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  Buick Velite
Buick plug-in hybrid hints at GM's game plan under EV mandate
Automotive News China | 2016/11/22

GUANGZHOU -- The Buick Velite, a plug-in hybrid crossover unveiled at the Guangzhou auto show, offers a glimpse of General Motors' plan to meet China's electric-vehicle mandate.

The Velite, a concept car based on the Chevrolet Volt, was designed by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, an r&d operation jointly backed by GM and partner SAIC Motor Corp.

The launch of the Velite suggests that GM will rely on plug-in hybrids to help meet tough EV sales targets in China. However, GM did not indicate when the Velite might go on sale, or whether it would be locally produced.

But the company did say that it planned to introduce additional plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids and battery-electric vehicles for Buick. One of those models will be a hybrid-powered version of the Buick LaCrosse sedan, which General Motors unveiled in August.

The Velite's debut coincides with news reports that China may impose EV quotas to ensure that by 2018 at least 8 percent of sales are electric cars, plug-in hybrids, or fuel-cell powered vehicles. 

Volkswagen AG, the top-selling foreign automaker in China, has responded with a plan to ramp up EV sales quickly. Last week, Volkswagen China Chief Jochem Heizmann said the company was targeting annual sales of 400,000 EVs in China by 2020.

The German automaker's first locally produced plug-in hybrid, the Audi A6 L E-Tron, goes on sale early next year.

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