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#24807 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [circlew]
Jun 10, 2012 (10:35 am)
But sales were up in 2010 and 11. That chart ends at the old Buick.
I'm with Andre that the Regal would be too cheap to be a Cadillac. I think they got the cutting of divisions as close to right as could be done given how quickly the had to do it.
#24808 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [fezo]
Jun 10, 2012 (10:54 am)
Sales did rebound to 155,000 in 2010 and 177,000 in 2011. (But returning to pre-C-11 sales numbers ain't going to happen at Buick.)
YTD May is tracking 9% below 2011 71,300, however, in a growing market with new products. So sales have peaked since the bankruptcy and are in decline says change something.
Agree they had little time to cut to the most advantageous product mix but old GM is still alive and well with 4 Divisions. More merging is required, IMO.
Agree Regal is a great product but the Verano (upscale Cruze) will only go so far and Regal sales fall further indicates car sales at Buick aren't going to grow anytime soon. Perhaps when new models are introduced and existing ones improved.
#24809 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [circlew]
Jun 10, 2012 (11:20 am)
The 90's, for the most part, were still an era when Buick was, in typical GM fashion, trying to be all things to all people. It was a trend that really got taken to the extreme in the 1970's and 1980's, but it had been going on to a degree before that.
In 1995, for example, Buick still had a broad range of cars. Here's how their breakdown was, according to my Consumer Guide auto encyclopedia...
Skylark: 53,860 sold (by this time, mainly a rental car queen most likely)
Century: 113,699 (again, lots of rentals, but older people on a budget tended to like these. And to be fair, they were a nicely trimmed car for not a lot of money)
Regal: 100,169 sold (I suspect a lot of these went into rental fleets as well, but they also appealed to a buyer who was a bit younger, and a bit more moneyed than the typical Century buyer)
LeSabre: 171,783 (good, well-rounded car. Plenty of the cheaper Custom models no doubt went to rental fleets, and sure, plenty of old people bought them, but it was also a great choice for someone who wanted a nicely decked out full-sized car)
Park Ave: 62,994 sold (probably a few rentals, but with a base price of $28,244, hardly a cheap car. Good choice for those wanting a luxurious car without the flash of a Caddy, and decently quick with the supercharged engine)
Roadmaster: 30,508 (a throwback for Buick fans who missed their old Deuce-and-a-quarter)
Riviera: 41,442 (to fully disclose, an extra-long model year. There was no 1994 Riv, and I remember seeing these in the showrooms in the summer of '94. A few were probably rentals, but most were probably bought by the Buick faithful.)
As the years went on though, Buick started paring back a bit. Some models, like the Roadmaster, Riviera, and Park Ave, dropped off due to lack of interest. At the low end, the Skylark was dropped. The few retail buyers probably moved up to the Century, while rental fleets were satisfied with the Alero, Grand Am, and newly-revived Malibu.
As the years went by, the LeSabre and Century were increasingly dependent on fleet/rental sales, and the Regal fell from favor. And the Regal itself wasn't immune from the rental fleets. My Dad's '03 Regal is a former rental.
Buick killed two possums with one rock with the 2005 LaCrosse, as it took out both the Century and Regal. And while many LaCrosses no doubt went into fleets, the volume was much less than the Century/Regal had been. I'm pretty sure by this time, the Grand Prix and Impala were picking up most of the need for this type of car in rental fleets and such. So while fewer LaCrosses were sold than Centurys and Regals, they probably saw a greater profit per car.
In a similar fashion, the Lucerne took over for both the LeSabre/Park Ave, and again, it was less dependent on fleet sales than the LeSabre had been. In this case though, demand for large-ish cars in general was drying up. Witness the demise of the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car, and the lackluster performance of the 500/Montego and Taurus/Mark-S-or-whatever replacements. Seems like only Chrysler is having some degree of success anymore in this field with the Charger/300.
Nowadays, Buick doesn't flood the rental/fleet markets like they used to, and they've also eliminated some of their models that had been at the extremes (Skylark and Century on the low end, Roadmaster, Park Ave, and Riviera at the top), so I'd expect their sales to drop somewhat. But they've also expanded into SUVs...first with the Rendezvous and Rainier, and now with the Enclave.
But, to see them drop from 500K plus (back in the 1970's and 1980's they hit 800-900K a few times) to only 100K by 2009, is pretty scary!
Buick currently doesn't have anything that really gets me excited, but I do hope they stick around. And heck, maybe I should go check out the Regal, to see if it's something I'd be interested in.
#24810 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [andre1969]
Jun 10, 2012 (11:38 am)
The way I see Buick is that they are heading in the right direction but they are clearly an unfinished project. Pretty much all they've done since the bankruptcy is going in the right direction - including the things that I wouldn't tough myself - but they are not done. We'll see.
It's a strange no world when Buick seems to make the right moves these days while Honda has lost as much as a clue....
#24811 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [fezo]
Jun 10, 2012 (12:55 pm)
Agree, Honda is worse than GM is now regarding direction. I own a CR-V but the company is going to give ground to the fast movers that give customers what they want without going to sleep...excellent engineering goes far but time to smell the coffee, Mr. Ito. It ain't only the Civic that is in trouble these days.
#24812 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [circlew]
Jun 10, 2012 (2:29 pm)
The really interesting thing will be to see if Car & Driver finally wakes up and drops the Accord from its Ten Best Cars list in a few months time. In reality it probably should not have been there for the last 10 years or so, and I get the impression they keep trying to find reasons to keep it there. But the type of Accord that justified being on that list originally no longer exists.
#24813 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [ab348]
Jun 10, 2012 (2:55 pm)
True enough. I was always a big Accord fan but when I drove the current generation I didn't find much to distinguish it from a Camry. If all you want is a dependable mid-size there's nothing wrong with that but not what I expect from an Accord.
#24814 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [circlew]
Jun 10, 2012 (4:47 pm)
I think you may be making a mistake analyzing Buick from a domestic market standpoint. Buick is a global brand with particular strength in Asia. It's important to understand that Asian market preferences are often influenced by western image. If GM dumps Buick, that may have a significant impact on how Asians then view the brand in their own markets. Buick is profitable, therefore the domestic part of Buick need only be accretive to overall corporate earnings and cash flows. I think Verano and Regal were brought out here in response to the gasoline prices. Remember that Regal is really an offshoot from Opel. I believe GM has aspirations to market the Cruze/Verano globally. I think GM is just doing what has been responsible for a big part of Ford's recent success; trying to develop and market "global" platforms. You tweak them, like GM has done with crossovers (Enclave) here. It's no secret really, because Toyota has been doing this for years. At least that's how I see it, so I think GM is right in keeping Buick as a division here.
#24815 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [fezo]
Jun 10, 2012 (5:38 pm)
I think a couple of things are affecting Toyota and Honda. First, they are becoming western focused companies, particularly Honda, so the bean counters are getting more influence and power. Second, both of them pay too much attention to the buff mags. Face it, Car & Driver doesn't really reflect most car buyers in the US. But responding to them may get a company some free passes. Look at BMW - good company, but not perfect like a lot of the mags would have you believe.
#24816 of 32000 Re: Regal Upmarket or Failing? [berri]
Jun 10, 2012 (5:59 pm)
You have a very valid point. Buick is far more Chinese than American. We'll see how profitable Buick stays in our region.
If not, Buick need not exist in the USA and stay in China where it is popular and profitable. Remember, GM wants Caddy global as well so in the future, extra divisions really aren't necessary anywhere in the world. Caddy is no more a "world standard" than Buick is at the moment.
Buick is a dying brand here based on sales alone. GM was smart expanding offshore for now.