A seldom-mentioned player in the compact crossover arena, the Chinese-built Buick Envision had a complicated introduction to the U.S. market, landing in the middle of the 2016 model year with only pricey uplevel trims in tow.
Buick quickly rectified the problem, adding lower-tier fare and sinking the Envision’s entry price to a more palatable level. Still, the model failed to make a big splash in a hugely competitive segment, with sales peaking in 2017, its first full year on the market. Can this second-generation model make up for a bad first impression?
Around these digital pages, Buick gets a bad rap. Some have negative connotations of Buick as an old person’s car (disclaimer, my paternal grandfather was a Buick man) or hold grudges simply because the brand was continued while Oldsmobile and Pontiac were killed off during the Great Recession (disclaimer, my father was an Oldsmobile man), seems few have good things to say about the division from Flint.
Disclaimer: I hate the theme music from Buick’s TV commercials.
Let’s make a deal, then. Let’s try and ignore the badges on this 2019 Buick Envision for a few minutes. Let’s evaluate this entry-level luxury crossover against the competition, rather than against whatever demons lurk within our collective subconscious.
Pity the poor Buick Envision. As one of the few Chinese-built vehicles sold in America, it earned an unpatriotic stigma upon its arrival. There’s no word on how many UAW workers own one. Meanwhile, the compact crossover launched partway through the 2016 model year with only high-end trims in tow, saddling it with a steep starting price. The entry price has since declined to saner levels.
Just when Buick thought it had righted the Envision ship, the U.S. hiked tariffs on a slew of Chinese goods to 25 percent last July, suddenly making the Envision a less profitable endeavor for the doctor’s car brand. As we learned today, General Motors’ appeal for mercy apparently fell on deaf ears.
Last week we brought you a taste of the facelifted 2019 Buick Envision, already on sale in its Chinese homeland. General Motors has now graced us with details on the U.S.-bound model, which should appear this spring wearing the same trims you’re become used to.
While there’s a new transmission and tech content to go with the updated front- and rear-end styling, one feature of the new model stands out: its price. To lure new buyers to the brand (and tempt Encore owners to move up the ladder), Buick is offering the Envision with a new pricing scheme.
“All trim levels have been adjusted toward the heart of the premium compact SUV market,” the automaker said today.
Just how much has a Buick Envision slipped in price in the two years since its introduction? A cool nine grand.
General Motors apparently believes you’ll pay a genuinely lofty price for the 2017 Buick Envision precisely because it’s a Buick.
A basic 2017 Buick Envision, upgraded with Preferred trim in order to select the $1,850 all-wheel drive system, costs $38,645. That’s correct: the least costly AWD Envision is priced from $38,645. General Motors will sell you a larger, V6-engined, AWD GMC Acadia for only $445 more.
But that’s a GMC. A generic, garden variety, menial GMC. The Envision seeks to mercilessly trample on the Acadia’s blue collar status.
Who would want a spacious GMC when you could own a Buick; a smaller, less powerful, China-made Buick with cloth seats, no sunroof, blank switches at the front of the center console, and no advanced safety gear? Evidently, the person who’s willing to pay a premium for the Buick tri-shield badge. You know, the buyer who places a value on supposed Buick prestige over and above any accompanying equipment that may (or may not) accompany this alleged luxury SUV.
Buick announced Friday that it will bring from China the Buick Envision to sell in the U.S. next summer, two years after that car was introduced overseas, and that it will be the first Chinese-made car from a domestic manufacturer.
Automotive News reported that the small crossover would go on sale sometime around August, earlier than expected from initial reports last month.
When it goes on sale, the Envision will be powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four that makes 252 horsepower and will only be offered in all-wheel drive to start. The model will be bookended by the subcompact-sized Encore and full-size Enclave and fill a substantial need for the premium automaker.
General Motors announced Thursday it will import a Buick crossover from China to the United States by the end of 2016, much to the UAW’s disappointment.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the crossover in question, the Envision, is currently produced at a facility in the Shandong province. The Buick brand itself is doing well for itself in China, where it’s GM’s best-known brand, and in the U.S., where the brand is experiencing rapid growth as of late. In both instances, the main draw for Buick is its small and medium crossovers and SUVs.
Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.
Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.
Chevrolet will slot a new mid-sized crossover between the Equinox and Traverse in coming years, Automotive News is reporting.
Three sources within General Motors confirmed the new Chevrolet crossover would be dervied from Cadillac’s upcoming XT5, which is replacing the SRX next spring. The upcoming Chevy model’s architecture would be a shortened version of the Traverse, which is built on the Lambda platform. According to the story, GM will move the Equinox to the smaller D2XX platform — shared with the Chevy Cruze, Orlando, Volt, GMC Terrain and Opel Astra — by 2017 to make room for the three-row crossover.
The new, unnamed crossover will target the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander and could be powered by a 2-liter turbo four, a 3.6-liter V6 or perhaps a hybrid power plant.