Buick Envision: A Ghost Unicorn Waiting for the Spotlight

buick envision a ghost unicorn waiting for the spotlight

Raise your hands if you’ve seen a Buick Envision, or even heard someone mention it?

The Chinese-built crossover is now on sale in the U.S., but you’d be forgiven for not knowing that. Due to a case of odd timing, the model will see a short (and expensive) 2016 model year before all trim lines go on sale this fall as a 2017 model.

With no advertising to be found, it seems General Motors figured “Nah, we’ll tell them about it later.”

Forget ticker tape parades or even a billboard — the Envision maintained complete invisibility upon arrival in North America. Automotive News called it GM’s “quietest vehicle launch in recent memory,” speculating that limited ad budgets and inflamed election rhetoric are the likely reasons for GM’s radio (TV, Internet and print) silence.

Sales stats show Buick sold 89 Envisions to U.S. buyers in May, and a grant total of two north of the border (one in April, another in May).

Because uplevel models were the only Envisions sent to dealers for the abbreviated 2016 model year, a hefty starting price of $42,995 probably wouldn’t look good in a marketing campaign (“Imported from China!” doesn’t have that great a ring to it, either).

Come fall, that starting price drops eight grand to $34,990 — much more palatable for the crossover and SUV-hungry buyers Buick hopes to attract. So invested is Buick in its utility-is-the-only-way-to-go strategy, it killed off the compact Verano sedan last month.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Jasper2 Jasper2 on Jun 09, 2016

    The only problem is an hour later you want to buy one again. If you don't get this joke, don't bother me.

  • 415s30 415s30 on Jun 14, 2016

    Here in SF nobody buys the others, I never see any. China, um no thanks.

  • ToolGuy @Matt, let me throw this at you:Let's say I drive a typical ICE vehicle 15,000 miles/year at a typical 18 mpg (observed). Let's say fuel is $4.50/gallon and electricity cost for my EV will be one-third of my gasoline cost - so replacing the ICE with an EV would save me $2,500 per year. Let's say I keep my vehicles 8 years. That's $20,000 in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.If the vehicles have equal capabilities and are otherwise comparable, a rational typical consumer should be willing to pay up to a $20,000 premium for the EV over the ICE. (More if they drive more.)TL;DR: Why do they cost more? Because they are worth it (potentially).
  • Inside Looking Out Why EBFlex dominates this EV discussion? Just because he is a Ford expert?
  • Marky S. Very nice article and photos. I am a HUGE Edsel fan. I have always been fascinated with the "Charlie Brown of Cars." Allow me to make a minor correction to add here: the Pacer line was the second-from-bottom rung Edsel, not the entry-level trim. That would be the Edsel Ranger for 1958. It had the widest array of body styles. The Ranger 2-door sedan (with a "B-pillar", not a pillarless hardtop), was priced at $2,484. So, the Ranger and Pacer both used the smaller Ford body. The next two upscale Edsel's were based on the Mercury body, are were: Corsair, and, top-line Citation. Although the 1959 style is my fav. I would love a '58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop sedan!
  • Lou_BC Stupid to kill the 6ft box in the crewcab. That's the most common Canyon/Colorado trim I see. That kills the utility of a small truck. The extended cab was a poor seller so that makes sense. GM should have kept the diesel. It's a decent engine that mates well with the 6 speed. Fuel economy is impressive.
  • Lou_BC High end EV's are selling well. Car companies are taking advantage of that fact. I see quite a few $100k pickups in my travels so why is that ok but $100k EV's are bad? The cynical side of me sees car companies tack on 8k premiums to EV's around the time we see governments up EV credits. Coincidence? No fooking way.