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Cananopie

Struggling to appeal to young buyers, Buick Pins

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Struggling to appeal to young buyers, Buick pins its future on change

Friday, November 18, 2005
By Don Hammonds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Buick, the linchpin around which General Motors built its empire, lately has been part of the problem rather than part of the solution for the struggling automaker.

Like other GM makes, analysts say, Buick has been slow to respond to changes in market tastes, has kept cars on the market for too long without significant changes, and has a lingering consumer perception of quality control problems....

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05322/608337.stm Edited by Cananopie
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You could support the argument that GM's neglect of the division caused Buick's problem. They do need a "halo' car though.
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I think this is a very good, honest story. And that red Buick Lucerne looks... well... hot and cool B) in that picture!

AFTERTHOUGHT: rivieraranch: GM's neglect was just what my signature used to address: "Buick isn't to blame for GM's problems, but GM is d*** sure to blame for Buick's!" But I wanted to be more positive, so I changed it to what you see now. Edited by wildcat
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I think the article was fairly objective but a little harsh on Buick. They have done leaps and bounds to appeal to younger buyers and have succeeded these last few years. The Rendezvous alone has probably brought Buick down 10 years in average age by itself.
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I think the article was fairly objective but a little harsh on Buick. They have done leaps and bounds to appeal to younger buyers and have succeeded these last few years. The Rendezvous alone has probably brought Buick down 10 years in average age by itself.

[post="45073"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


And the Rendezvous for all its good was such a half-ass vehicle - old U-body platform, 185hp V6, goofy hindquarters. Yet, what a popular crossover.
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And the Rendezvous for all its good was such a half-ass vehicle - old U-body platform, 185hp V6, goofy hindquarters. Yet, what a popular crossover.

[post="45129"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Yea! Exactly! The Rendezvous was supposed to be the crappier little brother of the Aztek and people just flocked to it and left the Aztek to be a huge shame for Pontiac.
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...has a lingering consumer perception of quality control problems.

WH-A-AA-AA-A-A-T ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Since when?
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Buick will not even be remotely on the younger radar screens....I worry that Buick will never be able to turn around it's senior citizen image. The Lucerne will not change those perceptions. I predict you will see older people driving that car. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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Coming to soon to a thread near you... The Buick to Attract More Youthful People. :AH-HA_wink:

Anyways, I've always felt this was Buicks biggest problem that it has to do something about.
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Buick will not even be remotely on the younger radar screens....I worry that Buick will never be able to turn around it's senior citizen image.  The Lucerne will not change those perceptions.  I predict you will see older people driving that car.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

[post="45517"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Not picking on you Harley... but several have said similar. Considering the 100,000+ annual LeSabre buyers that are automatically going to LOVE the Lucerne, then yes, older people will be seen driving it... but the Lucerne doesn't look dated. It has exterior styling traits that are similar to current Acuras and VWs. The overhangs are no larger than its direct large import sedan competitor (see Avalon.) As for the interior quality, everything indicates that it's world class.

Toyota isn't too concerned if the average buyer's age of the Avalon doesn't drop (60's) and the latest info I could find on the average age of Lexus buyers is 58 years old. That's not much younger than Buick's.

I think too many people are obsessed with getting the few dollars that 18-35 years olds have. Most can not afford a $35,000 Buick, Cadillac, Toyota, or Lexus. They have Student loans, first time mortgages, and newborns to pay for. It's Chevrolet, Saturn, & Pontiac that need to worry about those buyers since they all make cars that fall more within the average Gen X/Gen Y price range(which BTW, their average buyer age is much younger than Buick or Cadillac.) This is probably why almost every brand has an average buyers age in the mid 40's or higher.

Something of an FYI... You can usually tell if a Buick review will be biased or not when they quote the average buyer's age. If it's biased they'll quote the 'average age for Buick sedan/car buyers' instead of the entire Buick division. That way they can inflate the number and exclude any success the Rendezvous, Rainier, & recent Terraza has had in bringing younger buyers to Buick. (I don't believe this particular article did this, but I've seen far too often in recent reviews... it's irritating.)
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Failure to update the mid size cars enough is one big reason why GM and Buick (and why Oldsmobile is dead) have problems. The Century went 15 years with only minor changes (1982 to 1996) and then went another 8 years with hardly any changes (1997 to 2004). And of course, the LaCrosse isn't what it should be. A lot of people buying Camrys should have be buying Buicks, but GM has lost those customers forever. These bread and butter cars need to be updated at most every 5 years. I think that GM gets the message, with the Malibu being redesigned in 2008 after only 4 years, but it may be too little too late.
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has kept cars on the market for too long without significant changes @@@@@@@ GM's number one problem. 1982-1994 Cavalier, Olds Ciera/Century, 1988-1996 Cutlass Supreme and I could go on. Nothing wrong with a bland car or a car that old people drive. Old folks have more money and are more loyal to domestic cars..at least until the baby boomers age. Bland cars and old folks cars sell but please change the style more often!!
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This was a good, fair, and accurate article. Buick's problems stems from increased competition from the forgein makes, and from it's resting on it's laurels in the 80's, which resulted in model updates slipping and no new product. I believe that with the right product and marketing, Buick can appeal to the younger crowd. People said that Cadillac wouldn't shake it's old foegy image too, and look what happened with the right product, and well placed pics of the CTS running the N-Ring, etc. Done correctly, Buick can be an American Lexus and not step on Caddy's toes.
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and has a lingering consumer perception of quality control problems.


Could be argued... The average consumer isn't aware of Buicks HIGH quality rankings because GM never markets them... But yes, just a cheap shot by the author more than anything.

Pontiac has its Solstice sports car. Chevy has its Corvette and, at the lower end, its new Cobalt. Cadillac has its XLR roadster. Even Saturn soon will unveil its Sky roadster.


I'm sorry, but the Cobalt isn't a halo car...

But Mr. Libby said that given Buick's image, a high-end luxury sedan would be much more appropriate than some sort of speedster

That, in a nutshell, is Buick's issue: Its brand identity is too unfocused.


I agree 110%!!!

Buick's quality ratings also are consistently higher than all but a handful of makes.


Which completly contrasts the first part of the article... Which means GM needs to CHANGE those perceptions!

***I do agree with this article though. Of all the GM divisions Buick has the LEAST direction right now. I do however think that the Lucerne is the closest car to Buick's supposed new direction that we have seen yet and I do think that if GM plays its cards right the Lucerne will be a BIG success.
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Based upon these plant closings, it looks like all Buick will have by the 2009 model year is Lucerne and Enclave.
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Based upon these plant closings, it looks like all Buick will have by the 2009 model year is Lucerne and Enclave.

[post="46183"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

The next Lacrosse is on Epsilon II though, so that would be a third model for the 2010 model year.
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Is it possible GM will continue the Buick Terraza. Ted has it on his list, updated 11/5, as one of the new, I think, GMT-962s. Or, given GM's icnreasing use of global platforms, can the Chinese Buick Excelle come here as the next-generation LaCrosse? (Creating more distance in the overall sizes of LaCrose and Lucerne?)
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The next Lacrosse is on Epsilon II though, so that would be a third model for the 2010 model year.

[post="46185"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Are we positive about that? It doesn't seem that anything beyond 2008 is certain.
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If Buick were to be down to two models -- and that's IF -- what was all this wasted time about "Super" and "Reserve"? Buick doesn't need more trim names <_< , they need more product. Besides, some Buick spokesperson said only a few days ago that they were hoping that Lucerne would represent about 40-50% of Buick's sales, LaCrosse about 40%, leaving 10-20% for... ? Something's coming for Buick, it's just not crystal clear yet. Zeta / RWD ca. 2010? Who can tell us?
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Something's coming for Buick, it's just not crystal clear yet.  Zeta / RWD ca. 2010?  Who can tell us?

[post="46225"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

All of us, except for the insiders, will just have to wait two or three years for the answers to those questions.
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Take a look at Buick's current lineup and then ask yourself why Buick doesn't attract younger buyers. :)
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Maybe a Buick dealer or insider can answer these questions: 1. Why doesn't Buick build a coupe? 2. Is there any chance of the Velite or a Buick convertible being made? 3. If not, why did they make concept?
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also, Buick dealers complained so they got a minivan, complained and got a SUV, why can't Buick dealers demand a halo car, like the Velite? Every other brand is getting one.
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Back when the LaCrosse orginially debuted, it was mentioned that it would have a shorter than normal model life cycle (shorter than 6-7 years like the Regal). This fits the picture. As CSpec said, Epsilon II is the intended platform for the LaCrosse replacement which should be ready by the 2009MY. I believe Malibu will be the first to receive it in 2008. This could mean the next gen Malibu & next gen LaCrosse will be built at the same plant (Fairfax?).
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