What to Do With Buick?


Buick is on my brain.

Not only does an Envision test vehicle sit some 20-odd stories beneath my feet in my parking garage, but the brand has been running its usual ad blitz during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (and presumably, the women’s, too). The tourney is one of my favorite sports events of the year, so I’ve been tuning in.

This means I’m seeing many Buick ads. This means the brand that this here site once put on Death Watch — and earned me at least one angry phone call from Buick PR — is still soldiering on.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that Buick twice hosted me at the Final Four as part of a press junket. This was at a previous job.

Thing is, what IS Buick right now?

We know what it is supposed to be — the entry/mid-luxury brand that serves as the bridge between Chevrolet and Cadillac. But right now, it’s a brand that only sells crossovers, covering all sizes and price points. Crossovers that share plenty of bones with “lesser” Chevrolets.

Not to mention that sister brand GMC also sells upmarket crossovers.

What is Buick, then? An entry/mid-level brand exclusively for crossover buyers?

More to the point, what should it be?

I don’t think the brand should die. That could just be nostalgia speaking — I remember some pretty interesting iron sold under the Buick brand in the ’80s and ’90s — but I do believe there is a place on the market for a luxury brand sold by GM that slots in one level below Cadillac.

Especially if GM kepts upper-level Chevys and lower-level Caddys from being priced in the same range.

Again, this isn’t a Death Watch piece. I’m not asking if Buick should live or die, though “die” can be an option. This is an open-ended question, not a binary.

I am asking you, the Best and Brightest, how you’d manage product planning for the brand if you were suddenly plunked into a mahogany-paneled office in the Renaissance Center and given an executive’s pay plan.

So, B and B, what say you? What should GM do with Buick?

Keep it as is? Bring back sedans? Pursue performance? Kill it? Something else?

Have at it.

[Image: Buick]

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