General Motors is rumored to phase out the compact luxury sedan Buick Verano on the US market after the 2017 model year. The move comes after an increase in crossover sales and is also backed by numbers: last year the first generation of Buick Verano sold only 32,000 units on the US market.
Buick unveiled the second, revamped generation of the Verano on the other side of the Pacific, at the Auto Shanghai event last year. The redesigned model, featuring, among others, xenon headlights and LED daytime lights, is already being sold in China. However, according to industry experts, should the second generation Verano not make an appearance on the US market, the move will owe more to Buick’s increased interest in SUVs than directly to Buick Verano’s performance on the market.
Overall, the Buick Verano has not performed so poorly compared to other cars, in fact it consistently ranked at Buick’s second best-selling sedan. Specifically, it has exceeded Regal on sales (in 2013 Regal sold fewer units than the Buick Verano). However, in the premium compact sector Buick is competing with other, more prestigious rivals, the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Additionally, the launch of a compact sedan by Cadillac could also become one more nail in the coffin. Whatever the reason, the phasing out of Buick Verano will come to confirm the trend that has become apparent of late, according to which sedan sales are either shrinking or remaining frozen, while SUVs are picking up.
Asked whether the rumor was true, Stuart Fowle, Buick PR chief did not confirm it, but was not too quick to dismiss it, either. Instead, he stressed the company’s plans to focus on selling the current model and added that no future plans for the Verano had yet been devised.
If the rumor pans out, the Buick Verano will join the list of other nameplates that did not manage to pass their first generation, such as the mid-size luxury SUV Rainier, the upscale sedan Lucerne and the Buick Terazza minivan. By 2017 Buick expects sales of crossover SUVs to make up around 70 percent of its overall US sales, namely from the Encore, Enclave and Envision, the latter yet to go on sale.
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