U.S. Buick Sales Rise To 95-Month High, GM Claims Best Retail Start Since 2005

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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u s buick sales rise to 95 month high gm claims best retail start since 2005

A July 2016 surge to 22,960 sales produced the best month of U.S. sales for General Motors’ Buick brand in nearly three years.

“Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown 6 percent,” General Motors claimed in its monthly release, “and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.”

GM also said 2016, with 114,105 retail sales through July, represented the best seven-month retail start to a year since 2005 in the United States.

But don’t get too excited, LeSabre lovers, Skylark supporters, and rooters of Regals. We’re talking about 2005, when U.S. Buick sales had already fallen by more than a third in only three years.

In fact, year-over-year, total Buick sales in 2016’s first seven months are only 62 units stronger than they were at this stage of 2015. Total Buick volume in 2016 is down 3 percent compared with the first seven months of 2014, when Buick reported 131,155 sales. That doesn’t sound like the best start to the year since 2005.

But remember, the claim that this was the best start to the year since 2005 pertains only to the retail front, Buick spokesperson Stuart Fowle confirmed last week. GM did not historically report separate retail/fleet/total sales figures, as is the industry standard, and GM still does not report retail figures for specific models.

To substantiate the claim, Fowle supplied TTAC with a decade’s worth of Buick brand retail numbers for us to evaluate.

Year-to-date, Buick’s retail volume is up 6 percent compared with the first seven months of 2015 and 8 percent compared with the first seven months of 2005. Again, not since 2005, when GM says Buick sold 137,880 vehicles through the retail network, has the brand had a better start to a year.


In July, specifically, Buick’s 10-percent year-over-year total sales uptick easily outpaced the industry’s 1-percent rise. Even without the help of 1,421 sales of the new Envision, Buick’s Chinese-built mid-range crossover, and 633 sales from the new Cascada convertible, Buick sales still increased total sales at the same rate as the industry overall.

Don’t thank the car division. With the cancelled Verano falling 13 percent and the LaCrosse entering a replacement phase that brought volume down 32 percent, a 50-percent jump from the low-volume Regal, and the additional Cascada sales, Buick car volume still fell four units shy of the total three Buicks achieved one year ago.

But the Buick Enclave jumped 10 percent to 7,249 units, outselling the LaCrosse, Regal and Verano combined in its best July ever.


Although the Encore subcompact crossover reported a more modest 1-percent year-over-year boost, the 6,923-unit sales result was the best month ever for the Encore. Just like the Enclave, the Encore outsold the three best-selling Buick cars combined.

Together, the Buick Encore and its Chevrolet Trax twin owned nearly one-third of the U.S. subcompact crossover market in July 2016.

Including the Envision, 68 percent of Buick’s U.S. sales in July were powered by utility vehicles; only 32 percent with traditional cars.

With the Verano dying off at the end of this model year and the Envision set to capture a far greater chunk of the market when the 2017 model offers a significantly lower price of entry, expect those numbers to shift higher and lower, respectively.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

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3 of 33 comments
  • Operagost Operagost on Aug 23, 2016

    I'm pretty sure, without even checking, that the Skylark was already at least seven years dead in 2005. I loved mine, but it decided to start burning out its ignition coils repeatedly.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Aug 23, 2016

    Predictions of the Encore demise once other makers started making subcompact CUVs appears to have been completely, totally, and absolutely wrong.

    • Shaker Shaker on Aug 24, 2016

      And sales of the Trax (usually in the price range where the Equinox started) are doing well too. People like "tall".

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?