Foreign automotive media were eager to announce that the Buick Excelle was the best selling car in China in 2011 yesterday, the truth is yes – it’s a popular car, but no it wasn’t the most popular.
The problem here being a translation issue, the China Assosciation of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) did announce that the Excelle was the best selling car in 2011, however the problem lies with Buick’s naming system. In the Buick line up their are three Excelles, one is the older generation which was a Daewoo designed model and also had some Suzuki input, oddly it also had a Holden designed engine in the Chinese market, this older Excelle was known as the Kai Yue in Chinese and was facelifted in 2008 to bring it up to style, it currently only comes with a 1.6L model paired to an automatic and manual gearbox.
The second and third Excelles are known as the Ying Lang in the Chinese market, the hatchback is the Ying Lang XT whilst the saloon is the Ying Lang GT. Both are based on the latest generation of Opel Astra, the GT variant being the Buick Verano in the US market. So which sells better? Obviously it is the first Kai Yue Excelle rather than the newer versions which only share an English name.
A brief look at December 2011′s sales indicate that the Kai Yue outsells its rival XT and GT models by a large factor – 13,846 Kai Yue’s were sold (down 19.13% over Dec 2011 Figures), in the same month just 6,250 GT’s were sold and only 2,131 XT’s were sold in the same period showing that despite the massive upgrade in quality and style for the latest generation of Excelle’s, the old Kai Yue is still a strong seller and obviously a great gateway into the Buick brand. The Kai Yue may look like a limp fish amongst Buick branded Opel’s in Chinese Buick dealerships, but it is obviously holding the brand up high thanks to its low pricing, from just 100,000rmb ($15k USD) you can own a Buick, where as the XT and GT are priced high from 134,000rmb to 184,000rmb.