By on January 19, 2018

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir grille - Image: Buick

Launched last fall on the new-for-2018 Enclave crossover and extended to the LaCrosse large sedan, Buick now is making noises that the Avenir sub-brand will extend across the lineup, potentially landing on every model it sells.

That didn’t take long. Less than three months ago, we reported Buick brand boss Duncan Aldred said, in reference to Avenir, “We’re not going to force it,” while speaking at a media event near Detroit. It must be tempting to do so, however, when the brand looks across the showroom to see Denali trucks helping push the GMC brand to a record average transaction price north of $55,000.

“As a premium brand, we reach up into luxury and down into mainstream and Avenir is the way we go toe-to-toe, I think, with some of these Tier 1 luxury brands,”Aldred told Automotive News during the Detroit auto show. “You’ll see Avenir roll out across many more models and maybe the whole range over time.”

The Denali sub-brand was allowed a significant gestation period in the early 2000s before it migrated to other models. It was offered exclusively on the Yukon SUV for a solid two years before appearing on the Yukon XL and Sierra. In doing so, it arguably allowed the trim to exceed expectations because it was permitted to grow slowly rather than immediately be pinned to everything the brand built.

In contrast, it has been about four short months since the first Avenir-badged Buick rolled onto dealer lots.

Those with long memories will recall the short-lived C3 trim which preceded Denali on the Sierra. Machines with Denali badging garner a younger and more affluent audience than conventional GMCs, do not disrupt the Cadillac Escalade’s success, and more thoroughly differentiate it from its bowtie brother. Buick seems to be trying the same trick with Avenir.

For 2018, an all-wheel drive Enclave Avenir stickers at $56,795, representing a $5,400 walk from the Premium trim. Its littlest crossover, the Encore, currently tops out at $38,120 with a check-all-the-boxes AWD Premium example. Will the market bear a $40,000-plus Encore Avenir?

The sub-brand’s prospects are greatest, of course, in China, where Buick enjoys a healthy market share and brand image. The Monroney for an Avenir version of the GL8 minivan, shown below, starts at 449,990 yuan (about $70,300). That’s nearly double the price of a base model and 10 percent more than the next trim down from Avenir.

Image: 2017 Buick GL8 Avenir, via Buick

Is Buick jumping the gun with Avenir if it apply it across the lineup? Perhaps. I’m not sure a Regal TourX Avenir would sell any faster than the rate of glacial progression. This author does enjoy the thought of a cushy Buick, and sincerely hopes Mr. Aldred’s interpretation of “over time” is sufficiently lengthy to give Avenir a chance to ingrain itself into the public’s psyche. A stand-alone premium trim, after all, is a terrible thing to waste.

[Images: General Motors]

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22 Comments on “Brougham all the Things: Avenir Sub-brand to Grow Across Buick Lineup...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I know that minivan is ancient under the skin but visual it looks like Buick agreed to sell rebadged Hondas.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I was laughing at the $40,000 encore, but then you mentioned the $70,000 minivan…….yikes!

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Friends do not let friends Brougham up!

  • avatar

    I was just in Kings Point NY. In a sea of Range/Land Rovers, with new Escalade and Porsche Cayenne as the official mom truck. The GMC version is the downscale I Dont Wanna Be Showy Choice. Of course one could mistake most private homes here to be palaces or governmental buildings….

  • avatar

    I was just in Kings Point NY. In a sea of Range/Land Rovers, with new Escalade and Porsche Cayenne as the official mom truck. The GMC version is the downscale I Dont Wanna Be Showy Choice. Of course one could mistake most private homes here to be palaces or governmental buildings….

  • avatar
    junkandfrunk

    This seems to be the right move, but they definitely want to wait a couple of years before trickling it down to the Regal, Envision, and Encore. Let it mature and become associated with being premium first, then when someone is shopping for a Regal or Encore they’ll be willing to plunk down the extra cash to have a higher trim level than the neighbor down the street, or “match” the rich guy who has an Enclave Avenir so they can feel on the same level. Though, I can imagine a Regal TourX Avenir, and it is pretty glorious…

  • avatar
    thornmark

    “As a premium brand, we reach up into luxury and down into mainstream and Avenir is the way we go toe-to-toe, I think, with some of these Tier 1 luxury brands,”
    – people collectively snort coffee out their noses in response to that particular composting

    So dead brand Buick springs new wings.

    I’ll see your Avenir and raise you a Denali.

  • avatar
    honda1

    Only GM can add a bunch of cheap crap on a car and call it up scale
    And charge a ton of money for it. Some people have more money than sense.
    Future depreciation bombs. Make sure you take out an 84 month load on it too.

    I’ll show myself out

    Waiting for deadweights comments.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …and AMG.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      “Depreciation bombs” is right.
      How much do you think one of these would be worth to a used-car shopper in three or four years?
      Anyone who buys one of these isn’t paying much attention to their future net worth (or negative net worth). They would be upside down for so long that their face would be permanently red.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Of all vehicles to put this on. LaCrosse sales are shrinking month over month. Making a version that can crest 50 grand is lunacy. Expect about 50 a month of these to sell if they are really lucky.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Sales may be shrinking (due to overall shrinkage in the segment and GM’c reduction in sales to fleet), but ATP for the LaCrosse has been rising.

      9 out of 10 LaCrosse buyers purchase the top 2 trims, so think you’re underestimating what an Avenir trim will do.

      That being said, the Avenir trim should include not only a higher-end powertrain, but a higher-end interior.

  • avatar
    la834

    With Buick relying increasingly more on crossovers, and sold in the same showrooms as GMC which also has an upscale subbrand, how are they going to distinguish Buicks from GMCs?

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