We’re delighted to bring to you the very first installment of the GM Authority Future Product Guide series. For our first segment, we’ve outlined Buick’s plans for the next three model years in North America. Without further ado, enjoy the guide and share your opinion in the comments!
Note: dates are in model years, which tend to precede calendar years by approximately a year. For instance, a vehicle may first debut in 2012 and then brought to market later in the same year as a 2013.
|TRIM LEVEL DISCONTINUATION
|FULL-SIZE FLAGSHIP DEBUT?
|VERANO TURBO DEBUT
|LACROSSE ROLLING UPDATE
|VERANO EASSIST DEBUT
|LACROSSE EASSIST LAUNCH
|VERANO HATCH LAUNCH
|REGAL GS LAUNCH
|THREE-DOOR HATCH/GTC DEBUT?
|REGAL EASSIST LAUNCH
|VERANO & REGAL ENGINE UDPATES?
|ALL-NEW COMPACT/MIDSIZE CROSSOVER UNVEIL
2012: The Year of the Verano
Trim level discontinuation: all Buicks have dropped the CX, CXL, and CXS trim levels for the 2012 model year in favor of stair-step equipment groups.
Verano launch: the compact Delta II-based Verano will have a starting price of $23,470. It will compete in a niche of its own in the premium compact segment: rather than focusing on performance and trying to beat the 3 Series (like all other vehicles in the compact luxury class attempt to do), the emphasis with the Verano is on a quiet, soft, and luxurious ride, with the Cadillac ATS taking on the compact performance angle (and the 3 Series). The Verano shares it platform with the Chevrolet Cruze but offers different engines, including the standard 2.4 liter LAF good for 177 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy estimates are 22 MPG city and 31 MPG highway. A turbo-charged 2.0 liter and eAssist will make their debut in 2012, most likely for the 2013 model year.
Verano Turbo debut (updated): the low-output variant of the turbo-charged 2.0 liter ECOTEC will make its way into the Verano,
where we expect it to make 220 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque it will make 250 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
LaCrosse Rolling Update: the 2012 LaCrosse will see several changes, the biggest of which is a $2,830 price jump and the discontinuation of CX, CXL, and CXS trim level in favor of stair-step equipment packages. Notably, the 2012 LaCrosse will also see new IntelliLink infotainment system.
LaCrosse eAssist launch: for the 2012 model year, Buick has decided to replace the standard four-cylinder 2.4 liter engine with the eAssist mild-hybrid system. This means that the base engine is the eAssist-ed 2.4 liter four cylinder rated at 25 MPG in the city, 36 MPG on the highway, and 29 MPG combined. Read our first drive here.
Regal GS launch: the Regal GS is making its way to showrooms this fall. Powered by a high-output 2.0 liter turbo ECOTEC engine that makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, the model will serve as a halo car for the Regal line. Read our first drive here.
Regal eAssist launch: the mild-hybrid system will make its way to the 2012 Regal, joining the eAssist-ed LaCrosse. The Regal with eAssist is rated at 25 MPG city, 36 MPG highway — the same as the larger LaCrosse with eAssist. But unlike the LaCrosse, the Regal will continue to offer the non-hybrid 2.4 liter ECOTEC as standard equipment.
2013: The Year of the Encore
LaCrosse refresh: the Epsilon II-based sedan will get a comprehensive refresh for the 2013 model year, with new body work including a new front fascia, grille, hood, and rear fascia. It may also get the interactive drive control system from the Regal.
Encore launch (updated): the sub-compact five-seat crossover, often referred to as “baby Enclave”, will hit the market for the 2013 model year. It will ride on a stretched version of GM’s Gamma global subcompact architecture called Gamma II Extended (or Gamma II Plus).
Enclave refresh: the full-size Lambda-based crossover is expected to get a thorough refresh for the 2013 model year, with improved safety features (such as the front center airbag), a thorough redo of the interior, and the new IntelliLink infotainment system. The exterior is said to be “more sophisticated”, with more elegant contours than the outgoing model. More about the 2013 Enclave here.
Verano eAssist debut (updated): the Verano should see the addition of the eAssist mild-hybrid system, sometime in 2014 or 2015. It’s possible that the compact sedan will see an approximate 15 percent increase in combined fuel economy.
Verano hatchback launch (udpated): GM
is considering bringing will bring a hatchback version of the Verano to the United States for the 2013 model year. The vehicle is already sold in China as the Excelle XT.
Verano and Regal engine updates: expect to see the new 2.5 liter four-cylinder ECOTEC replace the loud and not-so-powerful 2.4 liter unit in the Verano and Regal. The 2.5 will make its debut in the 2013 Chevy Malibu, where it makes 12 percent more power and 16 percent more torque than the 2.4. That translates into 190 horsepower (up from 182) and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (up from 172). We expect the 2.5 to make its way to the Buick lineup for the 2013 or 2014 model years.
Astra GTC (updated): Buick may or may not decide to bring the three-door Opel Astra GTC to U.S. shores. Based on the Delta platform of the Verano/Excelle sedan and hatch and Cruze, the vehicle was initially planned to be a Saturn Astra, but we all know how that turned out. Update: according to sources, the Astra has been green-lit to become a Buick. The name is unknown, but it’s possible that it will wear the Verano nameplate, with some sort of a specifying moniker.
Compact/midsize CUV debut: Buick will get an all-new compact or mid-sized crossover based on an all-new platform. Not much is known about the vehicle as of this writing, but we’re told that styling will simply be unmatched by anything else in the industry.
2014: The Question Mark
Full-size flagship: the 2014 model year is currently up in the air for the Tri-Shield brand. Depending on the sales performance of 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles, GM will make a decision to bring a full-size flagship sedan to North America. It has been rumored that Buick is working on bringing a full-size flagship sedan based on the larger variant of the Zeta platform to the United States. The vehicle in question is basically the Chinese-market Park Avenue. That’s one possibility. The other possibility, which is perhaps more likely, involves the Super-Epsilon platform that will underpin the Cadillac XTS and the next-generation Chevy Impala. Then there’s always the in-development RWD Omega platform that will serve as the basis for a “true” Cadillac flagship, but it will most likely not see the light of day until 2015 or 2016.
The next three model years will be very important for Buick, as they will shape the direction of the brand for the long run. It will be very interesting to see how the respective lineups of Opel and Buick will change as the two brands become more alligned on a global level. Personally, it’s the last part that I find most exciting.
Minor on-the-fly updates to configuration options, features, etc.
Minor changes to the vehicle’s sheet metal, with most hanges including new grille, front and/or rear fascias, headlights, tail lights, hood, and fenders.
All-around improvements and changes to exterior, interior, and mechanical components. The platform and overall body style remain unchanged.
Re-engineer & Redesign
Re-engineer: platform, powertrains, and components receive extensive makeover as well as upgrades to improve ride, handling, braking, steering, fuel economy, safety.
Redesign: extensive changes to the exterior and interior. May include a new body style.
New platform, new interior and exterior. New or carried over engine and transmission.
New model reveal.
Model launch in the market place.