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From this week's Automotive News:

Product overhaul steers Buick toward crossovers

Nick Bunkley Twitter RSS feed
Automotive News | July 24, 2017 - 12:01 am EST

The nearly complete transformation of Buick's lineup has created a brand that gets more than three quarters of its U.S. sales from a trio of crossovers.

Buick is in the final months of a product blitz that's overhauling its lineup in less than two years. The transformation has created a brand that gets more than three-quarters of its U.S. sales from a trio of crossovers, one of which is imported from China. Buick also is trying to mimic GMC's success with Denali by creating its own subbrand, Avenir, which debuts on the redesigned Enclave.

Regal:​ The 2018 Regal arriving this fall will come in two flavors: the Sportback, with a flowing hatch in the rear, and a wagon called the TourX. There's no sedan version for the U.S. The Sportback, about 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing Regal sedan, is expected to be the more popular choice. It's offered in front-wheel drive with a nine-speed transmission or all-wheel drive with an eight-speed.

The TourX — longer, taller and 500 pounds heavier than the Sportback — is Buick's first wagon since 1996, though executives are trying to call it a crossover. It comes only in awd. Both body styles are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo. A GS variant of the Sportback offers a unique exterior, a 3.6-liter V-6, standard awd with a nine-speed transmission and massaging performance seats. The Regal is expected to get a freshening in 2020.

LaCrosse:​ Last year's redesign failed to generate any sales momentum for what will soon be Buick's only remaining vehicle with four doors and a trunk. Expect the brand to make a few tweaks around 2019, but given weak demand for large cars, the additional investment will likely be minimal.

Cascada:​ GM's planned sale of Opel makes the future murky for this Poland-made convertible pulled from the European brand's lineup. It may get some minor updates next year, but moving such a niche product to a non-Opel platform for a second generation would be costly.

Encore:​ The tiny crossover, Buick's top seller, is due for a redesign in late 2019 after a freshening last year that included a sportier front end and interior improvements.

Envision:​ Sales of the China-made Envision have grown quickly. Because it was several years old when Buick began importing it to the U.S., it's ready for some minor updates next year before its redesign in 2020.

Enclave:​ The crossover that helped resurrect Buick finally gets redesigned this fall after a decadelong wait. For its second generation, the Enclave will be nearly 400 pounds lighter and sold only in a seven-seat configuration, ditching the second-row bench option but gaining some interior space. The 3.6-liter V-6, paired with a nine-speed transmission, is expected to make the Enclave about 2 mpg more efficient than the outgoing model. Upgrading to the Enclave Avenir adds a 3-D mesh grille, a camera-equipped rearview mirror, power folding third-row seats, pearl nickel 20-inch aluminum wheels and a cabin-air ionizer. The Enclave is expected to get a freshening in 2021.

Regal Redesign
Enclave Redesign

Cascada Freshen
Envision Freshen

Encore Redesign
LaCrosse Freshen

Regal Freshen
Envision Redesign

Enclave Freshen
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