When the Buick Lucerne made its debut in 2006, the sedan made sense. Being a full-size couch on wheels, there’s no way around the fact that the Lucerne is the definition of your grandpa’s Buick (no offense to any grandparents out there, of course).
Initially, the Lucerne sold well after its launch, recording 96,515 deliveries during its first year on the market. But sales slid to 31,292 units in 2009 and are down 12.5 percent so far this year.
Today, Buick is in the midst of a Renaissance and the Lucerne doesn’t seem to belong.
“Lucerne is still part of our portfolio; it definitely fills a need right now,” Buick marketing manager Roger McCormack told Ward’s Auto. “We still have traditional Buick buyers, where the Lucerne is a great vehicle for them – big, quiet and comfortable.”
That traditional Buick buyer is exactly who the Tri-Shield brand is running away from: Buick wants to become more youthful and hopes to drastically lower the average age of its customer.
Last year, Buick unveiled the 2010 LaCrosse – the brand’s first all-new sedan since the Lucerne. The new LaCrosse has been selling like hotcakes since its debut. However, given the similar size of the Lucerne (203 inches long) and LaCrosse (197), it no longer makes sense to keep both vehicles in the Buick portfolio:
“We have the LaCrosse and Lucerne both competing in the large-car segment,” adds McCormack. “Do you need two cars in the same segment? We’re going to expand our portfolio, and in the long-term it is not going to include two cars in (that) segment.”
That expansion is coming in the way of the midsize Regal sedan, compact Delta II-based sedan (the Verano, sold in China as Excelle GT) and Theta-based compact CUV (Encore). Both are expected to bow in 2012. It’s also rumored that Buick will get a full-size flagship sedan based on a premium version of GM’s Zeta platform. But until that happens, the LaCrosse will become Buick’s flagship.
Today, the Lucerne is built at GM’s Hamtramck plant. That facility, however, will soon begin manufacturing the revolutionary Chevy Volt, at which point the Lucerne will cease production.
Will you miss it? Is Buick making a mistake? Do you welcome Buick’s movement from “floaty” and “boaty” to “sporty”? Sound off in the comments below.