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GM's Buick Conjures Earl's Ghost To Pitch Cars

Reuters

September 16, 2002

By Michael Ellis

DETROIT - Borrowing a page from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," General Motors Corp. will have the Ghost of Buick Past visit golfer Tiger Woods.

GM has conjured the ghost of Harley Earl, the famed car design chief whose styles set the standards for the 1940s and 1950s, to team with Buick longtime pitchman Woods in a series of television commercials debuting this week.

"Once upon a time, I designed the cars that defined an entire era of American style," Earl, played by veteran actor John Diehl, says in the first of five new commercials.

"My name's Harley Earl, and I've come back to build you a great car," he says before vanishing when Woods investigates voices coming from his garage.

Buick officials acknowledge that Earl may be unknown to all but the most avid car fans. But the dapper character, dressed in two-tone shoes and topped by a fedora, is meant to convey that Buick still represents the same qualities of luxury, comfort and power that made the car division so popular in its glory days decades ago.

In more recent years, Buick has developed the reputation as the maker of an old man's car. But the Earl campaign offers the promise that great things lie ahead.

Beginning with the Rainier sport utility vehicle in the fall of 2003, Buick will try to transform its aging image by introducing a new vehicle every year for the following four years.

"Buicks were vehicles that people aspired to own, whether people could realistically afford them or not," Buick advertising director Randall Tallerico told reporters at a briefing in Detroit. "Yet somehow, in our recent past, we lost that aspirational image among my generation, among the baby-boomers."

The average age of a Buick buyer is now 62, and that's down from a few years ago because of the new Buick Rendezvous mid-size sport utility vehicle, which has captured more younger buyers. GM executives have acknowledged that Buick's long-time buyers are literally dying off.

Buick's U.S. sales peaked at 941,611 in 1984, and last year, the 100-year old brand sold fewer than half that amount, 405,678 vehicles.

The ads introduce Buick's new tagline, "The Spirit of American Style" which replaces the short-lived "It's All Good" tagline that Buick debuted in April last year. Some advertising columnists criticized "It's All Good," slang among teens for something that is cool, as aimed at too young an audience.

The television commercials, directed by Tony Scott, who helmed the hit films "Top Gun," "Enemy of the State" and "Crimson Tide," are part of a broader advertising campaign, the most expensive Buick has undertaken in nearly three years.

Buick spent more than $260 million for advertising and marketing in 2001, according to CMR/TNS.

The new campaign, which includes a glossy 12-page magazine insert, was created by Michigan-based McCann-Erickson Detroit, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos Inc.

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Tiger Teams Up With Ghost

New Buick ads pair golfer with legendary GM designer Harley Earl

The Detroit News

September 16, 2002

By Anita Lienert / Special to The Detroit News

DETROIT -- In a bid to attract younger buyers, Buick launches today its most aggressive national advertising campaign in 10 years, including commercials that pair golf great Tiger Woods with the ghost of Harley Earl -- the legendary General Motors design boss who died in 1969.

Hollywood director Tony Scott, known for such movies as "Top Gun" and "Crimson Tide," directed the five new Buick television spots in a campaign called "The Spirit of American Style."

Buick's national advertising agency, McCann-Erickson Detroit, is responsible for the new campaign. It will appear on the season debut of "Survivor" and the Emmys.

Randall Tallerico, Buick's national advertising director, said the focus on a long-dead designer, who in the commercials wears a fedora, two-tone shoes and a '40s-era suit with wide lapels, is "not nostalgia."

"Our new ad campaign reaches back into the past to leap forward into the future," Tallerico said.

The goal: "To reach out to 45- to 59-year-olds. Our greatest opportunity for growth lies in the boomer segment," he said.

The average Buick buyer is about 65 years old. AutoPacific, a California automotive consulting firm, reports that Buick has the oldest demographics of any automotive brand, consistently ranking in the top five choices among the oldest auto buyers.

The GM division has made some inroads in capturing a younger market, especially with its 2002 Buick Rendezvous, a crossover vehicle that has been drawing buyers with an average age of 52, according to GM. The Rendezvous has helped Buick increase U.S. unit sales by 11 percent this year.

But the big question is whether baby boomers, born between 1946-64, will even remember -- or relate to -- Earl, who was born in Hollywood in 1893 and retired from GM in 1958.

"Buick screams maturity," said George Peterson, AutoPacific president.

"Buick isn't on the radar of baby boomers. You have to position the vehicles to where it's OK for a boomer to buy a Buick and you have to have a message that's going to hook them. Around here, we're looking at each other saying 'What person between 45 and 59 knows who Harley Earl was -- unless they are an auto fanatic?' "

The 6-foot-4-inch designer, who started out building custom cars for Hollywood actors such as Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, was a flamboyant character who created the first significant corporate styling department -- GM's Art & Colour Section in 1927 -- along with such automotive icons as tail fins. On a personal note, Earl was a snappy dresser who was said to own 100,000 suits.

His design credits include the 1927 LaSalle, a smaller companion to Cadillac, the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, and the 1938 Buick Y-Job, considered the first masterpiece in a new automotive art form that became known as "dream cars."

Earl still "casts the longest shadow in the auto-design field," wrote Mike Lamm and Dave Holls in the 1996 book "A Century of Automotive Style."

"He's by far the greatest figure in the industry, the giant among giants, super ego among sizable egos, larger than life, legendary."

Dave Moore, McCann-Erickson executive creative director, said GM appears to be taking more risks in its advertising lately, along with focusing on an approach that highlights the division, instead of individual models.

"I don't think there's a thing we're talking about today that would have made it through the old system," Moore said.

The new Buick ads seem to prove that point.

One broadcast spot is an unexpected cross between the movies "Field of Dreams" and "The Sixth Sense." Veteran film actor John Diehl, who plays Earl in the commercials, appears out of the mist with a group of ghostly golfers in old-fashioned argyle sweaters and knickers, who watch Woods tee off.

The golf legend doesn't appear to notice them, but as he jumps in his Buick Rendezvous to leave the course, he whispers, "I see dead people" -- words used by the tormented young boy in the M. Night Shyamalan thriller.

"Tiger came up with that tag line himself," said GM spokesman Pete Ternes. "It shows a lighter side of Buick and a lighter side of Tiger."

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> .....he whispers, "I see dead people" -- words used by the tormented young boy in the M. Night Shyamalan thriller.

"Tiger came up with that tag line himself," said GM spokesman Pete Ternes. "It shows a lighter side of Buick and a lighter side of Tiger."

</div></div>

Yes, let's make humorous references to aging and death in an ad for cars largely aimed at an older demographic. What a great idea!

It's not like it's going to further remind anyone of how dated and passe the marketing concept of the Buick "brand" is, right? (Boy I miss the "rolleyes" graemlin!)

Unless and until there is product to point at, the marketing-savvy youth of this country will (I believe) immediately dismiss <span style="font-style: italic">anything</span> meant to imbue Buicks with a youthful appeal. IMHO, this strategy even fails at that.

At the same time, dragging out Harley Earl for a group of people who (almost to a person) have no idea who he is or what he did can only be counterproductive. The lead designer of the B-58 and the champion of the tailfin (yes, I know what else he did, does <span style="font-style: italic">your</span> kid????) will not exactly be the kind of hero to 30-somethings that, say, Nissan's Mr. K or Steve Saleen is!

Buick, find a hero--not a ghost!

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Guest my3buicks

Dave, if you read the above posts you would see Buick wants the baby boomers not the kids. Buick has "ALWAYS" been aimed at the more mature/financially secure buyers as a whole(I know, GN, and a few others don't fit that mold). People Don't really need to know exactly who Mr Earl is, just that Buick is on it's way back to the Glory of the past. Buicks worst enemies seem to be Vintage Buick Collectors. Maybe we can give them a chance? They can't change overnight, and we can see they are working on Buick! Remember, they can't risk loosing there current buyers, by suddenly appealing to new buyers. It has to be a mix and a gradual change. I for one, think the 2003 Park Ave is super sharp, the Rendezvous and the Rainier are both top of my list for my next vehicle. At 42, I can help bring the age percent down.

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Keith,

You're right about not abandoning the old market while searching for the nw. Olds paid the ultimate price for <span style="font-style: italic">exactly</span> that mistake. That's why the "I see dead people" line seems like one that will backfire to me.

I'm 44, which is the (by numer of individuals) the peak of the baby boomer age. I was born the year Mr. Earl retired. The oldest of the boomers were 11 that year. When they got take Driver's Ed 5-6 years later, Harley Earl was a massively passe figure already.

He may have invented GM and automotive design as we know it, but that was beyond the memory of the people targeted

by the ad.

If you want to captivate people of our age, use figure that were involved in the cars we admired in our youth. I think if GM dug up (oops, bad term to use there!) Larry Shinoda, Bill Mitchell and Zora Arkus-Duntov they'd get a lot more milage out of this campaign. Surely there has to be some way to reference the Rivera and the GSX that'd reflect favorably on the Ranier or the Century.

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GM Press Release:

For Release Sept. 16, 2002

Tiger Woods And Harley Earl Reintroduce Buick's "Spirit Of American Style" In New Advertising Campaign

DETROIT - Buick's established role as the automotive leader in premium American style is reaffirmed in an all-new television and print advertising campaign. Debuting the week of Sept. 16 with the full body of television work airing on the Sept. 22 Emmy Awards show, the campaign features Tiger Woods and "brings back" Harley Earl, the father of modern automotive design, to personify the division's new tagline: "The Spirit of American Style."

"The intent of this new campaign is to blend style and humor and draw upon inherent strengths of the Buick brand," said Randall Tallerico, Buick's advertising director. "Our goal for the creative treatments is to draw consumers in to take a new look at Buick, to understand where we've been and where we're going."

To reassert its styling philosophy, Buick creates the persona of the auto industry's first design chief, Harley Earl. He returns to take stock in today's models, such as the highly successful Buick Rendezvous, and suggests that great things are to come.

Veteran stage and film actor John Diehl plays Earl in the commercials. Diehl is probably best known for his appearance on "Miami Vice" as the Hawaiian shirt-clad Detective Larry Zito. More recently, Diehl played a surgeon in the film "Pearl Harbor" and appeared as Ben Gilroy on FX's critically-acclaimed television series "The Shield."

Famed director Tony Scott directed the five new television spots. Scott is known for a number of top films, including "Top Gun," "Spy Game," "Enemy of the State" and "Crimson Tide." The new Buick commercials are:

1) "The Ghost in the Garage"

In this ad that re-introduces Earl, the famed designer walks through a garage - actually Tiger Woods' garage - filled with current and classic Buicks telling a "ghost story."

2) "Tiger Versus History"

Shot at Florida's Grand Cypress Golf Course, Earl brings three golfers from the past to see "the kid" during a practice round. Initially unimpressed, the golfers - dressed in Plus-4s - disappear after Tiger crushes a drive. As the commercial concludes, Earl proclaims, "Buick. Always has been, always will be, the official car of golf."

3) "The Haunted Test Track"

Filmed on the California Motor Speedway, Earl explains why Buick put a 240-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine in the Regal which speeds toward and through him.

4) "Car of the Future"

Set in a 1950's Autorama, an event that Earl created, the famed designer shows a crowd the car of the future - a 2003 Buick Rendezvous. The crowd looks on quizzically as he explains the vehicle's innovative capabilities.

5) "Driving Mr. Earl"

In Buick's statement on luxury, Earl rides in the back of a new Park Avenue Ultra with the family dog and points out the finer points of "my most decadent design yet."

The new campaign was created by Buick's national advertising agency, McCann-Erickson Detroit under the direction of Executive Creative Director Dave Moore.

Earl, whose father was a coachbuilder from Michigan, was born in Hollywood in 1893. After building a successful business that offered custom made-bodies for cars and trucks tailored for Hollywood stars, Earl was lured to Detroit after a meeting on a Los Angeles golf course and was put in charge of what would become GM's Art & Colour Section. His 20-year tenure at GM has numerous design highlights, including tail fins and the first dream car, the Buick Y-Job.

Buick, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2003, is buoyed by recent sales successes. In addition to a significant rise in sales over 2001, Rendezvous is continuing to sell at a blistering pace.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> </div></div> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> </div></div>

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Guest my3buicks

Just saw the commercial # 1 (Tiger's Garage), impressive commercial, if the others are this good, they will at least get peoples attention. My partner who is not a car person saw it earlier in the day and commented on it catching his attention.

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Skyking,

According to www.boomerbaby.com (Is there anything that doesn't have a web site????), a "Baby Boomer" is someone who is born between 1946 and 1964. The largest number of births that occurred during those years occurred in 1958.

Of course, these <span style="font-style: italic">are</span> the children of the returning veterans, most of whom didn't get back home until early 1946. These things take time, you know! wink.gif

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While the ad campaign sounds fun and interesting, underneath the special effects is the underlying message that Buicks appeal to guys with two tone shoes and snappy hats, in other words, OLD GUYS!!!!

Buick appears to be waking up, but most of their current product is still for the VERY mature person. In fact, most of Buick's current clientele are downsizing to wheelchairs. Buick has got to have exciting product AND exciting ads.

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...Anonymous said: "Most of Buick's current clientele are downsizing to wheelchairs"...

What a hoot (GRIN)

I too was born in 1958…

The year Harley Earl retired...

His influence could still be seen in the cars I remember from my early years.

His memory will live on at my house I named my oldest Son "Harley" after him!

The automobile was his canvas… where he created the rolling artwork we still lust over.

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I was the wiseguy above who said Buick's clientele is downsizing to wheelchairs. I was born in 1959. I have a Buick and I want a classic Buick, but my comments stand as written. I just wanted you guys to know I was no Gen X'er saying it.

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Just saw my first "Harley Earl" ad (Tiger finds him in the garage). Guess where...The History Channel, of course! smile.gif

The actor looks better than any picture of Mr. Earl I've ever seen, and there's no mention of the past in the ad that I could glean (although I missed the first 5-6 seconds). This guy could be Mr. Clean or Dr. Olds for all anyone unfamiliar with GM history would know.

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This is some brilliant work from the always-spot-on guys at AUTOEXTREMIST.COM:

(Three thumbs down): Buick, GM, McCann-Erickson Detroit. The new "Spirit Of American Style" advertising campaign for Buick is such a disappointment that we don't know where to begin. First of all, being ex-advertising creatives, it pains us to have to have to be critical of an ad agency that is obviously trying so desperately to "move the needle" and create something - anything - that will: 1. Establish a distinctive presence and image for the Buick brand that will allow it to stand out from the rest of the pack, and 2. Capture some of the magic that once was such a glorious chapter in GM's history and put it to work on behalf of new and future Buick products. We heartily applaud the cojones it took for McCann to get this campaign through the GM system, and we applaud the creative vision to use Harley Earl in the ads, but that's where our praise has to stop. Harley Earl was a giant in this town and a larger-than-life character who literally forged GM's design leadership with his bare hands. Earl not only created the whole art of Design in Detroit and made it an integral part of the automobile business, he was one of the main reasons GM broke away from the pack in the '50s and established itself as the leader of the industry. And, as if to add an exclamation point to his remarkable career, Earl's star pupil Bill Mitchell continued his legacy and kept GM at the front for another 20 years after him. But the key thing to remember about Harley Earl is that although he did some magnificent Buick show cars like the Y-Job and the LeSabre, he was not linked to the Buick brand more so than to any other GM nameplates. Far from it, as a matter of fact. Most historians would argue that he is more famous for the development of the original Corvette than any other GM car. We could get into some executional quibbles of this new campaign too - like the fact that the authentic GM historical footage is far more compelling than any actor playing the Harley Earl role could be (we find the use of the actor to be insulting to the legacy of Earl more than anything else). And why, oh, why do Buick executives insist on stuffing Tiger Woods into a spot where he has no connection to what's going on whatsoever and no business being in the spot at all? Ladies and gentlemen, please get over the fact that you've committed a ton of money to this superstar golfer and feel the need to "use him" for no good reason. Either craft a separate mini-campaign for him or just give it a rest altogether, because what you're doing now just makes you look foolish. And one more thing - the fact that the the sensational LaCrosse Concept is in the glossy print insert that goes with the television - a car that GM couldn't see fit to build - is just one more indication of the total confusion generated by this new campaign. If anything, this new divisional ad campaign for Buick is woefully misguided and a waste of a golden opportunity. It could have been a spectacular corporate image campaign for General Motors and GM design - a "statement" campaign that would feature some of GM's best concept cars of the most recent major auto shows, coupled with hints of some of its visionary production and concept cars to come. It could have been an elegant image campaign that would have provided a wonderful juxtaposition to the frenetic (but highly effective) corporate retail "overdrive" spots that have been dominating the airwaves for almost a year now. But it was not to be. In the end, we're left with one particularly offensive image of this campaign that made our skin crawl: Harley Earl's signature gray fedora is a running ingredient in all of these new Buick ads, and one print ad goes so far as to have it draped on the left front fender of a Rendezvous - as if Harley Earl's legacy had a hand in its design. The Rendezvous? Harley Earl would take one look at that cobbled-up SUV and puke. We have to believe Harley is surely spinning in his grave right about now...

I think that says it all...

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Guest my3buicks

Did you submit an add campaign also and not get it? Sounds like alot of sour grapes to me. I have seen two of the commercial thus far, and as a Buick Fan, Buick Collector, late end baby boomer, and one of some social and cultural standing, I find the commercials well done, on target, and a nice change from normal go fast/screech, drink beer, sexy bodies, commercials, that every other company uses. These catch your eye because they are different, have some glamour of the old days. I guess the word would be they have some "CLASS". Which, by the way, is the type of people Buick wants, people with taste and class.

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Please note: as I said at the top, it is merely cut and pasted from AUTOEXTREMIST.com. They are one of the most refreshing voices in the automotive world at the moment--they call 'em like they see 'em. They have the experience to back up their words, and they are excellent critical thinkers. You certainly don't have to agree with them.

I think their point is that these ads could have (and should have) been much more meaningful to Buick and the heritage that GM is attempting to cash in on. It is a missed opportunity to show the world what they can do. Instead, it becomes an homage to mediocrity--the products they are selling as Buicks today are not the same as the Buicks of lore. For 10 years or more, GM has not only dropped the ball, but they completely lost track of it. The Germans and Japanese are eating Buick alive, and I'll wager that nobody under 60 would consider owning anything on a Buick showroom floor today (even my 64 year old father calls them "old man cars"). I'm 32, and unless they build the LaCrosse or Bengal roadster, I won't be shopping at Buick for anything newer than my beloved '41 Century. And you KNOW that Tiger Woods doesn't drive a Buick (though he probably keeps one around to prevent any "image" problems).

I just thought the Autoextremist bit was relevant. Like I said, you definitely don't have to agree. Having seen one of the spots, I thought it was neat, but I also wondered how Buicks, Harley Earl and Tiger Woods were related. The message they sent to me, as a consumer and Buick fan, was that they don't know what they're doing, but they're spending money so we should be impressed.

Well, if you want to impress me, spend the money on product, make it a 21st Century interpretation of my '41 Century (fast, luxurious and with standard-setting styling), and I'll be there. But if it's another G-body with a fish-face and a 40-year-old engine, forget about it.

Sorry to be so long winded--I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Regards.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> .....he was not linked to the Buick brand more so than to any other GM nameplates. </div></div>

Ummm.... Has anybody heard of Ned Nickles?

Just asking.

-----------------------------------

For the record, I agree heartily with autoextremist.com in admiring GM's attempt to link their curent vehicles to their past. It just seems be a little shallow and thoughtless in the execution.

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I could not believe the press release of this ad campaign I received via email the other day. I have a keyword search for the word Buick on press releases and news that AOL monitors.

While I have not seen any of the commercials yet (I spend more time on the internet now than watching TV), there is nothing in the press releases that is going to interest me in going to look at new Buicks and possibly buying a new one. The ad campaign sounds pretty ridiculous to me. I have finally made up my mind that Buick and GM have totally lost it. Buick will be going the same way as Oldsmobile in the future.

Buick's biggest problem is they do not have any product that anyone (loyal and new customers in the numbers they use to buy) cares to buy. A public relations and ad campaign cannot fix that problem in the short term.

I would have been interested in replacing my 1997 Park Avenue Ultra purchased new about now. What am I suppose to buy? I saw the 2003 Park Avenue Ultra in Kokomo. I was not impressed. The body is the same as my 1997. The engine is the same 240 HP Supercharged engine. I do not like chrome wheels and that is the only option my 97 does not have. I do not like white cars including extra cost Diamond White Metallic. I think the idea of portholes on a modern Buick is kind of ridiculous but if it had to be done for nostalgic purposes the least they could have done is put 4 portholes on each side of the largest and most expensive Buick made today as was done in the past. 3 portholes on a Buick indicates to me is that it is a small series Buick. Can you believe the Park Avenue Product Manager admits they put 3 on each side because it was a six cylinder. When Buick starting putting portholes on its cars they were all straight eights and V-8s only in the large and small series Buicks. Get your Buick history correct Ms. Smith. They make a big deal how the car's interior has faux walnut trim. Faux means fake plastic. My 97 Ultra has real wood trim on all 4 interior doors and some kind of faux plastic wood grain on the dash. Big deal, they changed the grill and the interior instrumentation. Looked pretty close to what I have that is 6 years old already.

I would be ready to consider a Ranier right now with a V-8 engine and the extended length body. Cannot find out if the combination is going to be available and was confused by information I read here previously. I can get a GMC Envoy XL now and waiting to find out when that will be available with the 5.3 V-8. If that does not happen, I can always consider a GMC Denali or Cadillac Escalade. Then I say to myself why should I be loyal to GM when GM was not loyal to me during my ownership of a poor quality 97 Ultra with poor dealership service locally and where I bought the car new? I have to drive 55 miles, one way, to get what use to be true Buick sales and service at one of three Buick only dealerships left in Massachusetts. Forgetaboutit!

I thought I would like a Regal GS Abooud edition. But then that car is smaller and been around since 1997 1/2. When asked by my mother, sister, and girlfriend what new car they should consider, I advised them to buy a Regal GS. They all asked "How much do they cost?" I said MSRP loaded was $29,000. They all said Forgetaboutit. It's an old person's car and that is too much money for a car to replace the poor quality 88 Pk Ave, 88 Regal 2 Seater coupe, and 95 Century Custom each had purchased new and still remembered their awfull service and product quality experiences.

Forgetabout the Century! That is an old fogey's car with a Chevy engine in it. Buick does sell a ton of them though to people who do not even know what a Buick Century was in Buick's glorious past. Same deal with the similar Chevy Impala. Nothing like what an Impala is suppose to be.

Forgetabout the LeSabre too. Now that is another old fogey's car along with the base Park Avenue. My grandfather's 1969 LeSabre Custom 400 and his last Buick a 1977 LeSabre Custom were the two worse Buicks he ever owned. They were nothing like his two favorites a 1956 Super 4 door Riviera hardtop and 1963 Electra 225 4 door hardtop. The current crop of LeSabres are selling well but do not appeal to me.

And last but not least we have the Rendezvous, Buick's darling child, that is saving them from extinction, when you read the monthly sales reports. Forgetaboutit! Another Chevy engine! So what, says GM Powertrain? Does GM still have 55 to 60% of the market? No. Only about 25 to 28% the last time I checked and really not gaining any back with all the failed plans to do so. Well there is part of your answer. Buicks sold when they were Buicks through and through! The Rendezvous serves no purpose in my transportation needs. Cannot tow with it and already have the minivan the Buick should be competing with but has chosen all along to not per GM, a 2001 Chrysler Town & Country Limited. Wow, Limited a name that use to mean something at Buick in the forties and fifties!

How old am I? 48 going on 49. When I was shopping to buy my 1997 Ultra 5 years ago, the salesman did not think I fit the profile of a Buick buyer (Another problem needing fixing!) even though I told him what I wanted and he had the first car I had seen that I was interested in (after 6 months of looking), with all the options I wanted, all except color! He had just started on the job and was a star Chevy truck salesperson. Egads! I told him I needed to see the Heads-up Display option as I had never seen it, wanted to know how it worked to see if I truly wanted it. Well he stumbled through the demo and finally figured out how it worked. And guess what, I do like something. My HUD!

I would have liked to buy a 100th anniversary Buick much like I have always wanted a 1953 Skylark convertible which was the 50th annivesary car for Buick.

Oh well, with nothing on the horizon worth waiting for to buy from Buick or Cadillac, I guess I will be seriously considering returning to Mercedes Benz when the new E class comes out for my sedan in the stable (I had a wonderful first year 1986 300E which I drove 15 years and 165,000 trouble free miles with wonderful dealer service) or I might even consider a BMW which I never owned. One of our big Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers we work with as a chapter now sells more BMWs than his GM brands!

Buick and GM need to wake up before its too late and fix their problems instead of glossing over them with a dumb media campaign with a dead person's ghost and a top notch golfer that personally drive a Cadillac Escalade since the company that sponsers him has nothing he is interested in except the Bengal concept car which was cancelled!

1997 Buick Park Avenue Ultra owner

and former owner of:

1976 Buick Skylark 2 door coupe purchased new

1981 Buick Riviera purchased used

and a bunch of other cars before and after including:

1971 Chevy Vega (new)

1973 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup (inheirted)

1977 Chevy Caprice Wagon (inheirted)

1980 Mercedes 240D (used)

1986 Mercedes 300E (new)

1988 Chevy Celebrity Wagon (new)

1988 Buick Park Avenue (inheirted)

1990 Buick Reatta Convertible (used)

1991 Buick Reatta Coupe (used)

1993 Oldmobile 98 (new)

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I too am getting ready to split from Buick and GM entirely based on product quality. I have a Regal that has left a lot to be desired. I have been a Buick guy practically since birth. In my family now is a Toyota Avalon and a LeSabre bought within a year of each other. They both have about the same amount of miles, but the Buick just needed its transmission replaced and the Toyota has been virtually flawless.

I still want my classic Buicks, but my next car will probably be my first Japanese car. frown.gif I'm not real pleased about it, but I need a more reliable car.

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I have not seen the ads and -- without cable -- am unlikely to. I did, however, receive an e-mail from my older "boomer" sister in Alaska. She's very particular and has great taste. Oh, and she has no idea who Harley Earl was. Still, she e-mailed to say that she had seen a new Buick ad with the ghost of the old designer and that it was "great". If nothing else, looks like the ads might generate a little greater awareness of the Buick brand.

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Personally, I love 'em!

I was born in 1955, and I've become VERY tired of every commercial for every conceivable product being shot and edited the same way, specifically, aimed at the screaming "Gen X" or "extreme" generation. And, yes, I work in the media biz, and I still don't like much of what I see.

Usually these commercials feature little more than screaming head-banging music, while some kid with tatt [color:\\"red\\"] oos and a scraggly attempt to grow a beard dressed in inner-city gang wear and a turned-around baseball cap, leaning over and screaming into a camera with a wide-angle lense opened all the way, flashing quasi-gang signs with his hands. As if that is not insulting enough, the characters either morph into something else, or go running across a set making 20 to 30 foot leaps that are supposed to be believeable, copied right out of a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Kung Fu movie rip-off.

These commercialls have all become loud, obnoxious and in-your-face, with an image (still or moving) rarely on screen for more than 1-2 seconds. That means in a 30-second spot, I'm screamed at, basically told I'm not important because I don't dress like I came from the 'hood, and have 15-25 images flashed in front of me in rapid succession like some sort of Chinese brain-washing technique.

Now all of a sudden, a well-dressed actor stands in front of the best-looking cars Buick has made in years and actually TALKS--to ME...imagine that! No gang-banging music, inner-city tattooed 20-something reciting whatever lines or slogan he was paid to say while trying to sound convincing, no gang signs or gang lingo, and images of a product that actually stays on the screen long enough for me to look at the product. Wow, what a difference.

If that is uncool, or unhip, I'm "down for that."

Joe regal.jpg

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