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General Motors Corp's record incentives failed to boost U.S. demand for its Buick and Saturn brands in the first quarter, and the automaker's profit, due to be released today, probably fell, experts said Monday.

GM cut North American production 7.3 percent in the quarter, in part because of slumping sales of Saturn L-Series and Buick Century models. GM offered incentives such as $3,000 off and no-interest loans for as long as five years to try to spur sales.

"We need all hands on deck, and in that sense all of our brands need to contribute," Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said in a telephone interview. "We need to speak with our products."

Reviving U.S. sales of Buick and Saturn is one of Wagoner's toughest challenges. Sales have fallen a combined 27 percent in the past 10 years. Buick, which has the oldest average owner age of any U.S. brand, 63 years, posted its worst sales in half a century in 2003. New cars from Saturn, profitable only once since its 1990 debut, have fallen short of expectations.

Wagoner is counting on bolstering sales with 64 new and redesigned models in the next three years, twice as many as past years. He's trying to win back U.S. market share from Asian automakers such as Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., and boost earnings to $10 a share in 2006 from $7.14 in 2003. The Buick LaCrosse sedan and Saturn Relay minivan are two new models that will go on sale after July 1.

Wagoner declined to comment on first-quarter profit, but analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated GM's earnings fell to about $949 million, or $1.79 a share. Excluding a gain from an asset sale and results from its former Hughes Electronics unit, profit was $1.84 a share in the year-ago period


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neither brand have anything new in showroom. saturn losts is image, and the relay(crossover sport van, not minivan!) wont help. buick lacrosse will make a difference for buick,maybe even lower that average buick buyers age a little.
 

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What did they expect. The Century is ancient and the L-series is a dud! Of course sales are down. Does GM think it can serve the same old wine in the same old bottle for, in the Century's case, 7 years without anyone noticing?
 

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I agree with ponchoman49 and IMPALAon20s: Buick's and Saturn's dismal showing of late is related to subpar products.

I imagine that in the second half of this decade, when I know GM will produce a variety of Velite-like coupes, roadsters, and sedans (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), Buick's story will be much different.

Incidentally:

"...Wagoner declined to comment on first-quarter profit, but analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated GM's earnings fell to about $949 million, or $1.79 a share. Excluding a gain from an asset sale and results from its former Hughes Electronics unit, profit was $1.84 a share in the year-ago period."

Oops, Wall Streets experts kinda blew this one. GM just announced today that it earned $2.25/share in the first quarter, versus the consensus of $1.78/share.
 

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Buick is dead. Other than the Allure/LaCrosse they have nothing new. The Rainier is nice but why not just buy an Envoy? The Velite is very cool, but I'm sure that'll be butchered by the time it ever makes it to production--if it ever does. And then there is that horrible 'what-was-it-called-again' mini-van (CSV...WTF?!) that more aptly should have been named 'Titanic'.

Although their cars are nice and have a solid reputation they have little to attract people from more profitable brands. Furthermore, even though the entire line is being refreshed now, it is inevitable that GM will leave them treading water with these new models for another 8-10 years. At their current rate of renewal expect the next Allure/LaCrosse in 2013; the 2006 Park Avenue replacement will likely be left to battle on until the end of the next decade. Yeah, they'll be real competitive then!

I think it is only inevitable that this brand is dead. Following the same, green mile that Oldsmobile began down a decade ago, sadly, Buick is destined for the graveyard.
 

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Originally posted by Jay@Apr 20 2004, 12:36 PM
Buick is dead.  Other than the Allure/LaCrosse they have nothing new.  The Rainier is nice but why not just buy an Envoy?  The Velite is very cool, but I'm sure that'll be butchered by the time it ever makes it to production--if it ever does.  And then there is that horrible 'what-was-it-called-again' mini-van (CSV...WTF?!) that more aptly should have been named 'Titanic'.

Although their cars are nice and have a solid reputation they have little to attract people from more profitable brands.  Furthermore, even though the entire line is being refreshed now, it is inevitable that GM will leave them treading water with these new models for another 8-10 years.  At their current rate of renewal expect the next Allure/LaCrosse in 2013; the 2006 Park Avenue replacement will likely be left to battle on until the end of the next decade.  Yeah, they'll be real competitive then!

I think it is only inevitable that this brand is dead.  Following the same, green mile that Oldsmobile began down a decade ago, sadly, Buick is destined for the graveyard.
i think buick will be fine in about 2 years.

ranier- there is a market for people who want an SUV, or move to an SUV but want something more upscale then a envoy/trailblazer but want something less abnoxious then a lexus/benz/bmw.

allure/lacrosse- with cadi going upscale and having more aggressive styling. this car will definately be able to find a place in the market.

terreza- ugh.. but whats done is done.

whats needed...

park ave/century/lesabre/rendevouz- kill em :plasma:

regal- all new..sedan based on CTS, own sheet metal of course.

velite- offer in hardtop coupe as well as convo. this would draw some younger buyers as well as mid-life crisis buyers. and lure market from acura/bmw/benz.
 

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I always liked the look of the Saturn L series. I dont know why it doesnt sell well? There are a lot around where I live.

And I think too many people still think of the old GM when they think of the present GM. The new GM doesnt seem to like to leave models in for too long, and are replacing them finaly with new ones. I think the new management now is a lot better then it was 5-10 years ago. Buick will come back, Saturn needs more attention unless GM wants to let it go away.
And at NYIAS, there were a lot of people lined up to look at the Buick CSV.
 

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I also think Buick will be fine in a couple of years. It will just take time to phase out all the Park Avenues, Centurys, LeSabres, and Regals that we have now and replace them with something worthy of the Buick name. I don't mean to say that the Regal and Century, or for that matter, LeSabre and Park Avenue aren't decent cars. They were, especially when they debuted in 1997. LeSabre still has some style, since being updated in 2000, but the entire lineup needs to be freshened, or just replaced. You can't expect people to buy a car that has been around for 7 years and have it sell well every year. Granted, there are some cars that soldier on for what seems like forever, (Example: 1981-1996 Buick Century, what a long run!) but they need to be replaced often. The LaCrosse should do Buick good, even though the styling is not what it could have been. The Terraza is a step back, but Buick needs some kind of sales. And given how many Town and Country's I see, maybe Buick will hit the luxury minivan niche and do well. The Rainier and Rendezvous are decent, although they could be more distinctive. I hear so many rave reviews of the Velite, but personally I don't know if Buick will do that. I feel that the Velite would do wonders for the brand, but it seems as if it will take some time for the general public to accept the Velite. It is a fine car, and if Buick could get it out there in its current form and allow people to see that they are trying to stage a comeback, maybe Buick can be taken seriously (by people younger than 60). :bounce:
 

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I see Saturn being for cars what GMC is for trucks, more of a testing agency for newer technology. This doesn't mean, although, that they have to be such boring cars! I wish they'd put some excitement into Saturn. Give it a reputation of having cheap, high-performing cars for example!

Buick need some lovin from GM. Just refreshen the lineup!! The only reason that people over 60 buy these cars is that they have nostalgic memories of them. My only problem is that it seems that there is no place for Buick with the resurgence of Caddilac. Do they go upscale? Caddilac has that pretty much covered. So they go downscale? Well then you start running into both Chevy and Pontiac. I think that's where Oldsmobile died. GM couldn"t find a market for it that they weren"t already in so they just let it go. Time will tell I guess.
 

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Originally posted by ponchoman49@Apr 20 2004, 12:54 PM
What did they expect. The Century is ancient and the L-series is a dud! Of course sales are down. Does GM think it can serve the same old wine in the same old bottle for, in the Century's case, 7 years without anyone noticing?
Not sure about that analogy... unless the bottle's been open or in sunlight all that time.
 
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