By on August 28, 2017

2019 GMC subcompact crossover rendering - Illustration: Matt Posky, General MotorsSmall crossovers are a natural fit for a brand that sells not a single passenger car, but GMC has been sorely lacking in smaller utility vehicles for much of its tenure.

The first-generation GMC Terrain, something of a tweener-sized utility vehicle, didn’t arrive until 2009. For its predecessor, General Motors decided to concentrate attention on its Pontiac brand, which resulted in the oft-forgotten Torrent.

But down another rung on the ladder sits subcompact utility vehicles. GMC brand boss Duncan Aldred says General Motors’ all-light-truck division “should have been first in the segment.” Instead, the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax generate 13,000 monthly U.S. sales, thereby controlling America’s subcompact crossover category.

GMC? On the sidelines, waiting for the next generation of GM subcompacts to spawn a crossover for the very brand that should have had one in the first place. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2017

2013 Opel Monza Concept - Image: OpelIt was to be called the Monza.

GM Europe expected to assemble the Opel Insignia-based SUV, roughly the size of the Ford Edge, right alongside the Opel Insignia at its Rüsselsheim, Germany, assembly plant. Which is in Rüsselsheim.

But development of the so-called Monza was either lost in the shuffle or used as a bargaining chip, depending on whom you ask, when Groupe PSA (Peugeot and Citroën) announced the $2.3-billion purchase of its European brands, Opel and Vauxhall. Now it appears the Monza project is suspended, according to AutoExpress, as PSA decides to “freeze all GM-related projects.”

What’s it mean for Buick? (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD – Image: © Timothy Cain

You’re about to read a review of the 2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD, and you’re quite possibly well aware of the criticism the Encore has endured here at The Truth About Cars.

“The Encore is one of the worst cars I’ve driven in a long time,” TTAC’s former managing editor wrote in 2015. “Is the Encore the worst Buick ever?” Corey Lewis asked late last year.

Meanwhile, the Encore has appeared on my personal list of the eight vehicles I don’t want to own for four consecutive years.

Building good small cars is hard. It turns out, building good small SUVs — we can call them subcompact crossovers — based on those small cars can be just as challenging. That doesn’t mean Buick got the Chevrolet Sonic-based Encore all wrong. Refreshed for 2017, the Buick Encore has some redeeming qualities.

Would I buy one? At $35,825, you can’t be serious. But I’m beginning to understand why your mother might want an Encore. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

2017 Buick Model Lineup from Buick Website

“Buick revealed its Cascada convertible, an elegant four-seater that will go on sale in the USA in the first quarter of 2016. This marks another example of the two brands’ successful collaboration, which already includes the jointly-developed Buick Encore and Opel Mokka, the Buick Verano and Opel Astra notchback as well as the Buick Regal and Opel Insignia,” proclaimed Opel in January 2016, just ahead of the Cascada’s reveal in Detroit.

One paragraph. Four products that intrinsically link Opel and Buick.

It’s no surprise, then, that General Motors’ possible sale of Opel to Peugeot has those in and out of the RenCen wondering: What of Buick?

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2016
2016 Buick Encore
Electra. Wildcat. Grand National. Riviera. Buick has some storied names in its history. Unfortunately, as we wind down 2016, all of those nice names remain long gone, never to return.

In their place, throughout the decades, there have been some awful sedans, a truck-based item, even a minivan. We’ve also got some tasty crossovers which may or may not be propping up Opel’s failing product line across the ocean, and also appealing to and/or made in China.

So, let’s decide if the Encore is actually the worst offering Buick ever unleashed, all things considered. Shall we?

By on May 10, 2016

2016 Buick Verano Turbo

The Verano, Buick’s four-year-old entry-level sedan based on the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze, will join the Century, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Reatta, Riviera, Roadmaster, Skylark, and numerous other cars in Buick’s mass grave at the end of the 2017 model year (hopefully far, far away from Harley Earl’s resting place).

Automotive News reported yesterday that its GM sources say the Verano, while living on in China, won’t be renewed on this side of the Pacific. Verano volume tumbled 30 percent between its U.S. sales peak in 2013, the Verano’s second full year, and 2015. Buick is now generating nearly six in ten U.S. sales with just two crossovers, while the brand’s four car nameplates combined for a 3-percent drop during the first four months of 2016. That’s before Buick adds the Envision to the middle of its crossover lineup and before Buick kills off the entry-level car that generates more than one-third of the brand’s passenger car volume.

So, if it’s not too impertinent to ask, not too morbid or irreverent to inquire, how long before Buick discontinues its whole North American car division in a quest to become America’s crossover-ized answer to Land Rover? (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

2017 Buick Encore

General Motors has unveiled its refreshed 2017 Buick Encore, but you’ll have to muscle your way through a mob of leering frat boys in order to catch a peek.

Wait, that might misrepresent the Encore’s market just a little…

The smallest crossover in the GM fold gets a subtle makeover for 2017, trading its previous Buick waterfall front end for the new, corporate “winged” grille that adorns the restyled LaCrosse.

(Read More…)

By on December 29, 2015

Imagine the following scenario: You’re a Buick salesman. An elderly woman comes into your showroom to inquire about a replacement for her Regal. You decide that she’s a great candidate for an Encore, and since you have some previous-year Encore stock you decide that she’s a great candidate for a 2015 Encore instead of the new model. There’s a $149/month lease deal available from GM Financial. What kind of deal do you make for this woman?

If your answer is, “I’d charge her over sticker for the vehicle, switch the lease company to make some back-end money, and add nearly a thousand dollars of profit in fees above that,” then you might just be the salesman that Buick GMC of Beachwood, OH needs.

(Read More…)

By on June 25, 2015

Encore Trax sales chart

During a month in which American Honda reported the brand’s first 6,381 HR-V sales, a month in which Subaru and Mitsubishi reported record XV Crosstrek and Outlander Sport sales, a month in which Jeep sold another 4,416 Renegades, GM’s smallest crossovers combined for their highest sales total thus far, as well.

11,107 Buick Encores and Chevrolet Traxes (Traxi? Trai?) were sold in the United States in May 2015. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2015

2015 Buick Encore

U.S. sales of the Buick Encore have increased, on a year-over-year basis, in each of the last 16 months. That streak includes these last five months, a period in which a more affordable twin of the Encore, the Chevrolet Trax, has also been generating meaningful U.S. sales activity.

Encore volume grew 31% in the five months preceding the Trax’s U.S. launch. Since the little Chevy’s arrival, not only has the Encore avoided a decline, the rate of its volume expansion has hardly slowed: Encore sales jumped 28% between the final month of 2014 and April 2015.

In fact, as General Motors attracted 7,477 sales with the less costly Trax in March and April, Buick reported the best month ever for the Encore in March and the second-best ever Encore performance in April, the latter being a slightly slower month for the overall auto industry. (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2015

2013 Buick EncoreWhat is Buick in America without the Encore, the automaker’s most disparaged product on these pages?

Buick reported 16,114 LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, and Enclave sales in February 2014, a figure which fell 22% in February 2015, when the aging products were, quite obviously, one year older.

Year-to-date volume of non-Encore Buicks tumbled 20% through the first two months of 2015, a loss of 5441 sales across four nameplates. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2015

IMG_9635

Against all odds, the Buick Encore has managed to sell in fairly decent numbers. Despite looking like a four-wheeled rollerskate, Buick’s trucklet moved nearly 49,000 units in 2014, up from roughly 31,000 during its debut in 2013. Part of the Encore’s success must be attributed to the fact that it was the first to show up to the party. The small CUV craze is only just heating up now in America, and the Encore is arguably the premiere (in terms of chronology, not quality) premium entrant in the segment. Demand is strong enough that GM has expanded production to two plants (Mexico and Spain as well as the initial Korean location) and will import 50 percent more units versus last year.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why. The Encore is one of the worst cars I’ve driven in a long time.

(Read More…)

By on November 29, 2014

subcompact SUV sales chart October 2014The Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Mazda CX-3 are coming. The Buick Encore, a pair of taller Minis, and the Nissan Juke are already here.

It’s a burgeoning segment, silly in the eyes of many, but useful for automakers who want to cash in on consumers’ desire for fuel efficiency and slightly higher driving positions, consumers who are forever interested in a little wheelarch cladding.

However, these vehicles don’t even combine to sell as often as the Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling SUV/crossover. That’s not to say they won’t. Nor are we suggesting that buyers of these vehicles would consider something as mainstream as a CR-V, Escape, or RAV4, America’s top-selling utilities.

(Read More…)

By on October 22, 2013

 

 

gmdiesel_r

 

Chevrolet will not be the sole brand in GM’s stable to offer a diesel passenger car. According to reports, Buick is next up for a diesel engine. It’s not known which Buick would get an oil burner but the likely candidate is the Verano, which shares a platform with Chevy’s Cruze, which is now available with a four cylinder turbo diesel in the U.S. The Opel Astra, even more closely related to the Verano, already offers a 1.9 liter CTDI diesel in Europe. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2013

encore buickIMG_0283_r

When the Buick Encore compact crossover was introduced, some questioned if it was the right vehicle for the brand, but apparently GM underestimated initial demand for the Encore.

(Read More…)

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