Buick?

Not too long ago, I posted about liking the commercials of a local car dealer whose ads feature his four Labradors, either gazing at him adoringly or randomly wandering in and out of the scene. I plan to check out this dealer next time I buy a car.

Thing is, it’s a Buick dealer, and my mind is a blank when it comes to Buicks. No one in my family has ever owned a Buick, and as far as I recall, neither have any friends or acquaintances. I have no pre-conceived notions about Buicks one way or another.

Have you ever owned, or even driven a Buick? What did you like / not like about it?
What are some stereotypes about Buicks and their owners?
Are Buicks considered luxury cars? Clunkers?
Has Buick ever had memorable commercials or a catchy slogan or a noted celebrity spokesperson?
Why would anyone buy / not buy a Buick?

“Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?”

My Dad had a Buick Skylark way, way back, and the sucker could really move when you gave it the gas, but I’m not sure if that’s anything intrinsic to Buicks.

A Buick is a product of GM. Buicks are in general supposed to be some of the better/nicer models in the GM lineup. If you think (in general) that a GM product would be a good choice, then a Buick is certainly worth your time to check out.

Long ago, very long ago, there was a very significant difference between the names that made up General Motors - for example, a Buick was a completely different car than a Chevrolet. That is no longer really the case. The differences now are much more style-oriented, and the different GM brands are all of approximately uniform quality.

My parents have driven several Buicks.

Over the last couple of decades, they’ve generally had the image of being a comfortable, somewhat luxurious car for somewhat older drivers (particularly once GM repositioned Cadillac away from “luxury car for older drivers” to “luxury performance”). That’s part of the reason why Buick has also traditionally been big on advertising during golf tournaments (the viewership of which skews towards older, wealthier men).

Buick’s more recent advertising, and some of their newer models (particularly their SUVs) have undoubtedly been an effort to broaden their appeal to younger consumers. They’ve recently been running ads which subtly acknowledge the perception of the brand as being “cars for old people” – the ads show characters looking right at a new Buick, and not realizing that it’s a Buick.

Too late to edit: here’s an example of the “that’s not a Buick” ads that they’ve done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j761MNnFaeg

That’s the stereotype I have of them, along with the notion of their quality/reliability being neither particularly good nor particularly bad. But I have no personal experience with them.

The current Buick ad campaign cracks me up. Like the kids asking “How are we all going to fit in your mom’s Buick?” Because, you know, kids don’t say stuff like “your mom’s car.” At home, we use the terms “my car” and “your car” rather than referring to either brand.

I don’t pay that much attention to cars, so I don’t know if family or friends ever drove one, but based upon their commercials alone, I wouldn’t buy one - it would only encourage such advertising stupidity!

They apparently combine speed with good handling and a certain ability to blend in with the surroundings:

“I will lend you my getaway car!..my Buick!”
—Harry the Horse

Looked back at the OP, saw that there was a question about celebrity spokespeople:

Buick was one of Tiger Woods’ big sponsors for a number of years, and Woods did several TV ads and promotions for Buick. GM ended that endorsement deal shortly before Woods’ personal life (and golf game) fell apart.

Me too. A poor-[del]man’s[/del] older folks pseudo-luxury vehicle, w/o any performance.

IMO, GM should’ve killed Buick & kept Pontiac. They were both above a Chevy but below a Caddy & at least the Pontiac had some ‘fun’ cars; GTO, Solstice, etc.

The same GM models used to be available as a Chevy, Oldsmobile, or Buick. The Olds and Buick versions would have some slightly nicer standard amenities. I recall a mechanic telling me they added more sound insulation to upscale the models. My parents bought Buicks, I can imagine my mother considering them higher class cars than a Chevy. I had a used Buick Apollo back around 1980, same car as a Chevy Nova.

Buicks, in my 51yo brain, are staid, uber-boring sedans that my gr-grammas and grammas drove. Objectively, they now look like pretty much like any other mid-range American car and seem to have the standard 21st century bells 'n whistles. Still, I hear “Buick” and go “boooooring.”

According to the interwebs they do seem to be pretty reliable.

Their advertising sucks d*ck – unbelievably bad “our cars were so awful for so long, but they are kinda better now.” And was it GM or Chevy who had “actual people” in their ads mistaking their econoboxes for BMWs? Who did the hipster emoji ads?

Chevy. That ad campaign has clearly worked for them, as they’ve used it for several years now, but speaking as a market researcher and advertising strategist, who has moderated hundreds of focus groups in my career, those ads (with the faux focus groups, and the smug moderator) makes my skin itch.

It sounds like Buick would be wise to replace their current ad campaign with some dogs wandering around a Buick lot.

burpo, I remember “Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?” – but I don’t remember if any reason was ever given why I should.

I agree with both statements here. In fact, I didn’t realize until the recent ad campaign that they were still making Buicks, and certainly not so many models. I really hate their current campaigns. Both the “I don’t see a Buick/That’s a Buick?” as well, as the kids saying Buick, just irritate me because they are so unlikely.

Stop talking about it and show me what the car can do!

And for reals, adding dogs, especially rescue dogs would add to the appear. I have driven Subarus for the last 10 years…they like dogs. Our local dealer regularly does promos with the local shelters. That’s not why I drive them, but it doesn’t hurt.

^ Agree with this. I recall when the decision was made it came down to market share, and apparently, Buicks are popular in China, so GM went that way to keep expanding that market. At least in China they are not fighting the image of an “old-man car” that they have here.

I was going to mention that Buick’s popularity in China is why the brand is still around, but I see I was beaten to it. FYI, last year sales in China were like four times the North American sales. (And in looking up the numbers, I found a Buick press release that describes it as a “luxury” brand. Is that how it’s viewed in the US? I don’t think of it as a luxury brand.)

I worked in marketing in my younger days, awful ads also make me skritchy. But, as you wrote, they must be working.

I wonder if car ads, like political commercials ostensibly aimed at “undecideds,” are actually very effective for a demographic outside of budgeted -just wanna-get-to-work and/or “American only” buyers. I admit to an abnormal loyalty to BMW, but if the company went away tomorrow I’d look at Audi and Mercedes Benz, then Acura, Lexus, and so on. No amount of advertising would make me set foot on a Ford, GM, or Chevy lot. My dad has the opposite chain: if he couldn’t get his usual Ford 250 truck he’d exhaust every American car option and he’d pull his hoss trailer with a riding mower (but a John Deere only) before buying Japanese or German.

A friend makes fun of my Bimmer fetish of the last 7-8 years, but she’s had a Honda Civic since 1988 (new one every few years) and won’t even look at anything else. I think she’ll probably elect to be buried in one.

*Footnote to my earlier post: some KIA sedans really do look like the current BMW 5-Series. The grill is almost the classic kidneys shape and other design elements are purty dang close, I’ve been fooled a few times. I’m surprised BMW hasn’t sued them.

It’s certainly how they’ve positioned the brand for decades, and it’s been the brand that they hoped would capture the typical, old-school Cadillac buyer (like my father, who liked those old Sedan deVilles), when they transformed Cadillac into a performance brand.

If you’re a car buyer who defines “luxury” more in terms of import brands (i.e., Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.), and / or sees performance as being part of luxury, you might well not view Buick as a luxury brand. But, if you’re a traditional American car buyer, who prefers non-imports, and whose brand choices tend to be “Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge,” you might well see Buick (and, for that matter, Lincoln) as upscale / luxury.

See the second paragraph of the post I wrote while you were writing this; I totally agree. :smiley: