General Motors (GM) will reportedly phase out the Buick Verano in the United States, with unit sales of the compact sedan to be discontinued by 2017.
The carmaker will continue producing and selling a new version of the Verano in China, where it debuted in 2015, but rumor has it that it will halt selling the sedan's older version in the United States.
The move comes as a result of the growing success of Buick's crossover lineup, according to a report by Automotive News. The company expects U.S. sales of its crossovers to reach as much as 70 percent soon after its Envision compact hits dealership in June.
Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover that hit the roads in early 2013, has quickly become the company's number one conquest vehicle and its highest-volume name-plate. Moreover, about half of the customers who bought Encore are non-GM customers.
Buick debuted the Verano in late 2011 as a premium small sedan model and gave it a starting retail price in the mid $20,000 range. At the time, gas prices were higher, which prompted makers of premium brands to launch smaller and lower-priced cars in order to attract current and new customers.
Apart from its competitive price point, the Verano also has features that are not commonly found on most mainstream models, such as the heated steering wheel. At present, however, heated steering wheels are becoming a more common feature in a number of cars, trucks and SUVs.
Newer models of the Civic, Chevy Cruze and other cars have either equaled or surpassed the Verano on both features and refinement. There are also more crossover choices available to customers who have a budget that is within the mid-$20,000s range.
In 2015, there were at least 31,886 Veranos that were sold. Although the number seemed impressive, it's actually lower than the sold units in 2014 by almost 12,000. So far, its best selling year was 2013 when it sold a total of 45,527 units.
This year, unit sales of the Verano reached up to 10,624 from January to April.
According to Martin NeSmith, owner of the Buick-GMC showroom in Claxton, Georgia, the Verano seemed a little too upscale considering its size. Therefore, it's not surprising that customers will simply opt for an SUV, which they can easily get at a much favorable price.