Last night’s weekly #GMChat was centered on one thing – the recently announced 260hp boosted Buick Verano, complete with a manual transmission (score!). In preparation for the chat I decided to re-read the press release. I went to Buick’s website. Nothing. No mention of the Turbo Verano. No press release, no gallery uploads, no buzz – nada. All the press material was posted on the General Motors main site.
I understand the need to create a central point for the media to view material, but GM should consider the community along with the media when it comes to product announcements. If I told my coworker about the new Verano, would they start searching Google for the nearest General Motors store? No. They’d look for a Buick store. I’ve beat this ‘give your brands a personality and loosen the leash’ thing to death regarding GM, but this bugs me.
As a programming note, make sure your speakers are turned down when you go to GM.com. Someone at GM decided it would be a good idea to plaster a full screen video on their landing page that auto plays music when you arrive. It’s annoying, disturbing and utterly pointless.
While writing this, I decided to check Buick’s website one last time. Surprisingly a link was now listed in the ‘news’ section for the Turbo Verano (someone must have been listening to #GMChat). Not surprisingly, it didn’t work and directed you back to GM’s main website.
Rice rocket is a common term for fast, small import vehicles, typically from Japan. While the Verano looks like it will be both small and quick, it is American (don’t start with the ‘but Opel’). The rice connotation just doesn’t work; hence the birth of corn rocket ™. Plus rice rocket could offend the Chinese, something Buick must never do.
Is this a pivot point for Buick? Yes, yes, undoubtedly yes! Buyers, fresh off a recession, fearful of looking ‘rich’ yet still looking for luxury and are young and reckless enough to still be interested in speed and power – the turbo Verano is for them.
If marketed correctly this could be huge for Buick’s image here in America. Buick, the brand who beat out Pontiac in the final bout of bankruptcy hunger games.
My advice to GM – back off. Let Buick breathe. Let them take the stage, soak in the sunshine and feel what Chevy has for years- your love. Let the brand be the brand. Let them be the first to post the press releases, make the announcements over Twitter, etc.
And to you Buick, don’t screw this up. If you want to compete, you gotta step up, be the brand you were meant to be. Time to be your own brand.
It’s time to put to rest all the ‘bring the Rivera back as a large luxury sedan” naysayers and armchair product specialist. Show America what you’re capable of, what you’re made of- even if it’s ‘smaller’ luxury.
So suck that last bit of milk from the GM brand teet, grab your box of boost and get ready. You got this.
PS: That Archer photo was pulled from some other non-approved image on the world wide web. Hopefully I don’t go to jail for using it.