GM betting on Encore crossover to gain new customers image

General Motors aims to gain new customers with its new Buick Encore small crossover vehicles.

The Encore is the fifth vehicle in the Buick brand, alongside the larger Enclave crossover and the LaCrosse, Regal and Verano sedans. Buick’s U.S. sales rose 1.6 percent last year to 180,408 vehicles, a record figure for the last six years. However, Buick is still a relatively small brand compared with the big players from the luxury segment.

LMC Automotive estimates Buick’s sales to top 280,000 units in 2017, due to the addition of another small crossover and a compact hatchback. The Encore’s annual sales are expected by LMC to be around 30,000 in a few years.

Buick officials did not say how many Encores they expect to sell, but they anticipate the new model will help further boost demand at Buick. “There’s a lot of momentum in this brand,” Tony DiSalle, Buick marketing vice president, was quoted as saying by Reuters at an event outside of Detroit.

DiSalle added that he expects the Encore’s conquest rate, or the percentage of buyers new to the brand, to match that of the Verano, which exceeds 50 percent. Buick’s overall conquest rate has risen to just over 43 percent last year from 28 percent in 2007.