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How China Will Help Buick In America

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Remember, China is Buick's biggest market.

Buick nearly didn't survive GM's 2008 bankruptcy. Unlike Pontiac and Saturn, Buick had value and was doing extremely well in one particular overseas market: China. It still remains a major player there and will soon play an even larger role for its parent company. According to Automotive News, GM may soon be looking to its China operations to help fill Buick's US lineup.

Given that the large LaCrosse sedan will soon end production, as will the Opel-sourced Cascada convertible, the Regal will be left as the brand's sole traditional car. So there may be some gaps to fill. Question is, what type of vehicles will they be? It's not like Buick needs any more crossovers.

Phil Brook, vice president of Buick and GMC marketing, hinted to AM that all-electric vehicles could be where Buick China lends a major helping hand. "It would be difficult to get a Buick electric vehicle program like that up and running just for the US market as we sit here today, but certainly down the track we've got great options because of the need in China."

As of now, Cadillac is expected to be GM's EV leader, which will see the global launch of at least 20 all-electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles by 2023. But Buick will likely be an EV recipient as well. Given that China is both GM and Buick's biggest market, it'd make sense for an upcoming EV to be designed and manufactured in China. An arrangement like that is not without precedent, however.

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The Buick Envision crossover is built in China and exported to the US, and so far so good. The Envision continues to sell well in the US. So why would GM develop a new Buick, potentially an EV, solely for the US when this isn't even the premium brand's best market? Like the Envision, it'll likely work the other way around. Question is, what body style will be chosen? Another crossover? Perhaps, but the decision may not entirely be for Buick USA to make.