Who gets the needle first: Buick -- or Pontiac?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    By Eric Peters

    The death watch has officially begun for GM's Pontiac and Buick lines -- with GM management openly hinting that these venerable brands' days might be numbered.

    Both brands are in deep trouble. Pontiac has been in an ugly and very public tailspin since the disastrous launch of the Aztek three years ago -- a misbeggoten machine that replaced "Yugo" as the punchline of jokes about about bad cars. Then there was the '02 build-up to the launch of the new GTO -- a reborn muscle car that was supposed to resuscitate the division's standing as GM's "excitement" division. It belly-flopped, despite more horsepower under the hood than any of the wildly successful GTOs of the 1960s and early 1970s. The rumor mill has it that if the GTO doesn't show signs of life soon, '06 may be the final year for the "reborn classic." 2006 may also herald the beginning of the end for Pontiac itself -- which GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz recently described as "damaged" at an analysts conference in March.

    Buick is in equally bad shape -- but for different reasons. Here the problem is not weak sales -- in fact, mainstays such as the LeSabre and Century have moved in volumes comparable to the sales figures of best-selling SUVs. The problem is these cars are also mainstays of nursing homes and rental fleets around the country. Despite the efforts of pitchman Tiger Woods, the age of the average Buick buyer is closer to the age of Tiger's grandfather. This is a major problem for Buick, since its core buyers won't be around to buy Buicks within 10 years or so. New models like the LaCrosse sedan have been aggressively targeted at under-AARP prospects, but so far without great success. What former GM executive Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen said in the 1960s -- "You can sell an old man a young man's car, but you can't sell a young man an old man's car" -- is just as true today as it was 40 years ago.

    Fundamentally, GM's dilemma is that it has six full-line divisions vying for an ever-diminishing share of the market -- among themselves, before even getting to outside competitors such as Toyota, Honda and the rest. It may have made sense back in the late 1960s -- when Chevrolet alone had better than 25 percent of the entire North American new care market. But today -- when all of GM's lines put together don't control as much of the market as Chevy did by itself circa 1970 -- the continued existence of all these different brand is harder to make a case for.

    GM would be in much better shape today had it reorganized itself in the late 1970s
    -- when it "corporatized" its engineering departments. After 1981, for example, Pontiac no longer designed and built its own engines -- which were completely different from those used in Chevrolets. Instead, all GM cars began using "corporate" (mostly Chevy-built) engines and transmissions produced by GM Powertrain. Divisions like Pontiac and Buick -- which had for decades been allowed to operate as semi-independent automobile companies with their own distinct product lines -- became, for all practical purposes, marketing arms for generic "GM" vehicles that were fundamentally identical save for minor trim and cosmetic differences.

    Oldsmobile -- a venerable nameplate that was once one of the strongest brands on the market -- became a shell with no real reason for being. Interest faded -- and sales dropped. The same sclerosis is now overtaking Pontiac and -- which each have pitiful 1.8 and 2.8 percent shares of the new car market, respectively. GM gave Oldsmobile the needle when sales had dipped to a dismal 1.7 percent in 2000.

    How far off can The End be?

    At this point -- barring a very unlikely miracle -- the only real question is which of the two nameplates will take the dirt bath first.
    Industry insiders have their money on Buick -- which faces an enormous challenge overcoming the oldster image it's acquired. That -- and the fact that the marketplace may be just too crowded to keep Buick going as anything other than a charity case seem to make it all a foregone conclusion.

    But Pontiac probably won't be far behind.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    Well, thats a bummer
     
  3. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

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    im gonna say buick
     
  4. 67olds442

    67olds442 uhhhh

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  5. Maliboost

    Maliboost New Member

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    i say pontiac, old people love buicks
     
  6. syP

    syP OT Supporter

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    Probably Buick...

    Pontiac will follow soon :(
     
  7. SumAzunGuy

    SumAzunGuy New Member

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    pontiac
     
  8. laracroft

    laracroft teh croft

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    :werd:
     
  9. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    They ought to kill both, along with either GMC truck or the Chevy truck line (too redundant). Sell off Saab, Suzuki, Isuzu, and Saturn, accelerate the AM General contract and return Hummer to them.

    Basically they need 2 or 3 brands. Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Chevy truck or GMC truck.

    Move any "successful" vehicles from the dead brands to the Chevy/Caddy name. Their brand structure is outdated and killing them.
     
  10. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Not likely to happen. GMC and Chevy trucks are likely to both stick around for a long time. In fact, the upcomming Sierra and Yukon will be less and less like the Chevy models... Rumor is that they will continue to move away from sharing parts until they become their own products. As it is right now, however, it's which grill do you prefer :mamoru:
     
  11. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    ALOT of old people buy buicks. try valet parking at a restuarant during lunch where only old people go. "hi sir, what kind of car do you have?" "well, its a tan buick" "well, sir theres about 20 other buicks on the lot, half of them tan, do you know the lisence plate number?" ........



    :rolleyes:
     
  12. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Get rid of the goddamn Buick line. Their customer base will be as dead as the brand is soon.
     
  13. DJ Quik

    DJ Quik Vancouver 07/08 stanley cup champs!

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    GMC trucks > Chevy Trucks.

    GMC's look like agressive trucks, chevy front ends look narrow and the slanted headlights i've never been a fan of.

    I think if anything Buick will go first, but pontiac will soon follow.
     
  14. pdb574

    pdb574 New Member

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    Kill Buick now. Old people drive those damb things
     
  15. Toxicity

    Toxicity New Member

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    My av is so small you can't see it!
    Bring GSX back and kill the mustang
     
  16. psykosis

    psykosis Go placidly amid the noise and the haste

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    Buick will die first, but Pontiac won't be more than a year or two behind.

    Wonder if it will make the new GTO more valuable in the long run? And what will support be like for it after Pontiac is no more? I dunno if I really want one anymore...
     
  17. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    Yes. And its safe to say that because of that Buick doesn't have many "repeat" customers.
     
  18. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    Buick has been a has-been for a decade. Pontiac has some decent vehicles, but they're merely dressed up from some other car.

    Solstice: doesn't really matter, the Sky is better looking. But who the fuck wants a Saturn? Take the Saturn design and put a Bow Tie on it.

    GTO: Easy, will sell thousands as a Chevelle SS. Give it a flat front with quad projector headlights. And a cowl induction hood.

    G6: sexy looking sedan, but could easily fit in as a 'Malibu'. Just a bumper replacement and its a Chevy.

    Vibe: better looking (mostly) than the Toyota Matrix, would slot in well as a Chevy.

    Bonneville: why the fuck does GM even build FWD V8 or luxury cars anyway? Kill it.

    Grand Prix: kill it, entire line needs to be replaced by a RWD Impala.


    Buick has nothing worth saving.
     
  19. Yes have some!

    Yes have some! Active Member

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    The GTO would sell if it were cheaper and didn't look like a Grand Am. The Mustang dominates the segment b/c it looks cool. You know instantly that its a Mustang. Not so with the GTO.

    I say Pontiac first...Buick will die off with the Baby Boomers.
     
  20. pdb574

    pdb574 New Member

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    Yeah, ok :rolleyes:
     

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