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Buick has just unveiled its new Excelle GT model in China, which is set to go on sale in the U.S. next year. When it does arrive here the baby Buick may be badged as the Verano. Based on the same compact-car platform as the European Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze, the Excelle GT joins the recently unveiled Excelle XT – a five-door hatchback that Buick insists is a coupe-like sedan.
In China the base engine is a 138-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, while a more potent version gets 181-hp from a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder.
With Buick just having launched the Regal in North America, the Verano represents the next step for the brand, searching to find customers as it expands into new segments, offering luxury in the compact segment. Reports have suggested Buick will also build a compact crossover based on the Verano, possibly naming it the Encore.
GALLERY: Buick Excelle GT/Verano
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.