Betting that the Buick Encore would remain a hot sell despite the arrival of some rival models, General Motors is expanding production capacity to hike the supply of the compact crossover to the United States by around 50 percent. Buick-GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred, told Automotive News in an interview on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention that GM is even diverting supply of the Buick Encore from other markets around the world as it anticipates more demand for the compact crossover.
GM builds the Encore at its production sites in Mexico, South Korea and Spain. According to US dealers, there is a four-month gap from the ordering to delivery – almost double compared to the gap for a US-build car.
Keith Hudson, dealer principal at Jim Hudson Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Columbia, S.C., remarked that the Encore attracts traditional import buyers, usually those aged 45 to 65 and are downsizing empty nesters.
GM was one of the first carmakers to introduce a subcompact crossover in the US, and is now reaping the results of that gamble. Aldred is confident that the head start made by the Buick Encore in the US compact crossover segment will allow it to still command a lead against newcomers like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade as well as the Chevrolet Trax.
In 2014, sales of the Encore surged 53 percent to 48,892 units. He is also confident that sales of small crossover will not be affected by declining gasoline prices, unlike small cars.
The sales performance of the Encore surprised both the auto industry and GM. When GM introduced the Encore in early 2013, IHS Automotive expected sales of almost 25,000 for 2015. Encore, however, was already nearing 50,000 sales in 2014.
Since the new Buick Encore is heavily influenced by the brand’s global design language, it is easily recognizable as a modern Buick, thanks to a number of elegant styling cues like its sweeping character lines. Other signature cues found on the new Buick are its waterfall grille, portholes on the bonnet, painted lower panels, as well as chrome accents and surrounds.
David Lyon, executive director of design, remarked that the new Encore is taking Buick's timeless, sculptural design into the crossover segment with a good mix of elegance, utility and efficiency. He added that the new Encore exudes confidence in its athletic stance as well as elemental beauty in its rich details.
The premium appearance of the new Buick Encore is made possible by blue-accented projector-beam headlamps, detailed rear lamps as well as standard 18-inch five-spoke painted aluminum wheels. Also available are seven-spoke chrome rims.
Meanwhile, the organic exterior styling of the new Encore made its way into the cabin. This is evident on the flowing instrument panel wrapping naturally into the door panels. The new Encore features a prominent central instrument panel that accommodates the seven-inch full-color, LCD display for the IntelliLink voice-activated radio system. The new Encore also has displays for the SiriusXM satellite radio, and for the available navigation and rear camera systems.
The interior of the new Encore is marked by a contemporary blend of dark and light tones, as accented by ice blue ambient lighting, wood-grain trim and select use of bright trim. It comes with premium seats using high-density foam to deliver greater levels of comfort. These seats are trimmed with either a contemporary cloth/leatherette motif or available leather. The rear seat comes with a fold-down armrest with cup holders. Available for the new Encore are heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.