You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

Advertisement
Associated Press
GM unveiled its redesigned 2014 Buick LaCrosse on Tuesday. The model sports a sculpted, modern look geared at younger drivers.

GM aiming new Buicks at younger driving set

– Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: There’s this famous car brand whose average driver is more familiar with Social Security than social media.

General Motors Co. will make another attempt to get Buick to appeal to younger buyers with freshened-up versions of the Regal midsize sports sedan and the LaCrosse large luxury car. GM unveiled the pair Tuesday ahead of the New York auto show.

Youth has been the theme of several of Buick marketing campaigns during the last three decades, with famous pitchmen such as Tiger Woods and Shaquille O’Neal. Sales have even risen recently after a dramatic and lengthy decline. But even with that recent success, odds are against GM making Buick a go-to option for large numbers of drivers younger than 40.

Buick, once coveted for its understated elegance, used to be a dominant brand. In 1984, GM sold 942,000 Buicks in the U.S., according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. But many Buick buyers died, and younger people opted for SUVs and cooler European cars. Sales tumbled, bottoming out at just over 102,000 in 2009. GM only kept the brand alive because it became a huge seller in China.

The company, which builds Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras at its Allen County truck plant, doesn’t expect Buick sales to approach 900,000 a year again. But executives say they can still make a lot of money selling the higher-priced luxury vehicles with lower sales numbers.

GM is giving the LaCrosse a more sculpted, modern look. It gets updated LED daytime running lamps and tail lights and a larger front grille. On the inside, it gets new, more supportive seats and a modernized center stack with fewer buttons than the current car. The interior will have more of a luxury feeling to differentiate it from the sportier Regal.

The Regal gets similar cosmetic changes on the outside. Inside, more supportive seats and a simpler dashboard and center console give it a sportier look. GM’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder “e-Assist” engine, with a small electric motor that helps boost gas mileage, becomes standard. A new, more powerful version of GM’s 2-liter turbocharged engine, with 259 horsepower, is in the sportier models, the turbo and GS.

The LaCrosse goes on sale late this summer, and the Regal comes out in the fall.

Advertisement