We know, we know — you just wrapped up a lengthy and animated conversation about Buick with your coworkers, and you’re all Buicked out. Well, here’s something extra to chew on.
General Motors has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the name “Enspire” on motor vehicles. No, this doesn’t concern Chevrolet or Cadillac or GMC, that’s for sure. It does, however, concern Buick, as Enspire is the name given to a concept vehicle revealed last spring in China. But what would a production Enspire look like?
According to GM Authority, which discovered the patent (filed December 11th), it’s not likely to follow in the concept’s all-electric footsteps. Not in America, anyway. That rakish concept vehicle funnelled roughly 550 horsepower to all four wheels, burning no fuel in the process.
While GM does have a dedicated EV architecture under development, that platform isn’t expected to show up until 2021. We do know, however, that there’s two new Buick crossover in the planning stage. One borrows the short-wheelbase C1 platform found beneath the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5. The other, code-named E2UB, shares its platform with the Cadillac XT4. While the former vehicle has already been seen wearing camo, the existence of the latter vehicle was revealed in an IHS Automotive document seen by GM Authority in November.
It’s this smaller vehicle that’ll likely adopt the English-wrecking Enspire name. Positioned above the China-sourced Envision and below the future sub-Enclave model in terms of price (it’ll be quite similar in size to the Envision), the Enspire’s design was surely previewed by this year’s concept vehicle. And what a fetching design it is, at least for a crossover. It’s believed that Buick intends the Enspire/E2UB to be a more premium vehicle that can serve as a technological and styling high point for the brand.
Like the Envision, the E2UB is a product of GM’s Chinese joint venture. And it’s the Chinese connection that fuels speculation that the Enspire might actually gain an electric powertrain, or at least an electrified one, to satisfy that country’s green-pushing government. While China goes great guns on EVs, American buyers aren’t quite as receptive to the idea of ditching cheap gas, so any version shipped over here might make do with, say, a turbocharged 2.0-liter.
Whether or not the dodgy trade relationship between China and the U.S. scuttles this offering in America remains to be seen. IHS Automotive lists the E2UB as starting production in China in late 2019.
[Image: General Motors]