By Joe Wiesenfelder on September 3, 2009
As we reported earlier, GM deep-sixed a new crossover model just weeks after announcing it would join the Buick lineup. We asked Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick-GMC, what that leaves for Buick. She said the five-seater — which was never named — failed in the eyes of media and Buick owners because of execution, not concept. “I do think we need a vehicle that size," she said, "but it can’t be a rebadged Saturn Vue.”
Docherty said Buick plans to build a “baby Enclave,” which will have five seats but is different than the mothballed Vue clone. Her crystal ball says Buick's lineup circa 2011 will include, at minimum the following three sedans and two crossovers.
"I'm not saying we can't bring other things into the portfolio," Docherty said, "but in terms of the transformation taking place at this brand, I think this is an awfully good start." One of four remaining GM brands, Buick takes the premium space between Chevrolet and Cadillac, with Acura and Lexus as stated target competitors. "We need to hit every entry out of the park," she said. "It needs to be world-class. That [Vue-based crossover] wasn't perceived as being world-class, so we made the decision to take it out."
Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, leads the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe