By on October 10, 2015

2015100714474564724

As Opel begins its retail roll out of the new Astra across Europe, some enterprising spy shooters have found the Opel’s Chinese-market twin wearing Buick tri-shields and Verano GS badging.

And holy shit, this is about to get very, very confusing.

According to Autohome, the Verano GS — marketed as Buick Weilang GS in China — is expected to be revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show with GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The same engine will be used in North America in the new Malibu, albeit with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Now before you get too excited about those GS badges, it may not mean what you think it means, at least in this case.

For starters, we need to explain Buick’s sub-Regal lineup in China.

In North America, the Buick Verano is built on the same Delta II platform as the soon-to-be-departed Chevrolet Cruze and recently departed Opel/Vauxhall Astra J. In China, the exact same car was marketed as the Buick Excelle GT sedan (the Excelle XT is the hatchback version, essentially a rebadged Opel Astra J).

Earlier this year, the Excelle GT was redesigned in China. It’s was given a shorter wheelbase to open up a spot between it and the larger Buick Regal. Muddying the waters, the nomenclature used for the Excelle GT is confusing, if not outright deceiving: the ’15N’ model uses a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter engine, while the 1.4-liter turbo-powered Excelle GT is called ’18T’.

So, our Verano was China’s Excelle GT until the Excelle GT was redesigned and now uses a different platform and a bunch of numbers and letters in its nomenclature that essentially mean nothing. Phew.

Are you still with me? All right.

Shortly after the new Excelle GT was shown, Buick revealed a new Chinese-market Verano sedan.

buick-verano-china-is-6-660x488

This new Chinese-market Verano, which sits between the new Excelle GT (that isn’t related to our current Verano) and old Regal (which is the same as our Regal), likely foreshadows what the next-generation Verano will look like in North America, due in 2016. The Chinese Verano is built on a new iteration of the Delta platform that underpins the new Opel Astra and Chevrolet Volt and Cruze. However, engines and nomenclature won’t translate from Chinese to North American markets — I hope.

The new Verano sedan is also powered by the same 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine as the new Excelle GT or a 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder dubbed … wait for it … 20T.

Ummm, are you still there? I know the red pill looks really appetizing right now but this is almost over — I promise.

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What does this all mean for the Buick Verano in North America?

For starters, the spy shots provide more evidence of a Buick Verano hatchback for markets outside of China — but it doesn’t promise anything.

Our current Verano is only available as a sedan domestically while in China there was a hatchback version of it in called Excelle XT. GM could simply decide to offer the sedan in North America and call it a day. However, we now know a Verano hatchback will exist in China, and that’s a good start as North America definitely wouldn’t get a hatchback version of the car without some sort of Chinese signoff.

Which brings us to the ‘GS’ moniker: Is China getting a high-performance version of the Verano hatchback? Ehhhhh. As with the Excelle, the Verano will likely use the GS nomenclature to differentiate its hatchback model.

But, let’s pretend for a moment.

If GS means the same thing in China as it does on this side of the Pacific (after all, China does get a the same Regal GS you and I can buy in North America), GM could fit one of two engines under the hood: the 250 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine currently found in our Verano Turbo (for a hi-po version in China, I think this is likely) or the 276 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo motor that’s rumored to be destined for the next Astra OPC (this is the engine that would most likely come here if we were to get a performance-oriented Verano).

Or none of this will happen because of course it won’t.

Clear as mud? Okay, good, because I’m done talking about Buick for at least a month.

[Source: Autohome via GMInsideNews.com]

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36 Comments on “What Does a Chinese Buick Verano GS Mean For North America?...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    It means another little crampy car for a market that is already rejecting little crampy cars of much higher quality?

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t disagree, but I wouldn’t put that in the article because that would be editorializing — and we all know the B&B are the only ones who can editorialize on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Mark, you can editorialize all you want, as long as you SAY that’s what you’re doing.

        There is the ‘truth’ about cars, and there is the ‘opinion’ about cars. Both are freely posted here, but the TTAC staff are necessarily held to a higher standard than the B&B.

        My complaint is when the staff post out-of-context facts, which really serve as opinions presented as truth. A recent example is the Tesla Model X being “priced at $130k”, without adding that this only applies to the gold-plated edition.

        I rarely rant about TTAC, but that’s been stuck in my foot for a couple weeks.

        • 0 avatar

          And here are the two truths about Model X pricing…

          Currently, the Model X is being offered at two price points: $132,000 for the P90D Signature and $142,000 for the P90D Founder. Those two prices are the ONLY OFFICIAL PRICES for the Model X as of today.

          Yes, you are right that the Model X will eventually be available at a lower price. However, absolutely nothing about the lower-priced Model X models is official. All we know is:

          – it’ll likely be a $5,000 premium over the Model S with the same drivetrain.
          – 70D models will be ~$80,000 in Elon dollars.
          – they will be available “in the future”.

          Until those models are actually priced and their availability announced, $132,000 is the price if you want a Model X today.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Product variations are driven by regional considerations, and can vary quite a bit. I wouldn’t assume that it means anything at all for any market outside of China.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed. And since the Chinese Buick market is 4X the US Buick market, it means even less in the US anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        That’s a great point and my guess is that the US GM buyers would not be averse to buying China-made GM products in the US, like a Made-in-Shanghai Silverado or Impala either.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          *IF* this means a made in China Verano for the US market, the 2012 my mom bought will be her first and last Verano purchase. But then, 99.99% of American consumers really could give a fig less where there stuff was made in.

  • avatar
    infinitime

    Two observations:

    1) The blue factory paint exhibits considerable amount of “orange peeling”, so at least on that front, this Buick doesn’t seem that “premium”.

    2) Is that the fuse box in the lower centre console in the interior shot?

  • avatar
    alluster

    It means that the morons at GM are spending way too much time and resources on cars that sell <1000 a month. A compact CUV with one engine variant will outsell the regal, verano, and the stupid cascada combined including useless trims. Hurry the f up and bring the envision over already. Are you waiting for CUVs to lose popularity before you sell them?

  • avatar
    RHD

    The “GS” stands for “Guang Shou”.
    Will we be seeing fully assembled GM vehicles from China soon, or just a large percentage of the components?

  • avatar
    Joss

    I know the party doesn’t care about VW emissions. Holy shit the fumes off their rocket carrying diesels at the anniversary parade. Haven’t they heard of DEF? Then again a staggering number of the young people smoke and will become a lung cancer nightmare. I should think plenty of fumes at uncle Kim’s coming parade.

    To me the Chinese appear keenly associated with Buick through pre-revolutionary 40’s nostalgia. While today’s officialdom seem to have a penchant for 60’s bloated Farina.

    Communist military parades are a good example of where the car has replaced the horse. As you see their generals stood tall & proud in open limos inspecting the troops. And bellowing over mics. Heck Patton just did the jeep thing. And I believe he could mount a horse.

    Bring on the Silver Cloud reboot with Camry platform.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Can’t we just get it over with and sell ownership of new GM to a Chinese company?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That’s what should have been done way back in 2009. The US gov’t should have pimped deceased GM’s carcass to GM’s Shanghai partner at the same time the US gov’t was bribing Fiat to take Chrysler’s carcass off the US taxpayers’ hands.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I for one hope that the next generation Verano is a near clone of the new Astra, just like the current Verano is a near clone of the outgoing car. The new Astra looks great. The new Chinese market Verano sedan… doesn’t. The interior looks like an old Infiniti Q45, and the rest of the car is basically hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      It will almost certainly be an Astra with a waterfall grille. It will probably come with the 1.5T standard and possibly offer the 2.0T as an optional engine, like the current car does.

      The interesting question is if they bring over the hatchback (I assume the wagon is out). Honda is bringing back the Civic hatchback and we’re supposedly getting the Cruze hatchback, so a Verano hatch isn’t necessarily out of the question.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I predict many of the automobile manufacturers will be building cars in China, as well as Mexico, to increase profit…not to keep the sticker prices lower, as one might think.

    But hey…it’s just a prediction.

  • avatar

    Grill and especially tri-shield emblem are too small for my tastes. But I am not Chinese – what I know.

  • avatar
    Von

    Many of the components already come from China, spark plugs, electrical connectors, alternators, motors, and many more components now are primarily made in China. Sure, other places in the world also make those components, but if you look at the world wide volume of, let’s say, spark plugs, most of it is located in China.

    Chinese assembled vehicles from both Chinese and western brands are already making their way to most of Asia and Africa, Australia and eastern Europe. Volvo is making it official by doing the final assembly in China for the new US bound S60, and others will soon follow.

    Let’s hope they have enough sense to make quality control a priority.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    What I see here is a bunch of preproduction stuff that may or may not make it to the North American markets. I can’t imagine that GM will release a hatchback that *isn’t* a crossover over here. Hatchback cars are for companies that are weak in the SUV/CUV arena, i.e., Mazda, VW, FCA… Especially when Buick has a great big hole in their lineup between the Encore and Enclave.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I can see GM eventually becoming more of a Chinese Corporation. The growing market in China and GM’s market share in China.

  • avatar
    JD23

    What will the hp and mpg figures be with a Trifecta tune? I am predicting 350hp and at least 44 mpg highway on a 20% grade in a blizzard.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    GM already is a Chinese company as 7 out of 10 cars it builds are built in China.
    Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive (in China).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      GM is doing very well these days, all things considered. And ever since Ms Barra has assumed control of the GM helm, there has been a marked increase in marketing to women in the ads on TV shown in my region.

      Biggest news in my area is the push to get the NEW, IMPROVED, BETTER THAN EVER 2016 Volt to market in my area.

      Lots of Prii in my area. Can’t recall ever seeing a Leaf or Volt here.

      Must have something to do with the wide open spaces, range anxiety and the cheap price of gasoline.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    What all this (the Chinese connection) means is there will never be another Riviera, Wildcat, Park Avenue, Roadmaster, Cutlass, or any other iconic Buick model. Sooner or later, the Chinese will realize that the Buick of the last Emperor Pu Yi and the first president Sun Yat Sen no longer exists, and they’ve been buying Opels.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Why won’t big fat rich Chinese want the same comfort and grandeur that their American predecessors wanted? But with more emphasis on rear seat room from a stretched wheelbase?

      Isn’t this what gave us all the “coming with length” jokes?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Oh, I’m sure the Chinese would love a 1974 Buick Electra 225 with a modern drive train and suspension, but they’re not getting it. Even a stretched wheelbase Chinese Buick doesn’t have 127″, deep cushions, or the stately upright seating position the last of the big Buicks had.

        Even the last of the RWD Roadmasters in the ’90s rode on a 116-inch wheelbase, what was mid-size in the 1970s. You could say no cars today are like the Buicks of old, but then that makes the Chinese Buicks of today not much different from any other car today, except for the badge. If all GM does is stretch their base Opels, the badge will eventually lose its luster.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I would hope such beasts, with suitably modernized drivetrains and maybe safety, could reemerge in China because of the farcical nature of its regulatory system.

          Hell, even our stringent system has easily been gamed by the Big 3 to rely on selling more of ever larger pickups.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Lorenzo–I doubt we will ever see cars like those old GM cars of the early the mid 70’s. My mother had a 72 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with a 472 cubic inch V-8 Rochester 4 barrel carburetor. It was very roomy and the seats were like sitting on your living room sofa. Maybe GM will lose its luster but then Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia midsize cars are not a lot different. Midsize, compact, and subcompact cars have become more similar regardless of the manufacturer.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine”

    Oh such power! How will anyone handle it.

    o.o *eye roll*

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