Playing politics hurts everyone, even automakers.
For obvious reasons, when a new car hits the market, it’s common to see a welcome party thrown for the vehicle at an auto show or press event. Much like a wedding, automakers lay out food and drinks after preparing the car in its most attractive guise, all in attempts to make a good impression. If the reception is any good, then publicity will be stirred and the money will roll in. Except this wasn’t the case when the Buick Envision tiptoed across the Pacific Ocean to quietly fill empty space in American dealerships.
In fact, Automotive News called the debut of the Envision “General Motor’s quietest launch in recent memory.” Instead, Buick placed the Envision off to the side of the main exhibits before the Detroit Auto Show even started. There was no follow up introduction made to consumers via advertisements and as a result, Buick ended up moving only 89 of the crossovers in the entire month of May. By comparison, Honda sold 11,248 Pilot crossovers during the same period of time, which begs the question, why is GM keeping such tight lips about its newest car? Buick claims that it’s maintaining radio silence because the car is a 2016 model and it wants to wait until the 2017 model rolls out to shout its presence to CUV-loving American buyers.
The Envision is also currently priced to sell in low numbers because the only models available in US dealerships are top trim editions that start around $42,000. By October 2016, the 2017 model year will roll out and slash the starting price to around $34,000. As it turns out, there may be another reason for the silence and it’s purely political. You see, the Envision’s dirty secret is that it’s imported from China, which will probably draw criticism from a certain candidate with an affinity towards walls and who has already attacked Ford. It seems like a lot of effort to go through just to hide bad publicity from a car, but Buick expects this car to sell well once it emerges. Either way, it's funny to know that even automakers get election season blues.