AD #2309 – Buick Axes “Buick” Badge, VW Secures Billions for Battery Supplies, Tesla Could Put Strain on Rare Earth Demand

March 13th, 2018 at 11:34am

Runtime: 6:04

0:29 Buick to Drop “Buick” Badge from All Models
1:03 GM to Test Airbnb-Like Ride-Sharing Service
2:38 Toyota Supplies Avis with 10,000 Connected Cars
3:07 Acura Teases Production RDX
4:04 VW Secures Billions for Battery Supplies
4:56 Tesla Could Put Strain on Neodymium Demand

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51 Comments to “AD #2309 – Buick Axes “Buick” Badge, VW Secures Billions for Battery Supplies, Tesla Could Put Strain on Rare Earth Demand”

  1. Kate McLeod Says:

    GM dropped the Cadillac badge, remember? It was dumb then and it is dumb now.

  2. Drew Says:

    Hmmm, AirBNB cars. I suspect those vehicle owners will need to disclose it their insurance companies. I’d bet their insurance cost will rise.

  3. Terry Quinn Says:

    I don’t think dropping the name is a good idea. I was looking at an SUV the other day, and it was one of the better looking ones I’d seen. I tried to find the manufacturer’s name on the back, and all they had was the specific model name. I realized that the corporate brand symbol was either Japanese or Korean, but I didn’t know which brand (Nissan, Kia, Daewoo, Hyundai, etc.). So I’m one data point that removing the name is a mistake.

  4. Bradley Says:

    GM dropped Oldsmobile off the Aurora before killing Oldsmobile. I don’t know if GM is setting the same stage for Buick in USA.

    Not showing the badge…I don’t think it matters.

    Most of the products I like in the Buick line are from Opel…so not sure what that means long term.

    I was hopeful for the TourX, but they raised it and added plastic cladding. Who said you had to look like a 2003 Subaru Outback to sell a wagon in the USA? But even without those changes the TourX is to big for me.

  5. phred Says:

    1. New VW product each month?? Oh, I remember that the Brits did that in the 60′s and its called “Badge Engineering”!
    2. No Buick nameplate? That is just GM finally going only “Corporate” for all their cars and drive trains! Suspicion Confirmed. Remember Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick with the same power train?
    3. Rideshare out your personal car? Better get a boatload of insurance as GM will not protect you in an accident but collect the rental fee.

  6. Drew Says:

    If the OEM has a long-established logo (e.g., Mercedes tri-star, Audi’s 4 rings, BMW’s round always, Lincoln’s star, Chevy’s bow tie, Honda’s “H”, and Ford’s blue oval), then I believe no harm will come from removing the separate branded name badging. For me, it’s one less script to clean wax residue from.

    I believe Buick’s tri-shield passes my criterium.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #4, I, too, was hopeful about the TourX, but they not only raised it and added cladding, but they made AWD mandatory in the U.S. In the rest of the world, you can get it with a diesel, manual transmission, FWD, without the lift kit and plastic cladding.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s called an Opel or Vauxhall Insignia in most of the rest of the world.

  9. Lambo2015 Says:

    I suppose if your emblem is recognizable enough to remove the name plate then go for it. My guess is they are still trying to shake the image of being your dads Buick. Maybe also to appeal to a more global market.
    Hoestly I think they would probably be better off loosing the engine signification emblems. That all started because of the V8 and people wanted the V8. Nowadays you can get 300hp from a V8, V6, or a 4cyl and the liters change constantly. One model year could be a 5.4L the following year its a 5.2L with same power. Most people dont even know what engine they have and dont care as long as it performs well. So at this point loose the brand and engine insignia’s and tell the dealer to leave their badge or sticker off too.

  10. Bob Wilson Says:

    By switching to neodymium permanent magnetic motors from induction motors, the higher efficiency means getting more useful mechanical power from the batteries. This can improve range or use smaller batteries which reduces weight and battery manufacturing.

  11. motorman Says:

    What will the oil companies do if EVs take over the auto market ?? Where will all the gasoline and motor oil be used ?? I can see the oil companies dropping the price of gasoline to where it makes no sense dollar wise to buy a EV.

  12. Barry Says:

    Other than “car guys”, I wonder how many people would be able to identify the Buick logo? In my opinion, GM should rethink the omission of the Buick name on their vehicles.

  13. Frederick Schmidt Says:

    No brand name on a vehicle? Why run from the name that is known to the public. It is catering to the younger generations who don’t give a darn about what they are driving. Yes the average car owner under 35 probably doesn’t know much about the mechanics or performance with the exception of true gear head/enthusiast, and those are becoming a smaller group as time goes on. Its similar to some of my younger neighbors who are clueless when something needs to be fixed with their house.
    With regards to the Maven/GM system to use your car when it is not in use, who will be liable when the car is used for criminal reasons and the users cannot be identified or use phony names and ID’s? How about this senario, You the car owner are stoped for a traffic violation and the police find drugs/stolen weapons etc in you car left behind by someone who used your car. Car gets confiscated and you get arrested. And no way your insurance will cover any of that consequences. Not for me or my cars.

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Well, the Buick badge is fairly recognizable but after a few years (okay, maybe a decade) more and more potential buyers will not know what a Buick badge looks like (so where do they go to get one). An Envision, a Regal, a LaCrosse; not everyday vocabulary for a lot of potential buyers. My take is that dropping the parent company is a mistake (could be wrong thought).

    VW’s electrics look a whole lot better than their current models, IMO; don’t know that there will be a market for all those new introductions though.

    I have State Farm Insurance, and they already ask whether my vehicle will be ‘ride-shared’, so get ready for your insurance to rise if it does. Plus, I don’t even like to lend out my vehicles (to family) so count me out anyway.

    Tesla will only put a strain on neodymium supplies if they ever get their production up; maybe alternatives before they ever do that.

  15. Lisk Says:

    I don’t think VW will have to work too hard to distance themselves from the diesel scandal because that was what, two years ago? If they sold diesels today, no one would have a car about what happened two years ago, and there was a line at the door. The gamble on electrification for everybody is very risky. They are counting on a great deal of unknowns to see expect that kind of a market shift. I think Tesla is successful (in desirability) just because of the cult/boutique status.

  16. Ctech Says:

    Buick dropping off the nameplate will probably save millions. Not knowing it’s a Buick may cost millions more in sales.

    What happens when we use up the neodymium?

    Can Katzkin make an exception for my 2009? It could really use a new interior.

  17. Drew Says:

    With any commodity, there is a limited supply. Could EVs cause OPEC to be “limited”. Admittedly, I wouldn’t shed a tear if OPEC folded, as I hate sending my money to countries that call me an “infidel” or to a certain dictatorial regime in South America. But will our reliance on evil oil regimes be replace by evil rare earth metals regimes?

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Most currently mined neodymium is from China, but it is in the ground in other parts of the world. If its use expands much, it will be worthwhile to start mining it outside of China, as there could be supply problems.

  19. Tuck&roll Says:

    Really? Buick taking their name off? Maybe that will fool the Mileniums? Stupid.
    And VW digging an EV hole that they will spend more billions climbing out of. Stupid.
    And I would never share my vehicle with strangers. Chuck, I agree. Our insurance will sky rocket. Especially so that a vehicle manufacturer can profit from it. Stupid.

  20. Drew Says:

    VW is not risking much in their EV endeavor as $Bs of the diesel punishment came in the promise of EV development. Hmmm, spend $Bs in fines or spend $Bs in potential future (albeit risky) products… that’s a no-brainer.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 According to wikipedia, for what it’s worth, the reserves of neodymium are estimated at about eight million tons. The world’s production in 2004 was about 7,000 tons. I couldn’t find more recent production data, but it looks like there should be a lot of years of neodymium available, even if use increases a lot. Also, magnet material from motors is highly recyclable, and is valuable enough that I would expect most of it to be recycled.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess I’m not very observant about some things, but I don’t even know for sure if my Prius says “Toyota” on it. I’m pretty sure my Corvette does not say “Chevrolet.” My Mini says MINI only in the winged emblem thingies. Mini, more than most cars, probably doesn’t need the brand name on it, for people to know what the car is.

  23. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I still remember the 4 rings of audi,used to be DKW Autounion when I was a kid in west germany,60-64.

  24. Ctech Says:

    I started paying attention and BMW is incorporated into the roundel emblem. The Camry has large Toyota emblems but Toyota is not spelled out.

  25. Dan Says:

    Buick removing the name plate is just as confusing as Jeep not placing model names on the back of their vehicles. I often see Jeeps out in traffic and wonder what model I’m seeing.

  26. Lambo2015 Says:

    #22 I’m with you Kit, certain cars the nameplate isnt necessary. You can tell a Mini, a Ferrari, VW beetle, Corvette and other very distinct designs from other cars. In fact I often thought the Viper should have dropped the Dodge name as I think people found it hard to drop 80+k on a Dodge. As impressive as it may have been including the hellcat when its all done and said you have a very expensive Dodge. As Corvette releases the mid-engine version and prepares to take on the other supercars. It may serve them to loose the Chevy emblem and just promote the checker flags.

  27. Lambo2015 Says:

    To my comment above.
    Buick does not have the level of stand out design to justify removing the nameplate. Their vehicles look like everything else on the road and would be a mistake IMO.

  28. Frederick Schmidt Says:

    Some nameplates such as Buick and Lincoln have a certain elderly owner attached to them. A lot of that association is earned by their own designs and vehicles produced from the late 80′s foward to around 2005. With todays young generation focused with social media opinions, that stigma won’t go away for a long time. So if someone shopping for a new car sees an new shiny Envision, that image might lead to a completed sale at the dealership. Where this stategy might falter is when they may like the particular vehicle but want the next size larger or smaller. That is where BMW with their ascending numbers for in most cases larger cars works so well. Its seeems to be a success and I bet other car brands wish they could have that luxury of selecting a certain model in their line up.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked my Prius, and it has 3 “hybrid” badges, and one “Prius” badge, buy doesn’t say Toyota anywhere. It has the Toyota emblem in the nose. I’ll see of other Toyotas are different.

  30. Greg Helton Says:

    Is the RDX a Mazda design?

  31. Drew Says:

    The Mustand doesn’t have a Ford badge. Some iconic products don’t need to tell you which dealer to visit.

  32. Al Molinski Says:

    I was at a GMC & Buick dealership last night. Looked at a new Buick convertible thing they had – made in Poland. Asked a sales person what Buick made in America – response was “nothing”.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 LaCrosse and Enclave are both made in Michigan. That dealer has a training problem.

  34. Jonathan Brown Says:

    I’ll never lend out any of my vehicles for ride sharing service

    I’m not that hungry for extra money…

    Who knows how other drivers would abuse vehicles…not actually breaking them right then and there but enough to cause excessive wear more quickly…

    Good luck to those that decide to rent out their just won’t be me or anybody I know..

  35. Drew Says:

    @33 And I am diligent about keeping my car’s interior clean. Not everyone shares this value. I know my nephews view a car’s interior like their own little locker room or trash bin.

    Nope… I will not let anyone do that to my car.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 I too am diligent, or maybe fanatical about keeping car interiors clean. I hate taking my Prius to the dealer for my free oil changes, because I’ll get it back with dirty smudges on the door sill, and oily hand prints other places.

  37. Drew Says:

    Kit, my Lincoln dear is as diligent as I. I wish I lived in a part of the country without snow… where I can actualize my full obsession with exterior cleanliness,

  38. Cozy Cole Says:

    Here in the northeast you need weather tech floor liners to keep the crud controlled. Mazda CX5 nothing on either side of suv, grille seagull, and rear seagull and the CX5 and sky active badges. I as a car cleaning nut had badges. tried removing the sky active thing as soon as I got it home, but this model has locating pins bummer.

  39. Len Simpson Says:

    motorman , this is the simple solution to your question—
    No Thousand lb batt ,no charging station , 1000;s less to manufacture , uses gas , minimally

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 Big, expensive motor. Fairly big generator. Mediocre highway gas mileage. There is a reason there are almost no series hybrids.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 Two Chevy dealers have kept the interior of my Corvette clean, when I take it in that way. I’m curious about if they do as well with a Spark or Cruze. I hope they do, but they might not.

  42. Frederick Schmidt Says:

    Up here in NJ keeping the exterior clean has been a challenge this year. My Murano is black, by far the hardest to keep looking good. Soon out will come the clay bar followed with polish and wax. Sure wish we had a good brushless/no touch car wash. Out where my son lives in nebraska they have one that does a fantastic job on either road salt,dirt and in the summer bugs and bird droppings. I envy you who live in the south where you can wash/wax your car at your leisure.

  43. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’ve had two ‘free oil changes’at my Cadillac dealer (this on a new XT5); both had fingermarks on the “A” pillar. The first time I cleaned it off myself with a carpet cleaner, the second time I called it to the attention of the service provider (who cleaned in off and said he would talk to the service technician) so I’ll see, at service #3. Oh yeah, I was pissed both times; but didn’t make a scene (though I hope the service people didn’t have ESP; they might have hit me). :D

  44. Lambo2015 Says:

    #33 Yeah I think there is just a change in society and how they view vehicles. The group of car fanatics or even ones that consider it an extension of their personality are becoming fewer each year. Ride sharing or even using your vehicle for Uber or Lift shows that people view it as an appliance. The design isnt as important the color or choices of interior materials isnt important. Its a device to get from A to B and if they can make some money renting it out or shuttling people around some people just dont care.
    I cannot imagine what car shows will be like in 20 years as vehicles loose their unique design cues and I find it difficult to look at anything and think it will become a classic. Kind of sad.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42 I’ve pointed it out to the service writer once, when they returned my car with foot and hand prints in the interior, but since then, I just clean it myself. Of my 4 or 5 ‘free’ oil changes/tire rotations with two Priuses, they have soiled the interior every time but once. The ‘how did we do?’ questionaires are apparently a joke. I point out what happened, but nothing changes.

  46. Wayne Says:

    Apparently, GM doesn’t give any creditability to brand loyalty. This is stupid! Buick might very well have the most loyal of followers.

  47. BobD Says:

    On the Mavin ride-sharing, I wonder if they are looking for owners who specifically buy vehicles to rent out, rather than there personal vehicles. Don’ know if the numbers would work, but if you bought an off-lease/fleet vehicle and kept it rented, perhaps you could make some money from the investment. This is not unlike some AirBnB rentals that are bought specifically to rent out. In both cases, the owner will have to put some effort into keeping the rentals clean and maintained.

  48. Ukendoit Says:

    Regarding the badging, I know my RAM doesn’t have Dodge on it, and I remembered RAM is on the side where it says Hemi & 2500, but I checked and it isn’t anywhere else.
    Then I remembered they put a HUGE RAM on the grill of the new ones, so I guess RAM doesn’t count afterall.

  49. Dan Says:

    #48 If your Ram is a recent year, Ram is now a separate brand. It is not Dodge Ram anymore.

  50. Ukendoit Says:

    #49, A number of shops and car guys still call my RAM a Dodge truck, but you are right, it was bought after separating so I didn’t expect to see any Dodge emblems. I figured a ram’s head is close enough to the name, so they could easily join the “no badge” club, but they seem to want to stress it is a RAM and not a Dodge, hence the huge name on the grill.

  51. Bruce Melton Says:

    RE: Buick “badge” deletion. This may work in US/North America, but may be a disaster in China where approximately 75% of all Buicks made are actually sold!! Buick outsells Cadillac in China almost 10-to-1 and is very close to Chevrolet sales in China. Former dictator loved Buicks!