Historically speaking, Buick excelled at selling big cars in America. As recently as 2002, Buick sold more than 430,000 vehicles, including 166,056 LeSabres and Park Avenues.
Buick didn’t sell anything small in 2002: 204,493 sales were generated by the Regal and Century, another 61,468 came from the Pontiac Aztek-related Rendezvous.
But the large car market is not what it used to be. Indeed, the passenger car market as a whole is shrinking as consumers move toward SUVs and crossovers and return in some numbers to pickup trucks.
Buick isn’t new to the utility vehicle game. We’ve already mentioned the Rendezvous. Buick also sold the Chevrolet TrailBlazer-based Rainier. The successful Enclave has been around since 2007.
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The Encore, a car we’re testing this week, isn’t a much-loved product at GCBC Towers, but it’s been a real niche-filler for Buick.
• Historical Monthly & Yearly Buick LaCrosse Sales Figures
• Historical Monthly & Yearly Buick Regal Sales Figures
• Historical Monthly & Yearly Buick Verano Sales Figures
• 2013 Buick Verano Turbo Driven Review
But the Encore now provides Buick with 21% of the brand’s U.S. volume. The Enclave and Encore combine to supply Buick dealers with 48% of their U.S. sales through the first four months of 2014, far more than any two of Buick’s three cars – LaCrosse, Regal, Verano – generate.
The above chart isn’t meant to highlight the bizarrely high volumes achieved by the Buick Century, although it was America’s tenth-best-selling car in 2002. Instead, it traces the rapid overall decline of the brand and the steady improvement Buick has shown since 2009, and it tracks the death of previously-core models and the arrival of their completely different replacements. The larger a specific model’s chunk of colour, the greater its contributions to the brand’s U.S. volume.