Make no mistake, friend; China loves Buicks. It also has a growing appetite for hybrid and electric vehicles. So what happens when you mix the two? You get the Velite series of cars, and now there are two new ones to talk about.
With styling based on the Velite concept by Buick and Bertone that debuted in 2016, the Velite 6 electric and plug-in hybrid are joining Buick's fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles for the Chinese market. These include the Velite 5 (basically a Chevrolet Volt with slightly different styling), the Regal Hybrid and the LaCrosse Hybrid.
Judging by these new official renderings, the Velite 6 will get its own unique styling, with plenty of character lines and a sleek front end with glowering headlamps and a narrow mustache grille. The fully electric version will get a new battery-electric drivetrain, according to Buick's press release, which promises "a comfortable electric driving experience."
The Velite 6 is the latest facet of Buick's "Buick Blue" strategy for introducing new, clean vehicles into the world's largest market for cars. Buick held just over 5 percent of the Chinese market in 2017 and managed to sell nearly 200,000 vehicles in January and February of 2018 compared with just over 29,000 cars during the same period in the US, according to carsalesbase.com.
With talks of increased Chinese tariffs on imported new vehicles reaching upward of 50 percent, and GM not explicitly stating where the Velite 6 is going to be built, it's unclear whether Buick will reap real benefits from this new influx of electric and hybrid vehicles, but General Motors is certainly going to try.