If there's a single car that demonstrates the benefits of General Motors Co.'s global engineering and brand strategy, it's the 2012 Buick Verano.
This very good new car wouldn't exist if not for the tight connections between Buick and Opel and among GM's operations in China, Europe and North America.
GM builds the Verano in Orion Township, Mich. Its architecture, or basic structure, was developed largely by GM's small-car experts in Russelsheim, Germany, for the Astra hatchback.
The Astra is one of Europe's best-selling cars and a mainstay of GM's European Opel brand.
The sedan body style was created mostly to please Chinese customers. They adore Buick and buy more of them than Americans do.
Demand in China is responsible for most of Buick's current models -- the best lineup the brand has enjoyed in decades.
The Chinese, like Americans, prefer sedans to hatchbacks. Buick needed a small sedan for China. Once it was developed, it was relatively simple to offer it in North America, but American demand alone would not have justified developing the car. The Verano is essentially version 1.5 of the car sold in China.
U.S. engineers in GM's Warren, Mich., Tech Center made the interior quieter, added Buick's new IntelliLink control system and made other refinements. These features may now be used in updates of the cars Buick and Opel sell in China and Europe.
-- Detroit Free Press