Car-free Buick to expand utility lineup

Industry

After years of plans to become a crossover brand, Buick has at last dropped all cars from its lineup.

The Regal was the final sedan standing, and Buick discontinued it after the 2020 model year.

Instead, Buick is focusing on SUVs and crossovers, and 2023 likely will mark the start of its shift toward electric vehicles, with a midsize crossover and two SUVs.

Next in Buick’s launch cadence is the redesigned Envision crossover in 2021. Many of the nameplates likely to debut in the next few years will adopt the Envision’s aesthetic. The updated crossover will be lower and wider, with proportions “designed to combine the expressiveness of a car with the practicality of an SUV,” Helen Emsley, executive director of global design for Buick and GMC, said last month.

Encore: The Encore subcompact crossover was freshened four years ago and likely will get another update in 2023 before a redesign in 2025. Over the past year, Buick has eliminated the upper trim levels of the Encore and is now down to just the base model, which has helped sales, Buick said. Buick sold 102,402 Encores in the U.S. last year, up 10 percent. But in the first half of 2020, Encore sales plunged 50 percent, though the vehicle remained the brand’s top seller.

Encore GX: After launching the Encore GX in the first quarter between the Encore and Envision, Buick plans to freshen the vehicle in 2023. The Encore GX has gained retail market share every month since launch and, combined with the Chevrolet Trailblazer, now accounts for more than 10 percent of the small utility vehicle segment at retail, General Motors said, citing Power Information Network data from J.D. Power.

Small crossover: In 2023, Buick may launch a small crossover built in South Korea, but it’s unclear whether the vehicle will come to the U.S.

Midsize electric crossover: In 2023, forecasters say, Buick plans to launch a midsize electric crossover that will be about the size of the redesigned Envision. It will likely be built in Orion Township, Mich., alongside the Chevrolet Bolt EV and upcoming Bolt utility vehicle.

Envision: Buick is bringing out a redesign of the Envision compact crossover in early 2021. The crossover will grow as it moves from GM’s Delta platform to its Epsilon platform. The new generation will offer more safety features and infotainment options.

Buick’s premium Avenir trim will be available on the Envision for the first time with the 2021 model. The crossover will continue to be built in China, where the vast majority of Envisions are sold globally. While the vehicle plays an important role in Buick’s U.S. portfolio, the volume is not at a level to justify setting up manufacturing in the U.S., a spokesman said.

Three-row crossover: In 2022, Buick is expected to launch a stretched, three-row version of the Envision, likely to be called the Envision GX, following the Encore and Encore GX’s naming pattern. It will have a longer wheelbase than the Envision and share a platform with the Cadillac XT4.

Enclave: Buick will freshen the Enclave large crossover in 2021, likely focusing on exterior updates, including the front and rear fascia, to bring its looks more in line with those of the Envision. Buick will redesign the Enclave in 2024.

Small electric SUV: Buick may build a small electric SUV in 2024 in China, but whether it will ship the SUV to the U.S. remains unclear.

Large electric SUV: Buick is likely to build a large electric SUV in late 2023. It could be built at GM’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico, which is expected to be retooled to build EVs in the next few years.

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