2014 Buick EncoreEnlarge Photo
For the second time in its 110-year history, Buick has topped one million sales in a year--and set a new overall record in the process. Last year saw the marque shift 1,032,056 vehicles, beating the company's last million-sale year in 1984, when it sold 1,003,345 cars. Whereas that 1984 volume was largely down to North America, Buick's current prosperity is largely influenced by a different country: China. Of those million-plus sales, a full 809,918 cars were sold in the Chinese market, nearly four times as many cars as the 205,509 units sold in the U.S. market.
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Buick is just one of several large automakers enjoying huge sales booms in the Chinese market, as greater proportions of the population move into the middle classes and have the disposable income to buy new cars. Chinese facilities dodge previously draconian import tax laws and some automakers, like Volvo, are even owned by Chinese firms.
Buick's sales in the U.S. did actually increase from those in 2012, and by a significant margin--the 2013 total is a full 13.9 percent up on 2012's 180,407 cars sold. The Encore was among Buick's most successful models with nearly 100,000 global sales, but the eight-passenger Enclave was one of the fastest-growing models, with a 6.5 percent rise in sales. China again made the real gains though, with a 15.7 percent increase over 2012 and sales of the China-only Excelle XT, based on the Opel Astra hatch, growing 17.5 percent.
They're all figures Buick will be happy with and numbers that certainly add justification to Buick's continuing existence. An increase in sales in the U.S. is good news, but it's those Chinese numbers that'll keep Buick on the roads for many years to come. And greater sales means greater chance of new cars--like potential Calibra and Cascada sporting models hinted at with new trademark registrations...