The “elderly” Buick brand set to change customers’ perception image

The Buick brand is a popular one among customers with a respectable age, but the division intends to change the way people see it.

General Motors’ Buick division is not quite known for their “youthful” models, as its brand image is somehow more traditional and towards the comfort idea. At least this is the customers’ perception, “that Buick is for older people. We have a lot of upside here,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick and GMC marketing for GM. “The issue has not been our products.” But the statistics come to support this perception, as the average Buick buyer is 66 years old, according to San Diego-based consulting firm Strategic Vision Inc. By contrast, BMW’s average buyer is 50 and Lexus, also known for comfort like Buick, has an average owner age of 59.

Buick is trying to freshen up its image with the LaCrosse sedan, showed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be its first new-model debut there in five years, and “That’s a Buick?” advertising campaign shows clearly the brand’s future intentions. But it is not going to be easy, as Buick has only a 1.3 percent market share in the US but 4 percent in China, the world’s largest auto market, where 80 percent of Buicks are sold. “Buick stands for comfort and is known by older generations,” said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision. “If they want to attract people from more lively brands, they need to talk to a different kind of buyer.”

In an attempt to increase its sales in states like California, where it has a market share of less than 0.5 percent, Buick is bringing the Cascada convertible early next year. “That’s the hottest part of the US market and could help the division”, said Mike Jackson, an analyst with IHS Automotive. He also said a new mid-sized SUV called the Envision will come from China next year.

Via Bloomberg