Most Americans think of Buick as an all-American brand, best known for its large comfortable luxoboats that mostly appealed to senior citizens in the US and Canada. What they don’t know is that besides the 220.000 cars a year in the US and another 17.000 or so in Canada, Buick produces and sells over a million cars a year in China. Well, perhaps thanks to the UAW protests over GM’s plan to import the Envision SUV into the US from China, some more people are starting to become aware of that fact now.
So what kind of vehicles does Buick sell in China? A few models are quite similar to those in the US, like the Regal, LaCrosse, Encore and Verano, although the latter is a bit confusing, as the US Verano is called the Excelle GT in China, while the model that’s sold in China as the Buick Verano (Weilang in Chinese) is a China-only model positioned between the US Verano (Excelle GT) and the Regal. There’s also a hatchback version available, the Excelle XT, which is a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Astra.
Besides the Weilang, Buick offers three more China-only models, the GL8 MPV, the Envision SUV and the Excelle. The latter has been Buick’s most successful nameplate in the world for almost a decade, with more than 2,5 million sales since its launch in 2003. You read that right, Buick still sells a compact sedan that was first introduced 13 years ago. To make matters worse, the Excelle isn’t actually a real Buick, it’s a rebadged Daewoo Nubira, which has been sold in the US as the Suzuki Forenza from 2003 to 2009. [Read more…]