The 2009 LA International Auto Show has produced an interesting tid-bit about GM’s future product portfolio. For example, during a press conference for the recently-unveiled Buick Regal, a rendering of what looks to be Buick’s upcoming compact sedan flashed across the screen.
It’s widely expected that the confirmed Buick compact sedan (possibly named Verano) will share a lot of components with the new Opel Astra, while adding a proper trunk lid in the process. Last month, Buick’s China division unveiled the Buick Excelle XT hatch, which features a choice of two four-cylinder 1.6 liter engines (turbo and naturally aspirated) mated to a six-speed transmission. When the baby Buick makes its way to North American shores, expect it to come with the high-output 1.6 liter turbo, good for 181 horses and 173 lb-ft of torque.
But enough guessing: the sketch at the LA show presented the baby Buick with a proper trunk lid (read: sedan form, as opposed to the Astra’s hatchback design), a larger grille, restyled headlights, and the addition of hood-mounted portholes. These are all features that haven’t (yet) made it to the Chinese-market Excelle XT, so it looks like there may be some differences between the two products after all. Recently, some eagle-eyed spy photographers have caught the disguised Buick compact in Germany.
The GM Authority Take
As I’ve mentioned before, GM’s long-term plan for Buick is to become a full-fledged global pure luxury brand. Although competitive, the current generation of Buick products such as the LaCrosse, Regal, and this upcoming Astra-based compact sedan are really stop-gap vehicles intended to establish the respective brand names. The next-generation of Buick vehicles will be more in line with GM’s goals of turning Buick into a pure luxury brand – as I will outline in an upcoming in-depth research report. Look for that in about a week.
In the meantime, check out the gallery of the Chinese-market Buick Excelle XT after the break.