The Buick Avenir was an absolute stunner. Four doors, rear-wheel drive, a steep roofline and more curves than Natalie Laughlin in her prime. The concept caused a stir when it rolled out at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. This was the future, a new flagship to take the fight to the forthcoming Lincoln Continental, and wake the Trishield up from its geriatric slumber. Now, the Avenir is going to production. Just not in the way any of us wanted it to do so.
Buick has announced that the Avenir concept will live on as a sub-brand for its existing vehicles. These won’t be standalone models, but instead a GM trim level (think: as Denali is to GMC.) Cars equipped with the package will get flashier grilles, special wheels, and unique interior appointments. No word yet on which models will be offered in Avenir specification; Buick just says it’ll be available on three cars by 2018.
This move will surely be a moneymaker in the bespoke-hungry Chinese market, where Buick justifies its continued existence. The company sold nearly 1 million cars there last year, over four times as many as it unloaded in the United States. But for domestic fans hoping the Avenir concept would signal a return to form for Buick (GSX! Riviera! Grand National!), this is major letdown. So, yes, the brand’s coolest concept in over a decade just turned into rims-and-badging, in-the-margins box on an order form. Pour one out for the Avenir that wasn’t. Goodnight, sweet prince.