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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Buick Verano pricing to start at $23,470

The price for the upcoming Buick Verano, the brand's first compact since the 1990s, will be $23,470, including shipping charges, General Motors said today.

The price is considerably lower than the Japanese compact sedans that GM is pitting the Verano against in the entry-luxury segment: the Acura TSX ($30,495 with shipping) and the Lexus IS 250 ($34,170 with shipping).

"Given some of the great features the car is going to have, that's about the price we expected," said Sam Slaughter, dealer principal at Sellers Buick-GMC in suburban Detroit, which was the nation's top-selling Buick store last year. "We don't want it to be the el cheapo car that's going after the beer-can market."

Still, the Verano price is "going to be a little tight" with that of the Regal mid-sized sedan, the next car up in Buick's lineup, said Lynn Thompson, a Springfield, Mo., dealer who sells Buick, GMC and Cadillac. The base Regal has a sticker price of $27,530, including shipping.

Buick last marketed a compact in the United States when the Skylark was sold from the 1992 to 1998 model years.

The Verano, which goes on sale by year end, will be offered in three models. The top model will have a sticker price of $26,850 including shipping. All three models will get a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine combined with a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers 180 hp.

The Verano is hitting the market at a time when more U.S. consumers are shifting to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM has touted the Verano's quiet cabin and standard features not typically found on a car in its price range, such as a 7-inch color-touch radio display with IntelliLink, the infotainment system for Buick and GMC.

Higher-end Verano models will receive the same leather used in Buick's flagship LaCrosse sedan, and touches such as push-button start, a heated steering wheel and heated seats that activate automatically in colder temperatures.

The Verano "expands the brand's reach," Tony DiSalle, Buick's U.S. vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "We're inviting new customers into the Buick family, giving us the opportunity and privilege of building longtime Buick loyalty."

GM hopes to build on the success of the Chevrolet Cruze compact, which is built on the same platform as the Verano. The Cruze, which replaced the Cobalt in Chevy's lineup last fall, was the top-selling U.S. compact sedan in July and August.

The Cruze starts at $17,470, including shipping.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said it had been decades since Buick marketed a compact car in the U.S. market. Buick sold a compact, the Skylark, as recently as the 1998 model year.

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