It has been an illuminating week for General Motors, with sources at each of its brands speaking openly about the future lineup plans for their respective divisions. A report from Autoweek has detailed some of the changes that will be implemented over the next few years at the automotive giant's two premium brands: Buick and Cadillac.
Currently, the Buick lineup sits tight at four automobiles, spread across three sedans and one crossover. Out of this stable, the full-size Buick Lucerne will not make it past the 2011 model year. Interestingly, there is no replacement waiting in the wings, leaving the mid-size Buick LaCrosse as the largest four-door automobile in the company's portfolio. The LaCrosse, which was redesigned in 2010 and which has been well received both by the public and the automotive media, will possibly gain a hybrid edition by 2012. A second redesign isn't in the cards until 2016 at the earliest, but a mild facelift could occur between now and then.
The rest of the sedans in the future Buick lineup will come in compact flavors. The entry-level Buick Regal will be joined by a high performance, turbocharged Regal GS edition next year, while rumors continue to circulate that the vehicle's platform could be adapted to offer a wagon version of the automobile. The Regal will be joined by an additional compact sedan known as the Buick Verano, which is destined to appear as a 2012 model. Although the decision to axe a large four-door in favor of two small cars that ostensibly serve the same market might seem unusual, General Motors has become wary of being trapped with a large amount of fuel-thirsty inventory should gasoline prices once again creep up past $4.00 per gallon.
Essentially taking the place of the departed Buick big sedan will be the continued production of the Buick Enclave full-size crossover. Like most other General Motors products, it will lose its 3.6-liter V-6 and instead solider on with a new 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine, and it may also undergo a slight styling tweak for 2012. Joining the Enclave will be the Buick Encore crossover - like most new Buick products, fitting into the compact segment - in 2013.
Cadillac's plans have not coalesced much past the 2013 model year, but there are still some changes of note that will be made across the Cadillac lineup. In terms of the sedans that currently sit in its showrooms, both the full-size Cadillac DTS and the Cadillac STS will disappear within the next 12 months. In their place will be the 2012 Cadillac XTS, a vehicle which has yet to be discussed in detail by Cadillac but which will ostensibly offer all-wheel drive, a V-6 power plant and the same type of roomy interior that was provided by the vehicles it is meant to replace. Large-scale opulence is also on the way, with Cadillac beginning to make noises about the need for a full-size flagship vehicle that could take on the best that Europe's luxury divisions have to offer. The wait for this particular model could stretch to 2014.
Cadillac will also be embracing a downsizing trend, although not as wholeheartedly as Buick. The Cadillac CTS sedan, coupe and wagon, which have managed to generate important sales and attention for the revitalized brand, will be moved to a smaller platform to go with a redesign that will occur in 2014 or later. This will not only help improve on the fuel efficiency of these critical Cadillac models, but it will also serve to better differentiate them from the Cadillac XTS. An all-new Cadillac ATS compact sedan, coupe and convertible will gradually trickle into the Cadillac lineup between 2013 and 2014. Unlike the Buick Regal or the Buick Verona, the Cadillac ATS will be rear-wheel drive with the option of all-wheel drive. A mix of V-6 and four-cylinder engine choices will be initially offered.
On the crossover and SUV front, Cadillac will maintain both the current Cadillac SRX (albeit with a slight refresh for 2013 that also includes a larger 3.6-liter V-6) and the Cadillac Escalade. The latter will most likely see a new design debut for the 2014 model year when the pickup truck platform it is based on is given a thorough going-over. Cadillac is also pondering addition of a crossover that would be larger than the Cadillac SRX, sharing the same bones utilized by the GMC Acadia. Given that General Motors already has three large crossovers offering very similar features and styling, it seems unlikely that the luxury brand will add to that particular pile.