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.