Design exec eyes flagship Buick coupe
"Buick definitely needs more product in the pipeline," John Cafaro, director of design for Buick and Chevrolet, said in an interview last week at the Chicago Auto Show.
"My role is really being a zealot for getting Buick more youthful, more spirited and probing ideas [for] coupes, more expressive vehicles. That is really my job."
So far, five models -- all sedans and crossovers -- have been approved for Buick. The redesigned LaCrosse went on sale last fall. The 2011 Regal sedan goes on sale this spring. A small, unnamed sedan that will share a vehicle platform with the Chevrolet Cruze goes on sale in 2011. The Lucerne will be dropped in a year or so.
Buick also has the Enclave large crossover. A small unnamed crossover will arrive either late this year or sometime next year.
Cafaro said Buick is developing an image and determining what models need to be added to the product line.
"Buick is kind of going through what Cadillac went through" when it reinvented itself, he said. "Cadillac said: 'What we are doing is not working. Our customers are dying off. We have to carve a new image.' That is where Buick is right now."
Cafaro said a coupe would make a statement for Buick, "and a statement means it is going to be the flagship. All the design cues and everything would drive themselves down into all Buicks.
"A coupe is definitely where you say, 'I'm back.' "