Buick scored one of its rare, bit hits with the debut of the striking Avenir concept at the Detroit Auto Show last January. Ever since, there’s been plenty of buzz about whether the make might put that show car into production.
So, Buick is touching off another flurry as it offers up a carefully cropped teaser image of the next-generation LaCrosse sedan, set to debut at the L.A. Auto Show, suggesting it picks up “Avenir concept-inspired design cues.”
“The Avenir concept shattered expectations of what a Buick could be and the 2017 LaCrosse promises to do the same,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “Its expressive design represents a break from convention and highlights the progressiveness in all new Buick models.”
Sadly, for those who are hoping that the LaCrosse is the Avenir they’ve been waiting for, it isn’t going to happen. Yes, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse will, indeed, pick up on some of the show car’s cues, but that’s much like the Avenir itself was inspired by the 1954 Buick Wildcat II concept.
On the plus side, we do know that this will be, according to a news release accompanying the teaser image, the “face all Buick models will adopt by 2018.”
(Click Here for coverage of the Buick Avenir debut.)
What we see is a large waterfall grille with a wing-like bar framing the familiar Buick tri-color, tri-shield insignia. The darkened vertical bars and the surrounding chrome frame stand almost completely upright and appear to burst out of the rest of the car’s face, what appear to be recessed twin LED lamps linked by sculpted sheet metal.
How much of the other Avenir design cues the 2017 Buick LaCrosse will pick up remains to be seen. For those who might have a hard time recalling the specifics, those include a modern take on the classic Buick portholes, a long hood, wheels-at-the-corners stance and a sloping, rear deck that pays homage to historical models, such as the Riviera.
“Design has become the great differentiator in the market,” Ed Welburn, General Motors’ global styling chief, said during the debut of the Avenir. And GM is counting on strong design to help rebuild the long-struggling Buick brand.
Of course, looks alone aren’t going to be enough to revive the marque. The next-generation LaCrosse also will get a new chassis that, Buick hints, will be both stronger and lighter. That’s in keeping with what GM has accomplished with a number of other recently updated and all-new products, from the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to the all-new Cadillac CT6.
And while Buick promises to maintain the super-quiet ride that it has become known for, it also suggests the 2017 LaCrosse will offer a more “responsive,” driver-oriented ride thanks to changes that include the use of a new five-link rear suspension.
(Wonder what the hottest new products of 2016 will be? Click Here to find out.)
Getting back to the Avenir, the concept also used a new platform, in this case the Omega architecture primarily developed for the new 2016 Caddy CT6 that will come to market a couple months from now.
Unfortunately for fans of the Buick show car, Cadillac apparently got an exclusive deal within GM, part of that brand’s own, multi-billion-dollar revival plan. And, at least initially, Omega will not be shared. But several sources have told TheDetroitBureau.com that this is a short-term, rather than permanent, injunction. And Buick is working on a business plan that would justify its own full-size luxury model based on the Avenir design.
The good news is that the concept has scored well in China, now the biggest market for Buick and soon to be the world’s largest source of luxury car sales. The bad news is that a slowdown in the Chinese economy has automakers rethinking plans there.
So, while Avenir itself appears to be on hold, at least it looks likely to have a broad impact on Buick products to come.
(Click Herefor a complete round-up from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.)