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Buick still has a bright future

The Encore GX will be the first to parade in Buick’s new clothes this spring

(Detroit) At the time of its restructuring, why did General Motors not sacrifice Buick? For a long time, the question was asked. Although its aura has faded significantly over the past four decades on the North American continent, the brand still remains an automotive icon. Mainly with the Chinese who, today, are the most avid consumers of these products.

But the tide is turning. For Western builders, the Middle Kingdom is no longer a dream. The horizon darkens. Buick, for one, sees (again) America bringing him the sales that China no longer knows how to offer him. This is where we are!

The transition to the electric vehicle represents a favorable opportunity to reshuffle the cards and rebuild our image. And Buick intends to seize this opportunity. The reconquest operation is underway. Visitors to the last Montreal Motor Show were able to realize this by discovering the Wildcat study. Even if this prototype will probably never experience the joys of mass production, it does not constitute a free exercise. Indeed, this coupe lays the foundations of the visual codes that Buick will apply to the five vehicles that the brand will market over the next 18 months. The Encore GX, an urban utility, will be the first beneficiary.


The 2023 Encore GX

Strategic importance

Revealed at the last Toronto Auto Show, the Encore GX was the subject of a private presentation a few weeks earlier in the presence of its designers, including Steve McCabe, one of the architects of Buick’s new image. He first wanted to recall that the harmony of forms and the perfection of balances no longer necessarily constitute the unsurpassable horizon of automotive aesthetics.

In fact, and unlike other brands, we have a rich history, which allows us to reinterpret style elements from the past. Thus, the Buicks of the 1950s were our main source of inspiration.

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Steve McCabe, one of the architects of Buick’s new image

The headlamps profiled like the blades of a boomerang, the grille drawn downwards and the bonnet extended by an arched rib make up a very recognizable visual identity. Naturally, chrome occupies an important place to embellish this bodywork, but without excess. To convince themselves of this, Buick has renounced the nickel-plated circle which traditionally enshrined the three shields (now remodeled), the brand’s symbol since 1959. in the past.

“We are still thinking of renovating them, but do these portholes have a purpose with the arrival of electric vehicles? asks Steve McCabe. As a reminder, the quantity of these small openings corresponded at the time to the number of engine cylinders.

Besides the honor of parading the first in Buick’s new clothes, the Encore GX will also have the privilege of inaugurating the “virtual cockpit”. This groups together, behind a 19-inch luminescent slab, the instrumentation block and the infotainment system.

At Buick, we recognize that it is rather unusual to invest so much in a model that is in the middle of the road. “But the Encore GX is of great strategic importance within our product line,” recalls Steve McCabe. In the United States, this urban utility has greatly contributed to rejuvenating the clientele (the latter is now on average 57 years old). To mobilize the fairer sex too. This tears off more than half (55%) of sales of this model.

In order to appeal to a wider audience, the Encore GX is taking advantage of this partial overhaul to include an additional version in its catalog: Avenir. Buick estimates that it could eventually become even more popular than the ST, a version which, to date, accounts for 41% of registrations. Unlike the ST, Avenir stands out in particular for the monochrome treatment of its wheel arches and its more elaborate presentation. Already offered on other products in the line, Avenir is currently favored by 49% of Envision customers and 45% of those buying a Buick Enclave.

Trendy Buicks

In the coming months, Buick will reveal to America the first battery-powered vehicle that it intends for it. At the same time, it will inaugurate the new name for the brand’s “wattures”: Electra. A name that will include a numeral suffix to establish a hierarchy between the models.

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But by then, Buick will have started deliveries of its first electric vehicle in China. Marketed under the name E-5, this SUV could potentially come our way, some media speculate. Asked about this, Buick management smiled, but said nothing. Nor does she comment on the prototype – apparently more compact than the E-5 – which has been roaming the streets of Michigan for a few months now.

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