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NEW YORK -- General Motors Corp. will replace Buick's entire lineup by 2007 or 2008 as the automaker seeks to put its No. 2 premium brand on better footing against Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus and Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln.

The Regal and Century sedans will be replaced by the LaCrosse, with a replacement for the LeSabre coming next year, Robert Lutz, GM's vice chairman for product development, said in New York last week.

The Park Avenue name will be parked, industry publication Automotive News reports.

Despite top-notch quality and reliability ratings from Consumer Reports magazine and J.D. Power & Associates and a worldwide reputation for prestige, Buick is struggling in America.

Indeed, the current annual sales volume of about 340,000 is less than half the 900,000 cars Buick sold at its peak, in 1984. Another challenge: The average age of Buick buyers is 67; only the recent addition of truck-based models has begun to attract younger buyers.

The situation in Buick's home market is one Lutz intends to remedy, in part by establishing a new design direction for the brand.

Anne Asensio, the French-born head of advanced concept design at GM, is in charge of the latest effort at giving Buick a new look.

The direction proposed by Asensio takes form in the Velite (pronounced vuh-LEET), a concept vehicle unveiled last week at the New York International Auto Show. This four-seat, rear-wheel-drive convertible suggests a broadened viewpoint for future Buick designs. "It builds on American heritage but for a global market," she said.

While Cadillac, Chevrolet and Pontiac have signaled new design directions with striking concepts that became production cars -- the XLR, SSR and Solstice, respectively -- Buick's efforts at designing a winning "halo car" and new design language have repeatedly come to grief. Buick's dream cars have tended to be bulbous and chunky, often rote repetitions of the waterfall grille and porthole hood trim that are the most obvious Buick "brand cues," as designers call them.

The Velite is more promising. At their best, Buicks are big American cars that still deliver smooth power from brawny engines and silky-smooth automatic transmissions. They are boulevard cruisers. In that tradition, the Velite offers an experimental 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 under its forward-opening hood.

The car's exterior was shaped by Tom Peters, who designed the Cadillac XLR, and Sang Yup Lee. It is a Buick-big car, a convertible that seats four. With 21-inch wheels in the rear (20 in the front), the Velite is a Buick concept with a noble stance, powerful and poised. The car is painted a color that Buick calls dark tarnished bronze metallic.

The car's name can be traced back to Napoleon, who in 1804 swelled the ranks of his army with an elite class of soldiers called the Velites. "The Velite is the advance guard, dashing head, with the rest of the Buick offensive to follow," Asensio said.

Full Aritcle
 

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Good stuff, I like the name even more that it has some history!

If they use the Velite as a halo car I see good things in their future!
 
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I like the direction Buick (the 'General' in general) is going, with the most recent views we've seen such as the Velite. I am 38 years old and a professional and am probbaly in GM's radar scope as for the market for the Buick. You know, heading to lunch, or a golf date with some colleagues from work. And we want what our co-worker doesn't have. Everybody has a Lexus or a BMW.

I am NOT saying to give Buick's 'euro performance'. If someone wants a car that behaves like a European automobile, then they will just buy a European automobile.

Buick should be uniquely American; American class, American styling and American performance.

GM knows how to make a performance car. My '02 Z28 behaves wonderfully. It is trully a 'grin machine'. Not THAT superficial grin, but a deep down, SATISFYING grin.

Buick DOES NEED to add some performance to the brand. The Velite is a good start. Follow that with bold, understated styling; and Buick should be hitting solid base hits.

:bounce: <_<
 

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I love this whole idea of Buick=Lexus and Buick=Lincoln, implying that GM intends for Cadillac to occupy a space that is a notch above even Lexus. If GM can pull off another Cadillac-like renaissance with Buick--and there doesn't seem to be any reason why they can't--the future looks bright. B)

Who'd a thunk things would play out this way just a few years ago? :woot2:
 

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The Velite looks amazing up close. I cant wait for a production model to show up. I think Buick should come up big next year at NAIAS
 

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Interesting article. Good!
 
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Cool Caddy - I would NOT say it's Buick=Lexus, but that Buick (DOES NOT EQUAL) Lexus, that is, Buick WILL crush Lexus. Many consumers I think have boughten Lexus' because they are different, noone else has one. But if the performance in Buick improves, and the style improves, then that Lexus buyer will have no choice but to purchase the superior Buick product. Otherwise, he/she, would be just buying the name, even though the Buick is a better product.

My father used to say that "so goes the American auto industry, so goes the economy". I would expand that to say "so goes the American auto industry, so goes the American culture". We have seen a decline in how our society and culture functions these past several years, I think a part of it is the fact that the image of Detroit is not that good. As Detriot's image improves, I think the image of us as Americans, and how we feel about ourselves, will improve.

Yea, things would REALLY improve if the Lion's can get back into the playoffs.

Hmm, only time will tell.

<_<
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't think we can have the "Buick= Lincoln" yet. Lincoln's future is very unsure. If the rest of it's new products are like the Zephyr and Mark LT, Lincoln may try to take on Caddy like the old days :D
 

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The Velite will an awesome addition to Buick!
It would sell good I think, design is amazing, finally a Buick I LIKE

If I were head of Buick I sell it for $39,000-$46,000
NAVAGATION SYSTEM AND BOSE STEREO I WOULD STANDARD ON TOP MODELS TO SELL BETTER!
Below the closest competior Lexus SC 430 $55,000-$63,000

This is I think the hierachy of GM coupes/convertibles

Cadillac XLR- $76,000
Chevrolet Corvette- $48,000
Saab 9-3 Convertible- $43,000
Buick Velite- $39,000
Pontiac GTO-$33,000
Chevrolet Monte Carlo- $26,000
Pontiac Solstice-$19,995
Chevrolet Cobalt coupe- $19,000

Buick is below Cadillac in price obviously!!
 

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Buick isn't going to crush Lexus. Forget about that. Lexus makes the most refined vehicles in the world - second only to - maybe - Mercedes. Performance? Lexus has plenty of performance. The big luxury sedan (LS430) is faster than Cadillac's big four-door sedan (DTS). Their mid-size Luxury Sport Sedan (GS430) is faster than the STS. Can Buick compete on the same level? Certainly. And that's what they should be aiming to do.

Cadillac is taking on the likes of BMW and Mercedes. This leaves the door open for Buick to take on the likes of Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. That means extreme levels of refinement and plenty of power.

People don't buy a Lexus because it's "different". People buy Lexus because it's the car that says, "I made it". Not only that, they're the most reliable cars on the planet.
 

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Otherwise.. The LaCrosse is pretty nice.. I'm not altogether impressed with the outside.. And the console is boring. But if it's as refined as they say, I'll be impressed. That means very little road noise, wind noise and engine noise. That also means a supple ride that handles well.. The Velite, on the other hand, impresses me quite a bit.. That's a nice automobile...
 

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I think Buick is concentrating hard on the quiet refinement (refinement being about 95% of "refinement") question very hard. Look at the promo materials they upt out when the LaCrosse was introduced. There was a big section on all the many steps they were taking to give the car superior quiet. Laminated noise control glass was a big one - not many cars use that I know of.

And the Rainier always seems to get plaudits for its quietness.

In my opinion, Buick is right on target with their efforts.


My further 2 cents worth: they need to think about noise OUTSIDE the car as well. Just sealing up the interior misses an important thing that Toyota does well - the car sounds good outside too. Smooth, no scrapey sounding alternators or whining fuel pumps. And there's a double bonus - you don't have to tune out noise that's never there in the first place.
 

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Originally posted by Sal Collaziano@Apr 18 2004, 12:17 AM
Buick isn't going to crush Lexus. Forget about that. Lexus makes the most refined vehicles in the world - second only to - maybe - Mercedes. Performance? Lexus has plenty of performance. The big luxury sedan (LS430) is faster than Cadillac's big four-door sedan (DTS). Their mid-size Luxury Sport Sedan (GS430) is faster than the STS. Can Buick compete on the same level? Certainly. And that's what they should be aiming to do.

Cadillac is taking on the likes of BMW and Mercedes. This leaves the door open for Buick to take on the likes of Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. That means extreme levels of refinement and plenty of power.

People don't buy a Lexus because it's "different". People buy Lexus because it's the car that says, "I made it". Not only that, they're the most reliable cars on the planet.
Get out of town! where are you getting this information? This is pure opinion.
Mercedes quality has gone the way of Chrysler of the 1980s, ask any owner.
My 5 year old Buick will hang with most state-of-the-art Lexus on any speed test and come very close to the comfort (just not so many bells, whistles, and insurance bills) and that was before mods.

Most reliable car on the planet? I don't know about that, but I don't think ANY manufacturer has enough evidence to prove that claim. I can introduce you to several folks who make that same claim about their personal Saturn, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, etc...
 

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Originally posted by PeteSaturnSales+Apr 20 2004, 10:01 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (PeteSaturnSales @ Apr 20 2004, 10:01 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Sal Collaziano@Apr 18 2004, 12:17 AM
Buick isn't going to crush Lexus. Forget about that. Lexus makes the most refined vehicles in the world - second only to - maybe - Mercedes. Performance? Lexus has plenty of performance. The big luxury sedan (LS430) is faster than Cadillac's big four-door sedan (DTS). Their mid-size Luxury Sport Sedan (GS430) is faster than the STS. Can Buick compete on the same level? Certainly. And that's what they should be aiming to do.

Cadillac is taking on the likes of BMW and Mercedes. This leaves the door open for Buick to take on the likes of Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. That means extreme levels of refinement and plenty of power.

People don't buy a Lexus because it's "different". People buy Lexus because it's the car that says, "I made it". Not only that, they're the most reliable cars on the planet.
Get out of town! where are you getting this information? This is pure opinion.
Mercedes quality has gone the way of Chrysler of the 1980s, ask any owner.
My 5 year old Buick will hang with most state-of-the-art Lexus on any speed test and come very close to the comfort (just not so many bells, whistles, and insurance bills) and that was before mods.

Most reliable car on the planet? I don't know about that, but I don't think ANY manufacturer has enough evidence to prove that claim. I can introduce you to several folks who make that same claim about their personal Saturn, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, etc... [/b][/quote]
http://www.lexus.com/about/awards/lexus.html

Read it and weep. Where's Buick's "awards" page?

At any cost, I'm not bashing Buick. I love Buick. Being that I like big cars, I'm a fan of the Park Avenue - and the LeSabre... The Regal is great for its comfort and performance - and I was surprised when I found out it was quicker than my ETC..

But facts are facts.. Lexus makes the most refined vehicles in the world (okay, I'll leave out the possibility of Mercedes is you like). All I was saying is - Buick is Not going to Crush Lexus..

heh.
 

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To get Buick going again they'll need to have one convertible (Velite), one coupe (Riveria) and two sedans in production versions in the next line of Auto Shows. I'll pray tonight and everynight they can do this, because if GM can revive Buick they can keep Toyota at #2 forever. :rolleyes:
 

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Originally posted by Sal Collaziano@Apr 21 2004, 08:57 AM
Read it and weep. Where's Buick's "awards" page?
Buick AWARDS

2002 Rendezvous -- "2001 Truck of the Year" Detroit News (December 2001)

2002 Rendezvous -- "Recommended SUV" Consumer Review "2002 Buyers Guide"

2002 Rendezvous -- "SUV of the Year" eMOTION! REPORTS.com (January 2002)

2002 LeSabre -- "Top Car $20,000-25,000" AAA

LeSabre -- Best selling full-size car 10 years in a row (1991-2001) (January 2001)

2001 LeSabre -- Polk Automotive Loyalty Award - 2001 Model Year - Large Car Segment (January 2001)

2002 LeSabre -- "First For Safety" (Cars $23,000 - $30,000) Kiplinger's Personal Finance

"The 2002 Cars Buyer's Guide" Issue (December 2001)

2002 Park Ave. -- "First For Safety" (Cars $30,000-$40,000) Kiplinger's Personal Finance

2002 Park Ave. Ultra -- "The 2002 Car Buyer's Guide" Issue (December 2001)

2002 Century -- "Recommended Family Car" Consumer Review "2002 Buyers Guide"

Bengal -- "Best Concept Car - North American International Auto Show" Auto
Week Magazine (January 2001)

"Best in Show" Concept Car at NAIAS, edmunds.com (February 2001)

"Best of the Best" - AutoWeek (April 9, 2001), best concept car introduced at the Paris, Geneva and Detroit Auto Shows

2001 LeSabre -- "AAA Top Car" - AAA New Car & Truck Buying Guide (December 2000)

2001 LeSabre -- "Chicago Tribune's Jim Mateja-Best Buys" (2001)

2001 LeSabre -- "Good Housekeeping Institute Satisfaction Award" (2001)
(Three years in a row)

2001 LeSabre -- 2001 Polk Automotive Loyalty Award, Large Car Segment

2001 Regal LS -- "First For Safety" in its class -- Kiplinger's Personal Finance
"The Best New Cars" Issue (December 2000)

2001 Park Avenue -- "Recommended" - Consumer Reports Reliability Survey

2001 Park Avenue Ultra -- "Recommended" - Consumer Reports' New Car Preview 2001 (November 2000)

2001 Park Avenue -- "First For Safety" (Cars $25,000 - $35,000) Kiplinger's Personal Finance

"The Best New Cars" Issue (December 2000)

2001-1997 Park Avenue -- "Best Pick(s)" - Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) Website (October 2000)

2001 Century -- "Best Buy" Consumers Digest (4th consecutive year)


J.D. POWER RESULTS:

2001 LeSabre ranked second in Fullsize Car category for the 2001 APEAL Survey (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout)


2001 Sales Satisfaction Index- Buick ranked 7th in the Sales Satisfaction Index released in August (2001). Buick's score was 873 out of 900, well above the industry average of 835. This survey provides an analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience.


2001 Initial Quality Study- Buick ranked as top domestic brand in the Initial Quality Survey released in May (2001).


2001 LeSabre ranked second in Fullsize Car category for 2001 Initial Quality Study.
ADDITIONAL RECOGNITION:

State Farm Insurance Company -- Regal was recognized as one of the 36 best-rated vehicles by State Farm Insurance Company for vehicle safety and physical damage claims. This will qualify owners of Regals produced after 1993 for a 40 percent discount on medical payments/personal injury protection premiums and lower-than-standard collision and comprehensive premiums.




2001

Bengal -- "Best Concept Car -- North American International Auto Show" -- Auto Week Magazine (January 2001)

Bengal -- "Best In Show" -- Concept Car at NAIAS, edmunds.com (February 2001)

Bengal -- "Best of the Best" -- AutoWeek -- Best concept car introduced a the Paris, Geneva and Detroit Auto Shows (April 9, 2001)

2001 LeSabre -- "AAA Top Car" – AAA New Car & Truck Buying Guide (December 2000)

2001 Regal LS -- "First For Safety" in its class -- Kiplinger’s Personal Finance -- "The Best New Cars" Issue (December 2000)

2001-1997 Park Avenue -- "Best Pick(s)" – Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) Website (October 2000)

2001 Century -- "Best Buy" Consumers Digest (4th consecutive year)

2000
2000 LeSabre -- "Automotive Loyalty Award -- Midsize Car" -- R.L. Polk (January 2001)

2000 LeSabre -- "Good Housekeeping Institute Women's Automotive Satisfacton Award" (October 2000).

2000 LeSabre -- "AAA Top Car" ($20,000-$25,000 price range) (December 2000)

2000 LeSabre Custom & Limited Sedan -- "A Best Overall Value" (Large Class) -- IntelliChoice, Inc. (February 2000)

2000 LeSabre -- "AMES Preferred Award" (Passenger Vehicles - Full-Size) -- No. of entries = 7 (January 2000)
2000 LeSabre -- "AAA Top Car" ($20,000-$25,000 price range) (December 1999).

2000 LeSabre -- "Best Buy" -- Consumers Digest (October 1999).

2000 LeSabre -- "Recommended" . Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test (October 1999).

2000 LeSabre -- "Best Buy" Chicago Tribune newspaper, Jim Mateja, Auto Editor (June 1999).

2000 Century -- "Automotive Loyalty Award -- Midsize Car" -- R.L. Polk (third consecutive year - January 2001)

2000 Century -- "Best Buy" -- Consumers Digest (October 1999).
2000 Century -- "Recommended" . Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test (October 1999).
2000 Park Avenue -- "Recommended" . Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test (October 1999).
 

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As the owner of three LeSabres (1986, 1995 and my current 1998), I hate to see the name go. I thought I read a magazine article a while back in which someone from GM said they'd never walk away from the LeSabre name due to its great owner loyalty, but I guess they changed their minds. :(
 
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