Buick Might Look To China To Develop And Expand U.S. Lineup

GM’s sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group in 2017 has left Buick in a precarious position when it comes to its U.S. lineup.

Gradually, Buick will have to ditch the rebadged Opel models it has been selling for quite a while in the United States. The recent announcement regarding the Cascada convertible is just the beginning, as more than half of Buick’s current lineup is made of Opel vehicles.

Besides the Cascada, Buick sells the Korean-made Encore crossover (Opel Mokka), Regal sedan and Regal TourX wagon (Opel Insignia), and Regal GS performance sedan (Opel Insignia GSi). Basically, the only non-Opel models in the lineup are the Envision and Enclave SUVs, as well as the LaCrosse flagship sedan.

Speaking of the latter, GM has already announced it will stop making it come March, so that leaves Buick with only the Enclave and Envision as certain products. With Opel vehicles slowly becoming off-limits, where will Buick source its future models from? The most obvious answer is GM China, which has already given America the Envision (pictured).

Buick China to come to the rescue once again

Ten years ago, Buick was saved from getting axed by the brand’s prominence in China and now the automaker may have to rely on GM China to fill its U.S. lineup — especially given the parent company’s shift to crossovers and EVs.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean importing more models from China. Instead, Buick and GM China will need to combine resources and build vehicles for both markets. Buick’s prominence in China gives it “opportunities to leverage some models” for both markets, Phil Brook, vice president of Buick and GMC marketing, told Autonews.

EVs could be among those models since GM needs to meet stricter emissions standards in China anyway. “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 but certainly down the track we’ve got great options because of the need in China,” Brook added.

By 2023, GM plans to launch at least 20 all-electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles worldwide. While GM execs remain tight-lipped about future Buick products for the United States, last month the company announced dealers that a new model would be introduced this year. It remains to be seen whether that’s a new nameplate or an Avenir-badged version of an existing model (possibly the Encore).

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  • THIS DOESN’T BODE WELL FOR BUICK.

    • Liam Paul

      Mary T Barra does not Bode well for GM, She has known for 2 years buick would be without any products and what has she done, nothing. GM needs to get rid of Buick and Mary Barra

      • NormT

        Mary Barra is making GM money and Buick outsells Acura, what more do you want?

    • NormT

      Buick will still sell well and runs rings around most of the competition, especially for the price.

  • Six Thousand Times

    I’d rather the General just pull the plug.

  • Nick099

    GM should not have put all their eggs in a Chinese basket.

    Bad bet.

    • Mr. EP9

      They won’t learn.

    • MarketAndChurch

      But that is where most of their Buick profits come from. People still buy their cars here in the US, but it’s the Chinese who make Buick crazy profitable.

  • Mr. EP9

    So cheap, Chinese made crap? Got it.

    • NormT

      If you think the Envision is cheap becuae where it is made, you should look at the lack of quality in Honda’s made in the U.S.

  • Nihar

    Buick Excelle, GL8?

    • JRP

      GL8 would be interesting. Maybe it could be sold as the Terraza.

  • charlotteharry57

    The new model COULD be Equinox-based, since the Envision is larger, more akin to the Blazer. Speaking of the Envision, Buick had better be careful with Chinese-built vehicles. In Consumer Reports’ latest customer satisfaction survey, the Envision was dead last in its category. I don’t know – yet – what the reason is. Next issue will probably reveal that.

    • NoMan2015

      The Envision shares a platform with the Equinox and Terrain. It is not akin to the Blazer.

    • NormT

      But another surveying company has Envision rated best of all compact SUVs according to J.D. Power. Consumers rate it high on Edmund’s also.

      We just traded a 2016 Envision on a 2018 Regal TourX and were pleased with the middle sized Buick. Never had a problem, it rode really quietly and smooth, and had plenty of power with torque vectoring AWD with 2.0T.

      • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

        You didn’t trade anything, Norm. The Envision is a failure and a piece of garbage that no one wants. JD Power is a joke that no one listens to.

        You are paid to promote them.

  • Merc1

    Once again, why is Buick needed? It’s another dead brand that has no relevance. All GM needs is Chevy, GMC and Cadillac at this point. Until you truly make a Buick something more than warmed over Chevy then it’s no point. Cadillac needs to be real luxury. Chevy can handle everything entry level to what Buick is doing today. GMC is the luxury side of the truck and should be a JEEP competitor with new models that aren’t based on any Chevy models. That is how you save GM. BMW is like Oldsmobile, Mercury, Plymouth and others, IRRELEVANT. No one is craving a Buick or aspires to own one. Either turn Buick into a unique brand that isn’t based on leathered up versions of Chevys or KILL IT. There is some space between Chevy and Cadillac if done right, but GM doesn’t have the talent or vision.

    M

    • Nihar

      *Buick is like

      I agree. Turn the Regal Sportback into the Malibu Sportback, and give the TourX its own name.

      • Merc1

        What?

        M

    • Stephen G

      It’s a shame how bean counters and dealers demands have made these iconic brands irrelevant.

      • Merc1

        I wouldn’t blame the dealers. They say what they need and what they can sell, but GM designs the vehicles, not the dealers. Dealers would be much happier if they had hot vehicles to sell from GM, not the endless shuffle game of rebadging and warming over over the same vehicles that GM prefers. At this point there are no more available excuses. Witness the Cadillac XT6. A complete fail and it’s a crossover, not a sedan so what will the excuse be when it either doesn’t sell or needs a ton of incentives to move it? Look at the XT6 vs the Aviator. GM hasn’t changed. They simply can’t.

        M

    • MarketAndChurch

      Because of China. Buick sells 1.2 million cars in China, and only 200,000 cars here in the US. Buick mostly exists in the US to compete with teir-2 luxury brands such as Volvo, Lincoln, Acura, Infiniti, and Jaguar, and to provide an additional draw (reason to visit) to GMC dealerships.

      • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

        Did you just compare Buick to Volvo and Jaguar? Nothing about them is tier two.

        LOL.

        • NormT

          ..and Buick continues to outsell them all.

          • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

            Buick also has a far higher fleet ratio than all of those other brands combined. Fleet sales are bad, m’kay?

            Norm, no one cares about you and your GM shilling BS. Go back to YouTube where everyone else makes fun of you.

          • NormT

            What percentage are those brands fleet sales?

    • NormT

      Buick has the sales success and one of the highest rated relibility of them all and at a very nice discounted price.

  • Marc Gruben

    Sadly, we’ve seen this play before. Remember the Seventies “Buick/Opel by Isuzu”? How’d that work out for GM?

    Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

    • carlbolt

      How about the Impreza Saab 9-2?

      • Emoto

        The Saabaru?

    • THAT WAS ONLY ONE MODEL AND NOT THE ENTIRE LINE LIKE TODAY.

  • Liam Paul

    might as well put Buick out to pasture along with Mary Barra

    • NormT

      Buick sales are still one of the best in the near-luxury segment.

  • Emoto

    Guess what we don’t want. Give up? Chinese Buicks.

  • MarkoS

    Just give Buick a respectful exit and call it a day. GM has squandered this brand to long. Every time GM shows a glimmer of hope, it promptly stamps it out.

    • NormT

      But Buick still outsells Acura, Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo…

      • MarkoS

        Take out the Chinese numbers.

        • NormT

          That is only 30,000 or so. Buick outsold Acura by 10,000 then.

          Acura could be enjoying the compact SUV explosion but doesn’t have the CDX available for the U.S. With HR-V prices climbing and sales dropping there maybe no room for Honda+ model.

  • EM1

    This explains why they want Rivian. To make many platforms from it as possible.

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