After the popularity of its Avista concept, Buick has decided to launch its bold luxury sub-brand for the 2018 model year. The Buick Avenir sub-brand will be applied to existing Buick vehicles as a new luxury trim as well as future Buick cars.
Buick has spent the last few years reinventing itself, putting out cars like the convertible Cascada and the stylish Verano. With a reinvigorated brand, Buick hopes to use the Avenir lineup to attract younger customers and allow Buick to compete with other luxury brands.
According to Buick, the brand has quickly gained popularity with female customers, and half of new Buick buyers came from competitor brands, interested in Buick’s high-end luxury vehicles. Most Buick buyers are going for the top trim levels.
Avenir is the French word for “future” and will borrow from the 2015 Avista concept in design, maintaining the mesh grille. Details on the Avenir have been vague, but it will also have large-diameter wheels and interior accents like Avenir script and unique seat details. The Avenir cabin will “enhance the brand’s quiet, inviting environment,” according to a statement from Buick.
More details will be announced about the Avenir sub-brand in the coming months.
2016 Buick Encore
At the York International Auto Show, Buick revealed the fourth and last model the brand will be launching in 2016: the new Buick Encore, revised and updated for the 2017 model year. Over the past year, the Encore became the United States’ most popular small SUV, and so strengthening the appeal of the 2017 Encore was part of Buick’s strategy to refresh and reinvigorate the brand’s lineup for a more youthful, trendy demographic.
One of the most significant additions to the 2017 Buick Encore’s extensive list of features is the inclusion of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. In an increasingly tech-savvy segment, connectivity features such as smartphone-compatible user interfaces are crucial to staying ahead of the competition. Also noted at the presentation was the introduction of a brand-new, next-generation IntelliLink system in the interior, paired to an 8-inch color touchscreen.
Other modern tech added to the Buick Encore unveiled in NY includes Buick’s new QuietTuning engineering, which combines both active and passive methods of sound-cancellation to provide a more relaxing, comfortable atmosphere. Push-button start and keyless entry were also included with the Buick Encore shown at the auto show.
Buick will now be offering SUVs in all three major SUV segments, with the Encore falling into the small SUV segment, the Enclave in the large SUV segment, and the new Envision coming in directly between the two. After statistics showed that over 60 percent of Buick’s sales now come from SUVs, the shift in focus was strategic for the brand.
It was announced that the new Buick Encore will be launching later this year in fall of 2016. Information on the SUV’s five different trim levels was also released, ranging from the entry-level Encore 1SB to the high-end Encore Premium 1SN. Additionally, front-wheel drive comes standard, with all-wheel drive as an option.
Buick-GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred was the spotlight in a recent episode of Autoline This Week for a long interview. He talked about the success of both brands this past year, as well as the future of Buick and GMC.
Aldred just took on this position earlier this year, and is in a great place to continue the acceleration of both brands. When talking about GMC, Aldred said that lower fuel prices have helped the brand’s sales this past year, and he expects that momentum to continue into the 2016. Next year, GM will also launch a new ad campaign that will “tell the GMC story,” Aldred said, and “position it very much as a premium brand.”
As for Buick, Aldred said there are no plans to expand the five-car lineup much. He indicated that if it gets too big, it could “cannibalize itself, and everyone gets too confused.” With a relatively small lineup, this allows the brand to really focus on specific marketing and getting to know each individual vehicle.
For even more details about the future of both of these brands, check out the full 26-minute interview below.
What do you hope to see in the future of Buick and GMC?
2015 GMC Sierra Denali
Prepare yourself. 2015 will be the year of GMC. Everywhere you turn, you’ll be learning something new about all of GMC’s great products. The automaker is planning what GM Authority is calling a “marketing blitz.”
Where there is a will, there is a way. Duncan Aldred, VP of GMC, said, “There is a will within the company.” And it’s that will which kickstarts what he calls a “big umbrella campaign” next year.
Aldred went on say that this huge campaign has got to evolve into “something that builds the brand itself.” With that, GMC is trying to increase brand recognition. They’ve certainly got the sales; they just need to augment their image.
Previously, the prestige and benefits of the Denali sub-brand have been passed by word-of-mouth among loyal customers. Not anymore. The focus of the marketing campaign will be the Denali sub-brand. This makes sense; 20% of sales in 2013 were Denali-enhanced GMCs, so why not start a brand-building Denali campaign?
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