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GM Enters New Turf With Premium Compact Buick

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DETROIT -(Dow Jones)- General Motors Co. will mark its first serious foray into the U.S. premium compact-car segment early next decade when it launches a compact Buick, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Friday.

The move will be a virtually untested venture for Detroit, where small cars have long been synonymous with entry-level, lower-budget offerings. It is a sign of things to come for the U.S. auto industry as stricter fuel-economy regulations take hold and force car makers to turn out smaller, more fuel- efficient cars.

GM has sold compact Buicks in the past, but not with the features, upscale design and higher price point planned for Buick, Lutz said. He said GM aims to avoid habits of the past with the new Buick.

The auto maker in the 1980s and 1990s sold Buick versions -the Skyhawk and Skylark - of the Chevrolet Cavalier economy car and only slightly higher-scale Pontiac Grand Am. The vehicles were discontinued due to low demand. In the 1980s, the compact Cadillac Cimarron bombed with critics and consumers.

Read article CNNMoney.com

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It is about time. Now bring on the compact Cadillac (rear drive). The 3-series has a 30 year head start though, so GM has a lot of catching up to do.

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It is about time. Now bring on the compact Cadillac (rear drive). The 3-series has a 30 year head start though, so GM has a lot of catching up to do.

Yep just like it took them YEARS to out do the M3 and M5....

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DETROIT -(Dow Jones)- General Motors Co. will mark its first serious foray into the U.S. premium compact-car segment early next decade when it launches a compact Buick, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Friday.

The move will be a virtually untested venture for Detroit, where small cars have long been synonymous with entry-level, lower-budget offerings. It is a sign of things to come for the U.S. auto industry as stricter fuel-economy regulations take hold and force car makers to turn out smaller, more fuel- efficient cars.

GM has sold compact Buicks in the past, but not with the features, upscale design and higher price point planned for Buick, Lutz said. He said GM aims to avoid habits of the past with the new Buick.

The auto maker in the 1980s and 1990s sold Buick versions -the Skyhawk and Skylark - of the Chevrolet Cavalier economy car and only slightly higher-scale Pontiac Grand Am. The vehicles were discontinued due to low demand. In the 1980s, the compact Cadillac Cimarron bombed with critics and consumers.

Read article CNNMoney.com

"The auto maker in the 1980s and 1990s sold Buick versions -the Skyhawk and Skylark - of the Chevrolet Cavalier economy car and only slightly higher-scale Pontiac Grand Am. The vehicles were discontinued due to low demand. In the 1980s, the compact Cadillac Cimarron bombed with critics and consumers."

That was then

This is now

"The car will share some design and other elements of the Astra, which was popular with critics but snubbed by consumers, he said. It will be a four-door that shares a platform with the Astra and soon-to-launch Chevrolet Cruze."

GM will do what they have done in the past expecting a different result (insanity). I still hear Fritz echoing "I am not a believer in re-branding and re-badging." that is only if it's a Buick in Chevy clothing not a Chevy in G8's clothing :P

"GM initially conceived the Buick as a wagon to replace the Saturn Astra hatchback, which is being discontinued as GM sells the entire Saturn brand. But Lutz said GM concluded the wagons, however practical and attractive, won't win over U.S. consumers. "They just don't do well here" he said."

So GM sells a CTS Sport Wagon instead. Now while I do love the Caddy it'll never be in my price range as a new car. Also while the exterior is to my taste I haven't liked their interiors. Now a Chevy wagon with the turbo Eccotech in the spirit of the Nomad Kappa I'll find the money somewhere somehow.

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Good to see that it (maybe) won't be a total rebadge of the Cruze.

Sounds like it'll be more like a grill & badge job of the Astra.

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Sounds like it'll be more like a grill & badge job of the Astra.

:yes: just like the Regal is a grill & badge job of the Insignia.

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They'll have to price it clearly above the Cruze, as the Regal will have to be priced clearly above the Malibu. I hope that in the grand scheme of things this means that the LaCrosse CX is history and that the LaCrosse range can move up a bit in price to give the other two models some breathing room...

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Hopefully the LaCrosse CX is a temporary place holder to ease the transition into more premium territory and it will disappear when the Regal arrives.
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For some unknown even to God reason I'm having faith GM will get this one right.

However, VW and Hyundai are on the rise bigtime, Ford is bringing in two very good heavy hitters, (Focus and Fiesta) Chryco has Fiat pushing it to build excellent small cars, Honda and Toyota aren't going anywhere, Nissan will remain popular...

It is going to be a very crowded field. And carmakers know the price of gas will never go down so they will continue to dump big bucks into this.

So I wish them the best of Luck. And I have high hopes. If they get it right I may even buy one.

But a whole lot remains to be seen.

Chris

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What many seem to foget here is everyone is going to be in this market. With CAFE going up everyone is thinking small. Lincoln Mercury just anounced down sizing and even Aston Martin is working on a car to be built on a Nissan platform to sell in the $30K range in europe.

I have seen pictures of the 2 and 3 door versions in China. THe three door is an Astra and looks good. The Sedan is not just a rebadge of the Cruze. I suspect form what I have been hearing this car will be built in Lordstown.

Both cars will do well in a market that will explode in the future.

The Astra failed at Saturn for two reasons. THey were more expensive in relation to the cars they replaced and GM never marketed them. Few people knew anything about them. I have had several people see the 3 doors and told me they never know Saturn sold them.

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Sounds like it'll be more like a grill & badge job of the Astra.

:yes: just like the Regal is a grill & badge job of the Insignia.

"I'm not a fan of rebadging"

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"I'm not a fan of rebadging"

I can understand where the comment came from on that (was it Fritz Henderson? I don't recall), its a whole different context. The Opels are not and have not been sold in the US. The G8 was sold as a Pontiac, so calling it an Impala or Chevelle would fit the implied description of 'bad rebadge'.

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What many seem to foget here is everyone is going to be in this market. With CAFE going up everyone is thinking small. Lincoln Mercury just anounced down sizing and even Aston Martin is working on a car to be built on a Nissan platform to sell in the $30K range in europe.

I have seen pictures of the 2 and 3 door versions in China. THe three door is an Astra and looks good. The Sedan is not just a rebadge of the Cruze. I suspect form what I have been hearing this car will be built in Lordstown.

Both cars will do well in a market that will explode in the future.

The Astra failed at Saturn for two reasons. THey were more expensive in relation to the cars they replaced and GM never marketed them. Few people knew anything about them. I have had several people see the 3 doors and told me they never know Saturn sold them.

Yes, and no.

More people will be in this market-but the question will be if they can afford it, and it offers something people could really use (ie Sync w/ Focus). I'm not betting the economy is going to get any better any sooner....

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The small premium segment has been crowded for years, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Saab, Mercedes, Lexus, and Acura are all in it. But they for the most part are $30k+, the number of small semi luxury cars for $23-28,000 is very limited, so there is a chance for Buick to seek out a new niche. The Jetta is really the only car there right now (Mini to a degree) and both are geared toward sport, Buick could get buyers that like soft.

A rebadged Cruze will fail because people will know it is a Chevy knockoff. A rebadged Opel could fail because it won't hit enough of what the American market wants (a problem of the GTO, G8 and Astra). They really need to make this car a Buick and somewhat unique.

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Yes, and no.

More people will be in this market-but the question will be if they can afford it, and it offers something people could really use (ie Sync w/ Focus). I'm not betting the economy is going to get any better any sooner....

Sorry I should have said in a market segement that will explode. To which I mean smaller more efficent cars. I see a need for high mileage higher end cars.

I too see no improvemt for the over all car market and I expect Oil to either go up or the Fed Gov to jack the tax on gas up. They have to find more money to pay for all they are spending as it is not all going to come from the rich.

I see smaller efficent cars being looked at as well as well appointed ones. SOme of these people paying higher taxes will have to go slumming in smaller cars but that does not mean they have to be uncomfortable.

As for the industry as a whole it will take years to see growth in the auto market. I expect to see companies like Toyota to keep burning cash reserves. They may sell a lot of Prius but they need more than that. They have added a lot of debt with the money they spent on larger trucks and SUV's and never made a dime on them.

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I don't give a $h! if Buick rebadges Opels. Opels are not available for sale in the US, so why not get a series of cars whose pricepoints Buick can support and are better than what Buick currently sells? I don't see the issue, honestly.

Same reason I don't mind--and actually welcome--Mercury selling the Euro Fords--Ford brand cannot support the imported pricepoints, yet Mercury could given its "premium Ford" marketing/brand positioning. They too will be better-differentiated (from Ford brand) and likely better products than what Mercury currently sells.

Edited by Croc
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I can understand where the comment came from on that (was it Fritz Henderson? I don't recall), its a whole different context. The Opels are not and have not been sold in the US. The G8 was sold as a Pontiac, so calling it an Impala or Chevelle would fit the implied description of 'bad rebadge'.

Wait, you're saying that making the Pontiac G8 into a Chevy Impala or Chevelle would fit the term "rebadge", but a Buick Astra doesn't fit the definition? Maybe you missed the part where Saturn sold the Astra?

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Wait, you're saying that making the Pontiac G8 into a Chevy Impala or Chevelle would fit the term "rebadge", but a Buick Astra doesn't fit the definition? Maybe you missed the part where Saturn sold the Astra?

What I'm saying is that when Fritz (or whoever made the comment) made the rebadging remark about the G8 he meant that rebadging something from Pontiac to Chevy (2 brands sold in the same market) would not be acceptable. Rebadging an Opel would/could be acceptable simply because Opel is not sold in the US.

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What I'm saying is that when Fritz (or whoever made the comment) made the rebadging remark about the G8 he meant that rebadging something from Pontiac to Chevy (2 brands sold in the same market) would not be acceptable. Rebadging an Opel would/could be acceptable simply because Opel is not sold in the US.

Yeah, you still don't make sense. You're saying that rebadging a Holden (not sold in this market) for Chevy would be rebadging, because the car was previously sold through Pontiac, which is in this market. Explain to me how that is different than rebadging an Opel (not sold in this market) for Buick, which was previously sold through Saturn. It's the exact same situation! The way you are stating it as rebadging something from Pontiac to Chevy, I can make the same jump over Opel & say it's being rebadged from Saturn to Buick.

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What I'm saying is that when Fritz (or whoever made the comment) made the rebadging remark about the G8 he meant that rebadging something from Pontiac to Chevy (2 brands sold in the same market) would not be acceptable. Rebadging an Opel would/could be acceptable simply because Opel is not sold in the US.

Hate to inform you of this so late, but (unfortunately) Pontiacs won't be sold much longer. By the time the G8 would have been converted to a Chevy, the G8 will have been long gone from the new car lots.

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Yeah, you still don't make sense. You're saying that rebadging a Holden (not sold in this market) for Chevy would be rebadging, because the car was previously sold through Pontiac, which is in this market. Explain to me how that is different than rebadging an Opel (not sold in this market) for Buick, which was previously sold through Saturn. It's the exact same situation! The way you are stating it as rebadging something from Pontiac to Chevy, I can make the same jump over Opel & say it's being rebadged from Saturn to Buick.

The difference here, is what Saturn sold was the old Astra. What Buick will be selling is the new Astra, totally different cars ...

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The bottom line is this car will be more than a new grille on a Cruze.

I saw some photo's of the 3 door Buick in China and it looked very sporty and nice. It had a very Euro look to it.

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