There are a lot of smaller SUVs for buyers to choose from these days. With so many competitors, sometimes a vehicle that was popular just isn’t anymore. The Buick Encore, like any vehicle, has pluses and minuses, but the negatives seem to be weighing more heavily these days. Sales for the Buick Encore have slipped in recent years and fell off a cliff in 2020.
Falling sales for the Buick Encore
Introduced for the 2013 model year, the Buick Encore took a little while to catch on. A refresh in 2017 helped out as well, points out Consumer Reports. In the United States, just 31,956 units of the Encore sold in 2013, its first year, reports GoodCarBadCar. There was steady growth each year until it hit its peak sales with 102,401 units sold in 2019.
Since then, sales of the Encore have fallen dramatically. In 2020, 44,353 units sold, and 2021 is on track to be even worse. Just 6,228 units sold in the first quarter of 2021. Sales in Canada peaked in 2018 with 10,637 units sold, and there has been a steep decline in sales since then in Canada too.
The effects of the pandemic on sales
The pandemic had a big effect on the auto industry, hurting production as well as sales in 2020. The first quarter of 2021, though, saw big increases in sales. Overall, the first quarter of 2021 was up 11 percent over the previous year’s first quarter. March saw a 61.9 percent jump compared to March of 2020. And that increase is even though pandemic-related shutdowns didn’t really begin until halfway through March of 2020.
The Buick Encore, on the other hand, did not experience a rebound during March of 2021. After selling 4,289 units in March of 2020, just 2,242 units of the Encore sold in March of 2021. That’s a drop in sales of almost 50 percent.
The Buick Encore might just have a quality issue
It might be that people aren’t buying the Buick Encore because it isn’t as great as other options out there. The 2021 Encore just barely makes it into the top 10, coming in at 10th in the U.S. News ranking of subcompact SUVs.
The Encore has a nice ride, a good-looking cabin, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It is easy to maneuver, since it’s small, and there’s plenty of space for passengers. The interior has mostly high-quality finishes, giving it an almost luxury feel, and its 8-inch touchscreen is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
However, the Buick Encore also has what U.S. News describes as a “feeble engine.” It has a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 138 hp, which is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. On top of that, the Encore has an above-average starting price, which doesn’t help either. It starts at $23,200 and, as of 2021, only has two trim levels. It also doesn’t come standard with a long list of advanced safety features.
An additional factor in the Buick Encore’s falling sales number could be the arrival of the Encore GX in 2020, explains U.S. News. While they have very similar names, these two subcompact SUVs are different vehicles, and the Encore GX had much stronger sales than the Encore in the first quarter of 2021.
The Encore GX has two engine options: a 137-hp 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine or a 155-hp 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
While the pandemic played a role in shrinking sales, the Buick Encore’s declining quality also has buyers looking elsewhere.