In America, Buick is widely considered an old-fashioned car brand,perhaps best known for being the favorite of American grandparents.


But in China, Buick is a kind of automotive rock star. General Motors's near luxury brand was barely saved from the chopping block during the financial crisis in part because of Buick's strong performance in China. However, despite efforts to turn the brand around, Buick has not yet managed to distinguish itself in the United States. U.S. sales of the brand fell considerably further in 2018 than did any other GM mark, even though Buick had realigned its portfolio toward SUV and crossovers and made bold and critically praised bets on sleek, cars and wagons borrowed from GM's former European portfolio. But in China, which has the world's largest auto market, Buick is considered an elite, almost exclusive brand. In 2018, just over 80% of Buick's global sales were in China. GM sells more Buicks in China than on its home turf in the U.S. like almost five times as many. It also outperforms all other U.S. manufacturers that sell there. In America, Buick sold just under 207,000 Buicks in 2018. A 5% decline over the previous year.

但在中国,别克犹如汽车业的摇滚明星。在金融危机期间,通用汽车(General Motors)这款“准豪华”品牌勉强从这一危机中存活下来,部分原因是别克在中国的受欢迎程度。?#27426;?#23613;管努力扭转品牌局势,别克尚未在美国脱颖而出。尽管别克已将其产品重新调整投资组合转向SUV和跨界车,并大胆的从通用汽车前?#20998;?#20135;品组合中借来时髦轿车和货车(旅行车),但2018年,该品牌在美国的销量却比通用汽车其他任何一家品牌?#21363;?#24133;?#35748;?#28369;。但在拥有世界最大汽车市场的中国,别克被认为是精英品牌,几乎是独家品牌。2018年,别克80%的全球销量都在中国。通用汽车在中国销售的别克比在美国本土销售的别克还要多,几乎是美国本土销量的五倍。别克的销量表现也优于其他在中国的美国汽车制造商。在美国,2018年别克的销量还不到20.7万?#23613;?#36739;去年下降了5%。

But in China, the brand sold over one million vehicles for the third year in a row. That is almost one third of the 3.64 million total vehicles GM sold that year! It is roughly twice the number of Chevrolets and four times the number of Cadillacs. Only GM's China exclusive Wuling brand topped Buick and only by a few thousand units. Buick also sells Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in China. So why did a brand that struggles at home become such a hit over there? The reasons for this unusual status are varied and go back a long way.


Buick has been in China since the early 20th century. It was a car of choice for many famous Chinese political fighures including Sun Yatsen, commonly regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern China. And Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People's Republic of China.


Karl Brauer:China's first impression of beauty comes from the 1950s Buick. And this is when all the important representatives of state and government officials in China were riding around in Buicks. Go back and look at 1950 Buick and you think about them driving around the streets of China. It would've left quite an impression on everyone who saw one.

卡尔·布?#25237;↘arl Brauer):中国对美的第一印象来自于20世纪50年代的别克。当时,中国所有的地区官员和政府官员的重要代表都坐的是别克。回头看看1950年的别克,回想当时他们在中国的街道上开着别克,这会给每个看过的人留下很深的印象啊。

One key moment came in the 1990s when China's auto market was still very much in its infancy. Buick was already GM's most famous brand in China and it partnered with a local manufacturer to make brand new vehicles that stood very much apart from the competition. Bearing the name that already had such a prestigious reputation in the country, the Chinese never forgot that. The brand's prestigious reputation particularly among the country's decision makers gave it a considerable head start. But it didn'r rest on its reputation. Some credit is also due to GM's partner in the region. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation which is about the best regional partner GM could hope to have in the conutry.


SAIC has over the years pushed GM to keep the quality of its cars high and the product fresh. A very important step in a country where consumers are spoiled for choice. The result is that the fit and finish in Chinese Buicks is the best the brand offers in the world. As of 2018 Buick had sold 10 million units in China since it had first launched in 1998.

多年来,上汽一直在敦促通用汽车保证其生产高质量汽车和创新型产品。在一个消费者有众多选择的国家,这是非常重要的一步。其结果是,中国别克轿车的舒适坚固度和外观是世界上最好的。截至2018年,别克自1998年首次亮相以来,已在中国售出1000万?#23613;?br />

On the other hand, Buick has struggled in the U.S. for a variety of reasons. A decline in quality over the decades is partly to blame, say many industry analysts. Buick also fell victim to wider practices at GM such as the habit the automaker had of slapping different brand names in a single vehicle. The characteristics that made Buick distinct from fellow GM brands, not to mention other competitors, faded away and the brand lost its identity, becoming mostly a vehicle for customers who remembered what it had been in its heyday. Now Buick is trying to take some of the lessons it has learned in China and bring them back home as it tries to forge a renaissance in America. For example, GM began manufacturing the Buick Envision in China and importing it to the United States. Something President Trump seems to have overlooked when he was on the campaigntrail slamming U.S. automakers for building cars abroad.

另一方面,别克在美国苦苦挣扎还有很多其他原因。许多行业分析人士称,几十年来质量的下降是原因之一。别克也成为通用汽车集?#29260;?#36941;决策的牺牲品,?#28909;?#27773;车制造商在一辆车上?#20889;?#20986;不同品牌的习惯。?#32416;?#20351;别克有别于通用汽车其他品牌或其他竞争对手的特点正逐渐消失,而别克品牌也失去了其本身的身份象征,成为了那些?#32422;?#24471;其辉煌时期的消费者们的购车选择。现在,别克正试图在本国吸取运用一些在中国学到的经验教训,以期在美国实现复兴。例如,通用汽车开始在中国生产“别克愿景(Buick Envision)?#20445;?#24182;将其进口到美国。特?#21183;?#24635;统在竞选活动中抨击美国汽车制造商在国外制造汽车时,似乎忽视了别克产业。

"So these are the biggest in the world and we're going to be talking to them and we want them to bulid more cars in the United States and also build them here and ship them overseas."


GM even sought an exception to U.S. tariffs on imported cars for the Envision. It will not be easy for Buick to shake its frumpy image and get back on buyer's considerationlists. Buick has for several years now scored highly on industry analysis firm J.D. Powers metrics for quality and also has earned competitive scores on service. But Buick knows it has to fight to change buyer perceptions in the U.S. One recent ad campaign pointing actors pointing to the brands cars and asking incredulously:" Is that a Buick ?", as though they were surprised something so stylish could bear that nameplate. But industry analysts, such as Cox automotive Karl Brauer, think the brand can still make a go of it in the U.S. if it can succeed in China. That prompts the question of how long Buick's success in China last? As Brauer is quick to note:"a company's reputation in China can change in an instant," often for reasons that have little to do with the brand itself. Japanese and Korean automakers have found this in the past. Buick is the eighth largest brand in China in terms of market share, competing with other foreign heavyweights such as Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Nissan as well as several Chinese name brands. So far, things have far better for GM in China than they have been for Detroit's other big automakers. Fiat, Chrysler and Ford. But it doesm't look like the good times can go on forever.