• May 29, 2006

If  Autoblog readers will permit a bit of shameless self-promotion, this writer has just penned a new editorial on a radical re-think for General Motors' rudderless Buick nameplate. Recent offerings like the Lucerne and LaCrosse have shown promise, but are unlikely to be enough to give the mainstay brand enough momentum to sway consumers from foreign marques. So what's the recipe for success? If GM is unable or unwilling to euthanize Buick, then its salvation may originate from an unlikely corner - senior citizens.

Buick has long been known as the traditional 'ride of choice' for middle-and-upper income pensioners who don't want the swish image of Cadillac. It's worked somewhat well in that capacity for decades, but the marketplace is changing, and Buick has become increasingly irrelevant. GM's upper management has continually made overtures at courting younger buyers who are more likely to buy a Japanese or European import, but even newer offerings appear unlikely to result in a lower average customer age. What's needed is a wholehearted embracing of the senior lifestyle, the world's first marque geared explicitly for elderly consumption. And seeing as how most regard the brand as the preserve of geriatrics, this author posits that it's time for The General to come clean with what consumers already know: Buick is for old folks. And far from there being anything wrong with that, there is a huge potential upside to seeking out the Denture Dollar.

Click on the link to peruse the Truth About Cars editorial, then drop back here to leave your feedback directly for the author and your fellow readers in 'Comments.' Is the "Pensioner's Best Friend" a viable brandspace, or is this author just out to lunch?  Sound off!

[Source: TheTruthAboutCars.com]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      gbh
      • 8 Years Ago
      Other than the Gran Nat, what product has Buick had since the early seventies that was bought by people who *weren't* in their early seventies?

      If you are looking for an absolutely bland domestic POS to put your salesforce in (and you don't like Taurii), maybe Buick had a sale.

      Lucerne and Lacrosse have shown promise? Promise that Buick can keep putting out ugly crap that takes 6K in rebates to move? Promise that they will still offer vinyl roofs and wire wheel covers? Really folks, other than the GN, do you know a soul under the age of 60 who would drive a Buick other than as a last choice on the rental lot car?

      Buick has a market. The parts of it that are still above ground are mainly in South Florida and Arizona -living in Del Webb communities. So yeah, GM should pull the plug on Buick too. They managed to kill the real heritage name Olds, so Buick should be no big deal.

      dan
      • 8 Years Ago
      some quick word associations:
      SBC= chevy, rwd
      northstar= cadillac, rwd except deville, which is ok, b/c who is drifting a DTS these days
      Duramax=GMC/chevy, hauling rwd, ladder frames

      A car whose engine and drivetrain has/have no image ("Hey, is my buick rwd or fwd?") is not viewed as a machine, but merely a jellybean with room for 5. If someone doesn't like the wrapper or is brand-disloyal, e.g. buick, oldsmobile, it's hard to make an argument for the improvements in the machine. Kill off Buick, Pontiac (slap a bowtie on the solstice and ditch the twin-grilles), saturn, and just keep cadillac, chevy, (and GMC if you feel like it) hell, every GMC dealer I know is a pontiac/GMC... just give them a full chevy lineup, I bet no one will even notice. Fewer products, higher depth. GM is splintered. Ditch the jellybeans
      • 8 Years Ago
      Their new slogan:

      "Buick: I've fallen and I can't get up"
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ive been saying this for two years! lol.

      I had dinner in chattanooga TN last year with a friend's family. Both grandma and dad agreed it was a good idea, she is a Buick owner.

      I actually mentioned this idea to Motortrend executive editor Matt Stone back at the 2004 NAIAS and he too agreed it is a logical extension of the current brand.

      The design is the interesting part. Can you imagine bringing in all your favorite relatives to work to have them try out stuff? Itd be great!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Buick: Because you're freaking old, and you're not fooling anyone.

      Seriously though, I do think that there is a good market for a vehicle whose sole purpose is to be practical and easy to use. There's plenty of people out there whose idea of a "good car" and "enjoyable drive" have nothing to do with how much attention their vehicle can draw from the crowds. Horsepower and speed are largely superfluous for those who are so rarely pressed for time. Styling and aesthetics for such a vehicle could figuratively take a back seat to ergonomics and comfort. After all, for the folks to whom these vehicles would be marketed, the time for shame and embarrasment has long passed.

      Just as a disclaimer; I'm 26, and I honestly can't see myself purchasing a car like this for at least another 20 years, hopefully more. I'd prefer something more akin to a glorified, over-engineered go kart.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I drove the new Buick Lucerne and was quite impressed. It's is very different than what I expected. I would venture that most comments came from individuals that haven't driven the Lucerne.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What some people forget is that GM is now a global brand. Buick is huge in China. When I stepped out of the airport terminal in Shanghai a few months ago, it was with the instructions to look for a blue Buick mini-van. I thought "Heck, that should be easy enough". Wrong. It seemed that easily 30% of the vehicles were either Buicks or Caddy's.

      Maybe Buick is a non-sequitor in North America, but it's strong in China, and that market is a huge part of GM's growth strategy. I wouldn't count it out quite yet, at least, as long as the North American buyers don't mind a Shanghai-made Buick.

      Cadillac's are now being made in Sweden, so this would seem to be the natural course for Buick, to me. Mind you, I'm sure that leaves a few of my American friends shaking their heads.

      $0.02 contributed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Free package of Adult Diapers with every monthly finance payment
      • 8 Years Ago
      Builds
      Unnecessary
      Infirm
      Cars for
      Knowledgeless fossils
      • 8 Years Ago
      What would a scooter for gay buyers look like ?
      Some Geezer
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm going on 74, and it's about damned time that automakers take us seniors and our needs seriously. I don't need a lift chair yet... but I've got plenty of friends who do, and many don't want/need to spend the money on those expensive aftermarket conversion operations that only seem to work on larger vans. This is a solid idea.

      Oh, and I'm not much for Cracker Barrels... how about Bob Evans?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Lucerne is a classy, elegant style. There have been no rebates/incentives on the Lucerne and it is selling very well. I've written before on how the old money, rich in U.S., like to drive quiet, big autos, like Buicks and Grand Marquis. Buick buyers want none of the bling-flash style from Europe or Asia that shouts "I made it! Notice me." The Tiger Woods and Martha Stewart fans, are wealthy and concerned about appearing proper not garish. My bet is that Buick doesn't "give a heck" what we autoblog contributors think. Their cars sell well, "and that's a good thing." The only foreign luxury car targetted properly is the Avalon, and unfortunately, it has slipped to average reliability since the new 2005 introduction, hopefully Toyota will correct this. And you can't beat the pricing of a CXL V8 at $29,500, cheaper than some Accords. Buick knows what group they're selling to, and it's not Autoblog readers, or foreign male students, or "high tech" buyers in their 4-speed automatic Scions.
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