by George Nenadovich
I recently found out that Buick Motor Division has cancelled the Riviera model for 1999 with the last production car coming off the line on 11-25-98. This event got me to thinking, how many models do they have left? Let's see the Century/LeSabre, Park Avenue and Regal. LeSabre is almost the same as the Century. Ok, now to the next step.
Got to have new models or revisions to keep up with the other divisions right? Let's compare Buick to Olds. Olds introduced the Intrigue, Alero and has a minivan and a sport utility. Same for Pontiac! I think GM or BMD is trying to whittle down its model line so when the ax falls, they can say that division, BMD, was not selling cars like it used to in the past. Hmmm, maybe because BMD is not producing what the public wants to buy! Can't make unit sales growth without producing what is selling. What is even more amazing now is that Cadillac, seeing what Lincoln and Mercedes did with a sport utility, is introducing a Cadillac sport utility in 2000.
I just can t figure this out!I guess the big three decided people wanted front wheel drive, jelly bean, all-look-alike cars and all of sudden buyers are purchasing sport utility vehicles which have a full frame and rear wheel drive. Boy, that sure sounds like the exact same cars that were phased out in 1988. Sometimes I wonder if they, big three, are really building a better car or just something that has a life span of 10 years and then gets recycled. To me the new cars are so much plastic and not much else.
So where does this leave Buick? I got a a feeling that this will be the division that will fold at GM. GM is in a massive cost cutting program and the low producers will be cut. With no new models and no updated models, Buick sales are destined to fall. I guess some will call it a slow death!
Speaking of death, the program to produce a new Buick big block, crank and timing chain covers has also been cancelled. So, no new parts in the pipeline for the older cars. Now is the time to start picking up those 455 engines and stash them away. Have not seen any in the salvage yards lately, more than 2 months, so time to start getting a few 455 engines for spares since the supply is drying up rather quickly.
What does this mean for our vintage Buicks? Pricing is going to go up and supply is not changing. Time to buy that sought after Buick!