According to J. D. Power a number of Buick automobiles are as reliable as those of perennial reliability winner Lexus. Surprised? Me too. Two of those cars, the Century and Regal are no longer in production, however. Ironic? You bet. Why would Buick work so hard on quality just to jettison those two cars? They weren’t selling. Their designs were tired.
Enter the Buick LaCrosse.
The LaCrosse is a Regal with a new coat of paint. Maybe a wee bit sleeker and more youthful but not substantially. The Regal and the Century, though kicking some major quality ass, have been dropped for an incrementally changed car with a new name.
If Buick wanted to cut with the past, they needed to overhaul the designs. Buick has been the slowest GM brand to see that design is the key to success. Name changes and marketing ideas won’t do it (Yeah, Tiger Woods drives a Buick to parties.) Buick has clearly built better cars; they just haven’t designed any new cars. They have also hired a new ad agency, so I see new commercials that talk quality story and a new song in our future. (“If you don’t have something to say, sing it” is an old advertising maxim.) But the proof is between the bumpers and that metal looks the same.