What do buyers like? Ultra-lux trims and big-bucks window stickers, that’s what. At least, that’s the gist of General Motors’ media run-down of the new 2019 Buick Regal Avenir — the third vehicle in the Buick stable to undergo the high-zoot treatment, and a model we uncovered last week.
“Avenir” debuted on the revamped-for-2018 Enclave, then made its way to the LaCrosse sedan. It exists because Denali exists, and Buick saw what the addition of that sub-brand did for GMC sales, to say nothing of average transaction price and profits. After crunching some numbers, Buick decided the Regal Sportback was the next obvious candidate for the brand’s “highest expression of luxury.”
As you might have heard, Buick’s Avenir luxury sub-brand is off to a good start. Playing the same tune written by GMC’s Denali line, “Avenir” debuted on the second-generation Enclave crossover for 2018, then bestowed its luxurious trappings on the LaCrosse sedan.
According to Automotive News, Enclave sales are up 15 percent over the first half of 2018, with the Avenir trim counting for 25 percent of all units sold. That’s money in Buick’s pocket, as the Avenir badge adds roughly $14k to the model’s base MSRP. Average Enclave transaction prices are up $5,000 from a year prior.
Buick boss Duncan Aldred said last winter that the case for Avenir would be made on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, adding that we should expect to see more models add the new trim (and price point) in the future. It now looks like the redesigned Regal will be the third Avenir model.
I could have told the guy “71 extra pounds.” Then again, maybe “$5,400 more” would have been a better response. Both of these figures are correct, but it’s the latter that best answers the question, “What’s an Avenir?”
The passer-by who accosted me — in a friendly manner, thankfully — outside my residence hadn’t seen the word “Enclave” on the back of the big, white Buick I had parked outside, but I assume he knew the model and wondered what the hell an Avenir nameplate was doing on both front doors.
“Okay, you know Denali…?” I answered. The rest isn’t hard to imagine.
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.
The Price of Aveniring: Top-flight Buick LaCrosse Sees a Sticker Jump, But You've Already Stopped Reading This
We joke, but there’s many among us — even here at TTAC — who would love to see the full-size sedan segment return to its former glory. Ford can ditch this EcoSport idea and get back to building Galaxies and LTDs and Fairlanes, Dodge can reintroduce the Monaco and Polara, and Buick can slot the Electra 225 above its current LaCrosse.
Sadly, aficionados of the traditional passenger car, especially the largest class, are dwindling in the face of intense wooing from the crossover brigade. Once one discover what a high seating position and all-wheel drive can do for your life (and your confidence), one rarely goes back. Each year, fewer and fewer return for the LaCrosse.
It is against this backdrop that the division’s flagship sedan debuts its newly luxurious Avenir trim. As the second model to wear the name of Buick’s premium sub-brand, can the new trim lift the model’s falling fortunes?
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.
Denali. It’s the Ford LTD of trims. Just take an existing model, add a dash of content and a sprinkling of chrome, and boom — a significantly inflated MSRP and legions of willing buyers. So impressed by GMC’s Denali sub-brand was Buick, executives decided it needed one of its own.
Enter the Avenir sub-brand, which serves as the top trim podium for the redesigned 2018 Enclave. Not only is Avenir designed to milk larger volumes of dollars out of existing Buick products, it’s also meant to draw more eyes to the brand — something Buick needs now, not later.
Still, despite its high expectations for the Avenir experiment, Buick knows it can’t come in too hot.
As part of a larger group of automotive publications, TTAC has access to a variety of content. We wanted to bring you some of the unique content we think lives up to TTAC’s standards and offers legitimate insight or a properly critical viewpoint to car evaluation. This story, by GM Inside News editor Michael Accardi, showcases Buick’s latest attempt to boost flagging LaCrosse sales.
As the full-size sedan market continues to crumble, and the LaCrosse carries a production-crippling 204-day supply of inventory, Buick will push its flagship sedan further into the premium sphere as it attempts to chase unsatisfied luxury shoppers with its new top-shelf Avenir line.
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.
The second-generation Buick Enclave will be the first model in the brand’s lineup to gussy itself up in an Avenir cloak.
While Buick’s extra-lux sub-brand will soon attach itself to other models, the redesigned 2018 Enclave unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show serves as the vanguard of the automaker’s upselling ploy. If GMC can do it with Denali, Buick’s going to try its best to scoop up those extra bucks.
For such an elderly car, Buick is getting awfully creative with its teasers. Released last week, Buick teased its 2017 LaCrosse in an image and video ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, where it will be officially revealed.
The silhouette of the LaCrosse shows hips and shoulders similar to Buick’s Avenir concept — and not much else. (Thankfully, the bulbous Vulcan rear end of the Avenir appears to be gone.)
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