Buick Velite 5 Launched In Shanghai, China

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The Buick Velite 5 has been unveiled in China, on the eve of the Shanghai Auto Show, in a poorly lit hall where everything looks kinda blue. The Velite 5 is a variant of the Chevrolet Volt manufactured in China by the Shanghai-GM joint venture. It has been launched on the Chinese auto market immediately; price including subsidies starts at 229.800 yuan and ends at 259.800 yuan ($33.360-37.700) .

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General Motors states the following specs: pure electric range of 116 kilometers. Full range of 768 kilometers. Charging will take 4.7 hours. The extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) drive train seems to be exactly the same as in the Volt too; the 1.5 liter petrol engine is rated at 99hp and fuel consumption is rated at 0.9 liter per 100 kilometer. Size: 4579/1811/1494, and wheelbase is 2694.

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Dash appears to be the same as the Volt’s, with a Buick badge on the wheel. The infotainment system is equipped with OnStar, Apple CarPlay, and 4G internet. It also has an autonomous parking function, adaptive cruise control, and a lane departure warning system.

A very nice knob with all sorts of fuzzy blue lines. Ultra cool.

Only two seats in the back.

The Velite 5 is the first car of a series of Velite sub-branded vehicles. The range will include EREVs, PHEVs and EVs. Next up is the production version of the 2016 Velite Concept.

The Velite name was first used on a 2004 roadster concept, and in 2014 there were rumors that Buick was going to use the name for the U.S. version of the Opel Cascada. But that didn’t happen, and the Velite went to China instead.

Interestingly, the first time we heard the Volt was going to be a Buick in China was way back in 2010. At the time it was assumed that General Motors was going to re-badge the Opel Ampera as a Buick. The Ampera is the European variant of the Chevrolet Volt.

Will this sell? Well, some younger Chinese car buyers like to buy hybrids for their advanced technology. Lexus for example has some success with the imported CT200h, which starts at 269.000 yuan, not much more than the locally made Velite 5, which so seems a tad too expensive. More important however is whether the Velite 5 will be considered special enough, and here its humble Volt origins might be a hindrance.

Buick badge on the block.

Don’t call it a Volt, this is the Velite 5.

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