Luxury car makers are in a race to win over wealthy Chinese drivers. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have their sights trained on the Chinese market, as do Jaguar, Land Rover, and Lincoln. The Chinese government makes no secret that it prefers “new energy vehicles” with lower carbon emissions than conventional cars. That definition covers hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles.
The Law of Unintended Consequences can cause havoc. Take CAFE regulations, otherwise known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules. Begun as a way to encourage higher fuel economy in cars and light trucks after the first Arab oil embargo of 1973, CAFE has become the primary tool to enforce emissions policy considerations developed at the national level.
GM has responded promptly to erroneous fuel economy claims for some of its 2016 SUVs. The models involved are the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. The window stickers on those vehicles were inaccurate. On average, they claimed the vehicles actually got about 2 miles per gallon better gas mileage than they actually did. The correct numbers are now posted on the EPA website. Corrected window stickers have been placed on all unsold vehicles.
Hands down, the concept car that has prompted the most buzz at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year is this luscious Buick Avista concept coupe. Built on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Camaro, the bulked up, buttoned down show car is drop dead gorgeous from any angle.
As reported by The Verge, the Avista is a 2+2 coupe. That’s a polite way of saying there’s no way real people can fit in the back seat, so just forget about it. Like the Camaro, it’s a front engine, rear wheel drive car designed to transport two people in style. The twin turbo V-6 up front kicks out 400 horsepower, which should be enough to move the car forward with authority.
The Avista features some design elements reminiscent of the Bentley Continental GT with its wide hips and waterfall grille. Its styling also has echoes of the original boat tailed Buick Riviera that rocked the automotive world in 1963. That car has become a highly coveted classic and there’s every reason to believe the Avista would also become a timeless collector’s item as well.
The Avista doesn’t rely on trick doors, 24″ wheels, or shape shifting design. It doesn’t even have a Ridiculous Mode that can demolish the sound barrier. What is does have is styling that is so perfectly honed, so lovingly rendered, any car enthusiast will be mesmerized by it. The Avista is the most exciting concept from the Buick since Harley Earl’s legendary Y Job in 1938, which was the very first concept car every produced in America. I haven’t felt the urge to own a Buick since the Kennedy Administration, but I could get pretty excited about having one of these in my driveway.
There are no plans to put the Avista into production. Concept cars, by definition, are designed to get feedback so companies can decide whether a business case can be made for building them. If that’s the objective here, I have something to say to the bean counters at Buick: Build it and they will come!
Photo credits: Buick Y Job – Hemmings; Buick Riviera – Old Car Brochures
While the Buick Cacada convertible was a poorly-kept secret leading up to tonight’s big reveal tonight, the Buick Avenir Concept was a complete surprise. Boasting sexy sedan styling, rear-wheel drive, and a direct-injection V6 with Active Fuel Management, the Avenir concept is missing just one thing…a plug.
I’m serious when I say that the Buick Avenir checks off a lot of important points for me. One, it’s just plain old pretty to look at. Mayhaps you disagree, but to me this is a great looking car, front to back. Not the boldest design, not the most cutting edge, but it was done well and with a lot of attention to detail.
And it’s big. Like Cadillac Escalade big, and the interior is every bit as opulent as you’d expect from GM’s top-of-the-line luxury automaker…only again, this is a Buick. It’s a far more fetching vehicle than the Cascada convertible that also debuted, and with features like a large 12-inch touchscreen front and center, GM has clearly been paying attention to automotive trends.
Unfortunately the one shortcoming of the Avenir is that despite being purely a concept car at the moment, GM failed to insert any sort of alternative-fuel drivetrain. It feels like a missed opportunity, especially since Buick was the first GM brand to roll out the eAssist mild hybrid system, and because it’s just a concept, the Avenir wouldn’t need to go all out with the green. Granted, it still has GM’s Active Fuel Management, stop/start, and direct injection for the next-gen V6 engine…but why not a plug? Especially since it’s just a concept?
But that may be the point…it’s just a concept. It’s a look at what future Buick designs could entail, and the possibility of a large halo car returning to the entry-level luxury brand for the first time in decades. If you look at the Avenir as a hint at the future direction of Buick, than there’s plenty to be happy about.
I dig the Avenir, and at the same time, I’m a little let down by it. But what are your thoughts?
Let’s say you have an unlimited budget, no timeline, and all the skills needed to build your ultimate dream car. What would you build? It’s a question every gear head ponders from time to time, and I’ve had a thought that just won’t leave my head. How hard could it be to combine the electric drivetrain and chassis of a Tesla Model S with one of the most beautiful cars ever, the 1963 Buick Riviera? Not that hard, as it turns out.
Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone may agree that the 1963 to ‘65 Buick Riviera is one of the most stunningly gorgeous automotive creations to ever grace this planet. Don’t take my word for it though; noted Italian car designer Sergio Pininfarina called it “…one of the most beautiful American cars ever built…” Just bear with me while I try to convert a few non-believers.
Still with me? Good. Now, the Buick Riviera was never really a muscle car so much as it was a personal luxury coupe. At over 17-feet long, the two-door Riviera is actually more than a foot longer than the four-door Tesla Model S, though the Tesla is about 10% heavier. The Tesla is the more powerful of the two however, as the ’63 Riviera was limited to a 325 horsepower 425 cubic-inch V8 engine (later engines offered as much as 360 horsepower). The Model S, meanwhile, offers 416 horsepower in its highest trim, and can make the 0 to 60 MPH print in literally half the time of the Riviera, 3.9 seconds in the EV compared to over 8 seconds for the Buick.
Yet as good looking as the Model S is, the Riviera is widely regarded as a timeless classic. More importantly though, the Riviera has a 117-inch wheelbase that is within a half-inch of the wheelbase of the Tesla. The Riviera is also a body-on-frame design, which means that sexy body shell can be taken off of its chassis, and dropped onto another one.
See what I’m getting at yet?
As far as I know, Tesla has a rolling chassis display showcasing its drivetrain and battery pack at every Tesla store. If they can do that, could they maybe one day sell a complete rolling chassis, sans the body, interior, or all that other fancy stuff, and let us come up with a body of our own to install? You can make the interior of a classic Riviera look surprisingly modern with just a few key touches.
I don’t see why not. In fact, it sounds like a great business plan to me, as I can imagine plenty of people willing to pay good money for the Tesla’s advanced drivetrain and battery technology. You’d have to source your owner interior, sure, and there are also issues you’ll have to account for (like hooking up brakes, lights, and speedometers), but I don’t see why it can’t be done.
Here’s the thing about converting a classic American car into an EV. It can’t suck, and the truth is, the performance of many iconic “muscle cars” is rather disappointing, so setting the bar even lower with a wimpy electric drivetrain just isn’t going to fly. Tesla got it right by offering lots of power and range, and so far it’s the only drivetrain I’d consider worthy of a classic car conversion…like a ’63 Buick Riviera.
Basically, picture the above Buick, but yank out the gas-guzzling V8 in favor of the Tesla powertrain, and you have the basic idea of what I’m dreaming of.
The resulting vehicle would be roughly the same size, range, acceleration, and weight as Model S, but with the classic styling of a beautiful Buick with the cutting edge drivetrain of a Tesla. If you absolutely must, you could even add a roaring V8 soundtrack, though I’d much prefer to enjoy the natural soundtrack of the open road in a guilt-free (and much-faster) slice of automotive Americana.
That’s my idea, at least. What about you? If you could drop the body from any classic American car onto the drivetrain of a Tesla Model S, what would you do?
You won’t find the old T-Type badge anywhere on the 2014 Buick Regal. That’s a shame, too, because this new, 259 HP, Ecotec-powered Regal would be more than up to the task of carrying that hefty badge.
Regardless of what they should have called this latest Regal, GM was kind enough to let me drive the new Regal (in GS AWD trim, no less), and I’m here to tell you what it I think of Buick’s new-age T. Read on …
2014 Buick Regal | First Impressions
It’s been a long and icy winter here in Oak Park- which is stressful enough. The Buick was delivered on a particularly stressful day, however, since I’d just spent several tense hours in the ER with the (very nearly 8 months pregnant) wifey. My head wasn’t quite in the game when the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD arrived, then, so I didn’t notice the deep, Copper Red metallic paint or the 20″ V spoke wheels. Both of which, it should be noted, are quite nice- but what I did notice, immediately, was that the Buick’s seat was excellent.
Like, really excellent. Within a few seconds, the Buick’s lumbar support worked miracles on my tense back muscles. I’ve been in seats that had a similar effect in the past, but they had “Recaro” and “Bride” stitched into their backrests.
A few days later, driving it a fair distance for the first time, the Buick’s interior impressed again. The seats were still excellent- even in back!- but so too was the soft leather on the doors and the sporty, flat-bottom steering wheel.
GM’s now-familiar OnStar worked exactly as expected, and the sound quality from the Bose Premium 9-speaker surround-sound system was pretty impressive, as well. The Regal’s system is easily better than the ones I found in the Lexus CT200h and Toyota Avalon hybrids I drove a few months back, and nearly-as-makes-no-difference as good as the Rockford Fosgate setup in the Outlander Sport Chris and I drove to Detroit.
So, that was good.
2014 Buick Regal | Driving Impressions
If you ever drove an old T-Type Buick (“Especially when they were pretty new,” he said, dating himself terribly.) you probably thought they were pretty quick. The 2014 Buick Regal, however, is quicker still.
In sport mode, the 2.0 liter Ecotec engine rockets the Regal to 60 in about 6 seconds. If you stay in it, it’ll reportedly cross the 1/4 mile mark just 8 seconds later. That’s nearly 2 seconds quicker to 60 than the old T-Type, and means that the 2014 Buick Regal GS is just half a second off the pace of the legendary 1987 Buick Regal GNX.
“Good God!” I said to myself, reading the stats. “If GM put the 305 HP corporate V6 in this car, they could put a GNX badge on it and no one would bat an eyelash,” I thought. “If they put the twin-turbo 3.6 from the Cadillac XTS in it, it would be bigger than Jesus.”
On the road, the Regal was composed enough. It wasn’t quite as sharp as the Mazda 6 SkyActiv GT I drove a while back, but it wasn’t too far off- and probably a fair sight better than you’d have thought it’d be if your last Buick Experience was from the “Old GM” days.
A lot of that composure is down to the Buick’s Haldex all-wheel drive and limited-slip differentials, which help to keep the turbo 4’s 259 horses productive. A new H-arm rear suspension, standard on AWD models, also does a share of the work. That suspension, though, does bring me to my one complaint about the 2014 Regal …
… the trunk has a weird cutout to make way for the suspension. It’s a strange visual effect that tricks the eye into thinking the trunk is much smaller than it is, and is such a weirdly out-dated flaw in 2014 (I thought about what cars I’d driven that didn’t have flat trunks, and only Ford’s electric Focus came to mind) that I thought it bore mentioning.
At 14.2 cubic space of feet, the Regal actually has slightly more trunk space than the average midsize luxury sedan, but the narrow opening could make fitting bulkier items difficult. Those cutouts won’t help much either.
2014 Buick Regal | Final Thoughts
At a touch over $42,000 as-tested, the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD I drove seemed a touch over-priced- especially so, because “GS” is meaningless. With Buick’s rich history, there is no excuse to glue as generic an alphanumeric as that onto this car. That said, Buick is still a Premium brand in many people’s eyes- especially those who remember the logic behind the Old GM’s “from the cradle to the grave” brand marketing. Those that do might still be convinced that, while Buick may not be an “aspirational brand” on its own, it was a brand that implied its buyers aspired to something.
So, yeah- I liked the 2014 Buick Regal GS. With the right mix of GM rebates and discounts, it would cost about the same as the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and it’s a much sportier experience. And, while the Avalon may have the Regal beat at 39 MPG, the Regal does give back about 30 highway miles per gallon- which is about 50% more MPG than the slower, less agile, more polluting T-Types of yore.
What do you guys think? Is the 2014 Buick Regal worthy of the T-Type badge? Should they just crank up the boost to around 295 HP and call it a new GNX? Or does any of that even matter when you’re wearing a badge that almost no one under 40 holds in any kind of high regard? Let us know what you think in the comments section, below. Enjoy!
Original content from Gas 2.
The current Buick Regal is an excellent car. I know, because I have one parked in my garage (it’s sweet). Still, it could be better- and the guys at the SouthWest Research Institute (SWRI) have figured out a way to enhance the mid-range Buick so that it produces fewer harmful carbon emissions and gets better fuel economy.
Can’t beat that!
Far from being pie-in-the-sky thinking, however, the motivation for building this 40 MPG ultra low-emission Buick Regal comes out of necessity. Namely the 2025 CAFE regulations that will force automobile manufacturers to achieve a 54.5 miles per gallon EPA rating across their product range. At the same time, the EPA is also expected to release new, more stringent emissions standards in a bid to improve air quality and save lives. Those two factors mean there is considerable industry focus on improving both emissions and fuel efficiency without incurring huge R&D costs- and the EGR system built into the SWRI team’s 2014 Buick Regal might play a big part in that.
EGR, for those not in the know, stands for exhaust gas recirculation. In the case of the Buick Regal tester, the 2.0 Liter engine was modified so that exhaust from one dedicated cylinder is run with a rich mixture of fuel and air to reform hydrocarbon fuel into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The reformulated exhaust gas is then cooled and looped into a patented mixer where the exhaust gasses are mixed with fresh air before going into the engine intake. “By running one cylinder rich, the excess fuel is reformed into hydrogen and carbon monoxide,” added Chris Chadwell, manager of SWRI’s Spark Ignition Engine R&D section. “The in-cylinder reformation slightly reduces the carbon dioxide and water vapor while producing large volumes of carbon monoxide, which is a good fuel, and hydrogen, which is an outstanding fuel. That provides an octane boost and a flammability boost, and extends the EGR limit of the engine.”
It’s all pretty trick stuff, in other words- and it’s not that far away from being a production-ready piece. Let’s hope the next generation of Buick Regals- heck, let’s hope they build a new ROADMASTER!- has enough slick SWRI stuff on it to still be legal, then. In the meantime, you can check out a few photos of the SWRI EGR-equipped 2014 Buick Regal, below, and read the official SWRI press release at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
EGR Buick Regal | Official Press Release
Detroit — Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI) announced preliminary test results of its patented Dedicated-Exhaust Gas Recirculation (D-EGR™) demonstration vehicle today at the SAE World Congress. The results prove the advanced combustion technology increases engine efficiency while simultaneously lowering exhaust emissions.
Dedicated-EGR is a novel engine architecture up to 15 percent more efficient than today’s mainstream engines while simultaneously improving performance. It allows manufacturers to address future, more aggressive Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and meet LEV III/Tier 3 emissions levels cost-effectively.
SwRI’s D-EGR demonstration vehicle began as a mid-size sedan with a current-production 4-cylinder 2.0 L gasoline engine. The engine was modified so that exhaust from one dedicated cylinder is run with a rich mixture of fuel and air to reform hydrocarbon fuel into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The reformulated exhaust gas is then cooled and looped into a patented mixer where the EGR and reformate are mixed with fresh air before going into the engine intake. A team of engineers designed several new parts for the advanced combustion concept — the cooled EGR loop, the EGR mixer and high-energy ignition system — as well as engine-control software that enables in-cylinder fuel reformation.
“The D-EGR concept takes the best attributes of regular cooled EGR and combines them with in-cylinder reformer technology. We segregate the exhaust of a cylinder of the engine so that one cylinder provides all of the recirculated exhaust gas back into the intake manifold,” said Dr. Terry Alger, assistant director in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division.
“By running one cylinder rich, the excess fuel is reformed into hydrogen and carbon monoxide,” added Chris Chadwell, manager of SwRI’s Spark Ignition Engine R&D section. “The in-cylinder reformation slightly reduces the carbon dioxide and water vapor while producing large volumes of carbon monoxide, which is a good fuel, and hydrogen, which is an outstanding fuel. That provides an octane boost and a flammability boost, and extends the EGR limit of the engine.”
Designed from the start to demonstrate production feasibility, a D-EGR-configured engine can be integrated into almost any spark-ignited engine architecture. Because there are few additional components, it fits comfortably in an existing engine compartment without altering the engine’s footprint.
“Our engineers initially developed and demonstrated D-EGR technology in an engine test cell through SwRI’s HEDGE® (High-Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine) consortia,” said SwRI Executive Vice President Walt Downing. “Under SwRI’s internal research program, our engineers were able to solve the technical problems with making a D-EGR engine fit under the hood and operate on a current-production sedan. In 15 months, we took the concept from the laboratory to production viability.”
By 2025, automobile manufacturers will have to meet CAFE standards of 54.5 miles per gallon. The Environmental Protection Agency is also expected to release new, more stringent emissions standards. Those two factors mean there is considerable industry focus on simultaneously improving both emissions and fuel efficiency, challenges which SwRI’s demonstration vehicle addresses.
“When considering the high-efficiency alternatives out there today, we feel that our Dedicated-EGR technology is not only a high-efficiency, low-emissions alternative, but it’s the most cost-effective market-ready solution currently available,” Alger said.
Source | Photos: SWRI.
The decision to keep Buick alive during the 2009 restructuring of General Motors baffled many, but so far seems to be justified by increased sales and interest from customers. To keep the momentum going, GM is reportedly considering the addition of diesel engines to its lineup, in an effort to make Buick ever more European.
It’s an interesting move for GM, which will launch its first American diesel sedan in a long time next year with the Chevy Cruze Diesel. The Buick Verano, the upscale version of the Cruze, is likely to be the first model to get a diesel engine, though it doesn’t sound like it will be the last.
Buick is basically GM’s dumping ground for European designs under the Opel brand, fueling speculation that the Opel Adam could come stateside as a Buick. It would also mean giving Buicks more diesel engine options, which might better appeal to Buick’s more affluent customer base, and there’s the possibility of a LPG option down the road.
GM is also seeking to offer its surprise hit, the crossover Buick Encore, with a more-powerful engine that could also be a turbodiesel. With fuel economy remaining a top priority for car buyers, offering more diesel engines in the Buick brand could bring in buyers who might not otherwise consider buying a Buick.
Give me a turbodiesel Buick Regal with more than 350 ft-lbs of torque, and we can start talking.
Here in America, Buick has experienced something of a revival both in public perception and sales. In China though, Buick has been riding an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm for years now, and GM appears to be very in tune with Chinese consumers. Their latest concept, the water-inspired Buick Riviera, is a next-gen hybrid with stunning looks. Please GM, build this car…in America!
The Buick Riviera uses a new two-mode wireless plug-in hybrid drivetrain that can be recharged via inductive charging, no cords required. While a hybrid, make no mistake, this is designed to be a sports car, though GM does not mention anything in regards to range, horsepower, or actual performance.
But what the Buick Riviera concept lacks in performance numbers it makes up for in technology, including on-board 4G LTE wireless internet, 10 high-resolution cameras, and 18 micro-sensors that can display road hazards in a holographic display. Not to mention that absolutely gorgeous design that I hope filters down into other (read: American) Buick products.
That does not bode well for an actual production model, though it is good to see GM getting back to more elaborate and eye-catching concept cars. I think this Riviera is absolutely gorgeous, and rumors have swirled that a Buick version of the Chevy Volt could be in the works. Wouldn’t it be even better if it was a gorgeous, rear-wheel drive performance couple?
Again GM…make this car!
While President Obama’s goal of getting a million electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2016 may fall well short, some automakers are feeling more bullish for their own prospects on a global sale. In a recent interview, a General Motors executive said that worldwide, GM hopes to sell about 500,000 electrified vehicles annually. But that quote should come with an asterisk.
Rather than focus on out and out hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, GM is taking a different course. The General wants to build more plug-in hybrid vehicles, like the Chevy Volt, as well as pure electric cars and traditional cars outfitted with mild hybrid systems. All told, GM believes that of the 9 million-ish cars it sells every year, by 2017 about 500,000 will be electrified in some way.
Indeed, GM is well on its way to that goal. Chevy Volt sales have been steadily gaining momentum, and GM now offers its mild hybrid eAssist system on many Buick models as standard equipment. eAssist is also standard equipment on the new Chevy Malibu Eco. These vehicles will go a long way towards that 500,000 vehicle mark. Keep in mind, that is 500,000 vehicles worldwide, including places like China and Europe, where plug-in car sales are growing month after month.
I am surprised to hear that GM also wants to focus on pure electric cars as well. The upcoming Chevy Spark EV is the only pure electric car on my radar coming from GM, and other efforts across the GM empire to build a pure EV have been cancelled because of rampant costs.
Still, I think with GM hedging its bets, and focusing on the areas it feels strongest, they could easily reach sales of 500,000 electrified cars by 2017. Do you think they’ve got it in them?
Source: Automotive News
OK, kids – time for a pop quiz. Which is more macho, a full-size pickup truck or a fuel-efficient Fiat 500C? A drum of VP109 race fuel, or a jerry can of bio-ethanol? Despite the objective benefits of the Smart for city drivers and the military’s inexorable march towards sustainable fuels, I think most people (the numbers say “85% of men”), would answer that it’s the pickup truck. That sort of thinking might explain why GM’s terrific new mild hybrids from Chevy and Buick aren’t being marketed as hybrids anymore, begging the question: are ‘green’ products perceived as ‘weak’ products?
Our sister site, Cleantechnica, recently posted a terrific article Ed Stafford that explored some of the “mainstream” reasons behind making environmentally bad choices in the name of machismo. Along the way, he proved that he’s a better writer than I, your humble weekend editor, by making his point without calling out those guys in jacked-up 4×4 pickups for being the bunch of little-d***ed, over-compensating closet-cases they are.
BRAVO, Ed!! Your Pulitzer is in the mail, I’m sure.
You can check out Ed’s terrific piece, “Making Green More Macho”, below. Enjoy!
Making Green More Macho (via Clean Technica)
Below is an excellent post by Edwin R. Stafford and Cathy L. Hartman that Ed passed on to me. Ed and Cathy are marketing professors and directors of the Center for the Market Diffusion of Renewable Energy and Clean Technology at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.…
Here in the U.S. the future of fuel is still very much up in the air, and most automakers have barely tipped their toes into the waters of alt-fuel automobiles. European automakers, however, offer mainstream cars in a wide variety of fuels, including propane. Opel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM, has announced that their flagship Insignia sedan will launch with an LPG option that, when combined with the standard gas tank, will give the car a range of over 1,000 miles.
The new Insignia LPG ecoFlex option gives the large family sedan a 140 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that has been strengthened to run on LPG, as well as gasoline. The 42-liter LPG tank can give the Insignia hatchback or sedan models a range of about 500 miles, and the gas tank adds up to another 556 miles, for a total range of 1,056 miles. That’s about a month or so of driving for the average American driver.
But don’t look for this car stateside. The Opel Insignia is European-only, and while GM will offer the LPG engine on all the Insignia models, propane is limited to commercial/fleet sales only in the American market. This, despite the fact that propane is, at least for now, significantly cheaper in both the U.S. and Europe; on average, the price of a propane fill-up is 40% cheaper in Europe. Plus, trunk space doesn’t suffer as the propane tank is located where the spare tire went (what happened to the spare, the press release doesn’t say). Those kinds of savings can add up in the long run.
For now, propane car conversions are limited mostly to older aftermarket cars and fleet sales for larger commercial vehicles. It’s a shame because propane burns cleaner and is better for your engine on top of it, and it wouldn’t take a lot of effort for GM to bring such a motor to America. In fact, it already sells a version of the Insignia here in America, and it is called the Buick Regal. A turbocharged, propane-powered Buick would give younger people a reason to check out Buick.
It could still happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Source: Green Car Congress
Here in America, Chevy’s Volt has fallen flat. After over a year on the market, GM has struggled to break 1,000 sales per month. That is well short of initial production estimates calling for 60,000 45,000 vehicles in 2012. In Europe though, the Volt’s cousin the Opel Ampera is already sold out, and GM is looking with hungry eyes to the world’s largest car market; China.
GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) to manage a fleet of Chevy Volts for “data collection purposes”. It’s no secret though that GM wants to prop up Volt sales, and where better than the Chinese market? Auto sales are booming in China, and the central government is raining money down on carmakers and consumers who opt to build and buy fuel-efficient hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell vehicles.
As long as those cars are made in China, that is. Recent changes to the tax and rebate program have shut out companies like GM from benefitting from these subsidies. That’s where CATARC comes in. This influential lobbying group helps shape government policy in regards to EV’s. If GM can get the Volt into China, and benefit from government subsidies, they could have a hit on their hands (though it’d probably be better received if it wore a Buick badge).
Can China save the Volt’s flagging sales? Like so many things, it depends on government policy. Europe has welcomed the Volt’s cousin the Ampera with open arms. Will China warm to foreign-built hybrid and electric vehicles, or will they continue their protectionist policies?
Source: Hybrid Cars