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2006 Buick Warranty

HiHoSilver

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I just read that all 2006 Buick's will come with a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty. This just goes to show that GM is serious about competing head to head with Lexus and other non-GM luxury brands. Not to mention, it is a nice move to stand behind their Buick's for a little longer. :)
 

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Cadillac

HiHoSilver said:
This just goes to show that GM is serious about competing head to head with Lexus and other non-GM luxury brands.
Although I'm not against GM's 4-year/50,000 mile warranty for Buick, the problem in the long run will be having a brand too similar to Cadillac. Competing head to head with Lexus? That's what Cadillac is for. My concern is that Buick is starting to look more like Cadillac, rather than some brand in the middle. If consumers see Buick and Cadillac as both luxury brands, they will buy Cadillac. And you know what that means--Buick will see a sales decline and eventually GM will have to pull the plug on the brand.
 

HiHoSilver

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No offense, but you obviously aren't paying any attention to GM's strategy for the Caddy and Buick brands. Cadillac's strategy is to compete with higher end luxury cars (BMW, Mercedes, etc.) Buick is actually heading more toward competing head to head with Lexus. And I'm not sure if you've drove on a Caddy lot lately or checked Cadillac.com, but Buick isn't looking more like Cadillac. Plus - have you priced a new Deville or the new STS??? The Buick Lucerene is not priced any where near these models. So - consumers who can't afford Caddy's would gladly buy a Buick. There is no problem with giving the Buick buyers the same warranty and piece of mind as Caddy buyers - aferall, Caddy buyers still get the Onstar directions and connections while Buick still gets the safe and sound package.
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Unregistered

HiHoSilver said:
No offense, but you obviously aren't paying any attention to GM's strategy for the Caddy and Buick brands.
I am paying attention to GM's strategy, but apparently you aren't paying much attention to GM's problem in the market place. One of many problems at GM is that it has too many models and therefore it has too many brands. I see that Buicks are not as expensive or styled like Cadillac's (yes, I know I cannot buy a Cadillac for the low-mid $20,000s), but I don't think there is room for all three in GM's luxury line-up: Buick, Cadillac, and Saab. There was no room for Oldsmobile, and there may not be any room for Buick either.

I'm just confused if Buick is supposed to occupy the market in the broad middle, or something closer to the luxury market. If Buick is supposed to compete with Lexus, it will lose. People are going to buy Lexus.

I'm just complaining that GM is not doing enough for this old, stodgy brand--just as it didn't do enough for Oldsmobile. The recent remake of Cadillac was a success--but giving Buick another year of warranty isn't enough. But there may be nothing that can save Buick; when GM phases out another brand, it will probably be Buick.
 

HiHoSilver

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Actually, GM having many models and brands seems to be a competitive advantage to them. They are just now starting to differentiate each brand with specific new models (like the overhaul of Cadillac). With a company the size of GM, it won't happen overnight to transform Buick - but they will. As for Saab, most people don't even realize GM makes them. For the average buyer, SAAB is too unique and unknown (and in some instances not luxurious enough) which again leaves Buick a good choice for buyers. Oddly enough, I was reading a review of the newly redesigned Toyota Avalon by a writer from the Washington Post and he said, "It's the best Buick Toyota ever made." I thought that was a funny way to desribe the Avalon but shows Buick must be doing something right. My bet is Pontiac would be the next GM brand to go.
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Unregistered

First, having to develop and market so many models has not been a competitive advantage to GM. It's not a competitive advantage for any company, period. If having so many models and brands is a good thing for GM, it wouldn't be having so many problems today, one problem being it's continuing market share decline. Having so many models to deal with has led GM to lag in updating their models (see quotes from Business Week below). It seems to take GM forever to update some of its models, and it's because GM lacks any focus. It's better to focus and do well in a few segments rather than trying to serve every segment.

From a product standpoint, GM doesn't do anything spectacular. I cannot think of one GM vehicle (in North America) that leads its market segment. Although some of its new vehicles are better than previous models, these cars are still not as good as the competition. The future isn't bright for GM since it doesn't have hybrids coming out in the near future and continues to use 4-speed automatics in their new cars.

There is an interesting article from Business Week back in May about GM troubles: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_19/b3932001_mz001.htm A quote, if you don't want to read the whole article:

The need to keep those plants running, to generate cash, and to feed a sprawling web of aging auto brands compromises car design and results in too many models that sit for years without an update. The bedrock principle upon which GM was built--offering a car to feed every market segment--has degraded into a series of contrived brands, most with little identity, and bland, overlapping product lines.

That explains how GM's "performance" division, Pontiac, ends up as one of four units selling essentially the same family-hauling minivan. Or how Pontiac's G6 sedan was launched this year with a basic four-speed transmission and cheap plastic interior, making it a middle-of-the-pack contender against cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Nissan Altima. Says Gerald C. Meyers, who ran American Motors Corp. until it was bought by Renault in 1984 and who now teaches crisis management at the University of Michigan: "Instead of deciding what they want to do, they do everything and do none of it well."

Compare that with how the most successful car companies--Toyota, Nissan, and Honda--do things. They concentrate research dollars on fewer vehicles, pack them with the latest features and technologies, manufacture them in low-cost, nonunion U.S. factories, and update them relentlessly. Look at the numbers: GM execs doled out $7 billion for capital spending and research and development last year, vs. $15.3 billion for Toyota. The portion of that spent in North America gets spread over GM's 89 auto models and eight divisions, compared with Toyota's 26 nameplates in three divisions. Toyota models average sales of 80,000 units a year in the U.S., whereas GM squeezes out just 52,000 sales per model on average. And Toyota models stay on the market for an average of three years before their next redesign, compared with nearly four for GM's cars.
 

Unregistered

It's a shame GM (and the Buick division) has won numerous quality awards this year. Not to mention has produced the best selling family sedan for over a decade (LeSabre).... I can smell the smoke from GM's headquarters in Detroit right now..... Watch out GM is going under!
 

Unregistered

GM is not going under. GM has enough cash to keep going for a little while, but it can't continue to do what it is doing now forever. It's obvious GM has to downsize and change significantly.

Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, Global Product Development, described Buick and Pontiac as "damaged brands" due to lack of investment over the years. He continued and said "[if these brands continue to flounder], then we would have to take a look at a phaseout. I hope we don't have to do that." Nobody hopes GM has to phase any brand out, but business is business, and the market is competitive and unforgiving.

I just don't think there is room for Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab, to occupy the middle between Chevrolet and Cadillac. We can probably debate forever which of these four is likely to get the axe, but I get the feeling GM cares less about Buick.

Here's an interesting column about the possible demise of Buick (with some interesting numbers): http://www.forbes.com/columnists/2005/06/14/generalmotors-buick-discontinuation-cz_jf_0614flint.html

And GM's response to that column: http://www.forbes.com/business/2005/07/01/rrshannon_0701letter.html
 

Buffman

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I wasn't too pleased w/ my Mom's new G6 GT. 4sp w/ manual mod and a decent v6 isnt' enough. Now the GTP verison they now offer (the 6spd and the 3.9L) is a different story, but I'm not much of a fan of the car. Especially since the thing has too many frigging blind spots.
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WhenenRome

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Unregistered said:
If Buick is supposed to compete with Lexus, it will lose. People are going to buy Lexus.
Not true. Family just chose a LaCrosse CXS after comparing a Lexus ES and Chrysler 300. The Lexus just didn't send her, felt more confining, while the 300's ever-growing "ghetto-fabulous" gangster stigma, and concerns over Chrysler's quality record brought the LaCrosse up to being the top choice.

I'm just complaining that GM is not doing enough for this old, stodgy brand--just as it didn't do enough for Oldsmobile..
Recently became a proud owner myself of a new Olds Bravada Final 500 (probably the last one left out there). I chose it over a Rainier. Though Buick plucked Bravada and essentially put their badging on it, Buick's ID is definitely there in softer, albeit less athlectic, ride & handling.

I personally preferred the more sport-lux feeling of the Bravada - which, incidentally, handles & rides almost identically to the Saab 9-7X. If anything, Saab's presence more specifically takes on the role that Olds was going for.

I think Buick is heading in the right direction... and the improved, higher-end warranty figuratively raises the brand's stock.

Regardless of what you personally think of Buick, if you want to pick a GM brand that's cause for concern over being phased-out, that brand is Pontiac. No, Pontiac isn't suffering from an identity crisis... it knows what it is. But consumers just aren't buying their unrestrained sense of style anymore. No matter how many new models they keep introducing, they can't ever seem to completely leave the "Knight Rider" thing behind.
 
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Unregistered

Cadillac=Lexus; Buick=?

First, Buick is not supposed to compete with Lexus, as someone tried to assert earlier. There is no Lexus under $30,000 MSRP, just as there is no Cadillac under $30,000 MSRP. GM's Lexus is Cadillac, not Buick. From what I understand, Buick is not even considered a luxury brand.

It would be unwise for GM to create another luxury brand out of Buick. GM needs one full-line luxury brand, not two. At this stage for GM to get out of its financial rut, it needs to stay focused. That is why I and many automotive and market analysts have said GM needs to downsize, instead of trying to focus on every possible market.

Both Pontiac and Buick are distressed, just as Lutz said. Both have declining sales; lack of consumer interest. I have no idea which brand will die first (if any). Most are betting on Buick, because there hasn't been anything exciting coming from Buick, and Pontiac sells more vehicles.

Whatever you think of Buick, it doesn't have much of a distinct brand identity. No one here has mentioned what that identity is supposed to be. What's its special niche? I just visited Buick.com, and I gather it's supposed to be "High Quality Luxury Cars and SUV Vehicles." That's what Cadillac is supposed to be (in a generic sense), or is Cadillac "Low Quality Luxury Cars and SUV Vehicles"? Of course not.

GM isn't serving Buick very well with an ill-defined strategy and brand identity. The longer warranty does nothing to give Buick a distinct, sought-after brand identity.
 

WhenenRome

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To the previous post (and perhaps some similar "unregistered" nameless posts in this thread):

You seem to be making a lot of rules, based on your own criteria of course. You assert Buick is not supposed to compete with Lexus. That's a matter of your opinion. Price categorizing is subjective, and the Car God hasn't spoken on the issue. By the way, since we literally chose a LaCrosse over an ES, and "Buick is not supposed to compete with Lexus," are we going to cause a ripple in the atmosphere or something? Are the end times now upon us and it's all my family's fault? Come on...

I don't know what you're reading or where you're sourcing inside information. Not to mention, I believe the Lutz article you keep quoting is older than Grandma Moses now. Things certainly change in time. But even when the story you're referring to was released, the overall sentiment of the industry and automotive media was that Pontiac is the one to worry about. Read my previous post, read the media sentiment for the past year, comb the message boards all over the net: there has been no consensus (as you sort of suggest) that Buick is being targeted. Pontiac is actually the GM line where sales have plummeted worst in the past few years - not to say it's being targeted either.

There is such a thing as two-tier positioning. Cadillac is clearly a higher tier than Buick - and as was already mentioned, competes with higher market makes such as Benz. Infiniti, Acura, and Lexus, for instance would be second-tier makes. You also said "from what you understand," Buick is not positioned as a luxury brand. Buick obviously disagrees; their website reflects that. You even mention that specifically, which really had you contradicting yourself in your post ("Buick's not supposed to be a luxury brand" .... "Buick's website says it's a luxury brand"). Buick's evolving product also seems to reflect their near-luxo position... As for you claiming that people haven't sufficiently described Buick's identitiy to you, I think they certainly have. But I also think you're going to have an unattainable standard on that.

You're entitled to your opinion (and that's what it is) - and please spare us the "reinforcement" of your opinions ("That is why I and many automotive market analysts feel...") - it sounds like you're trying to claim greater than average expertise, and it only comes off as patronizing..... People are entitled to enjoy new product and interpret it the way they wish. You seem rather passionate about dismissing such a positive sentiment. Maybe Buick, as a luxury brand or as any brand at all, isn't for you. Maybe there's another car product there that will make you much happier.
 
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Unregistered

Of course I am entitled to my opinion, just as you are. Does Buick compete with Lexus? There are certainly some Buick cars that compete with Lexus, but if you look at both lineups carefully, they are not quite in the same league. Ok, you purchased a Buick instead of a Lexus, I got a friend who decided to buy a Toyota Avalon instead of a Cadillac CTS (I don't know why), but that doesn't make Toyota "luxury" or both competitors in the same market segment.

You have not really answered what Buick's calling is (identity or strategy that is). To me it sounds like Buick is positioning itself somewhere between the broad middle and the likes of Cadillac, Lexus, etc. I don't think that is a great place to be, and I don't think that will save Buick. That's my opinion, and maybe I'm wrong (I hope so, because I don't want to see another American icon die at the hands of poor management).

You said, "I think Buick is heading in the right direction..." Again, what direction is that? All we have seen out of Buick is an overdue redesign and replacement of a few car models and rebadged SUV/minivans from other divisions. So in the past few years finally Buick updated its outdated and outclassed Century and Regal and added the Rainier and Terraza (because Oldsmobile died). Wow, what a change.
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Unregistered

In addition...

The Lutz quote you said was "older than Grandma Moses now" comes from March 2005: http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0503/25/A01-128984.htm Lutz apparently said those quotes March 23, 2005.

The sentiment I get about Buick being more likely to die first comes from articles and other news reports (I posted one of them from Forbes earlier). My guess is many think Buick is the one on death watch because it is perceived as a brand for old people (like Oldsmobile). Whether that is fair or not, you can decide. I based my opinion on these observations: Pontiac has removed those body lines that used to make it's cars look too Gothom city like (notice how the G6 looks "cleaner"); Pontiac has a hot car coming out: the Solstice (we shall see how well it does). Buick hasn't really changed much in design or otherwise, and there is no hot product coming from them. It just feels like GM is neglecting Buick.

You also mention that "Pontiac is actually the GM line where sales have plummeted worst in the past few years." Here are year-end sales numbers from GM--I don't see what you see:

Pontiac:
2001 533,402
2002 516,832 (-3.1%)
2003 475,615 (-8.0%)
2004 474,179 (-0.3%)

Buick:
2001 405,678
2002 432,017 (+6.5%)
2003 336,788 (-22.0%)
2004 309,639 (-8.1%)

Pontiac has dropped 11.1% from 2001 to 2004; Buick 23.7%.

You may not like my opinion, but I try to back it up with some facts.
 
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