What's This China-only Buick Hatch Doing in Michigan?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
what s this china only buick hatch doing in michigan

Production of the Buick Verano is expected to end next month, but it seems we’ve already forgotten about the nameplate and the sort-of luxury compact car it was attached to.

The model lives on in China, but a hatchback bearing the Buick badge and a Verano GS nameplate has been seen driving near General Motors’ Milford, Michigan proving grounds, according to photos published by AutoGuide.

China is an ultra hot market for GM, and Buick introduced the Verano hatch and GS variant at last year’s Guangzhou Motor Show. The Chinese-market Verano GS is just a Europe-sourced Opel Astra given the Buick treatment — not unlike the Cascada convertible. Under its hood is a turbocharged 1.5-liter direct injection four-cylinder.

When it announced the cancellation of the North American model, offered only in sedan form, GM representatives claimed they didn’t want to sell niche models. This, despite the fact that the Verano really wasn’t doing so badly (and had just reached a sales peak in Canada, where it was/is oddly popular).

It’s hard to believe that a compact Buick hatch — even a hot one — would be any less niche-y than a compact Buick sedan. So, what’s it doing here? Is Buick dialing back its wish for a crossover-heavy lineup and volume, volume, volume?

It’s interesting to note that the Verano GS spotted in Michigan wears different wheels than the production model in China. What does that mean? GM will have to explain.

[Image: General Motors]

Join the conversation
7 of 25 comments
  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Sep 01, 2016

    Ooahh! Even Buicks have grand babies! Hope they grow big & roomy.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Sep 01, 2016

    They're going to lift it 2 inches, put 20" rims on it, give it lame AWD an price it $40K. Profit.

    • See 1 previous
    • NormSV650 NormSV650 on Sep 02, 2016

      Tiguan-light diesel? With a 2.0T gas and tuned to 290hp/330trq through all fours they will come for it under $35K.

  • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Sep 02, 2016

    "The Chinese-market Verano GS is just a Europe-sourced Opel Astra given the Buick treatment — not unlike the Cascada convertible." Uh, that's exactly what the *last* Verano was. The Verano and Astra were pretty much *identical* - the main differences being red interior lighting in the Astra as opposed to Buick's aqua, and a couple of different buttons on the center stack. That was it. I love the logic here by the way. Verano? Nah, volume's too small. Cascada convertible though, yeah that'll be a big seller. The Cascada seems deliberately designed to go straight to the rental counter. Buick shouldn't have killed the Verano. It was much better than the utterly forgettable ILX, and you could get one completely loaded for the price of a bargain basement, FWD 1.8T Audi A3. It just needed some modernization, which the new Astra takes care of. A hatch version would actually be a fairly decent GTI competitor with the turbo engine. The Cruze isn't good enough to fill that role, and if Cadillac tried to compete in that space they'd just screw it up like they do with everything else. Too bad, the Verano was the only recent GM product I had any real interest in. I definitely would've considered an updated car with a full power driver seat, LED lights, etc.

    • APaGttH APaGttH on Sep 02, 2016

      Add me to the list of people disappointed in the Verano's demise. It was a nice car, the turbo/manual variant was genuinely fun. I think it is a victim of the A3 and the CLA - even though the Mercedes offerings in particular are AWFUL they still are a Mercedes. I would stack rank the 4 near luxury FWD this way considering ALL factors: 4) ILX 3) CLA - base trim, sure if you load it up past $40K they get nice but might as well buy a C-class which is VASTLY better and under $40K - and if you get a C-class you now are out of near-luxury and are in luxury 2) Verano - but in part because of the price advantage 1) A3 (obviously in non-diesel variant)

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Sep 02, 2016

    How about a hot hatch with a revived Pontiac badge?