice: Rebadged next gen Astra "TwinTop" coupe (SWB Delta).

* LeMans: Rebadged next gen Opel Corsa 3-door/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Phoenix: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra 3-door/5-door (SWB Delta).

GMC: Premium utility sub-brand.

* Sierra: Fullsize truck; current truck, "Denali" trim only.

* Denali: Fullsize SUV; renamed current Yukon, "Denali" trim only.

I would actually prefer a Buick/Pontiac/GMC premium dealer network with this lineup:

BUICK: Premium volume division.

* Electra: Rebadged Opel hybrid-electric 5-door (E-flex); styling inspired by the recent Flextreme Concept.

* Cielo: Rebadged next gen Tigra "TwinTop" roadster (SWB Gamma).

* Apollo: Rebadged next gen Opel Corsa 3-door/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Skyhawk: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra 3-door/5-door (SWB Delta).

* Skylark: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra sedan/wagon/"TwinTop" coupe (SWB Delta).

* Regal: Rebadged current gen Opel Insignia sedan/wagon (SWB Epsilon); sedan will be marketed as a 4-door coupe like the Passat CC.

* Invicta: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); the upcoming LaCrosse sedan renamed for the North American market (which is wishful thinking on my part).

* Riviera: Midsize flagship coupe (LWB Epsilon); styling inspired by the recent Riviera Concept.

* Centieme: Rebadged next gen Opel Meriva MPV (LWB Gamma); styling inspired by the recent Opel Meriva Concept.

* Terraza: Rebadged next gen Opel Zafira MPV (LWB Delta).

* Rendezvous: Rebadged next gen Opel Antara crossover (SWB Theta).

* Rainier: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Enclave: Large crossover (Lambda).

PONTIAC: Affordable performance sub-brand.

* LeMans: Compact RWD 5-door sedan/3-door coupe (SWB Alpha); styling inspired by the recent Holden Torana TT36 Concept.

* Grand Prix: Midsize RWD sedan/coupe (LWB Alpha).

GMC: Premium utility sub-brand.

* Safari: Fullsize SUT (Lambda-Plus).

* Denali: Fullsize SUV (Lambda-Plus).

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I'd love to see Pontiac get out of the 'me-too' thing with Chevy...a lot of that comes from the dealers, trying to compete w/ Chevy, no doubt (rebadges like the G3, G5, Torrent)..

I agree... which is one of the reasons I think Pontiac could/should actually be positioned over Chevrolet/Corvette... such as take on Porsche/ Maserati.

That would leave Cadillac open to eventually foray into the exotics like Lamborghini & Ferrari when/if the day comes.... Cien anyone?

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The future of Buick lies with small to midsize vehicles. The mistake GM made in the past was all the full size vehicles with no focus on small premium. LaCrosse, Lucerne, Enclave are all full size vehicles, and full size sedans are a dying market. Town Car, Deville, LeSabre, Grand Marquis, etc worked in the 90s but times and demographics have changed.

Delta II, Epsilon II and the Vue platform are where they need to go.

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I agree... which is one of the reasons I think Pontiac could/should actually be positioned over Chevrolet/Corvette... such as take on Porsche/ Maserati.

That would leave Cadillac open to eventually foray into the exotics like Lamborghini & Ferrari when/if the day comes.... Cien anyone?

Pontiac has zero brand image, they can't move G8s for $30k, they won't make it trying to go above Corvette. Cadillac can't match Porsche or Maserati either, the XLR flop is an example. GM right now doesn't have what it takes to play in that high end league with the Euro exotics. I'd like to see Cadillac try, but that is so far down the priority list, and unless they fund it properly, it will fail.

Edited by smk4565
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The future of Buick lies with small to midsize vehicles. The mistake GM made in the past was all the full size vehicles with no focus on small premium. LaCrosse, Lucerne, Enclave are all full size vehicles, and full size sedans are a dying market. Town Car, Deville, LeSabre, Grand Marquis, etc worked in the 90s but times and demographics have changed.

Delta II, Epsilon II and the Vue platform are where they need to go.

The days of every brand having a large sedan (or multiple large sedans) are over... for sure. But there is a market, and will always be a market, for a large sedan. BMW 7-series, Lexus LS, & Mercedes S-Class are not going anywhere... regardless of how low volume they reach. Buick could successfully sell a single large sedan on any number of stretched platforms in GM's stable. Cadillac should also receive a large flagship sedan to compete directly against tier-1 luxury brands.

Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas could easily remain focused on different buyers as midsize sedans (FWD/RWD/AWD or whatever.)

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I don't think Pontiac will have to adapt to whatever platforms are available at the time in the future... as long as Cadillac is around and they want a 3-Series-sized sedan, there will be Alpha. Such a vehicle should be a mainstay.

What future platforms are just going to come and go like that? There's always going to be Alpha if it ever gets here and there's always going to be something for cars bigger than Alpha for Cadillac. Pontiac gets the cheap version; Cadillac's not going to "rotate" products.

Sorry for the hijack, Ven.

I didn't mean to turn this into a Pontiac thread, but I have to answer Northie's question.

Platforms come and go at an increasing pace, right? Well let's look at how they come and go.

Usually a volume version hits first, say a sedan. Later maybe a coupe shows up, or a sportwagon/crossover, then a vert. What I'm proposing is that Pontiac replace the older variant with the new one in , say, it's second year if the case can be made for a Pontiac version. With Pontiac limited to very few models as a niche brand, they could stay interesting this way. And, they wouldn't have to miss a good opportunity at a new model because they have to wait for a product cycle to complete. The hope being that they could have a version of three different platforms without a high model count.

So, an Alpha sedan debuts at Caddy and Pontiac builds its version to sell alongside a zeta and a kappa. Then Kappa gets cancelled the same year Caddy intros an Alpha coupe which Pontiac picks up. Another year and Caddy adds a crossover that Pontiac doesn't want on Alpha so they pick up a new variant of zeta ,dropping the old one. The next year an Alpha vert appears and Pontiac dumps the alpha sedan for it. And so on.

Nothing hard and fast, just living within the smaller scope of a niche brand while keeping things fresh.

So we don't have to say "when are the refreshed G6's coming out" year after year.

Tagline: There's always something new at Pontiac.

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Pontiac has zero brand image, they can't move G8s for $30k, they won't make it trying to go above Corvette. Cadillac can't match Porsche or Maserati either, the XLR flop is an example. GM right now doesn't have what it takes to play in that high end league with the Euro exotics. I'd like to see Cadillac try, but that is so far down the priority list, and unless they fund it properly, it will fail.

No one is talking about right now.

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No one is talking about right now.

I just can't see it working, even in 10 years. Pontiac the brand doesn't have the cachet or image to command the big bucks. I can't think of a car brand that has always been a mainstream brand that has successfully gone premium.

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Sorry for the hijack, Ven.

I didn't mean to turn this into a Pontiac thread, but I have to answer Northie's question.

Platforms come and go at an increasing pace, right? Well let's look at how they come and go.

Usually a volume version hits first, say a sedan. Later maybe a coupe shows up, or a sportwagon/crossover, then a vert. What I'm proposing is that Pontiac replace the older variant with the new one in , say, it's second year if the case can be made for a Pontiac version. With Pontiac limited to very few models as a niche brand, they could stay interesting this way. And, they wouldn't have to miss a good opportunity at a new model because they have to wait for a product cycle to complete. The hope being that they could have a version of three different platforms without a high model count.

So, an Alpha sedan debuts at Caddy and Pontiac builds its version to sell alongside a zeta and a kappa. Then Kappa gets cancelled the same year Caddy intros an Alpha coupe which Pontiac picks up. Another year and Caddy adds a crossover that Pontiac doesn't want on Alpha so they pick up a new variant of zeta ,dropping the old one. The next year an Alpha vert appears and Pontiac dumps the alpha sedan for it. And so on.

Nothing hard and fast, just living within the smaller scope of a niche brand while keeping things fresh.

So we don't have to say "when are the refreshed G6's coming out" year after year.

Tagline: There's always something new at Pontiac.

My apologies also for any thread hijacking. Shall we start a new thread on Pontiac instead of posting it all in here?

While this may be a pretty cool, there is no way that can happen, it is just not financially feasible. Sure, products may come and go, but it makes no difference what the other brands have. If there's an Alpha platform, how does it make sense for Pontiac to get a sedan on it and then drop it for a vert? They would lose so many potential customers by dropping the sedan, and it makes no sense financially. They can't just make a model for a couple years then drop it.

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The days of every brand having a large sedan (or multiple large sedans) are over... for sure. But there is a market, and will always be a market, for a large sedan. BMW 7-series, Lexus LS, & Mercedes S-Class are not going anywhere... regardless of how low volume they reach. Buick could successfully sell a single large sedan on any number of stretched platforms in GM's stable. Cadillac should also receive a large flagship sedan to compete directly against tier-1 luxury brands.

Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas could easily remain focused on different buyers as midsize sedans (FWD/RWD/AWD or whatever.)

The expensive big sedans are safe, but mid-priced big sedans aren't that popular. A zeta Buick could work because it would be smaller than the w-body LaCrosse, and if priced like a Lucerne should find buyers.

I said years ago GM needs to dump Saab, Hummer, Saturn, etc to free up resources for a flagship Cadillac, because without an icon, people will still think Cadillac, GM, American cars in general aren't as good as Europeans. Europe has Rolls-Royce, Bentley, S-class, 7-series, and A8, and we have the STS, 300C and MKS.

Edited by smk4565
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My apologies also for any thread hijacking. Shall we start a new thread on Pontiac instead of posting it all in here?

While this may be a pretty cool, there is no way that can happen, it is just not financially feasible. Sure, products may come and go, but it makes no difference what the other brands have. If there's an Alpha platform, how does it make sense for Pontiac to get a sedan on it and then drop it for a vert? They would lose so many potential customers by dropping the sedan, and it makes no sense financially. They can't just make a model for a couple years then drop it.

OK we can move this discussion to Pontiac...

Right after this post.

:lol:

Don't forget, I said no hard and fast rules - if it doesn't make sense you don't do it. But, I also think that purposely juxtaposing Pontiac's product cadence to the rest of the brands would open more opportunities for the niche brand.

Let me try another example without actual platform names.

Let's say that Pontiac has a coupe, vert, and a sedan: all on different platforms

The coupe is on platform"A" and it serves the purpose, but it isn't perfect for Pontiac.

Now a new platform debuts with a coupe variant that is perfect for Pontiac, so they dump the "A" coupe and replace it with the one from the new platform. Meanwhile the "A" coupe soldiers on at other brands unbtil its at the end of its cycle.

This way, Pontiac isn't a slave to the needs of volume production runs elsewhere.

You'd have to make the choices wisely so that the weak link is always the one that gets dropped, but it would make Pontiac GM's most dynamic brand.

As such, I think that fact could become a major selling point.

In a way, it is like what Holden does with its exports around the world - except in reverse.

Pontiac could be the predator lying in wait for that new architecture to arrive.

Could save Gobs of development money for GM if done right.

And, it could add a little nudge of volume to open up options for all of the brands.

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When this all changes it will have to be a relatively gradual thing. Maserati learned this the hard way when they went from the swoopy Khamsin to the boxy Biturbo in a couple of years.

I just can't see it working, even in 10 years. Pontiac the brand doesn't have the cachet or image to command the big bucks. I can't think of a car brand that has always been a mainstream brand that has successfully gone premium.

Yeah, you can't go from G3 to 911 in even ten years. But Volkswagen and Euro Ford have been moving up over the years, and back in the seventies Audi was to VW as Buick is to Chevy now. We're talking about establishing a long-term plan, a concept that GM does quite understand yet. I don't really advocate sending Pontiac that far up market, but I do imagine them as a cheaper Porsche.

I want Buick and Pontiac to complement each other, seeing as they are under the same roof now. That said, they need space so that they don't blur together when our backs are turned.

I imagine Buick taking on a Bentley-esque image, sans the price tag. I don't mind Buicks being powerful, but they will not become sports sedans or sports cars. I mean, the Speed versions of the Continental GT and Flying Spur are seriously fast, but no one would ever consider them to be sporty. The GT is best described as the "banker's hot rod", a nickname that was once used in relation to the old Wildcat. I pretty much see them doing what the're doing now, just more and better.

Pontiac, is more difficult to figure out. You could try a small-car model, something like Mazda or Abarth. You could try an old-school musclecar brand like what Dodge is trying. You could try a supercar brand, but I can only see that going down in flames, fast.

I want to try and do something that combines aspects of all of those. I want to use the Solstice as inspiration for a couple of other models, and then pretty much call it a day.

Buick:

---------------

Skylark - Sedan, obviously. Would like to see a 3-door coupe. Think Volvo C30 or VW Scirocco.

Invicta - Self-explanatory, LaCrosse is a rubbish name.

Roadmaster - Toss the Lucerne, give us a luxed-out Park Avenue.

Riviera - Coupe. Probably Zeta-based and acts as image-vehicle.

Enclave - Consider giving it a slight face-lift.

Pontiac:

---------------

Solstice - If it goes to Alpha, try and keep the looks somewhat intact. Has a Boxster quality, doesn't need major facelift.

Firebird - A mix of musclecar and RX8. Keep it light, possibly on lengthened Alpha. Zeta is a bit heavy for my purpose.

GTO - Most likely Zeta. Most powerful engine of the lineup with a Grand Tourer personality. Sleek and curvy.

Like the Solstice, I see the GTO and Firebird getting both coupe and covertible. None of that hardtop vert garbage. The Sol and F-bird could both spawn four-door versions, like the AM Rapide but a four-door GTO would have to be planned extremely carefully so not to trample the Roadmaster.

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Pontiac:

---------------

Solstice - If it goes to Alpha, try and keep the looks somewhat intact. Has a Boxster quality, doesn't need major facelift.

Firebird - A mix of musclecar and RX8. Keep it light, possibly on lengthened Alpha. Zeta is a bit heavy for my purpose.

GTO - Most likely Zeta. Most powerful engine of the lineup with a Grand Tourer personality. Sleek and curvy.

Like the Solstice, I see the GTO and Firebird getting both coupe and covertible. None of that hardtop vert garbage. The Sol and F-bird could both spawn four-door versions, like the AM Rapide but a four-door GTO would have to be planned extremely carefully so not to trample the Roadmaster.

This is an interesting idea; having Pontiac be exclusively sports cars/GTs. Not sure if you could do it because of the Camaro and Corvette, but you could probably do Solstice, a sedan, and something more expensive like the GTO. I guess if Pontiac is a niche brand that probably means they aren't selling many cars... and that would certainly be the case with a 3-Series car, a GT, and a roadster.

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Buick will probably start near-luxury and top out at mid-luxury. A compact Delta II-based sedan similar to the 1st gen TSX (with Sedan/coupe/wagon versions) would be a perfectly fine entry level family of cars for Buick. That's what I'm suggesting the Delta II cars to be.

That's not setting Buick's sights high enough, I'm afraid. This does nothing but increase GM's glut at the middle pricepoints of the market. Cadillac's survival and prestige is dependent on one of GM's brands moving up a price bracket to give it breathing room, and IMO it might as well be Buick. If Buick can move into the 30k-60k price range, Cadillac can finally move to the 45k+ bracket where it belongs.

"But M-B and BMW have sub-40k cars!" you say? Well, have BMW and M-B been strengthening or diluting their brand's image and prestige over the past decade? I think you know the answer to that question.

Edited by Croc
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That's not setting Buick's sights high enough, I'm afraid. This does nothing but increase GM's glut at the middle pricepoints of the market. Cadillac's survival and prestige is dependent on one of GM's brands moving up a price bracket to give it breathing room, and IMO it might as well be Buick. If Buick can move into the 30k-60k price range, Cadillac can finally move to the 45k+ bracket where it belongs.

"But M-B and BMW have sub-40k cars!" you say? Well, have BMW and M-B been strengthening or diluting their brand's image and prestige over the past decade? I think you know the answer to that question.

The 3-series is smaller than a Cobalt, and worldwide the 3-series has been a sales success for 20+ years.

There won't be a glut in the middle when Saturn, Pontiac and Saab are gone, and a new Impala goes to a price in the high $20s rather than total overlap with the Malibu. The Delta Buick should be $25-30k like the LaCrosse is now, the Buick Epsilon about $29-35k so a base Buick is nicer than the Malibu LTZ. A lot of the 55+ crowd that Buick is trying to get doesn't need a big car, the kids are grown and gone, and they want something with a premium feel. Younger people in urban areas also prefer smaller cars, GM is missing this segment.

Buick will never make it at $50k, let alone $60k, they have to live in the $25,000-40,000 range. Cadillac can't even make it in the $50-60k range right now. Cadillac can't get $60k for a midsize V6 sedan like M-B can.

Mercedes spends over $1 billion to develop a new S-class, to make a great car it takes a lot of investment, so GM has to choose wisely what they pursue.

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That's not setting Buick's sights high enough, I'm afraid. This does nothing but increase GM's glut at the middle pricepoints of the market. Cadillac's survival and prestige is dependent on one of GM's brands moving up a price bracket to give it breathing room, and IMO it might as well be Buick. If Buick can move into the 30k-60k price range, Cadillac can finally move to the 45k+ bracket where it belongs.

"But M-B and BMW have sub-40k cars!" you say? Well, have BMW and M-B been strengthening or diluting their brand's image and prestige over the past decade? I think you know the answer to that question.

I wouldn't say they are diluting..the sub-40k entry level models are how they acquire their first customers, who then often move up to the more pricey models over time as their budget allows...

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I wouldn't say they are diluting..the sub-40k entry level models are how they acquire their first customers, who then often move up to the more pricey models over time as their budget allows...

Uhhh...disagree. Most of the drivers of those vehicles are actually leased, and they get them just to be driving the badge around.

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Uhhh...disagree. Most of the drivers of those vehicles are actually leased, and they get them just to be driving the badge around.

Some lease, some buy. I know people that bought 3 series and later bought 5s. And the 3 is an excellent car any way you look at it.

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That's not setting Buick's sights high enough, I'm afraid. This does nothing but increase GM's glut at the middle pricepoints of the market. Cadillac's survival and prestige is dependent on one of GM's brands moving up a price bracket to give it breathing room, and IMO it might as well be Buick. If Buick can move into the 30k-60k price range, Cadillac can finally move to the 45k+ bracket where it belongs.

"But M-B and BMW have sub-40k cars!" you say? Well, have BMW and M-B been strengthening or diluting their brand's image and prestige over the past decade? I think you know the answer to that question.

Well, Buick should receive the premium Delta-II because we all know Cadillac will not be receiving one. (As it should be...)

So, what ever pricepoint a premium/luxury Delta-II can command, that should be Buick's starting point. The Delata-II Buick needs to lean towards the formula of the TSX though (either 1st or 2nd gen) since Buick is trying to attract new/younger buyers. The content of the TSX is spot on for an entry-level premium 4-cyl sedan.

I still think there's room for two Epsilon IIs for Buick... there's a world of difference between the TL and the ES350. Buick could offer both flavors.

The SWB Epsilon II (Insignia/Regal) could target the TL but with 4-cyl & V6 offerings.

The LWB Espilon II could target the ES350 (which can go up to $50k loaded) but at a lower pricepoint.

The RWD sedan... regardless of platform, would be the low volume flagship sedan and give Buick a justifiable luxury-priced car to confirm Buick's intentions/aspirations.

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Well, Buick should receive the premium Delta-II because we all know Cadillac will not be receiving one. (As it should be...)

So, what ever pricepoint a premium/luxury Delta-II can command, that should be Buick's starting point. The Delata-II Buick needs to lean towards the formula of the TSX though (either 1st or 2nd gen) since Buick is trying to attract new/younger buyers. The content of the TSX is spot on for an entry-level premium 4-cyl sedan.

I still think there's room for two Epsilon IIs for Buick... there's a world of difference between the TL and the ES350. Buick could offer both flavors.

The SWB Epsilon II (Insignia/Regal) could target the TL but with 4-cyl & V6 offerings.

The LWB Espilon II could target the ES350 (which can go up to $50k loaded) but at a lower pricepoint.

The RWD sedan... regardless of platform, would be the low volume flagship sedan and give Buick a justifiable luxury-priced car to confirm Buick's intentions/aspirations.

A RWD sedan that competes w/ the Genesis could do well for Buick. With FWD sedans, they can target the MKZ and MKS...

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If GM dumps SAAB, then all SAABs should get ported to Buick, trading the sporty interior for more woodgrain. That's the level of interior refinement Buick should have. SAAB also commands a similar pricepoint as I would like to see Buick compete in.

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Saab's 3 models combined to sell 800 cars last month, that brand and all the models need to go away now. All of Saturn can die. Buick could use a small SUV, but the GM product planning idiots made the SRX as a dressed up Equinox, so making a Buick version is redundant. G3, G5, G6 should die in 09.

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smk, how many dealerships sell SAAB? Where are they located? In urban areas or on the periphery? If SAAB were joined with every B-P-GMC dealership, I'm betting they'd sell a lot more than 800 cars in a November.

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smk, how many dealerships sell SAAB? Where are they located? In urban areas or on the periphery? If SAAB were joined with every B-P-GMC dealership, I'm betting they'd sell a lot more than 800 cars in a November.

Pittsburgh has 4, one downtown (although it may have gone under) one in the south suburbs, one north (that did go bust and is now with a Pontiac-Hummer-GMC dealership, and one on the east suburbs that is at a Saturn, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Pontiac mega dealership.

Saab I thought had nearly 200 dealers nationwide, 4 cars per dealer doesn't cut it. Lexus only has 200-250 dealers and outsells Cadillac with 1,000 and Buick with 1,500. Number of dealers isn't the problem, the products Saab has are.

Edited by smk4565
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Only 3 SAAB dealers here in the Metro Phoenix area, pretty small for an area w/ over 4 million people. Then again, SAAB has historically had a stronger following in the NE than elsewhere.

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Pittsburgh has 4, one downtown (although it may have gone under) one in the south suburbs, one north (that did go bust and is now with a Pontiac-Hummer-GMC dealership, and one on the east suburbs that is at a Saturn, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Pontiac mega dealership.

Saab I thought had nearly 200 dealers nationwide, 4 cars per dealer doesn't cut it. Lexus only has 200-250 dealers and outsells Cadillac with 1,000 and Buick with 1,500. Number of dealers isn't the problem, the products Saab has are.

Again, though...where are they located? Pittsburgh is one city. Los Angeles doesn't have one anywhere near me, and I live fairly centrally. There are a total of 6 SAAB dealerships within 50 miles of downtown, and only one is actually in Los Angeles--but it's all the way out west past Beverly Hills. The rest are, well, within 50 miles of downtown Los Angeles. Thousand Oaks, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks all have one, but that isn't very good coverage. Chevrolet and Cadillac dealerships are in much better locations, and are much more numerous.

Indianapolis? 40 minutes away, and again, I lived centrally. One dealership. And where is it located? Waaaaaay up in the northeastern suburb. Different county than Indianapolis.

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