Buick key part of GM's electrification strategy

Buick\'s ties to China will force it to electrify quickly.

General Motors has confirmed its Buick division will play a key role in its electrification offensive. The company announced last month it will introduce at least 20 electric cars by the year 2023.

"Buick will play a huge part [in the offensive]," affirmed Buick-GMC president Duncan Aldred in an interview with WardsAuto.

That's hardly a surprise. China is Buick's biggest market by a long shot, and the Chinese government is expected to enforce some of the strictest emissions regulations on the planet in the coming years. Officials are desperately trying to curb the nation's air pollution problem, so Buick's electrification is vital to its long-term success.

Buick's Chinese division already sells a market-specific variant of the Chevrolet Volt named Velite5 (pictured). WardsAuto adds the brand will receive its own version of the Bolt next year. Additional hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will follow.

"We will have multiple entries in a fairly short period of time. We're GM's biggest brand in the world's biggest market. You'll see a number of different technologies to go toward our zero-emissions objective," Aldred added.

Demand for electric and hybrid vehicles will be bigger in China than in the United States. However, the company is developing most of its electrified offerings with an eye on global markets. It will be able to sell a car developed for China in America when and if the market demands it.

While some brands struggle with integrating electrification into their overall image, Aldred doesn't think Buick will run into any significant issues.

"You talk about quiet tuning, nothing is better than electric. The sense of well-being in the cabin, the serenity, is delivered ultimately by pure electric. It fit that brand exceptionally well," he opined.

Photos by Ronan Glon.

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