The GM Authority Take
Well, where do I begin? For the good part of the last two years, I’ve been preaching for GM to embrace a certain dual-brand luxury car strategy. In particular, I’ve proposed for The General to turn Cadillac into a performance-oriented luxury brand that would go after BMW and Infiniti, while positioning Buick as a pure (read: soft) luxury marquee that would have Lexus directly in its crosshairs. And seeing that BMW and Lexus are the worldwide sales front runners when it comes to luxury autos, GM could leverage its wide (and often criticized) brand portfolio to compete with (and eventually overtake) both market share leaders. It was the perfect plan that established a clear identity (and market) for both brands. (More about my proposed strategy here.)
But time came and went, and it seemed that General Motors wasn’t interested in pursuing that kind of perfectly clear-cut strategy. GM released the Cadillac SRX — a fine vehicle that couldn’t hold a candle to the BMW X5 or Infiniti FX in the performance department; I’ve long been of the opinion that the SRX should have been a Buick, with its front wheel-drive origins, anemic engines, and unremarkable performance attributes. Then GM came out with the Buick Regal and tried to market it as a sports sedan — touting the (again, front wheel-drive) sedan’s Autobahn origins, sport-injected qualities, and stating that it’s time to “let the performance begin.” And don’t even get me started on the Regal GS — definitely no Lexus competitor no matter which way you cut it! And then came the final blow — when a number of Buick executives told us that the brand isn’t interested in becoming a player in the luxury space, opting to compete in the “premium” segment instead.
So it brings me great pleasure to that see the word “luxury” so prominently displayed in a Buick ad campaign. More thinking along those lines will get Buick to where it really should be as a brand — on equal footing with Lexus!
That said, if Buick is “Luxury As It Should Be”, why doesn’t the Enclave have a better passenger seat, and why do we still see those silly CX, CXL, CXS trim levels on Buicks when their time has come and gone?