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 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="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.
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