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An acoustic preview of Enclave

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Buick sounds out the press on the Enclave

Industry Observer: 11/10/06

Posted Image

Dubbed Snow White (yes, there's also Prince Charming and seven dwarfs), the mannequin head houses a digital recording tool to match the way humans process sound.

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Buick gave the press a glimpse of - and a listen to -- its 2008 Enclave that it will unveil officially at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month and on sale in the second quarter of next year.

Until then, we're sworn to secrecy on the details of the vehicle, which is the sibling to the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia. (The specs on the Outlook are public - a new platform specifically designed as a crossover, three rows of seats and available with Cadillac's 3.6-liter V6 paired with General Motors' new six-speed automatic transmission.)

Beyond that, we'll say no more until the embargo lifts at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 28.

Nevertheless, Buick general manager Steve Shannon said the Enclave has the same “library quiet” of the highly successful Lucerne sedan that recently went on sale.

To prove it, journalists toured the sound labs at GM's Milford, Mich., proving grounds and experienced hands-on - or rather ears-on - how engineers ensure quiet and quality sound in the Enclave.

Shannon said the Rendezvous, Buick's first car-based crossover introduced in 2000, laid the groundwork for the Enclave. The average Rendezvous buyer is 15 years younger than Buick's typical buyer. (Buick along with Ford's Mercury have the oldest demographics in the business with the average age in the 60s.) Rendezvous buyers proved to be loyal, with a third trading in for another Rendezvous.

Likewise, Lucerne has helped shift Buick demographics. More than double the buyers of the LeSabre that the Lucerne replaced have household incomes of $75,000 or more. And double the shoppers of the Lucerne are under 55 compared with the LeSabre.

“All of that sets us up nicely for the introduction of the Enclave,” said Shannon.

—Michelle Krebs

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Likewise, Lucerne has helped shift Buick demographics. More than double the buyers of the LeSabre that the Lucerne replaced have household incomes of $75,000 or more. And double the shoppers of the Lucerne are under 55 compared with the LeSabre.

Technically, the Lucerne replaced both the LeSabre and Park Avenue... but it's nice to know the age group of buyers is lower than before.

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I love hearing that. I see so many Lucerne's on the road now... still not so many LaCrosses. The car is just beautiful. I can't wait to see more about the Enclave when the Embargo is lifted--think it's going to be another hit for Buick.

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