Dealers demands for Buick Encore much more than GM anticipated

Article by Anita Panait, on December 4, 2012

The Buick Encore proved to be a popular compact crossover since the order bank for it was opened this fall. General Motors had expected an initial allocation of around 2,000 units, but Buick dealers requested around 9,000 Encores. This underscores the high demand for the compact crossover, which is smaller than the full-sized crossover Enclave.

Mark Whibbs, a Buick-GMC dealer in Pensacola, Fla., told Automotive News that the Buick Encore gives a rock-solid five-passenger crossover that “really anticipates what customers want right now," citing the model’s looks, fuel economy and versatility. Whibbs has so far ordered nine Buick Encores, which will go on sale in the US in January 2013.

However, measuring the future demand for the Encore could be tricky since its small size make it an unusual vehicle for Buick. Aside from that, the Encore is different from other vehicles in the US.

The Encore is built on the same platform that underpins the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact. Having a starting price of mid-$20,000s, the Buick Encore features optional premium touches like a heated steering wheel. The Encore is compared with other vehicles like the Mini Countryman or Nissan Juke, the BMW X1, and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Aaron Bragman, a product analyst at IHS Automotive, remarked that GM is offering a vehicle that doesn't really exist, as there is no tiny luxury crossover like the Encore.

The Encore, developed and produced in Korea, was conceived to target China, Europe and other overseas markets, rather than the US. The Encore went on sale in Europe in October as the Opel Mokka, and goes on sale in China in December as the Encore. According to Bragman, the Encore will be “something of an experiment” for GM in terms of how it does in the US market.

Buick Encore has elegant and sculpted styling traits, in conformity with the global design language symbolizing the brand. These signature styling traits – which include sweeping character lines, a waterfall grille, portholes on the hood, chrome accents and surrounds, and painted lower panels – make the car immediately identifiable as a modern Buick.

According to David Lyon, Buick’s executive director for design, the Encore brings the timeless and sculptural design of the brand into the crossover segment, and it does so in a manner that combines elegance, utility, and efficiency. He said that there is confidence in the car’s athletic stance and in the elemental beauty and richness of its details.

Additionally, the Buick Encore boasts blue-accented projector-beam headlamps as well as detailed tail lamps to enhance its premium appearance. It comes standard with 18” 5-spoke painted aluminum wheels, or optional 7-spoke chrome wheels.

As for its interior, the organic styling of the Encore carries over to its flowing instrument panel, which naturally wraps into its door panels. Its central instrument panel is prominent and it houses a large, full-color, 7” LCD display screen for its IntelliLink voice-activated radio system. In addition, it features SiriusXM satellite radio displays, as well as available rear camera and navigation systems.

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