The all-new 2012 Buick Verano will be on sale in the short-term future, and there’s been much buzz about the car, as well as what it means for both Buick and GM. After all, there’s a reason that there aren’t a lot of premium compacts on the market, and even fewer from the mainstream automakers: The very concept remains a hard sell for U.S. customers, many of whom, I’m sure, consider “premium compact” to be an oxymoron.
But General Motors has put the Verano in about as good of a pre-launch position as possible, which includes making an impressive—and so far successful—effort to pre-emptively beat down any potential cries of badge engineering. Yes, the Buick rides on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, but that’s a simple result of the industry trend toward using global platforms for multiple vehicles, and no one is likely to confuse the Cruze with its upscale cousin, or vice versa. Further, the Verano appears to be a fairly well-buttoned-down piece of work—certainly enough so to avoid media complaints about quality in the run up to the vehicle’s launch.
Another important factor in preparing the ground for a successful Verano debut is that the Buick brand is maintaining enough apparent sales momentum, and garnering enough in the way of positive press, to ensure it’s already on the consideration lists of a growing number of customers.
Still, if you want to guess how the Verano will do in the marketplace, you could do worse than looking at the performance of another car from the brand that is blazing the same sort of trail: The Buick Regal.