In the Chinese market, Buick is kind of a big deal. Driven by emperors in pre-Communist times, the brand has carved itself a nice as a premium automaker that’s still accessible to the middle class. Most of their products are carried over from the American market (though built locally), but some, like the GL8 minivan are the kind of oddities that could only exist offshore.
The GL8, despite its minivan layout, is marketed as an executive transport vehicle. Think “livery car” but with lots of room to stretch out and do work, or transport clients from their airports and hotels to various factories and job sites throughout the country. Yes, the minivan bodystyle is a little strange, but there’s also no “suburban mom/emasculated dad” image to contend with in China.
At nearly 207 inches long, the GL8 is a beast of a car – about 10 inches longer than a Chrysler 300C. Power comes from GM’s 3.0L direct injection V6 or a 2.4L Ecotec 4-cylinder backed by a 6-speed automatic. GM will continue to sell the previous model GL8, though the van will also get a refresh, as it moves to target a more mainstream demographic.