Not that long ago, Buick, one of America’s oldest car brands with a 110-year history, was dangerously close to getting consigned to the history books. They were on the brink of death. The reason: they made rubbish cars. But, as soon as GM hooked them up with their European partner Opel, Buick blossomed.
And all that blossoming has now come to fruition as the brand is celebrating setting an all-time sales record, delivering over one million cars in 2013. The exact number is 1,032,056 vehicles, sold in China, the United States, Canada and Mexico. That is seriously good performance for Buick. The previous record was 1,003,345 cars sold in 1984.
Buick has China to thank for a large part of this success. The constant growth in Chinese market, a 9.5 increase over 2012, helped drive Buick global sales up 15.4 percent compared to the previous year. America also proved a strong market for Buick, but 42 percent of U.S. buyers were new to the brand and to General Motors. That is a cause for celebration for GM, but a sad truth for the American car culture. Almost all popular Buick models are based on European cars – basically Opels with a Buick badge.
Buick enjoyed a particularly good year last year in the crossover segment. The Encore small crossover ended 2013 with 97,311 sales globally, while the eight-passenger Enclave saw sales grow 6.5 percent in North America. Enclave recorded its best year of U.S. sales in 2013. Exclusive to China, the GL8 posted an annual sales gain of 9.7 percent. As for the sedans, the Excelle GT and Verano compact sedans combined globally to deliver a 16.3 percent gain, while sales of the Excelle XT hatchback, sold only in China, were up 17.5 percent.