When General Motors remade itself following its bankruptcy restructuring of summer 2009, the company began a process to shed itself of four unwanted brands: Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Hummer. The fact Buick remained behind seemed a curious one at first, given Pontiac's stronger sales.
GM's decision, initially panned by some critics, has proven to be the right one. Combined Buick-Pontiac-GMC showrooms are now Buick-GMC, selling premium cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles without the burden of having to make room for Pontiac. The Buick brand is being remade with new models such as the LaCrosse and Regal being sold alongside the Enclave crossover and full-size Lucerne. For 2010, Buick sales were up by 52 percent, the best performance of the four surviving GM brands and, indeed, the best performing brands sold in America period.
But, GM is not stopping there with its premium brand. Buick is situated between Chevrolet and Cadillac, but it also targets entry-level luxury car buyers who might consider an Audi A3 or other smaller models, a premium car segment that will soon offer the Buick Verano as yet another option.
The Buick Verano is based on the same platform as the compact Chevrolet Cruze, but unlike past GM cloning practices, badge engineering will be absent. The five-passenger Verano will have a fresh grille, different hood and other exterior treatments unique to itself. Underneath, much of the same underpinnings found in the Cruze will be in the Verano, but the Buick will have a different and larger engine to offer, the same engine powering the standard Buick Regal.
Inside, the Buick Verano, which is expected to go on sale later in 2011 as a 2012 model, will offer a cabin unique to GM compact cars. Typical Buick styling will be used, with leather seating options, wood and aluminum trim and enhanced sound system standard or available. Expect OnStar GPS navigation to be standard and XM satellite radio to be available.
The same 10 airbags found in the Cruze will also be offered, underscoring just how much GM values safety in its C segment models. Anti-lock brakes, brake assist, traction control, blind spot intelligence and collision warning are other features likely for the Verano.
Further differentiations will be noted in the way the Buick Verano rides, handles and how it keeps noise out. Indeed, Buick has been getting a lot of attention for how quiet its cars are, making good use of the latest sound deadening materials to control outside noise.