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

whats 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]

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  • 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?

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
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