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Mitlov
http://www.autoblog.com/2008/07/15/gm-to-c...ruck-productio/

QUOTE
Wagoner addressed GM employees and shed some light on what products are in the pipeline...The rear-wheel-drive Buick Invicta will be released in the U.S. next spring.


Okay, I personally think this is badass. Chinese Buicks may not be as lusted-after as European Fords or Holdens, but they're another great example of a "domestic" manufacturer's overseas program that is vastly superior to what we have here. I, personally, think that the Invicta could be a huge success in the States, and also hope that a Riviera coupe will follow it shortly.

For those who don't know, the Invicta concept was a nearly-production sedan, featuring rear-wheel-drive and a direct-injected turbocharged four, making 250 horsepower and 220 lb-ft.







The Riviera was a little more detached from production, featuring gullwing doors, carbon-fiber bodywork, and a hybrid powertrain. Still, its overall lines and its RWD would make sense as an upscale-but-not-luxury coupe based upon the Invicta platform and drivetrain. It would also do a good job of shaking up perceptions of Buick, the way the Sky changed how people thought of Saturn.







Am I the only one who is excited as hell at the prospect of Chinese Buicks in the US?
eraser_rx
^ you might not be the only one.....i quite like the lines....nice and clean
Razor
*sigh*... GM, just kill Buick before it kills you. Same goes for HUMMER.
Mitlov
QUOTE(Razor @ Jul 15 2008, 09:38 AM) *
*sigh*... GM, just kill Buick before it kills you. Same goes for HUMMER.


Isn't Buick the best-selling brand in China? (Of course, they have a very different lineup there). Killing the best-selling brand of the world's most populous country doesn't seem prudent to me. Agreed as to Hummer, though.
fiber optic
What segment is this going to compete in? Is it S60 sized?
Phix
Wow, that Riviera concept is gorgeous!
duality
it doesn't look half bad biggrin.gif
Mitlov
QUOTE(Phix @ Jul 15 2008, 10:14 AM) *
Wow, that Riviera concept is gorgeous!


I love the interior. Very original and very classy.
Mitlov
QUOTE(fiber optic @ Jul 15 2008, 10:08 AM) *
What segment is this going to compete in? Is it S60 sized?


"At nearly 100 cubic feet of interior space, Invicta delivers large-car comfort in a mid-size sedan."

http://www.netcarshow.com/buick/2008-invicta_concept/

Can't find concrete dimensional measurements for it, though.
clarkma5
It's getting harder and harder to find the reasoning behind killing off Buick. The Enclave alone may have saved the brand (I know it's one of four rebadged Lambdas, but still) and now this Riviera majigger's got promise, as well as their success in China. A few years ago, pre-Enclave, in the dark days of the Rendezvous and "ooh look at our mediocre new LaCrosse", it seemed obvious to kill off Buick. Now I'm not so sure. It's finding its niche as a near-luxury brand without extremely sporting intentions.
Mitlov
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jul 15 2008, 11:17 AM) *
It's getting harder and harder to find the reasoning behind killing off Buick. The Enclave alone may have saved the brand (I know it's one of four rebadged Lambdas, but still) and now this Riviera majigger's got promise, as well as their success in China. A few years ago, pre-Enclave, in the dark days of the Rendezvous and "ooh look at our mediocre new LaCrosse", it seemed obvious to kill off Buick. Now I'm not so sure. It's finding its niche as a near-luxury brand without extremely sporting intentions.


And it should be mentioned that the Enclave is the only upmarket Lambda. The other three are basically the same vehicle with different badges, but the Enclave is the Lexus RX to the Acadia's Highlander. I see Enclaves pretty regularly around here, and I think it's a pretty compelling option if you want a Lexus RX-like vehicle but with a third row.

I think Chinese-sourced sedans and coupes (Excelle, Invicta, Riviera, Park Avenue) and the Enclave could make for a compelling Buick lineup.

Autoblog: 2009 Buick Excelle
Autoblog: 2007 Buick Park Avenue
maxima302
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jul 15 2008, 11:17 AM) *
It's getting harder and harder to find the reasoning behind killing off Buick. The Enclave alone may have saved the brand (I know it's one of four rebadged Lambdas, but still) and now this Riviera majigger's got promise, as well as their success in China. A few years ago, pre-Enclave, in the dark days of the Rendezvous and "ooh look at our mediocre new LaCrosse", it seemed obvious to kill off Buick. Now I'm not so sure. It's finding its niche as a near-luxury brand without extremely sporting intentions.


The Enclave didn't "save the brand." It being the only car in Buick's current lineup that didn't roll off the assembly line with built-in incentives doesn't mean its going to produce huge numbers. Historically, first year sales can be strong for segment definining vehicles, but after that they fizzle out quick.

And I'm not so sure the Chinese auto industry is all its cracked up to be. For one thing, that country really doesn't have a great infrastructure to support an ever expanding number of vehicles. And the demographic of people who can afford cars is extremely small. I predict that the rush to China will also fizzle out pretty soon. Although for Buick to sell 300,000 units there last year shouldn't be ignored.

I would still consider getting rid of a vast majority of Buick's dealers... they are typically shitty anyhow.
clarkma5
When I talk about saving the brand, I'm not talking about financial success or sales numbers, I'm talking about image. Read the reviews...the Enclave has easily raised the perception of Buick in the journalists' eyes several notches, and where the journalists go, some percentage of the public is sure to follow.
Mitlov
QUOTE(maxima302 @ Jul 15 2008, 12:35 PM) *
The Enclave didn't "save the brand." It being the only car in Buick's current lineup that didn't roll off the assembly line with built-in incentives doesn't mean its going to produce huge numbers. Historically, first year sales can be strong for segment definining vehicles, but after that they fizzle out quick.


I disagree that the Enclave is going to tank after the first year. Seven-seat crossovers aren't some new risky category of vehicle (R-Class), and the Enclave isn't a flashy-but-poorly-rounded vehicle (i.e., Solstice). The Highlander/RX and Pilot/MDX have been superb cash cows for Toyota and Honda for years now. The Lambda crossovers are just another competitor in that extremely popular segment, and from what I've read, they're very competitive. I'm not saying they're better than everyone else or anything like that, but they appear to be very competitive in terms of space, refinement (there's a shocker from GM), practicality, and fuel economy. Shoot, a Lambda is as fuel-efficient as a Sienna (both comparing FWD to FWD and AWD to AWD), and about as roomy. For a quasi-SUV, that's very respectable.

QUOTE
And I'm not so sure the Chinese auto industry is all its cracked up to be. For one thing, that country really doesn't have a great infrastructure to support an ever expanding number of vehicles. And the demographic of people who can afford cars is extremely small. I predict that the rush to China will also fizzle out pretty soon. Although for Buick to sell 300,000 units there last year shouldn't be ignored.


Once again, I disagree (though I realize neither of us are Nostradamus...or at least, I'm not). China's been becoming more and more capitalist; in my opinion, they're basically capitalist with a thin veneer of communist rhetoric at the current time. China's also got an exploding middle class that, like any middle class, has an unquenchable thirst for consumer goods. True, the middle class is much smaller than the United States...but remember that China's middle class can be 1/5 the size of the USA's, percentage-wise, and it will be the same size as our middle class in terms of outright numbers. That just doesn't seem unattainable to me.

And short of another Cultural Revolution, I don't see why these trends would stop or reverse.
clarkma5
maxima's opinions strike me as not very forward-thinking, as mitlov has pointed out.
maxima302
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jul 15 2008, 03:58 PM) *
I disagree that the Enclave is going to tank after the first year. Seven-seat crossovers aren't some new risky category of vehicle (R-Class), and the Enclave isn't a flashy-but-poorly-rounded vehicle (i.e., Solstice). The Highlander/RX and Pilot/MDX have been superb cash cows for Toyota and Honda for years now. The Lambda crossovers are just another competitor in that extremely popular segment, and from what I've read, they're very competitive. I'm not saying they're better than everyone else or anything like that, but they appear to be very competitive in terms of space, refinement (there's a shocker from GM), practicality, and fuel economy. Shoot, a Lambda is as fuel-efficient as a Sienna (both comparing FWD to FWD and AWD to AWD), and about as roomy. For a quasi-SUV, that's very respectable.
Once again, I disagree (though I realize neither of us are Nostradamus...or at least, I'm not). China's been becoming more and more capitalist; in my opinion, they're basically capitalist with a thin veneer of communist rhetoric at the current time. China's also got an exploding middle class that, like any middle class, has an unquenchable thirst for consumer goods. True, the middle class is much smaller than the United States...but remember that China's middle class can be 1/5 the size of the USA's, percentage-wise, and it will be the same size as our middle class in terms of outright numbers. That just doesn't seem unattainable to me.

And short of another Cultural Revolution, I don't see why these trends would stop or reverse.


I suppose we'll have to see. I didn't necessarily mean a "new reisky category of vehicle" from an industry standpoint (we've all seen cross-overs), I was more referring to this vehicle in regards to the Buick brand, in which case it is a risky move as the Buick brand isn't necessarily geared toward this type of product (historically speaking).

Sure the Highlander/RX and Pilot/MDX have been great sellers, but they were also introduced as seperate models, thus vastly increasing their demogrpahic of potential buyers. Also, these products were more or less segment leaders not only in terms of quality, but innovation. They came onto the market 8 or so years ago into a far less crowded segment. Now they are on their second generations, so they have quite a head start on Buick when it comes to building a customer base and reputation.

The Buick brand just doesn't really have anything going for it, which is why I'm skeptical: The oldest average customer age in the industry, the legacy of the (gorgeous!!!) Rendezvous as well as 20 years of just blob, indentity free cars. The main problems are that Buick has absolutly no brand identity from a manufacturer standpoint, and a horrible dealer network from the retail side. Both of these facotrs make it damn hard to sell cars. But whats GM to do? If and when they attempt to start closing dealers, they'll have lawsuits from here to China. Its near impossible to fire a dealer...it can be done, but it costs big $$$.

I'm not saying that the Enclave is a bad car by any means, your comparisons in fuel economy space, etc are great... but buyers aren't going to cross-shop Enclave with Mini-vans anyhow. And no matter what way you look at it, the Enclave isn't selling well enough to make any money. Buick only moved around 26,000 units for 07 and ended the MY with an average 90+ day supply at retailers.

Regarding China, yes its a huge center for consumer goods. However, comparing consumer good and cars is a stretch. Even though China has a growing middle class, this middle class isn't like the one in the US... where everyone is shopping for $25,000 cars. And furthermore, China doesn't have the infrastructure to support this rapid expansion of vehciles. I remember reading an interview with a Chinese man who had just bought a US car and he said something along the lines of "So where can I drive it?"...
maxima302
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jul 15 2008, 04:01 PM) *
maxima's opinions strike me as not very forward-thinking, as mitlov has pointed out.


Why would you take the time to make a post like that? God you must have absolutly no life.

Anyways, considering you have 0 experience in the industry, I'll ignore that comment.
Mitlov
QUOTE(maxima302 @ Jul 16 2008, 10:36 AM) *
I suppose we'll have to see. I didn't necessarily mean a "new reisky category of vehicle" from an industry standpoint (we've all seen cross-overs), I was more referring to this vehicle in regards to the Buick brand, in which case it is a risky move as the Buick brand isn't necessarily geared toward this type of product (historically speaking).

Sure the Highlander/RX and Pilot/MDX have been great sellers, but they were also introduced as seperate models, thus vastly increasing their demogrpahic of potential buyers. Also, these products were more or less segment leaders not only in terms of quality, but innovation. They came onto the market 8 or so years ago into a far less crowded segment. Now they are on their second generations, so they have quite a head start on Buick when it comes to building a customer base and reputation.

The Buick brand just doesn't really have anything going for it, which is why I'm skeptical: The oldest average customer age in the industry, the legacy of the (gorgeous!!!) Rendezvous as well as 20 years of just blob, indentity free cars. The main problems are that Buick has absolutly no brand identity from a manufacturer standpoint, and a horrible dealer network from the retail side. Both of these facotrs make it damn hard to sell cars. But whats GM to do? If and when they attempt to start closing dealers, they'll have lawsuits from here to China. Its near impossible to fire a dealer...it can be done, but it costs big $$$.

I'm not saying that the Enclave is a bad car by any means, your comparisons in fuel economy space, etc are great... but buyers aren't going to cross-shop Enclave with Mini-vans anyhow. And no matter what way you look at it, the Enclave isn't selling well enough to make any money. Buick only moved around 26,000 units for 07 and ended the MY with an average 90+ day supply at retailers.

Regarding China, yes its a huge center for consumer goods. However, comparing consumer good and cars is a stretch. Even though China has a growing middle class, this middle class isn't like the one in the US... where everyone is shopping for $25,000 cars. And furthermore, China doesn't have the infrastructure to support this rapid expansion of vehciles. I remember reading an interview with a Chinese man who had just bought a US car and he said something along the lines of "So where can I drive it?"...


Buick could succeed or flop in the US. I honestly don't know enough to really predict. Like you said, GM has done a really good job of ruining Buick's reputation. Maybe it's salvalgable, maybe it's not.

As for China, though, I have to disagree. You say there's no infrastructure to support cars, but Ferrari put 15,000 miles on two 599s touring China a couple years ago--the "15,000 Red Miles Tour." If 599s can find rural roads good enough to travel over, a Buick Excelle sure could. Plus, highway infrastructures in lightly-developed areas can be built up at a rapid rate--like the US in the 1950s. You're going to end up with Detroit-quality roads, not the Autobahn, but that's still good enough to support widespread car ownership.

And then there's the urban areas, where (like in any country) wealth is concentrated. Here are China's five largest cities. Seems to me they have the urban infrastructure to support widespread vehicle ownership. Sure, there will be horrendous traffic jams, but the same could be said of NYC, Boston, and many European cities:

Shanghai:



Beijing:



Shenzhen:



Guangzhou:



Hong Kong:


As for the middle class not being able to afford cars over there...in the first half of 2008, 5 million domestically-made cars were sold in China, up 18% from last year. http://www.chinacartimes.com/2008/06/11/wh...rst-half-of-08/. And those numbers don't seem to include China's two biggest sellers, VW and Buick (or maybe I'm reading it wrong). You're saying that you don't think that a middle-class Shenzhen resident could afford a US$25,000 car. I don't have the hard numbers to agree with that statement or effectively refute it. Comparisons get hard, especially when you take into account the relative strength of the Yuan and the US dollar. Still, given the number of car sales and the rate of growth, I'm inclined to disagree that middle-class Chinese can't afford cars.
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