DETROIT -- The sultry Buick Avista concept coupe drew oohs and aahs when it rolled onto the brightly lit stage at a lively Buick shindig here last week. But it was the vehicle sitting 50 feet away offstage -- in the shadows over by the bar -- that is Buick's biggest story this year.
The China-built Envision compact crossover had a low-key arrival in Detroit, where the folks at UAW headquarters have had less-than-polite things to say about General Motors' decision to import it. (The union called it a "slap in the face" to U.S. taxpayers.) But in terms of a vehicle that can pull double duty as sales driver and image booster, the Envision is Buick's biggest entry since the Encore subcompact hit showrooms three years ago -- probably bigger.