SHANGHAI -- Buick unwrapped the next-generation Encore subcompact crossover and a derivative model dubbed Encore GX for China, as well as the brand's first electric offering, the Velite 6 MAV.
MAV stands for multiactivity vehicle and is Buick's effort to carve out a new segment in China.
The Velite 6 isn't quite a hatchback or a crossover or a wagon. It's a blend of something in between. Buick is delivering 5,000 of the EVs this month to Chinese car-sharing operator EV Card.
Buick also showed an ultraplush luxury concept of its workhorse GL8 people mover. It is called the GL8 Avenir in a nod to Buick's premium subbrand and has palatial, thronelike rear seats.
The vehicles, unveiled here Monday on the eve of the first Shanghai auto show press day, underscore General Motors' efforts to find traction in China's flagging market.
So-called new-energy vehicles, which include EVs and plug-in hybrids, are defying the downward shift in consumer demand. Sales more than doubled to 227,000 here in the first quarter.
Crossovers and SUVs, by contrast, were once red-hot. But volume in the segment slumped 14 percent through March, in an overall China market down 14 percent. But the sheer size of the segment — at 10 million last year — is prodding all automakers to keep adding new models.