A market trend toward crossovers is causing Buick to reconsider its lineup and make some adjustments. With a new mid-range crossover recently introduced to the market and two others already being sold under the Buick name, the luxury brand’s three sedans are beginning to fall behind their larger siblings in sales. One of the adjustments being made due to this trend is the removal of the Verano from Buick’s US lineup. The discontinued Buick Verano is expected to last through a 2017 model year before fading from the market.
2016 Buick Verano
In previous years, before the crossover skyrocketed to popularity, small cars like compact sedans were viewed as attainable entries for first-time luxury buyers. However, the compact Verano was overtaken in sales by the subcompact Encore, which is now Buick’s best-selling nameplate. Buick predicts over 70 percent of their U.S. sales over the next year will come from crossovers.
The move to phase out the discontinued Buick Verano mirrors current Buick sales chief Duncan Aldred’s core philosophy to focus resources on a few hard-hitting nameplates, as opposed to having a broad, diverse lineup that strains the company budget. The Verano only sold just over 31,000 units in 2015, a number that pales in comparison to the 2016 Envision’s predicted 50,000.
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.
The crossover segment has become wildly popular in the past year and is now considered the fastest-growing vehicle class in the automotive industry. With so much clamor surrounding one segment, just about every manufacturer has gotten in on the fun–except for General Motors’ truck sub-brand GMC.
Now, the brand’s president Duncan Aldred is reportedly pushing for a GMC subcompact crossover to help the company dip its feet into the segment.
“That segment has grown so fast,” Aldred said in an interview with Automotive News. “I keep telling everyone, ‘How can General Motors’ truck brand not be in the fastest-growing segment in the industry, an SUV segment?’”
The success of the crossover can be seen in another GM brand–Buick. The Buick Encore lead the brand to a 53% sales increase in just 2014 alone, attesting to the segment’s incredible popularity among car buyers. Duncan Aldred happens to also be in charge at Buick, so his experience in working with crossovers and the success they bring is firsthand.
Buick Encore – Available at DeVoe Buick GMC
A GMC subcompact crossover has not been confirmed to be in production, but with the president pushing for such a vehicle to join GMC’s lineup, consumers shouldn’t be surprised if one is on the way very soon.
The Buick Encore has only been on the market for a couple years, but it’s already dominating its small crossover segment. Recently, it was one of the three 2015 Buick vehicles that won a 5-Year Cost to Own Award from KBB.com, and its continued success has the brand thinking big. In fact, the Buick Encore sales have the folks at Buick planning to add more engine options to the vehicle’s lineup very soon.
2015 Buick Encore
Currently, it only has one engine—a capable 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 138 horsepower. But that will likely be changing soon. “I’d be lying if I said we’re not evaluating that,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick and GMC in the US. Aldred didn’t give us any details on what to expect, but we can always speculate on our own.
And speculate we shall! We’d expect to see Buick add a couple new engine options, including things like a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a 1.6-liter turbodiesel as well. Both of those engines are already used in various ways in the GM lineup, so they would be easily to implement in the new Encore lineup. Come see us at DeVoe Buick GMC to learn more of our thoughts.
2015 GMC Acadia
The crossover segment is currently one of the most rapidly growing segments in the car industry, making it no surprise that many carmakers are increasing the production rate of their crossover vehicles. General Motors is no exception to this and has recently invested $63 million in a Lansing Lambda CUV plant expansion. This plant builds some of GM’s most popular crossovers, such as the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave.
“UAW members have a proud history of building quality vehicles in the Lansing Delta Township plant and they look forward to the changes and upgrades made possible by what workers and management are able to achieve by working together,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the union’s national GM Department. “The investment in the plant and in UAW Local 602 members means workers will have an updated environment in which they can continue delivering quality workmanship for years to come.”
2015 Buick Enclave
This new expansion will increase the plant’s floor space by roughly 263,000 square feet. Of that space, 181,000 will be dedicated for an updated body shop with cutting-edge robots. The rest of the space will be delegated to a paint show and an area for general assembly.
With this new space, it’s possible that GM might introduce a new crossover to its lineup. Make sure you check back to DeVoe Buick GMC later to see if there has been a new addition!