SAN FRANCISCO -- A boost in production of the hot-selling Encore crossover should help Buick achieve a second straight year of market share gains, dealers were told at the Buick-GMC make meeting here.
GMC also is looking to gain share, as General Motors' truck brand enters the year with an overhauled lineup of pickups and SUVs, eased production constraints and the tailwind of $2 gasoline.
"We're looking to grow share," Buick-GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred said following the make meeting. At Buick, "our secret is going to be keep the plates spinning on the sedans and really growing" the two crossovers.
Deliveries at both brands grew 11 percent last year vs. 6 percent for the industry. GMC sales were 501,853, for 3 percent market share. Buick sold 228,963 vehicles, for a market share of 1.3 percent.
Aldred said GM has authorized a roughly 50 percent increase in U.S. Encore production to meet continued strong demand.
GM also has invested to create more capacity for GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs at its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant. The trucks were in tight supply in 2014 following the early-year rollout of the redesigned models.
David Ferraez, CEO of Green Brook Buick-GMC in Green Brook, N.J., said the Buick-GMC make meeting, which was combined with Chevrolet's, "wasn't nearly as negative" as some past gatherings.
"You can tell there's a lot of optimism in the GM camp, especially at Buick-GMC," he said.
Ferraez said a few dealers expressed concern about the ability of GM Financial, GM's captive arm, to handle demand when it becomes Buick-GMC's exclusive provider of subsidized leases on Feb. 3.
"They've put those concerns at ease for now, but the proof will be in the pudding next month," he said.
Aldred acknowledged that some dealers are apprehensive about the move but said he asked to be the first GM division to switch because he thinks it will lead to better customer retention.
"I think everyone gets that a captive finance [company], where you own the customer, is critical," he said.
Aldred said GMC hopes to match the success of Buick's ongoing advertising campaign with a new brand pitch that will begin in mid-February.