NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

New Buick chief's aim: Buyers younger than 70

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New Buick chief's aim: Buyers younger than 70

Chrissie Thompson

Automotive News -- December 28, 2009 - 12:01 am ET

DETROIT -- Buick-GMC's new chief inherits a familiar challenge: change consumers' perception of the Buick brand.

"Buick's an older person's vehicle," says Brian Sweeney, describing the public's view. "What can we do to reverse that?"

Sweeney, a 42-year-old sales and marketing executive at General Motors Co., became general manager of Buick-GMC on Dec. 17.

GMC, Sweeney says, is in good shape. Attracting a younger Buick clientele poses his greatest challenge.

To be clear, "younger" doesn't mean people in their 20s, says Craig Bierley, Buick's product marketing director. Younger, he says, means people in their 40s and 50s.

While the average age of a U.S. car buyer is 52, the average age of a buyer of a Buick sedan is 70, Bierley says.

That is changing. More than a third of the buyers of the 2010 LaCrosse are 55 or younger, Bierley says, up from fewer than than 10 percent of the previous version's purchasers.

Part of Buick's strategy is to create vehicles with better performance and technology. Sweeney is counting on the Regal sedan -- a reworked Opel Insignia coming in the spring.

The other part of the strategy is showing Buick to consumers. Much of the Regal's advertising will be "experiential marketing," Bierley says. Buick started with the 2010 LaCrosse, taking the car to coffee shops, art fairs and wine festivals.

Sweeney is the third head of Buick-GMC in a month. He replaces Michael Richards, a former Ford Motor Co. executive who spent eight days at GM. Before Richards, Susan Docherty, now GM's U.S. sales and marketing boss, led the brands since June 2008.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091228/RETAIL03/312289989/1018##ixzz0azd0eiGK

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New slogan idea: Not your grandfather's Buick.

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Interesting- this article says the average age of a new car buyer is 52, the thread on scion bombing says 54.

And here the average Buick SEDAN buyer is supposedly 70, but this by it's wording excludes the Enclave here..... why ??? There's no point to cutting the youngest ABA vehicle out of a 3-model line-up... in an attempt to make a point about the entire brand. Slanted.

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This goal is right on par with a goal like :

"our goal is to sell cars" - Buick Chief

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This has to be one of the weakest New Year's resolutions ever.

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There are so many YouTube vids of young people with their 3800-powered LeSabres, Regals and Rivieras. They buy them in pristine shape with low mileage from the old folks and mod them. And the comments on these are so positive, it gives me hope that because the older cars with that wonderful 3800 engine are enjoying such a following, that the new cars will not be such a hard sell to the younger folks, especially when they see this new Regal. The Delta car, if it is offered with a sporty trim level and as a coupe in addition to the sedan, could be positioned favorably to be these kids' first new car, thereby giving Buick a chance to keep them loyal as they get older/richer.

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If Buick built a new, small rear-wheel drive car I'd be interested.

I didn't think you liked anything that was newer than 25 years old.. :)

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From the interactive Buick website & passing the car on the local lot, I like the Lacrosse well enough, but the power / FWD would not entice me if I was in the market. If there were circa 325 HP & RWD, it'd be a different decisison.

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Yeah, sigh. RWD > every other drive configuration.

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Alpha ... :smilewide:

Should have been at your local Pontiac dealer 5 years ago.

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You can sell a old man a young mans car at a premium but it is damn near impossible to sell a young man an old mans car unless it is cheap.

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If Buick built a new, small rear-wheel drive car I'd be interested.

Dreams do come true even outside Disney!

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You can sell a old man a young mans car at a premium but it is damn near impossible to sell a young man an old mans car unless it is cheap.

I very much doubt that any "old man's car" will ever be on my new car shopping list.

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I very much doubt that any "old man's car" will ever be on my new car shopping list.

An old mans car is seldom on the list of anyone. Unless they just gave up on life.

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An old mans car is seldom on the list of anyone. Unless they just gave up on life.

I'm not so sure about that.

I think, for some folks, there is a sense that only certain cars are appropriate at their age.

That sort of thinking is the thing I can't imagine ever being part of my reality.

That said, there certainly are aspects of car design that can be "elder-friendly". Ease of ingress/egress, and operation being big among them.

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The five hundred I had was a perfect geriatric mobile. High flat seats, ez to get in and out of, panoramic visibility. Problem was the car looked like a geriatrics car too.

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When I bought my '67 Olds Delmont 88, my grandparents wanted to go for a ride. Now remember, the car was pushing 30 years old at the time. They gushed about how easy it was to get in and out of and how smoothly it rode - this was a car I bought for under $400. We had a great ride through the countryside where they grew-up, and where they raised my mom, and my uncles.

As long as the basics of a car are acommodating in this way, the older generation will tend to like it.

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When I bought my '67 Olds Delmont 88, my grandparents wanted to go for a ride. Now remember, the car was pushing 30 years old at the time. They gushed about how easy it was to get in and out of and how smoothly it rode - this was a car I bought for under $400. We had a great ride through the countryside where they grew-up, and where they raised my mom, and my uncles.

As long as the basics of a car are acommodating in this way, the older generation will tend to like it.

You are the older generation!!! :smilewide:

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Not quite yet.

And you'll be right there with me when the time comes. :neenerneener:

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Not quite yet.

And you'll be right there with me when the time comes. :neenerneener:

No sir, I am years behind you ... 50 is gunning for you! I've only been 40 for 6 months ... :smilewide:

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