Eastern Promises: 'Buick Volt' Ready to Tempt Chinese Greenies

eastern promises 8216 buick volt ready to tempt chinese greenies

Badge-engineered bliss awaits environmentally conscious General Motors buyers in China. Announced today, the Buick Velite 5 range-extended electric vehicle will soon launch in the car-hungry marketplace, but Americans might recognize it as something else.

Hiding in plain sight behind that Buick badge — which carries plenty of sales clout in China — is a Chevrolet Volt, which aims to compete against a host of low-cost electrics and gas-powered compacts.

Over here, the Volt carries a 53-mile electric range, but the Chinese testing cycle should grant the Velite 5 an emissions-free rating of more than 62 miles, GM claims. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder generator will soothe range anxiety fears among buyers afraid of local towing companies.

This isn’t the first GM hybrid vehicle to land on Chinese shores. An electrified version of the full-size LaCrosse went on sale last year, and GM claims the country can expect more plug-ins and battery electric vehicles within the next two years. Buick Bolt, anyone?

The Volt’s metamorphosis into a Buick is less odd when you consider the brand’s status in the Orient. With over a million vehicles sold last year, Buick — first sold in China in 1998 — is that country’s go-to upscale American nameplate, though Cadillac and Lincoln are quickly making inroads (with much ground to cover). By giving the technology-packed vehicle a new badge, it elevates the vehicle to the premium league.

While the [s]Volt[/s] Velite 5 gives GM a fancy gadget to show off, it’s crossovers and SUVs that really tempt Chinese buyers. The Buick Envision remains the country’s best-selling utility vehicle, while sales of Cadillac’s XT5 crossover are skyrocketing. Late to the party, but no doubt looking to clean up, the newly downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox will debut in China later this spring.

That vehicle’s entry-level 1.5-liter four-cylinder allows early buyers to take advantage of a reduced levy for vehicle up to 1.6-liters in displacement. The lower levy, which sank from 10 percent last year to 5 percent, before rising to 7.5 percent on January 1st of this year, aims to stimulate vehicle sales. The levy rises back to 10 percent in 2018.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 24, 2017

    Well, the Velite 5 is much better than the Velite 4. Will the Bolt become the Delite 5?

  • Akear Akear on Mar 24, 2017

    I just checked in autonews, Buick has slipped behind Cadillac in sales. Buick...sucks....sucks

  • 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.