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]