For the first time in more than 20 years, General Motors will introduce a compact car to its Buick lineup. The entry-sized Buick Verano will be assembled at GM’s plant in Michigan scheduled to reopen in 2011.
GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said the Verano will be built alongside the Chevrolet Aveo at the factory in Orion Township, Michigan.
The Verano, which means “summer” in Spanish, will be based on the recently launched 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, and will be the first compact Buick since the Skylark was discontinued 12 years ago.
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The Verano, which will debut as a 2012 model, is expected to feature a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while hybrid versions are pending. The Verano will expand GM’s lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles, which includes the 2012 Aveo and Spark.
The Verano’s assembly plant, about 30 miles north of Detroit-based GM’s headquarters, previously built mid-sized cars like the Chevrolet Malibu and was idled last year for retooling. GM plans to retain 1,550 hourly workers and invest $145 million in the factory.
GM, 61 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury, is building smaller cars in part to comply with fuel-efficiency standards that require automakers to reach an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.
The automaker has also committed to increasing domestic production through 2014 after exiting bankruptcy last year with $50 billion in federal aid.
Buick deliveries rose 36 percent in September, boosted by the new LaCrosse sedan. Sales through the first nine months surged 58 percent to 114,000.