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By David Whiston, CFA, CPA, CFE | 02-16-2018 11:00 AM

Dependable Buick Remains Underappreciated

Studies show the brand to be among the most reliable, and its vehicles have evolved from your parents' or grandparents' Park Avenue.

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GM General Motors Co

David Whiston: Buick is another brand with product that may be flying under Americans' radar screens. This is a brand that has done extremely well in the JD Power vehicle dependability study, never finishing worse than fifth in the past five years. This is a study that measures problems per 100 vehicles over three years of ownership after you buy it new. In fact, in the 2018 poll released this week Buick was number three overall and the number one mass market brand according to JD Power (though to me it's really more of a premium brand between mass market and volume or luxury). This brand consistently beats Toyota and the German three premium brands in dependability.

This isn't the brand of your parents' or grandparents' Park Avenue. This is refined, understated, luxury brand relative to Cadillac for those that want something better than a Chevrolet. Buick sold over 1.4 million vehicles in 2017 globally with about 1.2 million of that in China, but I think there's potential for the brand to grow more in the U.S. The Enclave large crossover just got a new generation late last year and attracts buyers in their mid-40s, about a decade younger than the typical new vehicle buyer. Remember GM makes nearly $2 billion a year in equity income from its joint ventures, and nearly all of that comes from China, and those are cash earnings. China has the world's largest auto market by a mile now.

Two new models are the Regal TourX and Regal GS. The TourX goes after, in my opinion, the niche of Subaru, Volvo buyers while the GS is a performance sedan with a hard to find naturally aspirated V-6 engine rather than an in-line turbo-4 with 310 horses starting at just under $40,000.

Buick is one of the many underappreciated things about the new GM and one of the many reasons the stock is still a best idea.

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