Buick’s new Avenir sub-brand takes the name of a popular concept car

Buick Avenir sub-brand
At the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Buick unveiled a striking concept car called the Avenir. A large and luxurious sedan, it looked like just the thing to take the General Motors brand out of its decades-long doldrums. But Buick isn’t keeping the car, just its name.

Avenir, which Buick notes is French for “future,” will be the name of a new sub-brand that will launch during the 2018 model year. Buick’s announcement of the Avenir sub-brand included few details, but it likely features upgraded versions of existing Buick models, distinguished by special styling elements.

Those styling elements will include at least one item cribbed from another Buick concept car, the Avista, a turbocharged rear-wheel drive coupe that debuted at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. The Avista’s grille will serve as one of the “guideposts” for designers working on Avenir models, according to Buick. Avenir models will also get larger wheels, “unique trim finishes,” and upgraded interior materials.

Read more: 2017 Buick LaCrosse first drive

Buick hasn’t confirmed anything, but Avenir seems like an equivalent to fellow GM brand GMC’s Denali line, offering higher levels of equipment and special trim. In its press release announcing Avenir, Buick noted that 90 percent of Enclave SUV buyers purchase on of the top two trim levels, and GMC has touted its buyers’ preference for high-end models as justification for Denali’s existence. A special grille is also one of the main elements that distinguishes Denali models, just as Buick intends for Avenir.

Denali models are big sellers over at GMC, so introducing a similar sub-brand for Buick could be a smart move. The Avenir models will also likely be more profitable: trim changes like the ones discussed for the sub-brand don’t add significantly to the cost of building a car, but they do allow manufacturers to charge more for it. The question is whether Avenir models will encroach on the territory of GMC’s Denali models, not to mention Cadillac.

While it may fill a profitable niche, Avenir probably won’t do much for Buick’s image. To really expand sales, it needs to introduce actual cars that are more compelling than its current lineup. Cars like, say, the original Avenir concept. It’s too bad only the name will live on.

Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD boasts monstrous torque, intimidating front end

Chevrolet has released the first official images of the new 2020 Silverado HD. The big-bodied truck stands out from the Silverado 1500 with a polarizing design that customers will either love or hate.

Did that car just wink at you? Daimler previews car-to-pedestrian signals

Eager to show off progress with autonomous cars and perhaps do some consumer softening as well, Daimler and Bosch previewed car-to-pedestrian communications. A sensor-loaded Mercedes S appears to wink to acknowledge a pedestrian's presence.

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!