2010 Buick LaCrosse

2010 Buick LaCrosse

America’s seniors are getting less and less attention from Detroit these days. They’ve had their bench seats, station wagons, and most of the large rear-wheel-drive sedans taken away, not to mention the storied brands of Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Plymouth. The “Greatest Generation” that led the American auto industry out of World War II and into its seemingly unstoppable dominance in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s has now been written off.

As a result, seniors aren’t buying anymore. And when they do, it’s not always from Detroit.

My grandfather, now 84, made a healthy habit of surprising his wife and kids with a new Dodge, Chevy, Ford, or a Buick. He toys with the idea of getting a pickup truck, but admits he probably won’t buy another car. He’s just fine cruising around town-in a Volvo.

Despite being chosen by General Motors as one of its four “core” brands, Buick, which has a median buyer age of nearly 70, is closer to outdated iron than a Detroit rebirth. Its famous discontinued models — Roadmaster, Park Avenue, Riviera — were as expansive and rich as the real estate they evoked. Its latest discontinued models — Rainer, Rendezvous, Terraza — sparked all the allure of a rebadged Chevy. So how is Buick going to attract today’s entry-level luxury buyers, the younger, middle-aged Americans stuck on Lexus?

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