Buick is big in China, so big that its popularity there is basically the entire reason the brand wasn’t killed off back in 2009 during GM’s Red Wedding. So it makes sense that Buick would have a big showing at the Shanghai motor show. This year, that meant Buick brought out four vehicles: two different versions of the redesigned Encore crossover, an electric car, and an updated version of its luxury minivan.
Buick says its designers took their inspiration for the redesigned Encores from the Enspire concept we first saw about a year ago. Little, if any, of the Enspire’s wild styling made it to production, but if you squint, you can sort of see it. Buick says both the Encore and the longer Encore GX will come with four-cylinder engines and the choice of a nine-speed automatic or a CVT. Aside from those details, though, there isn’t much information available on either version of the Encore. We’ll have to wait until Buick announces the U.S. version of the new wee CUV for more details.
Next, there’s the car in the not-great photo above: the Velite 6 Multi-Activity Vehicle, Buick’s first all-electric car. Developed with Buick’s Chinese partner SAIC, the electric hatchback’s powertrain is good for 114 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque. It should also have a range of about 187 miles in the city. Interestingly, the first 5,000 Velite 6s that Buick builds will be put into car-sharing company EVCARD’s fleet instead of being sold to the public.
Finally, there’s the GL8 Avenir concept. It appears to be a face-lifted version of the GL8 luxury minivan that Buick launched in 2016. Without interior shots, it’s hard to tell how significant the changes are, but Buick did say it gets a 12.0-inch infotainment screen and a 14.0-inch head-up display. Oh, and the carpet is woven from cashmere. There probably isn’t a market for a luxury minivan in the U.S., but we do like the sound of cashmere carpeting.