By on November 8, 2017

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir

Being good at something doesn’t necessarily make you popular. Witness the New York Yankees of the late ‘90s, for example. The current Buick LaCrosse falls in that same unfortunate boat. Given its mission, I think it’s a great car. Sadly, that’s its problem — it’s a car, not a crossover, and the market is demanding the latter.

Buick is attempting to push a few more of the large sedans through the showroom by adding the Avenir sub-brand to the LaCrosse lineup. Will it work? Well, let’s see what one gets with the addition.

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir

You know the Avenir project at Buick, right? Seeing the cubic yards of cash being hoovered out of customer wallets across the showroom by GMC’s Denali sub-brand, the tri-shield division decided to get a piece of that high-profit action for themselves. A couple of years and one gorgeous show car later, the Avenir badge was born.

Billed as “a way to experience the highest expression of Buick luxury,” the Avenir name first showed up on the brand’s 2018 Enclave SUV. Externally, the Avenir sub-brand doesn’t hold the same visual punch as an in-yer-face Denali, but that’s likely a calculated move on GM’s part given Buick’s targeted demographic.

According to Duncan Aldred, VP of Global Buick and GMC, nine out of 10 LaCrosse buyers are opting for one of the top two trim levels, making the case for a more expensive trim. On the LaCrosse, checking the Avenir box will add different upper and lower grilles, the former sprouting a pair of winglets underneath the existing chrome strip. Badging appears on the front doors, natch, as do a choice of unique rims.

Inside the big sedan, partakers of the Avenir lifestyle will find a natty chestnut-colored interior, with the sub-brand advertised on the headrests and sill plates. Every option box is already checked, meaning a panoramic sunroof and Bose stereo are standard equipment. Don’t like brown seats? Buick will graciously let you choose black ones instead. The LaCrosse Avenir will be available in all-wheel drive.

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir

In a crossover- and SUV-hungry marketplace, Buick managed to shift 1,408 LaCrosse sedans in the month of October. Year-to-date, just over 17,000 of them have been sold, compared to 27,582 in the entirely of 2016. Inventory gluts are well documented and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the sedan is built is operating under a reduced production schedule.

Despite these challenges, Buick promises shoppers they’ll be able find an Avenir-grade LaCrosse early next year.

[Images: General Motors]

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27 Comments on “Go Higher: Buick Appends Its Avenir Sub-brand to the LaCrosse...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Oh, so its just Broughamization.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The Lacrosse is a very nice ride inside and out. I tested one and was not thrilled with a few interior bits and the mandatory start/stop to save a few sips of fuel. Maybe I could get used to it, but unnatural feeling to me.

    In any event, the problem isn’t that the vehicle isn’t opulent enough, its that it is priced through the stratosphere for a FWD Buick (AWD is available on top trim and probably Standard on Avinir).

    Like the article says, its not a crossover. Thus adding price (even if it adds features) is just like nailing it to showroom floors even more securely than it was in the first place.

    I was hoping to see the price but I am guessing it is near the $50K mark for the Avinir trim. Sorry, that’s just crazy.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Just checked, a top trim with all packages checked already tops out at just over $50K. Figure the Avinir trim adds at least another few grand. A Lacrosse pushing $60 large isn’t going to be on a lot of shopping lists.

  • avatar
    George B

    Buick Avenir will probably fail. All the brand cachet of Chevrolet at a much higher price. In today’s bifircated car market you’re either a real luxury car that people aspire to lease or you’re not. If you’re not an aspirational luxury brand, you’re slugging it out on content vs. price with the rest of the mass market cars. The reason that the GMC Yukon Denali seems to defy this trend is that GM full size trucks are genuinely good vehicles for affluent people who want a luxury vehicle that can tow a boat or horse trailer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You’re a bit contradictory, sir. So “brand cachet of Chevrolet” vs “GM full size trucks are genuinely good vehicles”. GM full size trucks are being sold as Chevrolets, so does Chevrolet have poor branch cachet but apparently good products?

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        It is possible to have poor “brand cachet” but still have good products. Brand cachet is based on how outsiders view the brand, not the product themselves (although that obviously has an influence on outsider opinion).

        I think what he meant is that Buick is not an aspirational brand, and its products do not stand out (that does not mean they are bad). The Yukon Denali (because lets be honest, that is the car that gave the Denali subbrand its “cachet”) made its name because it was a great truck for those looking for luxury but did not want to be seen as gaudy/baller with an Escalade back when large luxury SUVs were a rare thing. It has cemented itself as the conservative/restrained/upper-middle class luxury SUV of choice against new competition.

        The LaCrosse Avenir looks to be a fine car. But what will be its target market? Who will buy it over the competition when it currently has no major positive brand image?

  • avatar
    deanst

    Lot of circular thinking here – a CUV at $50,000 is okay because it’s a CUV. A pickup at $60,000 is okay because it’s a pickup. A sedan at $50,000 is not okay because…..it’s a sedan. It wasn’t that long ago that the thinking was reversed – sedans were the sophisticated vehicle of choice and everything else was a glorified truck built with an oxcart suspension. Avenir is the direction Buick must go if they want to build their reputation, and give people a reason to buy them in the U.S. – the incremental cost to GM must be quite minimal. My only complaint is that the changes should be more substantial, if only a 20 hp boost to the engine and colourful brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “a CUV at $50,000 is okay because it’s a CUV. A pickup at $60,000 is okay because it’s a pickup. A sedan at $50,000 is not okay because…..it’s a sedan.”

      Well, that’s an accurate reflection of current market psychology.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      This is absolutely brilliant marketing and really great fortune for the automakers. The material cost of producing a vehicle that weights twice as much as a midsized sedan is probably only a few thousand dollars at most. Yet, people are willing to pay twice as much.

      Great problem for automakers to have and consumers are biting hook, line and sinker. The UAW would like to thank purchasers of full sized trucks for funding their kids college education, buying their boat, jet skis, summer cottages, etc, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        There is no problem with expensive sedans. E-Class, S-Class, 5-Series, 7-Series, A6, A8, XJ, etc all sell well and bring in plenty of profit. The problem is $50k for a Buick Lacrosse.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If Buick succeeds with Avenir, it’s going to be through Avenir CUVs. People are no longer willing to pay a premium for sedans unless they say BMW, Mercedes, or Audi on them. Doing this to the LaCrosse was a waste of time; the effort should have gone into the Envision, especially if they could shoehorn the 3.6 under the hood.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    For me the key point here is AWD. I firmly believe GM should’ve/could’ve made all their sedans with standard AWD at least 5-years ago. They could have geared the whole brand around the idea that, ‘we want you to be safe in all conditions in all our cars.’ Instead, they keep chasing the nickels instead of the dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Lol, that’s why Subaru is so successful outside of the snow belt.

      Except they’re not. Quite the opposite.

      But, yes, lets add cost, complexity and weight while reducing MPG in order to cater only to people who live in the snow belt, or who think they “need” AWD to drive in light rain and be safe (all 5 of them).

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Dear John,
        I’m just not that into you anymore. I feel like I’ve grown, for 71 consecutive months! and you’re still, well, there.
        Subaru

        http://www.autonews.com/article/20171101/RETAIL01/171109979/subaru-sales-winning-streak-october-2017-sales-us

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          “But, yes, lets add cost, complexity and weight while reducing MPG in order to cater only to people who live in the snow belt, or who think they “need” AWD to drive in light rain and be safe (all 5 of them).”

          2005 called it wants its “enthusiast” rant back.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Here in the decidedly non-snow belt of Houston, Texas Subaru sales have been booming for the last 5-6 years.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    This article needs a picture of a Regal TourX.

    Here’s a brown one:
    https://s.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/legacy_thumbnail/916×515/quality/95/https://s.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/498/559/5/S4985595/slug/l/01-2018-buick-regal-tourx-ny-1.jpg

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Should have been a WILDCAT!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Oh to be selling these ins Big 10/SEC lands. On the other had, Buick will only offer AWD on the top two trim levels. That makes the Hyundai Genesis start to look really good. Or a GMC SUV/CUV for the same price. Perhaps the Chinese like AWD.

  • avatar
    Yavin 4

    It’s just an Impala with a really nice interior. Why would you launch a sub brand this way? They would have had better success releasing a new model with the Avenir tag first. Touting a glorified Impala as entree into the lux life shows pretty big hubris in my opinion.

  • avatar

    Avenir grille looks like GMC Denali. I’ll buy one when this is changed, not before.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I recently test-drove a Buick Lacrosse. It was the mid-level trim – Essence. It drove extremely well. Smooth, quiet, did not wallow around like a barge and the V-6 was definitely powerful enough to get the car out of its own way. It is exactly the car I’m looking for. The sticker was 43k which is outside of my financial means at the moment. I’ll probably be looking to get this car (or one like it) within a year.
    I for one am ecstatic that Lacrosse’s don’t hold their resale values. This means by this time next year I can probably get into a lightly used Lacrosse with Avenir trim for the mid to low 30s.


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