What Does a Chinese Buick Verano GS Mean For North America?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

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.

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.

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]

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

More by Mark Stevenson

Join the conversation
2 of 36 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 11, 2015

    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.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Oct 12, 2015

    "GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine" Oh such power! How will anyone handle it. o.o *eye roll*

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.