Buick's Launch of Avenir Sub-Brand Gets Underway With 2018 Enclave - 11 Percent More Money for Avenir
Pricing for the long-awaited, second-generation 2018 Buick Enclave starts at $40,970, nearly $1,000 more than the 2017 model, according to Automotive News.
But it’s at the top of the 2o18 Enclave’s lineup where Buick begins the launch of its new Avenir sub-brand. The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is a $54,390 three-row crossover; $56,690 for an Enclave Avenir with all-wheel drive.
Buick has high hopes for the new Enclave, and rightly so. With the brand’s U.S. car sales flagging, the Enclave takes its place as the rightful flagship of a three-pronged crossover lineup — a lineup that now accounts for more than three-quarters of Buick’s U.S. sales. Already helping itself to high average transaction prices, the Enclave will become an even more premium entity with the new Avenir trim.
And how will you know it? Enclave Avenirs feature a “three-dimensional” mesh grille, pearl nickel 20-inch wheels, and badges on each front door and the left side of the tailgate.
Avenir by no means represents General Motors’ first foray into premium sub-brands.
In fact, individuals who played a major role in GMC’s Denali success, Helen Emsley and Tony Disalle, are key to making Avenir something more than just a top-spec trim. Buick doesn’t want Avenir to merely represent the top rung on the ladder — like the Touring Elite trim on a Honda Odyssey or the Kia Optima’s SX Limited. No, Buick wants Avenir to earn the same cachet as Denali does at GMC.
Denali garners a younger, more affluent audience than conventional GMCs, doesn’t disrupt the Cadillac Escalade’s success, and more thoroughly differentiates GMC from Chevrolet. And it also makes GMC more profitable.
Customers who are willing to move up from the $40,970 Enclave, past the $45,190 Enclave Essence and the $48,990 Enclave Premium will find a $54,390 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir that comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate, power-folding third row, and Buick’s first implementation of GM’s Rear Camera Mirror. Also part of every Enclave Avenir are heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, navigation, dual sunroof, 360-degree surround view camera.
Buick will still make you pay extra for adaptive cruise, however — a standard bit of kit on refreshed 2018 Honda Fits with CVTs. Included with adaptive cruise in the Avenir Technology Package is front automatic braking, and a premium suspension with continuously variable real time damping.
Since its arrival in 2007, the Buick Enclave has generated more than 540,000 U.S. sales for General Motors. Peak volume was reached in 2014, proving that old age did little to impact the Enclave’s appeal as the market turned toward SUVs and crossovers.
The Enclave Avenir is certainly not the Avenir the auto show circuit demanded. But it is the beginning of a move further upmarket for Buick, a move the brand has to make if it’s to be perceived seriously as a true Lexus rival.
[Image: General Motors]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.
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If this is successful -- and I will probably always root for the tri-shield, so I hope it is -- I really think it is a serious question to ask what it means for Cadillac. I know the CPOBC ladder is long dead, but I think it's worth taking a hard look at the gap left between Avenir and Cadillac. At the very least, it seems to isolate Caddy even further from the rest of the General. And that could be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing; it could allow Cadillac to shrink its lineup and focus on a core of true luxury vehicles: 1 sedan, 1 crossover, 1 SUV. Although, being GM, whatever they're trying to do they'll probably find a way to screw it up.