When the 2016 Buick Cascada soft-top convertible begins arriving at U.S. dealerships in January of 2016, it will be will be the first new Buick vehicle to hit the showrooms since January 2013. Indeed, January 2013 marked the much-celebrated launch of the Buick Encore subcompact CUV, and a three year-long lull in new product launches is a long time in today’s fast-paced industry.
But Buick has weathered lull with old products quite well: for the first 11 months of 2015, sales are down a slight 3 percent year-over-year to 202,347 units in the U.S. That feat is attributable to three factors that include incentives, marketing, and Encore.
“What we’ve achieved with the Buick brand over the last few years without new product has been fantastic,” said Buick’s Global Chief, Duncan Aldred in the report. “To have new product now will just really enable us to push that second phase of our journey.”
According to Audodata Corp., Buick’s consumer incentives climbed 9 percent through October to $6,071. That’s roughly double the industry rate.
Of course, that’s great news for those in the market for a new Buick, but isn’t as lucrative for the brand’s bottom line, as it ultimately decreases per-vehicle profitability for parent General Motors. What’s more, some would argue that strong Buick incentives put unnecessary pricing pressures on high-end Chevrolet vehicles in segments where the two brands have intersecting vehicles that shares common platforms, such as:
- Buick Verano and Chevrolet Cruze
- Buick Regal and Chevrolet Malibu
- Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala
- Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse
- Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax
Love it or hate it, few would argue that Buick’s catchy marketing has played a vital part in Buick maintaining sales volume during the product interlude. After all, you don’t win all kinds of marketing awards for nothing.
Hey, that’s a Buick?
Future product is the equivalent of a brand’s lifeblood, as it is so vital to building the brand and its sales volume.
“When you’re building a brand and measuring brand health … there’s no doubt that it’s stimulated and helped by new product news,” Aldred told reporters in early November.
So, what follows Buick’s prolonged product lull? The big news, of course, is the all-new 2017 Buick LaCrosse is set to go on sale next summer, with the Buick Cascada becoming available in January. Though the new LaCrosse will top the Tri Shield brand as it flagship, it will compete in a segment that’s not exactly growing by leaps and bounds. Rather, the one upcoming Buick with the biggest sales volume potential is the new Envision — a compact luxury crossover that will fill the (rather large) void between the subcompact Encore and full-size Enclave.
Set to compete in a growing segment comprised of the Lexus NX, Acura RDX, and Volvo XC60. Granted, the segment is competitive, but it’s also growing by leaps and bounds as a whole, delivering a “room for everyone” kind of environment. The 2016 Envision will be imported into North America from China (at least initially) and will go on sale in 2016.
After that, prepare for an onslaught of all-new Buick models, including the next-gen 2017 Buick Regal, 2017 Buick Verano, and 2017 Buick Enclave. All three are expected to be new for the 2017 model year, though could end up being pushed back to become 2018 models. Other rumored yet unconfirmed vehicles include the Buick Velite as well as the Verano hatchback and Verano GS.
In that regard, the Tri Shield brand is embarking on the massive product revitalization, one that should help drive image and sales volume to even higher volumes.