China To Get Handsome Buick GL8 MPV. And The U.S.?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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china to get handsome buick gl8 mpv and the u s

At the Beijing Auto Show, they had a fine-looking and well-appointed Buick MPV, called the “Business Concept” (shown above.) I gave it no mention. After all, who cares about a concept MPV that will never see the light? Big mistake, Schmitt: It will see the light faster that I thought, namely by the end of the year.

In China, it will take over as the latest generation of the Buick GL8, replacing a definitely blander predecessor (think Pontiac Montana or Buick Terrazza.) The first gen GL8 was a pioneering venture for Shanghai-GM. It was designed in partnership between SAIC and GM as a “China only” model, albeit with heavy input from GM. The GL8 quickly became the business MPV to have amongst companies that had to pick up clients at the airport (a Chinese tradition.) The GL8 did a lot to Buick China sales.

According to China Car Times, the new GL8 will be powered by a new 2.4L engine from the Lacrosse and Regal, or a new 3.0L V6 from Opel’s HFV6 range. A mild hybrid is possible. Camouflaged pre-production models have already been spotted in China (they are kind of obvious.) If you mentally (or photoshopally) remove the camo, it won’t look much different than the “Concept” above.

The MPV was developed in China by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), a design and engineering joint venture between General Motors and SAIC. No word on a U.S. appearance.

If a U.S. model would look half as good as what I’d seen in Beijing, I wouldn’t mind handing the key to a valet parking attendant.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • N8iveVA N8iveVA on May 18, 2010

    wow that's a long wheelbase. I wonder what the turning radius of that beast will be

  • Shaker Shaker on May 21, 2010

    Nice idea, but that windshield would let in about 100kW of heat on a sunny Arizona day - whoa.

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?