CHRISSIE THOMPSON

Buick counting on Greg and Laurie Robbins

Chrissie Thompson covers General Motors for Automotive News.
Meet Greg and Laurie Robbins.

They're in their early 40s. They have two kids. Together, they make $130,000 a year and live in a $363,000 house. And, GM hopes, soon they'll have a Buick in their garage where a Lexus used to be.

This imaginary couple represents Buick's target audience.

“Buick is a conquest brand,” Craig Bierley, Buick-GMC director of advertising and sales promotion, told GM employees at a briefing I attended last week. “The loyalists will find their way back.”

Greg and Laurie are Facebook fans of Target, Starbucks, Apple, J.Crew, Whole Foods and the Westin. So GM is paring back on golf ads and marketing Buick in culinary- and travel-related venues and on The Wall Street Journal's iPad application.

Buick is counting on its new vehicles and marketing to translate into sales that double in the next few years, said Brian Sweeney, the U.S. sales and service vice president for Buick. The brand sold about 106,000 units last year, down 25 percent.

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