July 10, 2009 / 10:13 PM / 11 years ago

Buick looks to build relevance to U.S. consumers

A large American flag is seen in front of John Rogin Buick auto dealership in Livonia, Michigan June 9, 2009. General Motors, which emerged from bankruptcy on Friday as a much smaller company, has been working to rebuild a Buick brand it acknowledges has lost touch with U.S. customers, the brand's top executive said. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors, which emerged from bankruptcy on Friday as a much smaller company, has been working to rebuild a Buick brand it acknowledges has lost touch with U.S. customers, the brand’s top executive said.

“Buick as a brand has a very strong and rich heritage but over the past few decades it has become a brand that many consumers would say is not relevant to them,” Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, told Reuters in an interview.

Buick is one of four core brands around which GM plans to rebuild around along with Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC.

Success for Buick will be measured in sales volume, market share and by increasing the opinion level for the brand that has over time lost touch with customers, she said.

“We have to capture the attention of younger buyers and conquest sales in the same way that we did it with Enclave,” Docherty said of the Buick brand overall.

The Enclave is a crossover that shares platforms with the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

Buick is concentrating on personal technology that customers who drive import sedans have come to expect, she said. Additions include heads-up displays, blind-spot sensors navigation systems and USB connections, she said.

“The kinds of technologies that people would not necessarily expect to find in a Buick are all things we need to do to be able to become not only relevant but to change people’s opinion about Buick,” she said.

GM is also reaching out to Pontiac customers as it winds down that brand, a potentially precarious period as it tries to prevent further losses in U.S. market share.

Reporting by David Bailey; Editing Bernard Orr

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