Way back in the 1930's, one in six cars sold in China were Buicks. The leaders, whether they were the emperor or head of the Communist party drove the very prestigious Buick brand. The old one in this pic cruised the streets of Peking (Beijing) in the '40's. Their last emperor, their first president and their first premier all had Buicks, so no wonder the Buick name resonates with China's citizens all these many years later.
Recognize this car? Sure you do, it's the Verano, but in China you can see it uses a different name and also comes in a variety of body styles........
In North America, Buick sold about 220,000 cars in 2013, but in China they sold 254,000 Excelle models alone! The total number of Buicks sold worldwide last year was 1,032,000 and China contributed 810,000 sales to that total. Is it any wonder back in 2008, when GM restructured, that they disco'd the better selling (in North America) Pontiac line, but kept Buick alive?
Another winner for Buick in China is the Honda Odyssey look alike, GL8 Luxury Business Edition van. This has sold near the 100,000 mark. Compare that to Buick van sales in North America. Oops, you can't, since the Terraza van was dropped from the line years ago due to dismal sales. Just try to even find one today - good luck.
When was the last time you saw a single brand Buick store in your area? Might be tough trying to make a living without at least adding GMC trucks or Cadillac or Chevrolet. Of course, in China, a single line Buick dealership is not an issue as those sales keep mounting up. Expected to be over the 1 million mark by 2016.
This Holden derived model is the Buick Park Avenue, interesting since the only way to drive one of these stateside is to be a cop. This is what we see as the Chevy Caprice police car. After Holden shuts down production in Australia, the Chinese will be building these cars and shipping them back to Aussieland. Bet ya the Australians will love that fact. By the way, since many Chinese cars are chauffeur driven, the manufacturers design their Chinese market cars with better rear leg room and in many cases the same spacious car is sold over here (thank you, China).
So the next time that you are in China and are surrounded by Buicks (a rather surreal experience), don't be surprised, as this is our reality in the 21st century.
Until next time.......