DETROIT, Mich. (WKBN) – Buick unveiled a stunning new sporty concept car to open the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Called Avista, the 2-door sport coupe was the second of Buick’s new vehicles revealed at a party Sunday night at Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Avista was a surprise to the throng of journalists and GM executives assembled for the bash. Buick had already promised that its new mid-size SUV Envision would break cover in Detroit. But as a tease leading up to the Detroit show, Buick also promised a “surprise,”
The Envision alone would have been plenty of news for the automaker. Not only is it Buick’s first mid-sized entry into the white-hot SUV market, but it is also the first GM vehicle to be imported to North America from China. That makes it plenty controversial for a company that just completed a new contract with the UAW, and for a company that took a taxpayer-backed bailout when it entered bankruptcy a few years ago.
But GM insists it has a solid business case for importing Envision. While a big seller in China (more than 147,000 units sold there last year) Envision is expected to sell only 40,000 or so in the US. GM says it could not build Envision profitably in North America at that level, but importing it gives US buyers more choice.
Envision comes only in all-wheel drive, powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine.
And it should be noted, the China trade goes both ways – GM sells lots of Michigan made Enclave SUVs in China.
But it clearly was Avista that stole the show. Buick has been working hard to dispel its image as a brand for old people, and has had success – lowering the average age of its buyer from the 60s into the 50s in recent years. A concept car with just two doors and sleek lines will help to accelerate Buick’s refashioning of its image as a brand desirable to Generation X and Millennials.
Avista is a 2+2 coupe, powered by a 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-6, with rear wheel drive. It has an eight speed transmission, with start-stop technology to save gasoline, and a glass roof. Although just a design study at this point, GM executives say Avista will influence how future Buicks look, saying Avista “rekindles” Buick’s “historic performance roots.”
Features of Avista include:
• A 110.7-inch wheelbase and 63-inch front/62.9-inch rear tracks for sporty proportions and an aggressive stance
• Twenty-inch aluminum wheels with color-toned accents match the car’s Dark Sapphire Jewel exterior
• Front fender vents with chrome accents evolve Buick’s signature fender ports.
Ed Welburne, Vice President of Global Design, says Avista’s design represents Buick at its heart. “Sculptural beauty is at the core” of Buick, and “Avista is the perfect essence of future Buick design”
Duncan Aldred, Vice President of Buick-GMC says there are “plenty of new Buicks in the pipeline” to use the Avista design elements.
This is the second year in a row that Buick kicked off the Detroit show with a pre-official opening party, and delighting the press and show-goers with a striking and surprising concept. Last year’s Avenir concept car was named best concept of the show. Its design heavily influenced the 2017 LaCrosse which is coming later this year, and is winning praise in the industry.