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Auto blogTue, 06 Aug 2013 14:01:00 EST
Buick is having a hard time keeping up with demand for its all-new Encore mini-CUV, according to a report from Automotive News. The stylish, lifted five-door went on sale in January, but dealers have reported that supplies have dwindled after the initial high demand, taking the proverbial "wind out of the sails."
General Motors admits that it underestimated demand for the diminutive Buick, which is built in Korea and sold as the Opel Mokka in Europe, where it's also seen success. Buick spokesperson Nick Richards told AN, "We increased production, so there have been a lot more landing within the last month."
Buick has done a booming business, though, even with its limited supply of Encores. With over 12,000 units sold in the first half of 2013, the small CUV is on pace to annihilate industry analysts' estimates, which predicted no more than 18,500 units in 2013. We're not entirely surprised. When we first drove the Encore late last year, Autoblog professed that we had no idea how sales would turn out, as the Encore wasn't really entering into an established segment. Even so, wefound a surprising amount to like in the Encore, enough that we "wouldn't bet against it" being a major success.
Although the first day of the 2013 New York Auto Show kicks off bright and early this morning, Buick got a jump on the competition by unveiling the 2014 Buick Regal lineup last night. While the Regal received many upgrades for the 2014 model year, most of our attention was focused on the sedan's drivetrain.
When the new Regal hits dealers this fall, buyers opting for the new Regal Turbo will be welcomed by an additional 39 horsepower and 35 pound-feet of torque from the 2.0-liter turbo engine; the 2014 Regal GS now features the same output of 259 hp and 295 lb-ft, meaning that it has actually lost 11 hp over the 2013 model year. Buick says the reason for the GS' power loss comes from the fact that the newly available all-wheel-drive system forced the car to use a smaller diameter exhaust system, but representatives on hand assured us that the reduction of horsepower won't affect the car's performance and could even help improve fuel economy. And who knows? Maybe downgrading the power of the Regal GS also helps create a little breathing room for a future Grand National or GNX model...
Although the power under the hood is now the same, it is still impossible to confuse the two cars from the outside. Minor updates give both a fresher look, but the Regal GS has an unmistakeable aggression to it. The GS' interior also helps it stand apart from lower Regal trim levels with an eight-inch configurable gauge cluster similar to what is offered in the 2014 LaCrosse. The cabin of the Regal wasn't given an extensive makeover like the LaCrosse received, but the upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system and the cleaner center stack and steering wheel controls are appreciated changes.
Let's get the most pressing bits of this story out of the way right off the bat: What we see here appears to be a new compact crossover from Buick. According to the spy photographer, this machine may be a little bit smaller on the outside than the current Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain 'utes, which makes sense since recent rumors suggest GM's small crossovers will migrate to a new platform that will mark a convergence between the automaker's Delta (Chevy Cruze, Buick Verano) and Theta (Equinox, Terrain) platforms. This Buick would likely use this new D2UX platform.
We've been expecting Buick to unleash a crossover to slot between the very small Encore and the very large Enclave, and various rumors have indicated that the model may be known as either the Anthem or Envision. It's worth mentioning that Buick had planned, back in 2009, to release a vehicle in the compact CUV market, but abandoned those plans after a particularly poor reception.
And now for something completely different... Take another look at the spy shots above, and pay special attention to the cylindrical device mounted to the vehicle's roof. We can't say for sure what it is, but our spy photographer opines that it looks quite a bit like the 360-degree Lidar camera equipment used by Google for its autonomous cars. Is General Motors working with Google on autonomous car technology? We don't know, but you can definitely consider us intrigued.