When the Buick Encore launched, it had a market virtually all to its own. Notably, not one other brand in the U.S. was selling a small crossover like the Encore. General Motors wasn’t even sure the U.S. consumer base would take to such a niche offering. Yet, white space payed off for Buick once again.
The proof is in the success the Buick brand has had with the tiny crossover. Sales surged 53 percent last year, and landed as the third-best in Buick’s lineup in 2014. Flash-forward to present day, and a slew of shiny new competitors are on their way looking for a piece of the newfound market segment.
To counter its rivals, Buick will expand production capacity to lift the U.S. supply of Buick Encores by roughly 50 percent. Duncan Aldred, Vice President of Buick-GMC, says he wants to capitalize on the monumental head start the brand has had in the segment.
“I’ve stuck my neck out to get more Encores, because if you haven’t got them, you’re not going to sell them,” Aldred said to Automotive News.
The Buick Encore and its sibling, the Opel Mokka, are collectively assembled and built in plants in Mexico, Korea and Spain, which makes it difficult for dealers to keep a steady to supply of them. There’s a reported four month lag time between the time dealerships order Encores, and when they are actually delivered.
Despite new competitors entering the segment, the Buick Encore occupies a unique position, sitting above more pedestrian offerings such as the Honda HR-V, but slotting below more premium choices like the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Still, Buick will have to work to make sure they move the extra Encores hitting dealer lots, because everyone knows newer means more buzz around a product.