Background

Given the fact that the vast majority of SUVs were rarely taken off-pavement by their owners, much less driven under serious off-road conditions, a new type of car-based "crossover SUV" was developed that was hoped would provide all the elements that customers actually wanted from their SUVs such as cargo carrying capacity, elevated seating height and the suggestion of an active outdoor lifestyle with less of the negative attributes typically associated with traditional SUVs such as poor gas mileage, uncomfortable ride, high step-in height, propensity to roll over, etc. The formula of a car-based "soft-road" luxury SUV had proven marketable by the highly successful Lexus RX300 and was thought to be a promising new market category for Buick to exploit within this extremely profitable portion of the ever-expanding SUV category.

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