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The Buick Encore has been an inarguable success for Buick. In its subcompact SUV segment, the Encore has sold 41,213 units to date for 2014. This represents a 55.3% uptick in sales over last year. That places the Encore second in the segment, trailing only the Subaru Crosstrek (which has a healthy lead at 59,675 units so far this year.)
The segment is hot, and other auto makers recognize that. That is why the Buick Encore will soon be defending its position against an onslaught of new comers to the segment. The LA Auto Show gave North America a first look at three new comers to the subcompact SUV segment. Honda debuted its brand new HR-V, Mazda revealed the new CX-3, and Jeep was showing off the Renegade. Each of these cars has received considerable attention as their actual on sale dates approach. The question is whether or not the Encore will be able to continue its impressive sales growth with many new players in the segment.
Even beyond these new comers to the segment, there is also the Kia KX3 Concept which was on show at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China. Now that model is destined only for China right now, but it may eventually be on its way to America. Toyota has also expressed interest in creating a subcompact SUV.
The morale of the story is that "the subcompact crossover segment will explode soon," so says Akshay Anand, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
Do you think that the Buick Encore will be able to maintain its strong showing in the face of a barrage of new competition?
In a brilliant piece of branding/marketing, Buick is sponsoring test drive events with the goal of raising money for high schools.
Essentially the program brings together Buick and local high schools to host test drive events. The purpose is obviously to get people into Buick vehicles and allows the high school students to plan, coordinate and host. So free PR, nice.
Well not free, after the students put the event on Buick will donate $10,000 per event to the host schools.
Whats beautiful about this strategy is that Buick is reaching their target audience through a proxy. Who they want are the parents of these high school students. Buick allows their child to get involved with the brand and put on an event which helps break down the trial barrier built because of Buicks long standing stigma.
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