Perhaps underscoring the importance of the Chinese market, Buick announced the first model under its newly christened Avenir sub-brand; the Chinese-exclusive GL8 Avenir.

The GL8 rides on an updated version of GM's 30-year-old U-platform and has served as a sales workhorse since the luxury MPV made it's Chinese debut in 2000, making it a seemingly odd choice to debut a new upscale sub-brand.

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But Buick's PR Manager, Stuart Fowle says its timing more than anything.

"The GL8 being the first Avenir is a result of how production timing for our next round of new launches meshed with timing for Avenir. We don't really view it as 'the launch vehicle' and instead view the launch of the Avenir sub-brand as its own thing. We chose to announce Avenir last month to lay out the core elements of an Avenir and not tie it too closely to one single model."

Avenir was launched in order to speak with the next generation of future luxury shoppers, growing with their needs, providing content and value missing from flashier brands.

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The GL8 Avenir will come dressed in an exclusive shade of Earl Purple paint, along with a new wing-shaped honeycomb grill inspired by the Avista concept, and 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels.

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Inside the premium touches continue: rhombic patterns feature in the white leather upholstery, door panels and dashboard, paired with plush carpeting and a suede headliner. The GL8 Avenir also offers 18 different colored atmosphere lighting options.

Fowle told GM Inside News the GL8 represents only a mild preview of what North American shoppers can expect from Buick's Avenir sub-brand. "The GL8 illustrates some of the design details we promised last month, like the 3D-mesh grille versus the standard waterfall, larger wheel diameters and unique interior trim executions."

The updated GL8 with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and will cost 250,000 yuan, or about $37,000 USD. Avenir pricing has not been announced yet, but expect it to carry a noticeable premium.