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GM tries again with Buick line

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- General Motors Co. will make another attempt to get Buick to appeal to younger buyers with freshened-up versions of the Regal midsize sports sedan and the LaCrosse large luxury car.

GM unveiled the pair Tuesday ahead of the New York auto show.

Youth has been the theme of several of Buick marketing campaigns during the last three decades, with famous pitchmen from Tiger Woods to Shaquille O'Neal. Sales have even risen recently after a dramatic and lengthy decline.

But even with that recent success, odds are against GM making Buick a go-to option for large numbers of drivers below the age of 40.

Buick, once coveted for its understated elegance, used to be a dominant brand. In 1984, GM sold 942,000 Buicks in the U.S., according to Ward's AutoInfoBank. But many Buick buyers died, and younger people opted for SUVs and cooler European cars. Sales tumbled, bottoming out at just over 102,000 in 2009. GM only kept the brand alive because it became a huge seller in China.

The company doesn't expect Buick sales to approach 900,000 per year again. But executives say they can still make a lot of money selling the higher-priced luxury vehicles with lower sales numbers.

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