Over the past several years, Buick’s been laboring to overhaul its portfolio and revamp its image to appeal to younger buyers. Overall, the brand has succeeded, but there’s still room to grow. So, what can we expect from the tri-shield brand in the years to come? Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect in Buick showrooms over the next several years.
Enclave: Buick’s three-row crossover was all-new in 2008, so little is in store in the near future as it is in the middle of its lifecycle. According to Automotive News, the 2013 model year will bring facelifts and overhauled interiors for each Lambda-platform crossover, including the Enclave. A second-generation model won’t be introduced until at least 2015 or 2016.
Encore: A five-seat, compact crossover will join the ranks at Buick, which we expect willtarget squarely Acura’s RDX, the Infiniti EX, and perhaps even the forthcoming Audi Q3. AN reports that the Encore will ride on General Motors’ Gamma platform, meaning that it will be quite small; the Gamma platform currently underpins the Opel Corsa and the upcoming 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. Word has it the crossover will bear a resemblance to the Envision concept shown earlier this year at the Shanghai auto show, and will be a key offering for Buick in the ever-growing Chinese market. Expect the finished product to launch in time for the 2013 model year.
LaCrosse: There’s little new for the larger LaCrosse sedan that we didn’t already known. The nameplate will gain a mild hybrid powertrain (dubbed eAssist) this summer, which pairs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder combined with a small electric motor. A cosmetic refresh, which dresses up the grille, bumpers, and trunk, should arrive in 2013. An all-new replacement isn’t scheduled until 2016.
Regal: Starting this fall, the Regal will get a split personality — the sedan will receive both an eAssist hybrid version, and a hotter, 270-hp GS model. The latter uses combines a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with a six-speed manual transmission, and is loosely based off of the Opel Insignia OPC. No decision has been made on a Regal wagon, although it is more likely to get the green light for the Chinese market than it is for our market.
Verano: Making its debut at the end of this year, the 2012 Verano shares its platform — but not its sheetmetal, interior, or powertrain — with the Chevrolet Cruze. The Veranoshares more in common with Opel’s popular Astra hatchback, and is available with either a 2.0- or a 2.4-liter I-4. As the Verano is all-new, little will change over the next few years, but look for a version with the eAssist mild hybrid system to arrive by the end of 2012. A turbocharged variant is also reportedly under consideration.
Astra: Although Buick product planners have adamantly told us there’s no interest in bringing over the Astra hatchback, Automotive News claims GM is interested in porting the five-door hatch stateside through Buick’s portfolio. Last we heard, this idea was nixed in favor of pushing the Verano, but if customer interest is there…almost anything is possible.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)