Buick small sedan prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

Yesterday, we showed you the first official rendering of Buick's forthcoming small car, a shrunken LaCrosse lookalike that is expected to be based on the European market Opel Astra. The image was flashed on the screen during General Motors' presentation of the new 2011 Buick Regal at this week's LA Auto Show, and judging by these latest spy shots from our friends at CarPix, it would appear that the rendering gives us a very good look at the upcoming sedan.

As we saw in an earlier batch of shots, the Delta-II platform-based model (known as the Excelle in China) will retain Buick's signature waterfall grille, yet unlike the Regal, it will have a set of horizontally-mounted ventiports to add a bit of the marque's characteristic flash. In the past, the number of ventiport holes indicated the number of cylinders of the engine lurking beneath the sheetmetal, but in this case, we don't expect for the as-yet-unnamed U.S. sedan to carry more than four cylinders.

With the Regal and this forthcoming small sedan, GM is clearly making a big push to lower the average buyer age of its Buick division by injecting a bit of sport and perhaps a greater measure of affordability. Is this the right strategy for the brand, or is The General at risk of revisiting the same brand perception (and brand overlap) issues it had in the Eighties with smaller cars like the Somerset and Century? Be sure to check out our high-res gallery below and then hop into Comments to let us know what you think.


Related GallerySpy Shots: Baby Buick caught in Germany

[Source: CarPix]