Sometimes your reputation is something you’ve been saddled with, however undeserving. For many years, the Buick name has been easily interchangeable with, well, an old people’s car. Grandma and Grandpa drive a Buick, a thirty-year-old does not. When a Buick was your first car, did it not get mercilessly made fun of (until people realized how comfortable it was)? For a long time, Buick’s have been attached to the image of your Nana and Pop Pop, not your best friend Tess. It looks as though Buick has become tired of their elderly image and are looking to break out of that mold.
A noticeably different ad campaign started with the release of the impressive looking Lacrosse. Funkier and modern, the Lacrosse didn’t look like the Buick’s of yesteryear, and the ad spots didn’t either. It was clear by the commercials that Buick was trying to shed their negative connotation and appeal to a broader audience. Newer advertising campaigns showed an attempt to appeal to a drastically different generation with appearances by mega-famous athletes Shaquille O’Neal and Peyton Manning. However, was an ad campaign enough to earn them the street cred from the thirty-year-old set?
Fortunately, Buick didn’t stop with that particular ad campaign. They started rolling out an all new lineup of vehicles in 2005 when they released the Lacrosse. This new Buick was built and designed drastically different from the previously popular body style of the old car, and gone were the old model names. In 2008, Buick really shook things up with the debut of the Buick Enclave, a full sized SUV that blew the doors off of every previous model they’d ever offered. Stylistically better than the clunky looking Rendezvous and much less minivan looking than the Rainier, the Enclave started to sway younger audiences.
Another noticeable move that Buick made, was to do away with their old model names, with the exception of the Regal, which they relaunched in 2011, as a luxury model. The previous body styling that made the Buick quite unpopular with the younger generations, was gone. The bouncy feeling of softened shocks was also traded out for a more solid feeling ride, and many of the vehicles were updated with all of the modern accouterments people are looking for in a new car. Their latest lineup features only five cars, a very different number from other manufacturers, but it became clear that they’re more focused on quality than quantity.
The release of the Buick Verano, in 2011, marked a first for Buick since the late nineties. The Verano was the first compact sedan to be offered since the oft-forgotten Skylark, but was constructed to fill the space between mid-level and luxury priced cars. Outfitted with elegant finishes and top of the line features, the Verano definitely spans the gap, without being priced too far outside the realms of your standard, less luxurious, compact sedan. The Verano is said to be the car that may be sparking Buick’s new image.
Buick isn’t unaware of their former reputation, and they’ve taken it with quite the playful attitude. In the latest tongue-in-cheek ad spots, they use the opportunity to poke fun at themselves. The commercials feature people unable to recognize their friend’s vehicle because they are looking for the typical Buick, and the current cars are such a departure from former models. The best thing about the advertisements, for Buick’s new image, is the age diversity. No longer are only baby boomers and elderly people the drivers behind the wheel. The ad spot features twenty-something club-goers, single females, and families with young children.
With the re-release of the Regal, Buick, a General Motors subsidiary, is looking to close the gap in their sales when it comes to cars. While GM has made their mark for creating solidly dependable and rugged trucks, their standard sedan market has been in a bit of a slump, with few desirable models being made available by other GM manufacturers. While their newest lineup features two SUVs, both a small and a larger model, Buick’s focus is very much on the cars, as they strive to hold their place in the economical luxury sedan market, and perhaps, rise above their current markings.
While your grandparents may still drive a Buick, out of sheer brand loyalty, it doesn’t mean that you can’t drive one too, and still keep your street cred. Buick vehicles are made with the best materials, comfortable seating, and some new eye-catching and flashy technology, but most of these features are nothing new for the former “grown-ups only” brand. They’ve always used the best of the best, but now the outside matches what they’ve always been able to do with the interior. Play a game with yourself, try to spot the Buick on the road beside you, and try not to be shocked when you see what they’ve done.