The only reason General Motors decided to keep the Buick brand around following its bankruptcy restructuring in 2009 was due to the brand’s popularity in the world’s largest automotive market – China.
Now it seems as though China will be the main focus of Buick, with its North American lineup set to be more aligned with what it’s offering in China going forward.
Speaking to Automotive News, Buick ‘s vice president of marketing Phil Brook explained that “Buick is a big, big player in China,” and that he believes “there’s no doubt that’s going to be true for a long time to come.” For that reason, it makes sense for GM to “leverage some models” for the two markets, he said.
Many vehicles currently offered by Buick in China wouldn’t make much sense in North America, like the Excelle and Weilang compact cars, for example, but some of Buick China’s future products may align perfectly with North American tastes.
Buick is believed to be working on an electric crossover for China inspired by the Enspire concept, which could eventually make its way to North America. Hybrid vehicles developed by General Motors/Buick with China in mind could one day be sold in the United States and Canada as well.
“It would be difficult to get a Buick electric vehicle program like that up and running just for the U.S. market as we sit here today,” Brook told AN. “But certainly down the track we’ve got great options because of the need in China.”
Buick already sells a plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle in China, the Velite 6 PHEV and Velite 6 EV, although the Velite 6 was designed with Chinese consumers in mind and is likely not suitable for North American consumers.
With the planned discontinuation of the Buick Cascada and LaCrosse this year, Buick’s North American car portfolio is set to shrink to the Regal and its variants. The rest of its lineup consists of crossovers – the Enclave, Envision and Encore. The brand may be in need of some additional product in coming years, then, so hopefully any shared products with China that may be in the pipe will arrive sooner rather than later.
(source: Automotive News)