The Buick Excelle, a top seller in the Chinese market. (Photo/CFP)
General Motors said May 1 that its total sales in China have exceeded three million since GM vehicles began to become available there in 1999, while the Chinese market has become more important than the United States.
Buick's China sales are accelerating: 1,033,307 of the total of three million came in 2010. Shanghai GM is a joint venture of GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) that builds, imports and sells Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet models.
As a result of the market's importance, China has actually seen Buick models and technology before the United States sees them. That may be a smart move by the automaker: a February Gallup poll found that even in America, more people rate China as the world's top economic power than the USA.
A version of the Buick Verano compact coming to the United States as a 2012 model already is already on sale in China as the Buick Excelle. Some technologies, such as direct injection, were seen there first, USA Today reported.
China designers heavily influenced the interior of the current LaCrosse and Shanghai GM's design partnership with GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center venture in Shanghai has developed "a series of new and upgraded Buick models including the Excelle GT and XT passenger cars and all-new GL8 luxury MPV," GM said.