Buick gives its popular Encore a makeover – Detroit Free Press
NEW YORK — Buick has given its popular Encore crossover a makeover with a new front grille, new headlights and updated infotainment three years after it was first introduced, underscoring the vehicle’s importance in the premium brand’s lineup.
The automaker revealed the 2017 Encore today in New York in the trendy Chelsea district in Manhattan one day ahead of the opening of the New York International Auto Show to the media.
“Encore was one of the first entries in the small SUV segment, and it has been a runaway success,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick sales.
The Encore competes against a growing array of subcompact crossovers above and below its price, including the Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA Class.
Buick says the new Encore has a more refined look than the outgoing model that includes a new winged grille with the brand’s new tricolor insignia, new front headlamps and rear LED signature tail lamps.
The 2017 Encore also gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — popular infotainment systems that let drivers use their smartphones for navigation, music, phone calls and other functions safely while driving.
In the Encore, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be supported by a next-generation IntelliLink system featuring an 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen.
The new version of the Encore will go on sale later this year. Buick did not release pricing.
The Buick Encore debuted for the 2013 model year and quickly became a hit. Now, the Encore is Buick’s most popular vehicle and it accounts for more than one-third of the brand’s total sales. Last year, sales of the Encore soared 38% in the U.S. as Buick sold 67,549 of the crossovers. So far this year sales are up 34%.
By the midsummer, Buick will offer consumers three crossovers — Encore, Enclave and the new Envision compact crossover.
“The Buick Envision will live right in the sweet spot between the Encore and the Enclave in terms of size,” Aldred said. “As a compact SUV, it’s aimed squarely at the needs of consumers today.”
Sales of the Encore and the Enclave already account for about 60% of Buick’s sales and are turning the General Motors premium brand into more of an SUV and crossover brand than a car brand.
With the introduction of the Envision, Aldred said he expects sales of crossovers will grow to 75% of Buick’s total sales.
GM’s decision to update the small luxury crossover also underscores the growing importance of small crossovers and SUVs in the U.S. automotive industry.
A number of automotive brands, including Acura, Infiniti, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, will be revealing new or updated crossovers at the New York International Auto Show this week.
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