Sagging Buick gets some love from the CEO
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson talks often about Chevrolet and Cadillac, the two brands he's trying to establish as global players. Last week, though, he took time to heap praise on GM's smallest-volume U.S. brand: Buick.
"Buick has shown incredible resiliency post-bankruptcy," Akerson said during a media roundtable.
After a close encounter with the chopping block during GM's 2009 bankruptcy, Buick rallied with sales growth of 52 percent in 2010 and 14 percent in 2011, outpacing the industry both years.
But last year Buick lagged behind the market. U.S. sales rose 2 percent to 180,408 units, well below the market's overall 13 percent gain.
Still, Akerson said Buick improved on "almost every metric," including consideration, price and residuals. He called it a "subluxury" brand that competes with Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
"It has done really well in the marketplace," he said.
He likened Buick to GM's Opel brand in Europe, which he said also is carving out an upscale niche.
"We want to have Buick and Opel positioned in their respective markets as sub-luxury," he said. "I don't want to compete with Cadillac and I don't want to compete with Chevrolet. So we will watch the portfolio and make sure we don't have too much crossover."