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: Is Buick Overreaching? - The Alternator (aka PREMiERdrum)

02-07-2012, 11:41 PM
Is Buick Overreaching? - TheAlternator (aka PREMiERdrum)
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 (
For a brief while, Buick seemed to be the post-Bankruptcy success story of "new" GM. Growing amidst the success of the Enclave crossover and re-envisioned LaCrosse sedan, GM's trishield brand was undoubtedly on the upswing.

The excellent Regal sedan, a lightly reworked Opel Insignia, launched to good reviews yet hasn't gained much traction in the entry-lux segment. The Verano, a Cruze-based compact sedan, is just trickling onto dealer lots but hasn't cracked 800 sales in any of the last few months.
In early 2012, Buick debuted the new Encore subcompact crossover which will also be sold in other markets as the Opel Mokka. Encore is stubby at 168.5" long and 69.9" wide, and the few Buick design cues present (namely the headlights, grille, and ventiports) look vastly out of proportion. The only available drivetrain, a 1.4L turbocharged 4 cylinder mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission, should be good for 140 horsepower. Encore shares its Gamma II architecture with Chevy's diminutive Sonic subcompact.

As GM's self-described "Lexus fighter", Buick definitely has large shoes to fill. Is there demand for a Buick the size of a Cruze, or Sonic? Is the Regal's less-than-stellar sales report a conviction of the car, or the concept of a Buick in this segment? Would the money spent developing Verano have been better spent improving the already good Cruze?
Buick is still nailing what Buick has always nailed: Big, comfortable, conservatively handsome vehicles. The LaCrosse is superb, and the Enclave, though dated, is still quite good. Regal's few shortcomings are mostly rectified by recently announced 2013 model upgrades; adding eAssist mild hybrid technology to the base engine and adding an automatic transmission to the performance-oriented GS trim level. Verano, while virtuous, still doesn't strike me as something which fits with the brand, while creating too much infighting within the Buick showroom. Encore strikes me as misguided at best; a highly compromised product which would fare much better wearing a bowtie.

I can see some logic behind GM's two-pronged luxury strategy with Buick and Cadillac. What I can't understand is the lack of a cohesive image and mission for each brand. With Verano, and especially Encore, they seem to be throwing whatever they can at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks. Going forward, Buick and Opel will be developing largely identical products together for use in both lineups. For GM's sake, I hope the future is much more LaCrosse and much less Encore.

02-07-2012, 11:57 PM
I had to post ^this article for a BUNCH of reasons
- a chance to discuss this segment (Lincoln's according to some) from another aspect
- critique another Renaissance Brand (perhaps)
- I really liked the Verano at our local autoshow recently!
- tho it may be a while before I see the Encore, I'm trying to be more open to small CUVs
- to invoke some karma-or-juju on the author (who posted here for a while)
- edit: and I can't post a comment at his blog :-(

Logans Run
02-08-2012, 04:11 PM
With Buick sharing all that Opel has to offer, it has placed itself in a postion to compete with the now defunct Mercury. Ford NA is now sharing platforms with the Euro Ford, and they could easily compete with Buick by offering upper end trim levels of Fords with unique grills, lights, and trim work.

This brings up Chevy. With Buick benefiting from platform and body panel sharing with Opel, will Chevy need to offer decontented models to stay competitive profit wise with Ford?

Or, is GM in a better position to fight off a potential wave of cheap cars imported from China sometime in the future?

Andrew L
02-08-2012, 04:36 PM
I like the look of the Regal, but the Encore looks way too stubby.. not digging it

02-08-2012, 06:10 PM
you brought up perhaps bigger issues, Logan.
- Ford not having cheap entry pricepoints(?) (Chevy?) and
- Titanium being Buick-equivalent (ALREADY imho)(imho Mercury is alive and well, just transmuted** into Titanium)

** just remembered that "The name "iosis" is an alchemic term referring to the final stage of the transformation of base metal into gold. Very apropos..." Link ( cept_cars%2F112_05fas_ford_iosis_gallery%2Fviewall .html&ei=SekyT9CDOery0gHv-bzKBw&usg=AFQjCNHIA8bjMwm3D9JKbqTMaQg_4Q91cw&cad=rja) &
realized that Fomoco gave a HUGE clue to what they were up to

02-08-2012, 11:48 PM
Thanks for posting this here, 2b2! Since Youjoint is in a wind down, I've moved my stuff back over to the ol' Blogspot page and am hoping to get involved in this community again.

As for the article, I'm not entirely sure Buick has a grasp on how they want to be seen in the marketplace. I'm a huge believer in the LaCrosse and a properly refreshed Enclave, and the Regal is full of potential, but Verano and especially Encore are iffy at best for me. Verano is a gamble but it could work, if they can identify and target a market to advertise to. Encore, however, comes off as so forced and contrived that it reeks of Old GM thinking, and shows a lack of cohesive vision towards what they want Buick to be.