Global auto maker GM says discerning vehicle buyers in China are another step closer to experiencing what their US counterparts have been raving about for the past year - the hot-selling Buick Enclave luxury crossover.
Chinese officials visited the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant on a two-day visit ending yesterday to observe operations in preparation for the manufacture of US-built Enclaves crossovers for export to China. Pending approval, China-bound Enclaves could begin rolling off the assembly line as early as next month.
Buick announced last year it would expand its international reach following a four-year, $800 million ( agreement signed by General Motors and Shanghai GM (SGM) to export Enclaves to China beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008. Enclave will be imported by Shanghai GM and sold through a network of more than 400 Buick dealerships across China. The plant visit by Chinese Quality Certification Center and SGM officials is another step in this agreement.
Buick is one of the most well-known automobile brands in China, with more than 1.7-million Buick owners. Last year, Buick sold more than 300,000 units there and more than 567,000 worldwide, a 17,000-unit increase over 2006. Buick has a strong history in China, where Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese revolutionary hero, and Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, both owned Buicks.
"Our customers in China are going to fall in love with the Enclave's beauty, luxury and functionality in the same way that this vehicle has captivated buyers here," said Susan Docherty, vice president, Buick-Pontiac-GMC. "Buick has been a revered brand in China for more than 90 years, and Enclave is going to enhance our strong presence in the Chinese marketplace, providing an elegant and premium vehicle built in a world-class facility."
Enclave is Buick's first luxury crossover. Known for its elegant design, well-crafted and library-quiet interior, Enclave has segment-leading fuel economy and space to transport up to eight passengers plus their gear. It is one of GM's hottest-selling vehicles in North America, having sold more than 55,800 since launching in 2007. GM recently announced it was adding 7,000 units of additional Enclave production for the United States for the remainder of this year.
The Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, which opened in 2006, uses state-of-the-art manufacturing practices. Both the assembly plant and the contiguous stamping plant are certified to ISO 14001 an international voluntary set of environmental standards. In addition, it is the only manufacturing facility in the world that has achieved Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council's 'green building rating system'.