Wednesday, February 1, 2023
News The New 2021 Buick Excelle GT For China Is Too Good For...

The New 2021 Buick Excelle GT For China Is Too Good For North America

Buick continues to thrive in China with new models including a 48V MHEV Excelle sedan.


  • The Buick Excelle is a compact family sedan.

  • It is equipped with a 48V MHEV system.

  • Meanwhile, Buick is dying a slow death in North America.


Here’s a brief low-down on the Buick Excelle: it was launched in 2003 in China and was based on the Daewoo Nubira/Chevrolet Optra. The Excelle GT arrived in 2010 and was/is the Chinese iteration of what we used to know as the Buick Verano, itself a rebadged Chevrolet Cruze. A new version of the Excelle was launched in 2015 and was facelifted for 2018, the year after the Verano died here. Now, in China, GM has introduced a new 48V mild-hybrid version of the Buick Excelle.

GM Reveals Flexible EV Platform Strategy

Why is this interesting? First, the contrast between Buick here in North America, which has been reduced to selling only SUVs in Canada, and China. In that giant market, Buick’s revealed five new or enhanced products, from the 2021 Excelle GT sedan with mild-hybrid (MHEV), a new-generation Regal GS, a new Verano GS, an upgraded LaCrosse and the top-line LaCrosse Avenir. Realistically, the Excelle would be a flop in North America, this we know and understand, but the technology seems promising.

And second, the Excelle GT is interesting because of its powertrain: It has a twin-turbo 1.3-litre 3-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a mild-hybrid system with a 48V electric motor and battery. With this technology, the Excelle averages as little as 5.3L/100km. Currently, there are no hybrids in GM’s 2020 lineup but we do know that a full battery of electrified vehicles is on the way.

Buick Excelle GT | Photo: Buick

Thirdly, and finally, what will happen to Buick? The only model that sells well is the Encore, which accounts for 2/3 of all sales. The final third is split between the Chinese-built Envision and the Enclave, a rebadged Chevrolet Traverse. What comes next?

Buick Excelle GT | Photo: Buick

Buick Excelle GT | Photo: Buick

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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