14th August 2013
posted in Buick |
An image exists out there that perfectly conveys the fate we thought would befall the Buick Encore after its world debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The shot shows the just-unveiled Encore on stage, basking in the glow of spotlights but surrounded by a large display area that's bereft of both cars and people. Two journalists are sitting on a couch over to the side, both facing the Encore but ignoring it as they inspect their swag, and a solitary custodial engineer pushes a vacuum back and forth across a sea of gray carpet.
Like a kid with his birthday cake at a party no one came to, this little crossover's debut was largely, almost cruelly, ignored. Who can blame us, though? Two shows ago, the Motor City's main stage welcomed the redesigned Aston Martin-esque Ford Fusion, the 3 Series-assassin ATS from Cadillac and the return of Dodge to the small car game with the Dart. A fourth model for the wayward Buick brand, especially one so arguably un-Buick in form and function, did not seem to deserve the attention paid to its peers that year.
In hindsight, however, maybe we were wrong. Perhaps Buick knew something the rest of us did not, that there exists a niche unfilled in the marketplace, one in which upwardly mobile Millenials are looking for economy, function, style and luxury in a single vehicle. But would they buy it with a Buick badge?
While the Encore's coming out party was sparsely attended, it's been making friends in the marketplace. So we recently spent a week with one to find out why our snapshot failed to foretell the model's future.Permalink | Email this | Comments