Buick Excelle to Get Smaller, 1.5L Engine for 2013

When the XT and GT were launched in 2010, the old Excelle was expected to be fully retired in two year. However, as the aged has retained its popularity, Shanghai-GM has decided to keep it on the new car market. The Excelle, not covering the Excelle XT or GT, was the No.1 best-selling sedan in China in 2011 (with 253,514 deliveries) and the first 10 months of this year (237,859 deliveries).

For 2013, Shanghai-GM is to refresh the the top selling compact by upgrading its powertrains. The current TWIN-TEC 1.6L engine will be replaced by a P-TEC 1.5 liter, and the Step-Gate 4AT will be dropped in favor of a 6AT. More fuel-efficient, the 1.5L can put out the same maximum of power (81kW) and torque (146Nm) as the outgoing, and meets the forthcoming Euro V emission standard. With a smaller displacement, it also makes the Excelle qualify for state subsidies for "green" cars.

So basically, the 2013 Excelle will share not only a platform but a powertrain with the Baojun 630, which is built by another GM venture in China, SGMW. But this creates a problem by pitting a Buick model against a low-cost native one. With its prices already below 100,000 Yuan, the Excelle risks further hindering Shanghai-GM effort to build Buick into a truly high-end brand.