Pint-sized Buick on the horizon?

It ain't no Skyhawk. Actually, we're not even sure this is the model that Buick may be contemplating bringing Stateside. Perusing their Chinese offerings, however, this seems like the most likely bet for a smaller Buick to slot below the LaCrosse. The only other Chinese Buick that makes a sliver of sense is the Royaum, based on the Omega platform ( Catera, GTO), but that's a larger car aimed at dignitaries who prefer riding to driving. There are no facts to offer yet, other than Buick is analyzing whether offering an entry-level car under the LaCrosse is a good move.

There's debate among GM execs about whether a kiddie-pool Buick is the way to go. Some feel that it'd be a bad move, and the brand should focus on moving upscale, but we don't think that "upscale" and "entry-level" are mutually exclusive. There is a market for premium small cars; witness the MINI. If the car were fussed over enough to have the General's current, much improved, level of fit and finish, some dashing style, and offer capable and competitive powertrains and performance, they could have a winner on their hands. If it's indeed the Excelle, we'd be inclined to leave it. It's based on the Daewoo Nubira, and while it looks nice enough and it's not a bad car, there's still a yawning gap to leap into a LaCrosse. We haven't seen the likes of four-cylinder Buicks since the 1990s, and very few of them were of any interest (T-Type Skyhawks, Somersets and Skylarks get a pass). If there was proper development put into a smaller Buick, we'd welcome the return of a car to fill the Skylark's old shoes. We're not seeing that car in the current Chinese lineup, where the focus is more on uber cushy appointments inside, large size, and conservative styling. Hmm.. That doesn't sound half bad if it winds up on a chassis with some starch in the suspenders.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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