Story and photo
by Jack Minor
Buick sales are up at Weld County Garage. That’s amazing for a line of cars the Federal government had targeted for elimination following their bailout of General Motors.
As part of the bailout, the government exerted some control over the company including the “firing” of CEO, Rick Wagoner.
Wagoner stated in a press release that administration officials “ask that I step down as CEO and so I have.” Following the bailout, the White House Auto Industry Taskforce closed several lines including Hummer and Pontiac. Buick was also targeted for elimination.
Warren Yoder, manager of Weld County Garage, said the primary reason Buick was kept had to do with overseas sales, “They were selling more Buicks in China than in the U.S.”
Since then Buick domestic sales have rebounded. Yoder said this year Buick sales are up 15 percent at the dealership and sales nationally are around 46 percent. “It’s one of the highest increases of any car line right now.”
Last year Buick was the fastest growing brand in the U.S. and has outsold Lexus in the first two months of this year.
Yoder attributes this to marketing of the brand. “For years the audience was a much older clientele.” He said that Buick had decided to go after a younger demographic. “None of the manufacturers want to have a line known as an ‘old person’s car.’” A recent ad for the Buick Regal Turbo features a man about 30 years old.
Yoder said government Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were going to transform the automobile sales market. “You’re going to see smaller cars coming for Buick and everybody, the fuel standards are tough.”
”The standards are going to force a change of thinking on the American buyer or else the auto companies are going to have to locate a new type of buyer.” Yoder went on to say, “The manufacturers know what the American public wants, but there are so many government mandates, that in order to meet the CAFE standards we will probably have to incentivize sales for smaller vehicles.”
Yoder said that the Buick Lucerne, the only large car in the class, will stop production at the end of the year; leaving only mid-size vehicles in the line. Buick executives say that around 40 % of new Buick buyers are trading in non-GM cars to get it.
Yoder said, “Buick has always been a really good car that is very dependable.” He went on to say that some people “feel that driving a Cadillac is a little ostentatious but Buick is a little more reserved and you get many of the same luxuries.”
Tags: American, Auto Industry, Buick Century, CAFE, car, CEO, dead, GM, government, Jack Minor, line, Local Buick, percent, press, primary, Warren Yoder, Weld County, weld county garage, White House, year