It’s all about the luxury.
To you and I, a Buick is the last car that would cross the mind when thinking of a popular luxury car, but over in China, the world's largest car consumer, things are a bit different. To answer why Buick is booming in China while being bought by folks who have completed their wills in the US, Motor Trend compared a LaCrosse sold in America to the Chinese version to find out what’s so different. Apparently, it all boils down to luxury. In China, the LaCrosse may as well have been through an episode of Pimp My Ride compared to its American counterpart.
Inside, where it matters, the rear seat gets all the attention. Like on a BMW 7 Series, the rear seats can recline, have heating and cooling settings, feature a remote to control the HVAC, radio, and sunshade, and even have a massage function. The interior color palate is also expanded on Chinese models and includes an option to inlay the leather seats with suede. Not everything is better on the Chinese model though. Under the hood, Chinese buyers can chose between two turbocharged engines as well as a hybrid as opposed to the V6 sold here. Wheels also get smaller in China, with 17-, 18-, 19-, and 20-inchers available to tailor ride quality while in the US, we can only select from 18” and 20” wheels.
Despite all of the extra luxury add-ons for the Chinese version, the sales difference between the two countries is primarily a result of public perception of the brand. In fact, things may as well be opposite in China. In the land of the Great Wall, Mercedes are seen as cars for the retired while Buick holds the same regard as Germany’s luxury crop does here in the states. As backward as it sounds (AMGs aren’t exactly for those with hip replacements) this popularity has led Buick to a massive recovery since it was almost sent to the hills for reeducation during GM’s 2008 brand reform. If the retired in China buy AMG GT Rs, I know where I’m taking my pension.