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In North America, Buick is trying hard to shed its blue-rinse, AARP image. In China, however, the brand’s status is very much revered. In fact, to own a Buick in many aspects, is to know that you’ve arrived.
Perhaps its not surprising then that among the best selling cars in China, Buicks rank right up there. In fact, last year, the best selling model of all wore a Tri-Shield logo, the Buick Excelle, sold stateside as the Verano.
With sales of some 253,514 units (by contrast the entire US Buick lineup sold 177,633 cars and SUVs last year), it clearly indicates that GM’s “premium” division is absolutely going gangbusters in the world’s largest auto market.
Other “global” cars that fared well include the Chevy Cruze (which was the third best selling car in China in 2011) and the Ford Focus, which ranked number 10.
2010′s best seller, the Chinese BYD F3, saw demand plummet last year, ranking as 11th on the best seller list. Recently, the Chinese government passed legislation that aims to restrict the sale of some imported cars in an effort to spur demand for home grown vehicles, which so far have been largely overlooked by Chinese buyers, especially in the premium and luxury segments.
Volkswagen, which was among the longest established and largest presence among Western automakers in China, had no fewer than four vehicles on the best seller list last year, the Bora, Jetta, Lavida and Santana.
[Source: Automotive News]
Buick‘s upcoming Verano subcompact, a twin of the Chevrolet Cruze, will be built at GM’s Orion, Michigan plant alongside the upcoming Chevrolet Aveo.
The announcement comes as part of GM revealing details of their $145 million investment in the plant, which is expected to retain 1,550 jobs as well. The Verano is currently for sale in the Chinese market as a locally built premium concept. The Excelle, as the Verano is known in China, is powered by a 1.6L 180 horsepower turbo 4-cylinder.
[Source: General Motors]
Buick‘s version of the Chevrolet Cruze, known in China as the Excelle, has been caught undisguised again, this time in sporty GT trim. The Excelle uses the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, and even uses the same 1.4L, 138 horsepower turbo four-cylinder, but the Excelle also gets a bigger, 1.6L version that makes 180-horsepower, and there’s even a rumored 200-horsepower turbo version (ostensibly the same engine used in the Buick Regal turbo).
Buick is clawing its way back in North America, but the brand is immensely popular in China. Buick has been in China since the early 1900′s, and Chinese emporers in the pre-Communist era drove them, making Buick the car to have. Buick’s reputation managed to survive decades of Communist brain-washing, as the brand enjoy an 85 percent recognition rate in China. With a rising, affluent middle-class looking to buy their first cars, the small, efficient and well made Excelle should be a home run when it comes to market later this year, and we’re looking forward to seeing it make its way Stateside too.
Thanks to some U.S. patent drawings obtained by Carscoop, we now have a good idea what the upcoming Buick Excelle (possibly named Verano) will look like. The drawings are, at this point, a bit redundant, as we’ve already seen spy photos of the car fully revealed in China. The drawings do, however, confirm the U.S. version is essentially identical to the one we’ve already viewed, taking plenty of styling cues from the LaCrosse.
Based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, the Excelle/Verano slots in underneath the Regal in Buick’s lineup and is expected to get either the 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor with 138-hp, or a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor (currently used in the Opel Astra Hatch) that makes 180-hp. Recent spy photos of an Excelle GT have also raised speculation that the car might be offered in high-end GS trim when it arrive in the U.S. with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
GALLERY: Buick Excelle Patent Drawings
It’s been a close on a year since we last hear about the upcoming Buick compact crossover, but now new info has surfaced, as well as a confirmation by Buick of the Chevy Cruze-based compact luxury sport sedan. According to a report by Car & Driver, the baby Enclave will not be based on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Instead, it is likely to share the same underpinnings as the Chevy Cruze, which Buick has also confirmed will be used to build an entry-level sport sedan, slotting in underneath the new Regal. This new Buick sedan will get unique styling, a different powertrain and an all-new name. While C&D wasn’t able to squeeze any more info out of the Buick execs, we’ve heard reports that the new sedan will either be called the Excelle (which it will be called in China) or rebadged as the Verano for North America. Originally it was though the base engine would be the same one found in the Cruze (a 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor with 138-hp), but with this report of a new powertrain, we’re more likely to see a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor (currently used in the Opel Astra Hatch) making 180-hp. Recent spy photos of an Excelle GT also raised speculation that the car might be offered in high-end GS trim when it arrive in the U.S. with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
Currently Buick’s models only compete with 14 percent of the new-car market in the U.S., but Buick aims to increase that to 46 percent wit the introduce of this new compact sedan and crossover. I addition, Buick has more models in the works, slated for 2014 and 2015, which will increase the market penetration to 60 percent. We just hope it includes a rumored rear-drive coupe.
[Source: Car & Driver]
Ahead of its expected debut at the Beijing Auto Show later this month, several shots have appeared online showing a fully uncovered (and quite handsome) Buick Excelle. In case you’re wondering why you might care about a Chinese market Buick, well, it’s because the Excelle is slated to arrive in North America next year – possibly badged as the Verano.
We’re really liking the front-end design – just like on the larger LaCrosse, but the rear end isn’t doing anything for us. As for the rather basic looking interior, expect somewhat of an upgrade for the U.S version, as it will have to at least be a slight step above the Cruze – which is already quite nice.
Slotting in under the new Regal model, the Excelle is based on the same chassis as the Opel Astra – making it a sister car to the Chevy Cruze. That being said, its easy to surmise that the base engine is likely to be the 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor with 138-hp, while a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor (currently used in the Opel Astra Hatch) will make 180-hp. Recent spy photos of an Excelle GT also raised speculation that the car might be offered in high-end GS trim when it arrive in the U.S. with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
GALLERY: Buick Excelle Spy Photos
Buick is already selling its new Excelle model in China, which is expected to also make its way to North America in the near future, either keeping the same name or being marketed as the Verano here. With a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter model on sale, as well as a 1.6-liter turbocharged XT version offered, several spy photos have turned up showing an Excelle GT model – which the folks at China Car Times believe comes with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
Buick has yet to confirm this but earlier rumors suggested such an engine was a possibility. If in fact an Excelle/Verano GT model is slated for production we’re likely to find out in a few weeks at the Beijing Auto Show.
New model to be based on Opel Astra, powered by a choice of two turbocharged 4-cylinders
Thanks to the team at GMInsideNews we have two renderings of what Buick’s upcoming entry-level premium sedan should look like. At the official reveal of the brand’s current entry-level offering (the Regal), at the LA Auto Show, Buick announced a newer and even smaller model would join the lineup.
Thanks to the GMI team, the new Buick small car was rendered using GM’s patent filing sketches, as well as items from the Buick LaCrosse and the Opel Astra sedan – on which it will be based. Through to be called the Verano, due to several patents being filed for that name by GM, this smallest Buick could be called the Excelle. After all, this new model will replace the current Excelle in China as well.
According to GMI, Buick will offer the Verano/Excelle with two different engines. The base engine is thought to be the same 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor as found in the Chevy Cruze with 138-hp, while a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor currently used int he Opel Astra Hatch will make 180-hp. The possibility of a high-performance GS model is also there, with the Verano or Excelle GS using the 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor in the Regal with 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
Buick’s upcoming premium compact sedan will go into production in 2011 as a 2012 model.
GALLERY: Buick Verano/Excelle Renderings