• Oct 17th 2006 at 5:32PM
  • 42
Buick's marketers are caught between a rock and a hard place, or more accurately between the aging baby boomers of its core market and the younger Gen-Y buyers it needs to grow the brand. With the average Buick owner nearing retirement age, brand managers are trying to play both sides of the fence, making the OnStar Directions and Connections service (a favorite of older buyers that don't like complex nav systems) standard for all 2007 models, while readying a fleet of tricked-out Lucerne sedans for the upcoming youth-oriented Specialty Equipment Marketers Association trade show in Las Vegas.
The trick for Buick is to keep its core market happy while attracting new, younger buyers - avoiding the fate of the Oldsmobile brand, whose "Not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign alienated the AARP segment while bland models failed to attract new customers. Falling market share eventually led to the demise of the famous brand.

So how's Buick doing? Well, the average age of a Buick owner is 63 (compared to 58 for Cadillac), and sales are down 17 percent so far this year while General Motors as a whole is down only 11 percent. We'll see if the SEMA initiative lights a fire under the tuner crowd, but the upcoming Enclave certainly looks well-positioned to grab a significant share of the luxury crossover segment.

[Source: BrandWeek]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      If people don't understand the difference between companies headquartered here and companies headquartered overseas, that's just sad. Toyota and Honda can employ as many people here as they want, it's still not nearly the same to the American economy as having GM and Ford still healthy here would be.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Funny. On the way home I was thinking about Farago's TWAT contest and betting that, with just Buick alone, I could fill most of the - erm - slots.
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM did a phenomenal job rebranding Cadillac over the last ten years. They took a staid, stodgy, out-of-date dinosaur and made it appealing to a huge number of new buyers, and they did it with products that would once have been unimaginable for Cadillac. I think they should kill Buick and Pontiac and concentrate on doing the same thing for Chevy. It should have been plainly obvious to them for the last ten years that what the bulk of Americans want in a family sedan is a Toyota Camry, and GM undoubtedly has the resources and engineering expertise to build one. So do it, already!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Boys who drive foreign automobiles don't seem to grasp the reality that Honda-BMW-Toyota-Hyunda and the like take their American dollars home to their country and reengineer their automobiles to be better(Lexus)and support their social systems and do not in anyway support America or Americans."

      Actually they largely don't do this. If they started converting their American dollars into foreign currencies, it would effect the exchange rates between the home country and the US for the worse. Which makes it harder to price their imported products well in the USA. Which is why these companies have largely been spending their US profits on their US businesses instead of bringing the profits home.

      Oh and why is Buick suffering? I like the looks of many of the current Buicks. They're a little cheap and bland, but the interiors are better than most American cars. But ultimately they still handle like Buicks. Wallow, wallow. They need to sell two grades of vehicle, one with the typical soft buick springs and another with a firmer more responsive suspension setup. Then they might get some 20 and 30 somethings.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ah, and while useless car brands are dying, C*ese companies are creating even more useless brands.
      • 8 Years Ago
      D Man...you make me and your mother very sad. I'll try to comfort her when I see her at the zoo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just because American automakers are down sizing does not mean that Americans are losing jobs. Honda is building a new plant that will employ 2,000 people in 2008. I wouldn't buy a Buick or a Cataract or anything that GM puts its crap into.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think that Buick still has relevance, and I would hate to see the brand die. I'm 23, and my first car was a used 1994 Buick LeSabre. Even though I now have a Scion tC, I sometimes miss the cushy ride, squishy seats, and roomy interior. I liked the design, too. It was subtle and elegant, though the paint had started to peel/fade noticably by the time I got rid of it.

      Beyond my personal experience with a Buick, the company has a great heritage with some beautiful designs. It's just a shame how many young people (and not so young people) can't appreciate things without ranting like a cult member (and I am talking about GM and Toyota cultists equally, as well as any others that might apply).

      As someone mentioned above, a new Grand National would be a great way to add relevance to Buick with the younger set. It they produce it with the same level of quality as the widely praised Lucerne, the brand might just have a chance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Daddy, what's a Buick?

      Well, son, let me crack open this dusty book on automotive history. You see...back in the day there was this royal jackass named Rick Wagoner. Well, Rick Wagoner REALLY screwed over ole Buick, let me tell you son...

      Another FINE automotive mark goes the way of Studebaker!!!

      • 8 Years Ago
      yeah..........all the American companies should close like the asshole above suggests.... Yes Buick should have been closed before Oldsmobile but it's to late for that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Buick should have been killed instead of Oldsmobile. Buick has *no* chance of appealing to younger buyers, unlike Olds (I bought myself a new Achieva when I was 22). Olds has a stronger youth-oriented heritage than Buick.

      Killing Olds is one of the top 5 mistakes GM made in the last decade. Refactoring Saturn to fill the void lends support to this, and is another dumb idea.
      • 8 Years Ago
      folks, I don't think Buick needs much fixing. if you look at any owner satisfaction survey for the oh, last twenty years or so, Buick is always in the top five. can you say that about too many other companies?

      I'm that 52-year-old-fart that owns a 2006 Buick Rendezvous. why?

      for all those armchair "experts", take a look at the quality. none of that plastic-laden aisian crap even comes close in quality of materials, and build quality.

      now, let's talk about the deal. the sticker price was $26,275, and I bought it (new) for $16,000. that's less than a 4 cylinder Honda CRV, and it gets the same fuel economy, too. as far as resale value goes, just look for a used Rendezvous on ebay. they've been out since 2002, and a busy time on ebay will have less than 20 for sale. the same is actually true for any Buick model, for that matter.

      my Rendezvous is so awful, in fact, that five people I know have also bought them since I got mine in August...and not one is over 40.

      Buick isn't stupid taking some Lucernes to the SEMA show. I travel all over the country, and it always amazes me to see how many younger people are driving cars like this, instead of rice rockets.

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