Last post on Aug 02, 2011 at 5:53 AM
You are in the Buick LaCrosse
What is this discussion about?
Buick LaCrosse, Sedan
Feb 10, 2004 (5:53 pm)
Buick is not going to die. Olds was not flush with new products when it was killed. The aurora was relatively new and the Bravada was about to be launched when the announcement came. The Bravada wasn't a major development hassle for GM because of the Envoy/Trailblazer. The aurora was a unique product and its obvious they didnt know Olds was going to be killed when it was developed. Buick's image isnt as bad as Olds was in the mid to late 90s. All Buick needs is new product. People keep quoting sales figures, but Buick hasn't had a new car since 1999. Don't you think that has something to do with the sales issue? Buick will get a new car every year for the next three years or so and that should make a difference. I really doubt Buick's sales will decrease this year because the century will remain in production until the fall, they will have a full year of Rainier sales, a new Rendevous model, a new minivan and the Lacrosse which is guaranteed to outsell the Regal. You do the math. Buick is basically trying to become a higher volume, more reliable, American based VW. That is the best way to think about Buick. Their prices wont be cheap, but they wont be in MB or BMW territory either. The will make vehicles that offer nicer interiors and more features than comparable Chevys, Pontiacs and Toyotas. VW isnt really a luxury car maker, but their products are generally viewed as more classy than Toyotas and Hondas as well as any American make.
The lesabre's six year product cycle is normal for GM and most european manufacturers. It will be replaced after 6 years which is better than VW is doing with the Passat and Jetta which have been out since '99 or '00 and wont be replaced until late 2005. The GS400 came out as a '98 model and wont be replaced until the 2006 model year.
Feb 10, 2004 (7:12 pm)
Any idea what the pricing for the LaCrosse is going to run? From the pics I've seen, it's not a bad looking sedan. Best looking GM midsize interior that I've seen in a long time. The 3.6 liter DOHC engine should be quite fun as well.
As a former Oldsmobile owner, I can tell you the brand was really negelected near it's death. The mid to late 90s saw some new product(Cutlass, Silhouette, Intrigue, Alero) but then in 99, they started dropping models. Granted the Eighty-Eight didn't fit the new Ols image, but in late 98 the Eighty-Eight was dropped with no immediate replacement(the 01 V6 Aurora was over a year away from being introduced) and then the Cutlass was dropped after 99. In the 2000 MY, Oldsmobile actually only 4 vehicle lines; Intrigue, Alero, Silhouette, and Bravada.
Feb 10, 2004 (7:40 pm)
really too bad about oldsmobile. GM could have done wonderful things with nameplates like Cutlass, 4-4-2, and Eighty-Eight. Ford also came pretty darn close to axing Mercury division, but I'm glad they kept it going. I wonder what could have happened if Bob Lutz had come on board at GM sooner--maybe we would be drooling over the 2005 Olds Rocket, or 2006 StarFire. waht a shame!
Feb 10, 2004 (8:23 pm)
Some poster was going on and on about "nothing but warmed over platforms".
Well, what are the Cobalt, 500, g6, CTS, and 04 Malibu? Still not interested, then go get a warmed over 2004 VW Jetta (in its 6th year, and they say GM is slow). Or the Audi A8 Edsel.
Also, Accord sales are slipping, while Altima and Camry are still growing. Maybe Honda isn't going to 'take over' as predicted?
#420 of 2335 platforms...
Feb 11, 2004 (7:17 am)
Regarding the LaCrosse:
I was at my Ford/Toyota dealer today getting my Contour SVT an oil change and got another look at the current Camry models... Whew, insomnia on wheels. It might have the most dull, characterless interior I've seen in a long time. I have no doubt the LaCrosse will compete very well against this car.
That "some poster" you mentioned was probably me, and I fully stand by what I said. You're right that VW and some other European makers don't have a more rapid product cycle than the US makers, but the big difference is that VW and others had *class leading* products at introduction and are still winning comparison tests now! How many GM products are winning comparison tests either in their first or 7th year? Let's take a look at all the "old" cars still winning Edmund's own Most Wanted:
- Sedan under $25,000: The "old" Passat
- Sedan under $35,000: The "old" 3-series
- Wagon under $25,000: The "old" Passat
- Coupe under $25,000: The "old" Golf
- Coupe under $35,000: The "old" 3-series
- Convertible under $25,000: The "old" Miata
- Convertible under $45,000: The "old" 3-series
Thank goodness for the Corvette, because none of GM's older or "newer" non-SUV's made the list. We'll see how the Cobalt, 500, and G6 do in comparison tests and the marketplace when introduced. The Malibu, while competent, has generally been in the mid to lower end of most comparison tests to date (how will it do in 6 years?) and the very good CTS, while a deserved commercial success, generally also falls in the mid to lower end of comparison tests.
Listen... I want the US makers to be the new "standards of the world." The reality is they are facing a competitive market and have a prestige, perception, and residual value gap with the public that they helped create (by GM's own admission in recent commercials apologizing). They're going to have to do what Toyota, Honda, etc. did long ago: not just be "good enough" and match the competition, but *beat them* and that means shorter production cycles on cars that currently aren't acknowledged as best in class...
Feb 11, 2004 (7:57 am)
The Camry's interior may be boring, but it uses very high quality materials, is well constructed, and highly ergonomic.
As far as I am concerned, Edmunds.com is not an automotive testing authority. I put little faith in their vehicle reviews (which often seem frought with factual errors) or comparison tests. When they pick up the game and start really showing themselves along the lines of the better publications, thats when I'll take them seriously.
#423 of 2335 Issues...
Feb 11, 2004 (8:50 am)
Chevyguy: Regarding the role and place of Buick and the LaCrosse, I actually think GM has got it right here. I really do think there's a place for an American Lexus: a slightly upscale, smooth, refined, and elegant division for a slight premium price. I think a respected American equivalent to the ES330 would be fantastic (which is essentially what the LaCrosse is).
Saturn is going to fill the "import/VW intender" class which currently Chevy is too, well, basic (crude?) to compete for and Pontiac is too brashly American (not a bad thing). Buick won't fit for the above reasons. I think Saturn building *faithful* American versions of European Opels can be quite successful. I think the Vectra, Tigra, Astra, et al would be fantastic and successful fits for Saturn and competitive against VW.
Alpha01: I'm sorry you don't like Edmunds. I think they're fantastic, and frankly, it doesn't matter. Whereever you look (Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Automobile, Motor Trend, Canadian Driver, whatever your "trusted" source), outstanding older designs like the Passat, 3-series, Miata, Jetta, Corvette, Dakota, etc. are all still praised and wind up at the top of comparison tests.
My point is really simple. Even outside of product cycles, you have to build world-beating products that everyone for the most part agrees are world beating, as you just pointed out about the Camry. If this LaCrosse and the next two are clearly top-draw products above their competitors, Buick will be able to enjoy the kind of kudos, prestige, and residual values that Toyota now basks in.
Feb 11, 2004 (10:31 am)
if you have a look at some of the other forums at edmunds, ones in the vein of "worst auto manufacturer" and "owner horror stories", you'll find that many many MANY of the posters including myself are absolutely disgusted with VW because of their terrible quality control, reliability, and after-sales service.
until two years ago, VW offered a 2-year warranty on all their vehicles. wow. 2 whole years. VW must have a lot of faith in their product.
to be fair, they recently extended part of their warranty to 4 years, but car magazines and automotive sites like edmunds often receive brand new cars direct from the manufacturer, without having to deal with the life of the vehicle. in my opinion, VWs have a pretty lousy record as far as customer satisfaction goes, regardless of what the so-called "experts" say. they are attractive-looking though.
our buick le sabre, on the other hand, has been a reliable and comfortable stalwart in our family garage. it has met and exceeded our expectations, and the service staff are not at all surly or difficult. i think that bodes well for buick as an automotive brand that people can trust and enjoy. and no, i don't work for buick
Feb 11, 2004 (11:28 am)
I agree with almost *everything* you write, but I believe you and many others aren't getting my underlying point. I know VW's have terrible reliability and Buick is strong in this regard. That's one of the reasons I didn't buy an Audi recently. But guess what?
The public still wants, *desires* even, VW's!! Even people who know the reliability record take a chance since they aspire so much to own the car. I was talking with a co-worker of mine (an amazingly smart guy) who just bought a new Jetta TDI. I was talking about the reliability issue with him and he virtually said, "I have a hard time believing those reports when I look at the body or feel how solid and well built my car feels." I have two friends who own Jettas and have fallen head over heals for them, viewing them almost as fashion accessories despite them not being extremely reliable. One is buying a sister a New Beatle and the other is almost morally committed to getting a new Passat. As in interpersonal relationships, love can be blind, and VW is building cars people emotionally bond with and love.
Bringing this back to Buick and the LaCrosse, frankly, building cars that are "reliable and comfortable stalwarts" alone *hasn't* boded well for Buick. Their sales are down badly despite them having done this for 20 years. They need cars that people want and desire and love. The market is just too competitive now. I think the LaCrosse is a really good start, but they need to go further and do more. Lutz knows it and Buick hopefully knows it. That's why Lutz held the car back 11 months to improve it. I think it'll do well.
PS: Before anyone mentions how the Toyota and the Camry does well by just being a reliable appliance, notice that Toyota has recognized this as a problem now and is swinging into action for the future. They want those Passat buyers too.