Why else would Buick claim that? Because of its little gamesmanship of sibling rivalry: the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which represents the sort of 360-degree transformation needed to turn your grandpa into the next Dancing With The Stars, er, star. GM may be down to just four brands, but it turns out, they’re still fighting with each other—and if Buick is going to retain its position as the “doctor’s car” (whatever that means these days) it’ll have to step up its game of LaCrosse.
The LaCrosse was supposed to be Buick’s opening salvo in its complete reinvention, debuting sleek new sheetmetal, a bold new “waterfall” grille, and clearing out all the Columbo DVDs and Ensure from the door pockets. It is a cushy, quiet, and perfectly fine luxury sedan. But evidently, Buick—and John Cafaro, GM designer—doesn’t think it’s “expressive” or “premium” enough.
“I can guarantee you the next LaCrosse we do is going to be way out there, really expressive and premium,” he says.
“We’re talking about doing architecture and putting enablers in place that keep us different from Cadillac to Buick to Chevy. It’s a trick, but we’re good at it. Not like the old days where you couldn’t tell the difference.”
Sound like the old GM? Once upon a time, an American nuclear family was expected to upgrade from a Chevrolet to a Pontiac, from an Oldsmobile to a Buick, finally resting on its Cadillac-wreathed laurels as the best ad man at Sterling Cooper. Today, with literally half of its brands dead, GM is most worried about overlapping between the Buick LaCrosse and new Chevrolet Impala—and there’s a few ways how its executives can prevent that. For one, the Impala is longer. The Impala won’t get an all-wheel-drive option like the LaCrosse, and it will get different equipment options on top of that. The two cars will be priced differently, with the LaCrosse priced closer to the Hyundai Azera/Toyota Avalon section of near-luxury cruisers, with the LaCrosse curently starting at $31,045.
“We’re not going to price-overlap them,” reassures Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.
Problem is, the new Impala is expected to start near that too. So GM will refresh the current LaCrosse in two years, and an entirely new model will drop in four years. Expect the new LaCrosse to be even higher than the current model—and the Impala will remain competitive, just as sharply as it looks.
Source: GM Authority