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Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:49 a.m.

Compact luxury crossover segment offers opportunity for GM's Buick brand

By Nathan Bomey


General Motors executives, including Ed Welburn (second from right) and Mary Barra (right), stand next to the new Buick Encore crossover at the Detroit auto show.

Chris Asadian |

(For live updates from the Detroit auto show, click here.)

Hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles generally tend to hog the spotlight at the Detroit auto show.

But the North American International Auto Show is also a platform for automakers to show how they're poised to seize a portion of emerging markets for new segments of vehicles.

That's what General Motors did this morning at its press conference, where the Detroit automaker showed off the Buick Encore, a new luxury small crossover vehicle.

The Encore, which will arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2013, will be the first small crossover under the Buick brand.

Mary Barra, GM's senior vice president of global product development, said the company is projecting that industry sales of small SUVs and crossovers will grow by 500,000 by 2015 while compact luxury SUV sales double.

"That's why we developed this new global vehicle," she said.

Ed Welburn, GM's vice president of global design, said the new Buick Encore shows that GM is "on the cutting edge of a new emerging automotive trend."

The car comes with 10 airbags, a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. GM also boasted about the car's seven-inch touch screen LCD display and its ability to keep out noise.


General Motors today revealed the Buick Encore at the Detroit auto show.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

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Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Looks a lot like the Pontiac Vibe.