2012 Buick Excelle GT (Chinese-spec)

2012 Buick Excelle GT (Chinese-spec)

General Motors is yet to launch the local version of its 2011 Chevrolet Cruze sedan but instead of speeding up its arrival the automaker is working on a new Buick sedan based on the same platform. This platform is GM’s Delta II architecture, which in addition to the Cruze, also underpins the Opel Astra sold overseas, the upcoming Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and soon a new Buick as well.

While a U.S. launch of the new Buick--a compact sedan about the same size the Chevrolet Cruze--isn’t scheduled until sometime next year, a version of the upcoming car, dubbed the Excelle GT, has officially been launched in China.

U.S. versions of the car will likely be built at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio alongside the Cruze and go by the name Verano. Engine options should mirror that of the Cruze, which means a range of compact four-cylinder units in both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged forms, with both gasoline and diesel options, the latter being for overseas markets.

The other benefit of the Delta II platform is the possibility of a plug-in hybrid version using Volt technology, although GM is more likely to use other brands such as Cadillac to expand its plug-in hybrid range.

Don’t hold your breath for the new Buick Verano compact sedan as it isn’t expected to be launched until late next year or even early 2012.

[Inside Line]