Buick Refreshes Its Branding to Appear More Refined and Modern

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Now consumers who really believe “That’s Not a Buick,” in line with the brand’s long-running marketing campaign, may have a point: Buicks won’t say “Buick” on them for much longer.

GM’s fabled near-luxury marque will remove its brand name from its 2019 model-year vehicle line, the Detroit News reported, starting with the refreshed, China-manufactured Envision crossover this spring.

Buick logo 2018What will remain is the Buick tri-shield logo without the name, both on the front grille and on the back of each vehicle.

Buick is counting on research that it conducted at the beginning of 2017 that established 73% of those surveyed were able to connect that logo with the Buick brand without the wordmark or lock-up version of the logo and name to jog their memory, the report said.

GM may feel reassured by what happened when it toyed with the Cadillac logo several years ago, removing the iconic laurel branches that surrounded the Cadillac shield. Consumers accepted it fine.

Now it’s Buick’s turn to refresh its visual identity. The brand would like to continue to distance itself from its traditional identification as the vehicle of choice for the over-50 crowd by modernizing its look to appeal to millennials and newcomers to the brand.

As noted in a press release,

Nearly 60 percent of all Encore buyers come from outside General Motors. These new-to-Buick customers are increasingly return buyers, with nearly half of them likely to trade in their vehicle to buy another Buick SUV. In addition to attracting new customers to the Buick brand, the 2019 Envision is designed with these existing Encore customers’ evolving needs and preferences in mind.

The Envision’s exterior has a sculpted front fascia, new grille and headlamps that align with the new face of Buick. Crisp horizontal lines on the front create a more premium look and feel, while redesigned taillamps, reflectors and side markers give the back end a wider and more athletic stance. New optional 19-inch wheels provide an expressive and distinct profile.

A new pricing approach is revealing: “All trim levels have been adjusted toward the heart of the premium compact SUV market, further positioning the Envision to capture the interest of loyal Buick owners looking to move up to the next-sized compact SUV and conquest buyers who are considering Buick for the first time.”

“The Envision brings a tremendous growth opportunity for the Buick brand,” noted Sam Russell, Buick marketing director. “The new pricing strategy not only puts the Envision in the heart of the industry’s largest segment, but also better positions it in relation to Encore, our top-selling nameplate.”

In recent years Buick has introduced a number of SUVs and crossovers in a bid to appeal to millennials and to escape that identification, even as it has dramatically overhauled and slimmed down its sedan lineup.

With Super Bowl spots, celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and attractive vehicles ranging from its well-received SUVs to a new convertible, “That’s Not a Buick” certainly helped in recent years as the brand survived the remake of GM’s brand architecture post-recession and became a dependable player in the company’s US lineup.

So far this year, in what is a down year overall for the U.S. light-vehicle market, Buick sales have declined by only about 4%, compared with declines of more than 7% for GMC and nearly 14% for Chevrolet, and a 7% boost for Cadillac.

The brand also is trying to build up its Avenir trim line in its vehicles as an important premium sub-brand, based on a sleek concept vehicle that Buick introduced three years ago. The move basically mimics what GM has been able to accomplish already with the Denali high-end trim line for its GMC trucks and SUVs; GMCs typically are sold alongside Buicks in US showrooms.

Buick also has become GM’s best-selling brand in China—where its cars also don’t say Buick— selling 1.18 million vehicles there last year.

 

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