The Buick Verano died a quiet death in the United States, but the model has continued to be sold in China.
That isn’t too unusual, but it’s interesting now as spy photographers have caught a facelifted model undergoing testing in Michigan.
Wrapped in triangle-shaped camouflage, the updated Verano has a new front fascia which channels air into sportier intakes. The model has also been equipped with a modestly revised grille that now has horizontal styling elements. The grille is flanked by temporary headlights and this suggests the production model will have new lighting units.
While it’s interesting that Buick is testing the Verano in the United States, General Motors is a global company and the automaker regularly tests foreign cars in America. During its ownership of Opel and Vauxhall, it wasn’t too surprising to see their vehicles cruising around Metro Detroit.
As a result, the prototype is likely being tested for the Chinese market. However, there’s an incredibly slim chance the Verano could return to the United States.
Buick’s car lineup is about to be a third of its former self as the company has already announced plans to drop the Cascada and LaCrosse in America. This will leave the Regal as the brand’s only car.
The Verano could theoretically help to fill the gap, but it wasn’t a hit in the United States. Sales peaked at 45,527 units in 2013 and eventually dropped to 30,277 units in 2016. Those numbers aren’t huge, but the Verano was more popular than the Acura ILX. The model even outsold the Mercedes CLA and often bested the Audi A3.
Besides plugging a hole in Buick’s lineup, the return of the Verano would give GM a presence in the compact sedan segment. With the death of the Chevrolet Cruze, the company no longer competes in the segment and customers will soon be steered towards either the Sonic or Malibu when Cruze inventories run out.
It would certainly be interesting to see the Verano make a comeback, but we’re not getting our hopes up.