Good news for GM: it’s not just the Chinese who like Buick. Per GM’s own market research, the average age of a Buick buyer has dropped from 72 to 65. The reason is cars like the new LaCrosse, which has Lexus squarely in its sights.
The demographic for LaCrosse buyers is even more promising, with thirty three percent falling into the “under 55” category. This is double the number of younger buyers than the outgoing Buick Regal was able to draw in, and GM is taking this into consideration when designing new models. If the upcoming Regal GS hits the right marks for performance, features and pricing, Buick may be able to pull in buyers who never envisioned themselves in a Buick.
I’ve driven the 2010 LaCrosse, and was suitably impressed at the build quality and features. The interior workmanship was certainly the equal of anything from Lexus or BMW, and the electronics are clearly aimed to draw in younger buyers. How many 65 year olds, for example, will use a built in flash drive to upload music?
Where Buick still suffers, in my opinion, is handling. No one expects the LaCrosse to handle like an M5; on the other hand, it should be firm enough to be on par with a Lexus ES. While I haven’t driven the two side by side, my initial impression is that the Buick is still tuned for comfort at the expense of handling. Buyers in the 65 and older demographic may like this, but those of us in the under 55 demographic still want a sedan that handles.