The Buick Avenir concept revealed in the 2015 New York International Auto Show stunned us with its sleek upscale looks. It was a nice contrast to its current lineup of blandly styled models derived from recycled GM’s International counterparts.
With the release of the Avista concept in the 2016 Detroit North American International Auto Show, Buick has solidified its commitment to delivering thoughtfully styled vehicles. However, styling alone won’t solve the problems that currently plague the Buick Brand. Here are 5 reasons why Buick should die.
5. It’s Overpriced:
We tested the Buick Regal GS for a good week. We liked its amenities such as the Apple CarPlay availability and heated steering wheel, but we hated the confused styling and the lack of power that came with the GS moniker. Fully loaded this Buick became very expensive quick. Anyone looking at this price point will readily buy a more recognizable luxury brand, even if it’s at the expense of fewer features.
You should ask yourself this question when buying a Buick: “Should I get a fully loaded Buick Lacrosse or maybe step up to the bare bones Audi A6 for about the same price?” If brand recognition is important to you (Don’t lie to yourself, you know it’s VERY important) then Buick is in big trouble.
4. It’s Too Cheap:
Some things CAN be overpriced and cheap at the same time. Buicks are just nice looking Chevrolets, and to differentiate themselves Buicks have used luxury-esque interior design and parts borrowed from older Cadillacs, while maintaining the chintziness of Chevrolets. Over time you will realize that your “luxury” car is General Motors’ attempt of putting lipstick on a pig. Pieces of the interior fall short of luxury expectations and mirror something more like a Hyundai or a Volkswagen. All of the little cost cutting measures such as the cheap automatic shifter, pleathery steering wheel, and chromed plastics will not age gracefully and reveal its low cost nature in the long run.
Buicks are huge in China. In fact they are China’s hottest brand! This is because of their brand recognition and how they are associated with businessmen, while other luxury automakers are associated with corrupt government officials or undeserving bratty rich kids. This is all good news for Buick and China, but let’s keep this love affair overseas. Stateside, Buicks have a legacy brand stereotype that can’t be shaken off until another brand takes the mantle of “The Old Person’s Car.” Which brings me to my next point…
2. It’s the Battle of the Brand:
A Buick is the penultimate vehicle to coffins. Old people loved the floatiness and barge-like size of old Buicks. As a result Buick is having a hard time shaking this image of being the car for old people. They’ve tried so hard to shake this off they are now in a transitional period of “This is not your Grandfather’s Buick.” It will take another generation before this sentiment disappears.
The younger buyers of today will look to other brands because of better values. And instead of embracing older buyers, Buicks have outcast them by making cars more technologically advanced. Have you stepped inside a Buick lately? It will confuse the living hell out of older folks! That is if the collision detection warnings have not given them heart attacks.
If General Motors intends to stick with Buick for the long haul then it needs to rebrand and start from fresh. Kill the Buick name because it is awful. Restart with something that states, “I’m somewhat luxurious and I don’t want to break the bank.”
1. It Hurts Chevrolet and Cadillac:
The rest of Buick’s lineup lies in purgatory between the economy of Chevrolet and the luxury of Cadillac. Shoppers will face tough decisions to either save some dough to get the same features on a cheaper Chevrolet product, or stomach a larger bill to get a defeatured Cadillac. This confusion eventually leads to customers buying from somewhere else. Therefore, GM, Let’s take a strategy out of American Politics: Appeal to the rich and the poor while the middle gets wiped out. Buick is the middle and it muddies the water. Let Americans concentrate on clear and concise options: the economy car or the luxury car.
In the meantime, save these super attractive designs for the big C’s.