General Motors surprised us at the Shanghai Auto Show with the unveiling of a brand-new concept vehicle bearing the Buick logo. The Business Hybrid Concept that was designed and developed in China by GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), is a proposal for a full-size minivan that can accommodate a total of six-passengers in three rows of individual seats. The concept measures 5.278mm (207-in.) in length and rides on 3.198mm (129-in.) wheelbase.
The long minivan combines styling cues from Buick's own 2010 LaCrosse and the Riviera Concept that was unwrapped at the 2007 Shanghai Show with elements found on the latest Opel prototypes and especially the Meriva Concept's so-called dynamic "wave" in the rear window line that supposedly provides a better view for rear passengers. A unique feature of the concept are the power sliding rear doors with no B-pillar that help ease entrance and egress.
"The Business Concept Vehicle has a grand presence and makes a strong statement when it pulls up to the front of any establishment," said Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design. "The Chinese market and business person have some unique requirements. Our team has responded with an elegant solution to their business and personal needs."
Inside, the Buick Business Concept boasts a futuristic-looking dashboard with a three-dimensional instrument cluster that reaches across the entire width of the front panel and features a multi-layer information display. The vehicle's console can be moved up and down the two rows of rear seats while Buick claims that the second row of captain's chairs slide on hidden rails and swivel 225 degrees, enabling them to be adjusted to an infinite combination of orientations. Overall, the cabin's design is sleek and contemporary.
According to GM, PATAC designed the Buick Business Concept Vehicle to accommodate the firm's next-generation Hybrid System, which will be introduced in China in the near future. This new system that is said to build upon the belt-alternator-starter hybrid technology currently available in the Chinese-market Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid.
The next-generation GM Hybrid System will utilize an advanced lithium-ion battery that will help improve fuel economy by up to 20 percent compared to the current hybrid systems.