Buick’s recent success in the United States has startled many industry observers and has come as a promising development for General Motors.
Out of the four remaining brands at the company, Buick has seen some of the biggest percentage sales increases. This off the back of three competitive models, the Enclave, LaCrosse and Regal. A small car dubbed Verano is on the way later this year.
Over in China though, Buick has been successful for years. Buick owes its existence to China, which likely will become the world’s largest auto market. With the Shanghai Motor Show under way, Buick is previewing a new generation of crossovers with the Envision Concept.
The concept was created as a joint effort between Shanghai GM and the company’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center. The Envision Concept takes Buick design cues and explores them in new and more dramatic ways. It shows off a more angular take on Buick’s waterfall grille and a more aggressive face than on production models. A unique element on this crossover is its greenhouse, which is uninterrupted by a pillar. The rear is dramatic, with a steeply raked window.
Overall, we like the themes being explored. With these teams responsible for future Buicks (that will be coming to our shores), it is likely we will see similar elements make their way to production Buicks. The concept has a bit of a local flavor, but these themes will be making their way to future models. GM executives in China and the U.S said as much. Shi Hong, Director of Buick Marketing at Shanghai GM says “It introduces the development direction for Buick’s future SUV products for the market.”
According to Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design, “The Envision has inherited Buick design DNA and taken the Buick global design language to a new height. It makes a significant statement for Buick styling and technology, and will influence upcoming models from the brand.”
A good bet would be a strong influence from this concept on the next-generation Enclave or the new Encore small crossover. However, what the Envision Concept doesn’t do is serve as a wholesale preview of a future production model.
Like early every concept these days, the Envision is powered by a plug-in hybrid setup. Two electric motors are fed by a lithium ion battery pack. For gasoline propulsion, GM’s Ecotec 2.0-liter direct injection engine is used, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The battery is aided in charging by a solar panel on the roof of the vehicle.