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]