• Sep 4, 2009
Susan Docherty, General Manager of Buick and GMC, recently made some time available for a General Motors Fastlane blog webchat to discuss the futures of her brands. Stating plainly that "every new product we launch must be a home run. No second chances," indicates that at least some GM employees realize that the automaker is not going to coast through this latest crisis of consumer confidence. The stakes are make-or-break for the company, and initial feedback from the new LaCrosse has been very positive, but Buick can't survive with a lone great product. Chat participants lobbed questions about what's coming, and the answers reveal a hopeful, and hopefully well-executed, future.
Firstly, as great a car as it is, the Pontiac G8 is not going to slide over to Buick as a Grand National or something else. While Docherty herself cited the GN as one of her favorite Buicks ever, Pontiac is clearly in hospice, clutching a DNR. What will be coming are two new sedans – both junior to the LaCrosse – which will eventually top the sedan line at the Tri-Shield. One of the new sedans will be a compact, likely based on the new Opel Astra, while the other is headed for midsize waters, probably as the Regal.

Perhaps more exciting for those wishing to see a sportier Buick, intimations that a Riviera coupe may show up. "It would be a nice addition" says Docherty, though it's doubtlessly more important for GM to get its bread-and-butter squared away without getting distracted by a spicier coupe and its almost certainly smaller sales projections. Still, a Camaro-underpinned two-door Buick with classically gorgeous styling would certainly generate attention, wouldn't it? Ah, we can dream...

[GM Fastlane blog]


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  • 64 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      i've said it multiple times and i'll say it again-Caddy branded holden statesman as the caddy XLS
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why does GM need 2 luxury brands anyways? Why do the elderly need to have more boring choices in which car they'll buy? GM should of killed off Buick and kept Pontiac. More exciting cars have come from Pontiac anyways. Killing off one of their best 4 door sedans is stupid. No wonder GM went bankrupt. They're still making stupid decisions. People want the G8 to survive. This is what happens when idiots run a car company. In 5 years GM will be dead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Unprofitable cars like the G8 import program are why Pontiac was killed, to be honest...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Buick is near luxury, they will go after cheap Lexus's, Acura, Volvo, Infiniti, Lincoln.
        Cadillac is premium luxury to take on Mercedes, BMW, hi end Lexus, Jaguar.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What Buick really needs is more boring sedans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, they are going after Lexus...
      • 5 Years Ago
      No Lucerne successor either I guess.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM/Buick, just does not get it! If they brought back the Buick Grand national (along with the performance) they wouldnt be able to keep them in the showroom!! It does not matter if its based on the new Regal or rebadge the G8, as long as they "boost" (no pun intended) the power it would sell like hot cakes. Come on GM! Open your eyes!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      There is one very clear reason the G8 failed here, its the same reason just about every other American V8 for sale now is a flop: Nascar. The Commodore and Falcon enjoy icon status in Australian because you can see them banging doors, battling to the death, every other weekend. And they aren't moronic COT plastic versions of the car either. Abolish Nascar and bring V8 Supercar racing here, young to middle aged men will sell their grandmothers to get every flavor of Commodore GM can turn out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's unfortunate. Buick could really use some RWD products stateside. Bring on the Chinese Park Avenue!
      • 5 Years Ago
      To J-MON: Weak sauce?? You sir, are ignorant. Perhaps I'm biased since I'm the original owner of a prestine '87 GN. It would be difficult to argue that the GN isn't one of the most desirable cars spanning a time frame from the mid 70's until perhaps the mid 90's. By the way, my slightly modified GN is street/smog legal in CA, will run 0-60 in 3.8 sec, and the 1/4 mile in 11 sec flat on street radials. Few modern exotics can match those numbers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd hate to say this because this statement has been used on me numerous times about the Trans Am and Pontiac but...Buick has not built a Grand National for a loooooong time, nor do I think they ever will ever again with some idiot like Susan running that part of GM. So right now? Buick is pretty weak, they have the baggage of lame bread and butter rental cars like the Century and Regal following that name...

        Mind you i do in fact LIKE Buick, loved the Gs Regal and actually would not mind finding a cheap/decent condition/ low mile age Regal to just put around in.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the best move would be to make a new Riviera off of the Zeta platform, and to move the Camaro to the Kappa or a downgraded Alpha (Cadillac ATS) platform. That way, the Camaro can shed some weight to better compete with the Mustang. Plus, the large Zeta platform is better suited to a Buick Riviera than the new Camaro, which has historically been based off of a smaller platform. Plus, the new Regal will likely share much with the new Opel Insignia, and will hopefully bring over the OPC version as a Regal Grand National.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Never send a woman to do a man's job.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I remain unconvinced the G8 would have sold better if it carried a different badge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "though it's doubtlessly more important for GM to get its bread-and-butter squared away without getting distracted by a spicier coupe and its almost certainly smaller sales projections". Smaller sales projections for a coupe doesn't mean you have to take a financial loss on it. The fact is, automakers have been overly obsessed with their land barge, old-man, four door sedans for over a decade now with a precious too few coupes. Just like Lexus, Buick and GM will reinforce that stodgy "old man" image if they fail to produce a few coupes. And I'm not talking "spicy" or sporty, just a shortened two door variant to the existing models. The vast majority of miles driven are with only one person in the car. Accept the fact that there is a huge market for two door vehicles. Fantastic sales of the Accord coupe, Altima coupe, Civic coupe, and Mini coupe testify to that need in the market. It also prevents their image from getting stodgy, even if the buyer opts for the four door version.

      Fact is, you simply will not be attracting the younger, still single crowd, with your four door sedans, period! And you will not gain their brand loyalty or future sales of sedans without that. There is simply too much competition in the four door sedan market to assume the Buick product is unique enough to make converts.

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