DETROIT -- The Buick Encore will carry a base sticker price of $24,950, including shipping, when the small crossover arrives in showrooms early next year, General Motors said today.
The Encore will go on sale in early 2013 as part of an influx of new or significantly updated models headed to Buick-GMC showrooms by the end of 2013, GM said. The company also is expected to launch a next-generation GMC Sierra pickup by summer and redesigned versions of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs late in 2013.
GM also confirmed widely reported plans to sell a redesigned version of the GMC Canyon mid-sized pickup, but the company would not say when the truck would arrive.
GM executives were expected to brief more than 1,000 Buick-GMC dealers today on future product plans and show them some of the new models.
GMC's U.S. sales have climbed 4 percent this year to 273,366 through August, while Buick deliveries have dropped 3 percent to 122,589.
Encore a tweener
By introducing the Encore, GM is trying to get a jump on what it believes will be a budding U.S. market for small premium crossovers.
The closest rivals by size will be the recently launched BMW X1 and the Mini Countryman. The X1 is far pricier than the Encore, though, at $31,545. The Countryman has a base sticker of $22,450. Both prices include destination.
"Encore meets the needs of many of today's crossover customers who are looking for a fuel efficient, affordable luxury crossover," Tony DiSalle, vice president of marketing for Buick-GMC, said on a conference call with reporters.
GM executives believe the 2013 Encore could be the crossover equivalent of the Verano compact sedan, which is priced above mainstream vehicles of its size but below luxury competitors such as BMW. The Encore will enter the market in similar "white space," DiSalle has said.
Verano sales of 25,104 units through August this year have exceeded GM's expectations.
Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive, says the Encore could attract buyers -- particularly women -- from higher income brackets who want premium content but don't need a bigger vehicle. The Encore features luxury touches such as an optional heated steering wheel and standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.
Lindland says a prime target should be "any buyers who were interested in the Enclave [large crossover] but thought it was too big."
Canyon in early '14?
GM had confirmed plans for a next-generation Chevrolet Colorado, the Canyon's platform sibling, but had been mum on whether production of the Canyon would continue. The pickups will be built at GM's Wentzville, Mo., plant. Sources expect them to arrive in showrooms by the first half of 2014.
Last month, GM ended production of the current Colorado and Canyon at its Shreveport, La., plant, which has closed.
Unspecified changes to the Regal and LaCrosse sedans, and the Sierra heavy-duty pickup models also are planned, GM said.
The current Regal was launched in early 2010 and has had sales slump this year amid rising Verano sales. Buick sold 18,684 Regals through August, down 36 percent from the same period a year earlier.