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]

Join the conversation
2 of 97 comments
  • 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.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.