AD #1752 – Buick Attracting Younger Buyers, VW Using 3D Smart Glasses at Plant, New Ford GT Details

November 25th, 2015 at 11:51am

Runtime: 7:25

- FCA’s Complicated Production Plan
- Kia Shows New Production Cadenza
- Buick Attracting Younger Buyers
- VW Using 3D Smart Glasses at Plant
- New Ford GT Details
- Quiet EV Rule Delayed

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42 Comments to “AD #1752 – Buick Attracting Younger Buyers, VW Using 3D Smart Glasses at Plant, New Ford GT Details”

  1. MJB Says:

    Congrats to Buick on attracting the younger buyers (finally).

    It’s these types of measurable advancements (in a companies bottom line) that I have no problem being used as justification for an auto exec’s high salary. Because reversing public sentiment on something as ingrained as the natural assumption that ‘Buick makes cars for old-farts’ is no easy task.

  2. dcars Says:

    Thanks for the great shows! and happy thanksgiving to all.

  3. Brian Little Says:

    Maybe VW would have been helpd by some “smart glasses” for their engineers when developing their diesel engines.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  4. XA351GT Says:

    Excuse my ignorance ,but aren’t most Buicks rebadged Opels? If so Buick hasn’t won more younger buyers it is Opel that did it for them.

  5. Buzzerd Says:

    I heard that VW executives also wear a version of the smart watches, it alerts them anytime they are in the vicinity of an EPA official allowing them time to hide.

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    We stared thawing out out 15lb bird yesterday.Today is ‘pie day’.This is my favorite holiday,and my number one favorite meal.Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

  7. GM Veteran Says:

    I hate to rain on the Buick parade, especially as I am a fan of the marque. But if you think about the figures being quoted and remember that Buick sales increases have basically kept pace with the overall market over the last 3 years rather than outperforming it, you come to realize that if 46% of their buyers are coming out of non-GM makes, then only 54% of their buyers are current Buick or other GM make owners. Why aren’t they retaining more of their current owners? If they were doing a great job in retaining their owners AND attracting new customers to the brand, Buick sales would be substantially outpacing the overall market on a consistent basis.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 The Regal is basically an Opel Insignia. Some of the other Buicks have some Opel DNA, but are not very close to being rebadged Opels.

  9. GM Veteran Says:

    re #4., the Regal and soon-to-arrive Cascada convertible are rebadged Opels with a few Buick changes and updates. The Encore is a sister vehicle to the Opel Mokka and Chevy Trax, but was engineered and is built in South Korea. The Verano is a Buick sister to the Chevy Cruze and the Enclave shares a platform and powertrain with the GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse. The LaCrosse is a standalone carline, but shares a platform and powertrain components with the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS. So, a couple of their current models are rebadged Opels, and at least one more is under consideration for the future (maybe two).

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 I thought about listing all of the Buicks, but was too lazy.

    7 It seems that one place, you read that “conquest” sales are good, but somewhere else, you read the “loyalty” is good. It can get confusing.

    Whether conquest or loyalty is “good” might be related to the average age of your buyers. A brand with an average buyer age of 80 would clearly need conquest sales, while owner loyalty would be a good thing for a brand with an average age of 25.

  11. Rob Says:

    Is anyone really surprised that the 200 and Dart is moved to Mexico while truck production is moved back to the US from the Saltillo Mexico plant?
    Taxes as well as the simple fact they can ship a lot more Darts than Ram trucks in a boxcar or carrier makes sense.

    Wonder if we would see more production stay in the US if pass-car was taxed like trucks are.

  12. MJB Says:

    #7. Perhaps a big part of the reason the majority of Buick’s sales are conquest has to do with mortality taking much of that 46% off the grid (permanently).

  13. GM Veteran Says:

    You are right on Kit. A successful brand needs both conquest sales and loyal owners that re-purchase. And in the case of Buick, (known in the past as catering to “last time buyers”), having a higher rate of loyal owners is even more important since some of them won’t buy any more cars and also may tend to own them for a longer time on average than younger buyers.

    Both type of sales are good and important to growth. You will note that the marketing exec was boasting about their conquest sales, but did not mention their loyalty rate. This explains, at least in part, why Buick sales have not risen more sharply.

    I am always wary when marketing execs are bragging but their sales are just average. Then again, to be fair, he may have had more to say than was covered in this report.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 The “chicken tax” does not apply to trucks from NAFTA countries. Until recently, and maybe still, some F-series, Dodge, and maybe GM pickups have come from Mexico.

  15. Wayne Says:

    You indicated a few days ago that 19 US car assembly plants had been idled in recent years. Perhaps FCA should consider bringing one or more of them back into production rather than shifting a substantial amount of work and workers to Mexico?

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have contributed substantially to “conquest” sales over the last 12 years. My most recent new car purchases, in order, have been VW, Chevy, MINI, and Toyota. I guess I’m not sure if an additional car counts at all for these stats, or if only a replacement counts.

  17. Steve W Says:

    So what is the Buick buyer’s average age now,60?

  18. WineGeek Says:

    We have a Prius Plug-In and it makes a typical back up alarm noise when you put it in reverse. One day my wife said to me hey the alarm can’t be heard outside the car only inside. I went by my Toyota dealer and the service manager checked and told me that you can only hear the alarm inside not outside. I asked the dumb question “I know it’s in reverse I thought that we were warning the pedestrians isn’t that what the alarm is for?” Isn’t that why trucks have reverse alarms? All this time I thought I was warning pedestrians that we were going to back up. I guess the EPA need to come up with some rules…

    Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Autoline Team!

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 I don’t know why a Prius has that alarm, but it makes no sense.

    Fortunately, the dealer can disable it, at least on a regular Prius liftback. I had it disabled, for free, the day I bought my car. I assume they can disable it in a Prius Plug-in.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18, 19 They need to use an electronic scan device to disable the beeping.

  21. HtG Says:

    A happy thanksgiving to all denizens of Autoline, past and present.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Buick is the new Saturn?

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Google search yielded average age of new car buyer at 51.7 (so that should put Buick into perspective somewhat). 51 or 55; not a lot of difference; Buick makes some very good stuff and has topped reliability surveys for decades (at least in relation to the best that GM offers). Hope this helps. And a very happy Thanksgiving to all.

  24. Drew Says:

    A couple of years ago, I rode in a neighbor’s Prius V. The reverse beep-beep was maddening. It proved Toyota often does very stupid things, including the hard plastic load floor in a Venza rental car that made lots of noise from shifting luggage cases.

    Then there is Toyota’s dirty little secret about poor paint durability in the sun belt states. That could be great future ALD topic – OEM paint standards for UV durability and stone pecking protection. I know my European and Asian fleet vehicles are greatly substandard to my Ford vehicles.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    My 98 Corolla’s paint has withstood the hot Fl sun and heat. Never garaged. While the tint has not fared that well, even though it was a good brand that I used. The only paint that is gone is the trunk lid, which was re-painted 10 yrs ago after an accident. I suppose the same will happen to the hood, which was replaced 2 yrs ago after another accident.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, 19 I agree the the reverse beeping in a Prius is stupid, but you can get it disabled for free.

    As far as paint, isn’t it now pretty much a commodity, with only 3 or 4 companies in the world making car paint? At one time, there seemed to be big differences in paint durability, like when GM was still using lacquer. Now, I don’t see much difference.

  27. HtG Says:

    I avoided a red car fifteen years ago because of how I saw the surfaces deteriorating. But these days? They look good to me.

    btw, I saw a dark grey Z06 yesterday. Holy crap. That’s a scary car.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Years ago, silver and light blue seemed to be bad colors, especially on GM cars when they still used lacquer. Now, most car paint seems to do pretty well, helped out by clear coat. Whatever the color, avoidance of sunlight makes paint last about forever. My red Rabbit convertible looked like new when 27 years old, because is was almost always garaged, except when being driven. My 26 year old silvery blue van still looks good because it has been garaged most of its life.

  29. W L Simpson Says:

    Noise makers for EVs are the epitome of stupidity.

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

  31. Drew Says:

    W. L. – the EV sounders are not stupid if you are blind. But NHTSA over-spec’d them to the point they were going to cost $60-80 per HEV, plug-in, or BEV. Every time there is a new regulation or law, hold on to your wallet!

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29, 31 When I’m driving, I look for pedestrians, whether going forward or backing, but I guess a lot of people don’t. Still, with the background noise most places, do you really hear an individual regular car, unless it is unusually loud?

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 The $60-80 for the beeper is probably more than it should be, but I’m not too worried about the effect on my wallet, since the cost would be about a penny a day over the life of the car.

  34. omegatalon Says:

    If you examine Buick buyers, some Buick models probably attract younger customers than others like the Verano, Encore and Enclave while the Regal and LaCrosse are still probably getting older customers.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    One way or another, Buick needs to improve their image. LaCrosse is a good alternative to a Lexus ES, but people don’t view it that way.

  36. marshy Says:

    While ambitious, the FCA plan would seem to be routed in plant fundamentals – the wrangler is stuck at the center of its supplier park. Belvidere has been an albatros of some of the crappiest cars in the market for decades and has a small paint shop/product roof height limitation (unless they got a big investment in the last 5 years) so the cherokee is about as big as it can go. BVP should be excited about a cross-over.

    Both warren/dodge city and shap are huge plants and can take the larger vehicles. Shap is especially under-utilized so moving truck production across town seems like a logical move.

    My 2c – but it will be expensive!

    In the end, the small, low margin, lower selling vehicles are shuffled to mexico with large, high profit units filling out unused floor space.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I figured Compass and Patriot would be long gone by now, but they are moving production? I guess they are cheap, for “crossovers,” but they are really crude, underwhelming vehicles by today’s standards.

  38. HtG Says:


    John Hindough of Midweek Motorsport Report said he had heard vw might leave the american market as a result of the emissions scandal. He didn’t say it was going to happen, just that it was possible. It sounds to me like such a threat would be an interesting bit of leverage for the company to use as a restraint on the govt.

  39. HtG Says:


    After today’s race in Abu Dhabi, Merc’s boss Toto Wolff wouldn’t deny that they would supply RedBull with an engine next year if Renault pulls out of F1. This weekend Renault delayed their announcement of a decision on what they’ll do.

    It’s fascinating, I know.

  40. Dave Says:


    F1 has been a joke the last few years. After being a fan for the 15 years, I no longer care. In my opinion, they need to get rid of the hybrid engine, DRS, mandated tire changes, fuel limits, and sole tire supplier.

  41. Rob Says:

    #38 I’d call that bluff. If they want to leave the US market, Dont let the door hit ya! Pleanty of other cars to choose from. Besides what kind of threat as I’m sure they wouldnt pull Porshe and Audi too. If they did they would just be cutting off their nose to spite their face.

  42. veh Says:

    Buick may be getting younger customers, but yesterday’s sales numbers show Buick way down, pretty much across the board. Time to refresh the ad campaign IMO