NAIAS stand signals Buick is going after more affluent buyers image

Just like in the world of fashion, appearance can be everything in the auto industry as well – and the latest example is Buick, which for the first time gets its own stand in the “luxury pod” at Detroit’s auto show.

General Motors has relegated Buick to a more upscale position to reflect its newly found upscale ambitions, on its never-ending quest of getting in touch with a younger and affluent car buyer segment – just like it did in China, currently the brand’s No. 1 market. And besides moving to the premium neighborhood, Buick wants to also attract attention with the design of the new space. Buick has left its Cinderella corner position in the General Motors show area of the Cobo Center where it was sharing the floor with Chevrolet and GMC. It’s now closer to the center of the hall, between Infiniti and Acura, and now rubbing shoulders with Cadillac. The design of the space, which has shrunk by 3,000 square feet, was penned by Chicago-based exhibit house Czarnowski and has as the centerpiece a set of swooping arches that create an amphitheater-like zone. There’s also a monochromatic vibe of whites, grays and silvers that surround an 82.5-foot wide high-resolution LED video screen.

The game changing push towards new client boundaries came last year in March when GM lifted Duncan Aldred to vice president of Buick-GMC. Dissatisfied with the last Detroit exhibit, he joined Cadillac in GM’s bold move to allow two of its brands to go their own way and have separate spaces from the corporate conglomerate. With GM offering select visitors this week, many also saw first hand how much work goes in setting up the exhibition space in time for the first days of any International auto shows – with Detroit’s media previews starting early in the morning next Monday.