February 8, 2023

Wade Through Films

The Ultimate Driving Machines

GM Unveils Surprise EV Sedan Concept for Chinese Market

General Motors took another step forward in its electrification plans, unveiling an all-new Ultium-powered electric sedan concept for the Chinese market it dubbed the Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept.

GM Ultium China presentation
Julian Blissett, president of GM China, laid out the company’s plans for adding 15 Ultium-based EVs between now and 2025.

The new model made its debut Tuesday in Shanghai during GM’s China Tech Day 2022. The company revealed during the event it plans to roll out more than 15 new all-electric vehicles between now and 2025 in China.

The company followed that with news it plans to debut a new five-seat SUV for its Buick brand in China, with deliveries to begin in the middle of 2023. It too will use Ultium technology.

“With our disruptive technologies coming to life, we are seeing the most profound and immense transformation ever in the automotive industry,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO, in a statement. “GM is determined to lead the transformation and ultimately create a better, safer and more sustainable world for our customers and generations to come.”

A Chevy … sedan?

Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept rear 3/4 REL
The new sedan aims to set the tone for Chevy’s EV design language for the market.

While the company’s basically out of the “car” business in the U.S., save the Corvette and Camaro, that’s not the case in other markets, especially China. The FNR-XE Concept was developed in China through the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai. 

The new sedan aims to set the tone for Chevy’s EV design language for the market, and begins with plenty of sharp angles giving it an aggressive look. The front end features a large horizontal bar giving it some width while the bottom half of the front fascial features what looks like to sculpted air intakes, likely to provide some cooling for the brakes, sitting on either side of a faux grille. The design makes the car look low to the ground and sportier.

Going down the side of the car, its wide haunches at the rear are tough to ignore, it adds to the athletic look and feel of the four-door model. The rear mimics the look of the front with a brake lights that span the width of the vehicle. No other specifics about the FNR-XE Concept were offered.

GM Tech Day China 2022 Ultium Hummer REL
Blissett discussed the company’s strategy to use “global collaboration and local integration” to develop transformative EVs.

Bring me a Buick

The brand essentially just teased what was coming, offering only a picture of the Ultium skateboard with a blue outline of what looks to be a crossover or small SUV. However, the new model is expected to usher in a new approach for the brand in China.

First, the vehicle will feature plenty of technology including the enhanced Super Cruise driver assist technology as well as the new-generation Virtual Cockpit System jointly developed by GM and PATAC.

Buick’s new EV models in China will be handled with innovative sales and marketing services. By the end of 2023, up to 58 Buick EV City Showrooms will open across the country and more than 600 Buick NEV Zones will open across Buick’s dealership network, the company noted.  

new Buick China EV crossover tease 2022
Buick plans to introduce two new Ultium-based EVs in China, starting mid-2023. It teased the first of these, which it will reveal later this year.

Additionally, the brand is creating dedicated Buick charging facilities and partnering with mainstream third-party charging operators to make available more than 400,000 chargers across China by the end of 2023.

Ultium investment coming to fore

The new Chevy and two Buicks are the first offerings in China that will utilize GM’s lauded Ultium technology. GM touts it as the industry’s “first hyperscale EV platform.” The platform permits the automaker to design and manufacture a variety vehicles.

The technology’s been promoted heavily by GM, especially the past few months as it begins to find its way into a variety of GM electric vehicles, including the Cruise Origin AV and BrightDrop commercial vehicles.

“GM is accelerating the introduction of Ultium-empowered EVs in China to support the market’s move toward an all-electric future,” said Julian Blissett, GM executive vice president and president of GM China. “Through global collaboration and local integration, we are unlocking a transformative experience with real-world benefits for our customers through zero-emission driving.”