GM Execs Say Buick Is Ready for Flagship Sedan

Although it’s just a concept car (at least for now), Buick’s Avenir study was a surprise for many, as a production version would place the brand in a market segment it hasn’t occupied before.

But that’s hardly surprising from Buick, whose product planners have been experimenting with body styles and exploring market niches in which rivals are not present for quite a while now.

An example is the Buick Cascada, which doesn’t have any competitors on the US market. Expected to cost in the mid-$30,000, the FWD droptop is targeting “white space,” a marketing term that translates as vehicle positioning (in terms of size, body style and price) that no rival occupies.

Buick has done the same with the last two nameplates added to its lineup. The Verano, launched in late 2011, is a premium compact sedan that starts in the mid-$20,000, thousands below its rivals. The Encore small crossover, launched in early 2013, had a two-year head start on a series of similar models.

While Buick execs say Acura and Infiniti are their competitors in the near-luxury or premium space, research shows that consumers buy Buicks against a wide range of competitors, from mainstream to luxury.

This gives Buick designers greater liberty to try different things, as the Avenir study proves. “Designers love designing Buicks because it’s not a paint-by-numbers brand,” Andrew Smith, executive director of design for Buick and Cadillac, told Automotive News.

And just like the Buick Centieme concept revealed in 2003 previewed the Enclave SUV, the Avenir may be a precursor to a future Buick flagship sedan. While Buick brand chief Duncan Aldred, who commissioned the concept last March, says it “could play a role some day,” Mark Reuss, GM’s global product chief was more adamant. “I think the brand is absolutely ready for it,” he said.

PHOTOS

  • dinn

    It could be great replacement for discontinued Opel Omega.

    • Alx

      My thoughts exactly.

  • rover10

    What is GM up to, one minute they talk of making Cadillac a true luxury brand, and move their HQ to New York in order to escape the Motor City label. Then along comes another division with the answer? So typical of large organisation who somehow end up working at odds. This car needs the Cadillac badge (well done you Buick team by the way) and start from there. Otherwise, Cadillac will have one hell of a task in surpassing the international appeal of the Avenir.

    • James Denz

      This looks pure Buick. Cadillac is developing its own design language around the Elmiraj concept. In March, we’ll see the first results of that on the CT6.

      • NG212

        Cadillac’s execs have already said the CT6 won’t look exactly like the Elmiraj. Subsequent cars are supposed to look more similar to the concept.

    • bd

      Buick basically competes against Acura, Lincoln and the FWD Lexus and Infiniti models (can also toss in Volvo).

    • atomicbri

      Also too rover10, remember Buick is HUGE in China. They can’t get enough of them. So it benefits Buick to design something like this and then will sell them in their other markets (Like the North American market). A top-of-the-line Buick like this would sell like gang busters there. Now not sure how well everywhere else.

  • fj1300

    “Designers love designing Buicks because it’s not a paint-by-numbers brand,”
    No. Designers love Buicks because they have plenty of freetime after having replaced the Opel-Logo!

  • Brandon

    This is the most realistic concept car I’ve seen in a very long time. If they transition (at least) the exterior design well, I think it will sell.

  • MMNYC18

    I think this looks great, nice work Buick.

  • SgtBeavis

    Please call it ‘RoadMaster’… Now that would be awesome..

    • Polyester Poontang

      Good choice…….but,…….I also like Avenir or better yet Park Avenir.

      • Six Thousand Times

        Clever. My choice is Invicta.

  • ivan

    I think the car looks like a bugatti galibier, especially the back.. funnily enough theyve also stolen the seats from the bugatti …

    • Polyester Poontang

      I think you’ve stolen your words from the English language and your ideas from SgtBeavis.

  • Subi-Rubicon1

    This is such a beautiful concept. Buick design team has done a superb job here. I hope it does make it to production with a great name to it!

  • rover10

    If the Elmiraj has the international flair of the Avenir, then Cadillac could be on to a winner. Time will tell.

  • Rodders

    Yes, I see the Vauxhall/Opel resemblance. New Omega, though with a grille like that, bring the old Senator name.

  • Six_Tymes

    This car looks fantastic, create it exactly like this inside and out then ill be really impressed.

  • rover10

    As you say Buick is huge in China and the Avenir would most certainly sell there, but it would sell anywhere. I just can’t help thinking it’s so beautiful would its D&A be better in a Cadillac? We are told the Cadillac Elmiraj will give us a good indication of future styling, so we shall have to hold back judgement. I can remember Buicks on UK roads and were notable vehicles of the wealthy, so I’ve know doubt they could become truly international. The thought of seeing similar vehicles to the Avenir on UK roads, wearing a Buick badge, interests me hugely.

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