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Buick Bets on NCAA

Maker plans to highlight athletes who reach out to community.

by on Mar.15, 2011

Buick Vice President Tony DiSalle announces the launch of the Buick Human Highlight Reel - a collection of inspiring stories about athletes' efforts in their communities.

Speeches and Powerpoint presentations are the stuff automotive news conferences are normally made of.  So it came as a bit of a surprise to find some of General Motors’ top marketing officials washing the feet of some young schoolkids and then helping the children pick out new shoes.

But it was all part of an event designed to reveal the Buick brand’s new “Human Highlight Reel,” a project that will be part of the new tie-in between the GM luxury marque and the NCAA.

The maker has signed on as the core automotive sponsor of the college sports association, but the goal is to sidestep the usual clichés that mark sports tie-ins, explains Craig Bierley, Buick’s marketing director.

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“Rather than the typical play-of-the-week highlight,” he explained to, “We want to tell the story of NCAA athletes that have gone on to do good things in the community.”

Those include Avery Jukes, who was a college basketball star, in 2010, and who went on to create a charitable foundation operating in both the U.S. and his native Uganda.

Then there’s Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme, a former University of North Dakota player who’s Samaritan’s Feet charity hopes to provide 10 million children with shoes.  The news conference was followed by a program to provide shoes to 150 needy Detroit youngsters.


Will Buick Beat Lexus?

Once down-and-out, GM’s mid-lux brand now on a roll.

by on Mar.08, 2011

The new Buick Verano makes its debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

When General Motors went into bankruptcy, two years ago, the maker was pressed to eliminate its weakest North American brands.  There were few surprises when it decided to drop Saab, Hummer and even Saturn, but the choice of Pontiac came as a shock, as most observers expected the troubled GM to drop Buick, instead.

There was a time when Buick was considered, a “doctor’s car,” the brand wasn’t quite as flashy but was nearly as exclusive as Cadillac.  Indeed, it was equally popular abroad, with dedicated fans including the Bulgari family, famous for their jewelry, and even the last emperor of China.  And, indeed, that’s likely why the maker survived – and now appears to be on its way to a stunning turnaround.

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The rapidly-expanding Buick line-up is showing a surprising resilience, last month outselling the luxury market’s long-time leader, Lexus, as well as every other high-line brand but BMW – which beat Buick by only 800 units.  Obviously, one month does not a turnaround make, but considering the huge plunge the brand had taken over the last two decades, the February numbers are causing many a double-take.

All the more considering Buick nearly didn’t make it through 2009.