SAN FRANCISCO -- General Motors is sharply boosting Buick Encore production for the U.S., a bet that the petite crossover will continue to sell big despite a slew of coming rivals.
GM has expanded production capacity to lift U.S. Encore supply by roughly 50 percent, diverting more of them from assembly plants across three continents, Buick-GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred said last month in an interview on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
The Encore's success is validation of a gamble by GM two years ago to be among the first automakers to introduce a subcompact crossover to the U.S. But juicing production represents another big bet as several competitors prepare to join the segment, including the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade, along with the Chevrolet Trax from Buick's sibling brand.
Aldred wants to capitalize on the Encore's sizable head start. He expects the Encore to emerge as Buick's top-selling nameplate this year, even after sales surged 53 percent last year to 48,892, putting it at No. 3 in the lineup behind the Enclave large crossover (62,300) and the LaCrosse sedan (51,468).
"I've stuck my neck out to get more Encores, because if you haven't got them, you're not going to sell them," Aldred said.