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.

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