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From Inside Line.

HANGHAI, China — General Motors will launch a new Buick Skylark compact in China in 2009 that could be exported to the U.S. as a 2010 model.

The Skylark will replace the Daewoo-based Excelle in China and will be assembled by the Shanghai GM joint venture, Inside Line has learned.

GM also is considering whether to add another Chinese Buick, the new Australia-sourced Park Avenue sedan, to its U.S. lineup in 2009, supplier sources told IL.

The new Skylark is based on GM's Delta 2 global small-car architecture. It will share its underpinnings with the next-generation Chevrolet Cobalt, Opel Astra and Pontiac G6. A new Saab, the 9-1, will be based on the same platform, as will the next-generation Saturn Astra.

The current Buick Excelle that's built in China is a version of the Daewoo Lacetti that's also sold in North America as the Suzuki Forenza and in other overseas markets as the Chevrolet Optra. The next-generation Lacetti also is expected to shift to the Delta 2 platform in Korea.

The new Park Avenue is based on the Holden Statesman and goes on sale shortly in China. IL has learned that Buick's U.S. dealers have asked for the car in late 2008 as an '09 model. GM has tentative plans to assemble a redesigned Park Avenue, based on its Zeta rear-drive architecture, in North America in late 2010, alongside a new rear-drive Chevrolet Impala.

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2012 Buick Excelle

Spy shots: Cruze-based Buick compact sedan

Production of the new baby Buick isn’t expected to start until 2012 at the earliest

General Motors is still more than a year away from launching the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in North America but instead of speeding up its arrival the carmaker is working on a new Buick sedan based on the Cruze platform. Fears of GM’s cash problems haven’t managed to deter work on the new Buick compact sedan, which like the Cruze may be offered as a global model.

Built around GM’s FWD Delta II platform, the Buick compact sedan also shares much in common with the next-generation Opel Astra, which means there’s a chance it could be produced at Russelsheim plant in Germany.

U.S. versions are likely to be built at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio alongside the Cruze. The new model will almost certainly be offered in China as well. 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 petrol and diesel options.

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 sedan as it isn’t expected to be launched until sometime in 2012.


This is probably the successor of the Chinese Buick Excelle, as Buick China and North America will share more models in the future (starting with the Buick Regal and Buick LaCrosse).
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