Saturday, July 18, 2009

Buick trying to get younger...marketing bullet please meet foot

Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal and I came across an article about GM trying to "breathe new life into it's profitable but slow-selling Buick line."

Buick hopes to attract a more affluent, younger demo. Currently, the average age of a Buick driver is around 70 years old. Tom Stephens, GM's Vice chairman of product development said that Buick is going for "the same person who would buy a Lexus" even though less than one percent of Lexus buyers considered Buick when shopping.

You don't need a crystal ball to see their future will not be bright as a result of this decision. However, I cannot say I'm shocked, this is GM after all. Oddly enough, Buick is one of their few profitable brands.

I look at it like this. My grandfather drove a Buick. Lot's have grandpa's drive Buick's. It has been this way for a long time. Therefore, changing Buick's public perception is unlikely. Make that very unlikely. Furthermore, this becomes an extremely bad decision because in the coming years, there will be more grandpa's than ever as the baby boomers gorw older. More potential grandpa's would have meant more potential Buick buyers.

Buick, your brand characteristics (story) are older yes, but also mature, classic, and rich. Sure it's not young and sexy, but you're actually profitable, and I don't know anything that's sexier than that.

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