The next time you see a 2002 Buick LeSabre cruising around campus, you might want to look twice. It could be University President Mary Sue Coleman.
In her bronze-colored, full-size sedan, Coleman enjoys the comforts of beige leather seats, power windows and locks and a four-speed automatic transmission.
Coleman brought the car with her from the University of Iowa when she became the University of Michigan’s president in August 2002. Although Coleman has driven the car for six years, it has a meager 21,000 miles on the odometer.
Coleman doesn’t use a GPS system or a satellite radio tuner, but the car does feature a CD and cassette combo system. And if the radio is on, it’s usually tuned to Michigan Radio WUOM, 91.7 FM, Ann Arbor’s national public radio affiliate.
“We are thrilled that we are the number one button on President Coleman’s radio,” said Stephen Schram, Michigan Radio’s director of broadcasting. “When I talk to Mary Sue, she feeds back stories from the radio, so I know she’s an avid listener.”
While Coleman drives her car to work, her LeSabre can usually be found parked in the Thompson Street parking lot. Most days though, Coleman walks to work from the President’s House on South University Avenue.
According to University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham, Coleman has never received a parking ticket throughout her six-year tenure in Ann Arbor.
The road test of the 2002 Le Sabre conducted by Consumer Guide Automotive praised the car for its “ample passing power” and automatic-transmission performance, while decrying the car’s poor fuel economy and rear-seat comfort.
The LeSabre was named “Top Car” in the $20,000 to $25,000 price range by the American Automobile Association for two consecutive years, and won Good Housekeeping’s “Women’s Automotive Satisfaction” award four years in a row.
According to Cunningham, Coleman is a lifelong Buick owner and loves the LeSabre.