The mission of the new Buick Verano is simple: Widen Buick's reach and woo import buyers shopping for a compact luxury sedan.
The 2012 Verano sedan is aimed at buyers "looking for luxury, refined performance, craftsmanship and beauty, but at a value in the luxury market," said Roger McCormack, Buick's product marketing manager. The car was to be unveiled Monday, Jan. 10, at the Detroit auto show.
The Verano will be positioned as Buick's lowest-priced sedan. Buick's lowest-priced car currently is the Regal, which has a $26,995 base price, including freight. The Verano's price will be announced when sales begin in late summer or early fall.
"Before the Regal and the Verano, we competed in segments that represented about 14 percent of the market," said McCormack, who spoke at a preview last month. "With the Regal and the Verano, we now increase our reach into the market, and we will be competing in segments that represent almost half of the market."
The new sedan will round out Buick's lineup, said Mike Bowsher, president of Carl Black Automotive Group in Kennesaw, Ga. "Each one of the imports has an entry-level car," Bowsher said. "Lexus even has one. I think it fills a niche and a need."
The Verano shares a platform with the Chevrolet Cruze. The dimensions and underpinnings are essentially the same.
In GM's product plan, Buicks and Chevrolets will be distinguished by styling and engine choices. Buicks will have more elegant interiors and refinements that cut noise and vibration.
For example, the Verano will not get the small four-cylinder engine used by the Cruze. The Verano and Regal will share larger four-cylinder engines.
The Verano uses hydraulic ride bushings and an isolated engine cradle to reduce vibrations. Triple door seals and thicker windshield glass reduce noise.