MKT 445: International Marketing
4 December 2014
Buick Brand in China
Throughout our country’s history, brands have come and gone. Most brands start with success and sadly fall short to the expectations that seem to be rising year after year. Buick however is one of many famous companies who have kept their name in tact and haven’t seemed to disappoint. Whether it’s their luxurious style or reasonable pricing, Buick has accumulated quite the amount of clientele, especially in their Asia market. With more sales in China than in the U.S., Buick seems to be a trademark for innovation and class.
The Buick brand’s journey began with their first automobile in 1899, created by founder David Dunbar Buick. A few years after the gasoline automobile was invented, the company moved from its original location of Detroit to Flint, Michigan. Soon after the establishment of the company, it experienced a bankruptcy scare in 1904, which soon became the motivation to improve their business efforts. In that same year Buick produced about thirty-seven Model B Touring cars, which ranged from 15 to 21 horsepower. Most of the automobiles during this time only had a horsepower of around 8-10, making Buick that much more desirable. 1908 brought big change when a man by the name of William Durant purchased the Buick Company and used it as a part of a new venture named General Motors. During the first twenty years of business Buick made impressive milestones such as beating Cadillac and Ford in the position for number one automobile producer, and producing one million automobiles by 1923. As the years passed the company continued to create new and more powerful vehicles to catch the eye of anyone who was walking by. Although Buick specialized in civilian automobiles, they also contributed to the war efforts of World War II. Employees of Buick supported the troops and built more than 2,500 Hellcat tanks to aid them in their fight. As they produced more and more performance vehicles, Buick really began to get noticed. In the 1976 Indy 500, the Buick model Century made its debut in hopes of winning the race and ultimately show the power of a true Buick. Through their years of success and failure, Buick never seems to lose their focus on providing their customers “the finest cars and trucks we’ve ever built…and by their commitment to reward our stockholders for their confidence in us,” as stated in their mission statement.
Going to Asia
Towards the end of the 1990’s Buick began the journey into the Asia automobile market. Although they were nervous at first in a foreign land, they realized the amazing opportunity to expand their business and their brand awareness. In an article written in 1999 in The New York Times, author Mark Landler commented in the surprisingly smooth transition into China from the U.S. Landler stated in the article that General Motors was off to a great start selling about “20,000 Buicks this year, double its own projections and those of outside analysts. Emboldened by its success, General Motors plans to roll out the new minivan next week, extending its product line from a very expensive sedan to an equally costly family workhorse.” After Buick had made their entrance into the largest automobile market in the world they made their efforts to create products that would fit many different lifestyles. Buick was known for their luxurious vehicles that were made for executives and government officials. Molding their American version vehicles into something made specifically for their environment and lifestyles in China made Buick recognized and appreciated. The customers still got the luxury but they didn’t have to purchase a smaller car to get that. Once the Buick cars made their appearance in China, the executive vice president of Shanghai General Motors, Philip Murtaugh explained, “Before G.M. came here, the cars produced in China were horrible. The quality was poor, the service was