It looks like General Motors filed a telling trademark for a potential upcoming Buick crossover. GM Authority spotted the Dec. 11 filing, which requests to trademark "Enspire" and signals the trademark is applicable to “automobiles, excluding motor homes.”
The naming convention for all of Buick's crossovers start with “En,” such as the Encore, Envision and Enclave. The noted exception is the Regal TourX, which is essentially a raised Regal wagon with plastic cladding.
It’s safe to say that the trademark request could turn into a true production vehicle, likely based on the Enspire concept. The concept debuted at the Beijing auto show and featured an all-electric 550-hp powertrain. With the push for electrification, the Enspire might follow Audi’s path and be released as an electric crossover.
Buick was expected to be GM's next brand to embrace all-electric vehicles in the U.S. However, due to a lack of consumer demand and the company's impending loss of federal tax credits, the plans may have been pushed back, if not eliminated, until GM's next-gen EV platform is introduced starting in 2021.
Buick is still expected to adopt several EV models for China, to meet environmental rules, but a Chevy Bolt-based EV — previously expected as early as next year — may no longer show up in Buick's U.S. showrooms. If it does come stateside, it could be a Chevrolet, which already has an established network of dealers equipped for EVs.
The Enspire SUV concept introduced in China features a new "eMotion electric propulsion technology" that has four electric drive wheels arranged in front and back, and Super Cruise — making it the first vehicle outside Cadillac to receive the hands-free highway driving system.
Michael Wayland contributed to this report.