In China, Buick is General Motors’ high-volume brand. As such, apparently Shanghai GM feels the need to sell the Chevrolet Volt in China under the Buick brand, because spy shots acquired by Chinese auto publication Autohome show just that. What’s even more interesting: it’s apparently going to wear the name of a former Buick concept car.
The spy shots were obtained from China’s Ministry of Cars, which is the government agency that must approve all new vehicles before they are sold on the Chinese market. This filing by Shanghai GM showcases very clearly the Chevrolet Volt’s body with the Buick tri-shield badge, and yes, the name on the rear appears to be Velite.
According to the translated article accompanying the photos, the Buick Velite will be powered by the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor combination that the Chevrolet Volt uses for propulsion. The article also cites an electric range of about 100 km, which isn’t far off from what the Volt is rated at in North America.
It isn’t clear with the new Buick Velite will be launching in China, but it likely isn’t far off since they are registering it with the government. Since the lettering on the back of the Velite in the shots above is in Chinese, it does suggest the car will be manufactured locally, although that is unconfirmed.
One thing is certain, this sure as hell isn’t the stunning Buick Velite concept car from 2004.