Buick Reveals 2011 Excelle GT Sedan for China
By Chris Haak
GM China has revealed its 2011 Excelle GT sedan. The new car, which is an Opel Astra with Buick-specific front and rear clips. The new Excelle replaces the former Daewoo Lacetti/Nubria-based model of the same name, and is dramatically better.
The Excelle shares its global compact (“Delta II”) platform with the new Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, and shares the same base engine as the US-built Cruze will have. The base engine is a 1.8 liter four cylinder that produces 138 horsepower, and the optional engine is a 1.6 liter turbo four that produces 181 horsepower. Both engines are mated exclusively to six-speed automatics.
The Excelle is currently built in China for Chinese consumption, but the car is expected to launch for the US market in fall 2011 as a 2012 model. The car will sold in the US will be built in the US, according to GM Inside News. Yours truly is speculating that, since it’s built on the same fundamental platform as the Lordstown, Ohio-built Cruze, the Excelle (whatever it’s going to be called in North America) will likely share the Cruze’s assembly plant.
Seeing only somewhat-grainy photos of the car and its interior, it’s hard to make a solid judgment call. However, the shape is something of a translation of the Regal’s [non-Buick-like] design language onto a smaller palette. In profile, the Excelle looks a bit like the LaCrosse, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Inside, the shapes are similar to the Regal’s, but it’s a reasonable assumption that materials quality will be dialed back a bit from that which I saw in the Regal when I drove it last month. And that’s OK – the compact Buick will sell for less than the Regal and have lower expectations.
Just as the Regal has to help GM to make up for lost Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura volume and lower the median buyer age, this car will have to help the company replace some lost Pontiac G5 volume, and give Buick-GMC dealers (formerly Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers) a volume model. It will also lower the entry price for a Buick (possibly at the expense of the brand’s near-luxury credentials, but that will depend upon the car’s marketing and product execution) and give those dealers some much-needed volume.