General Motors is scaling back its presence at the Los Angeles motor show, opening next week, postponing the debut of a new Buick until January in Detroit.

A number of US reports said GM now planned to unveil the new Buick at the Detroit show instead (in January) and that vice chairman Bob Lutz - and other executives - were no longer heading out to the west coast.

A GM spokesman was quoted saying reports about the new Buick could get lost in news about GM's cash crisis and efforts to get government aid. GM reportedly also wants to unveil the new model in Detroit to get more exposure to journalists from China where the brand is a hot-seller.

Consumer websites say the new car is the redesigned 2010 LaCrosse sedan on GM's new global mid-size platform.

According to Edmunds.com's Inside Line, GM has said the appearance of the LaCrosse was "strongly influenced" by the Buick Invicta displayed at the Beijing show earlier this year. That car was the joint work of GM teams in China and Michigan and was billed as "Buick's strongest statement yet of its deliberately international plans." It had a 250hp two-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.

"We believe we can better capitalise on that news in Detroit," GM spokesman Scott Fosgard told the Detroit Free Press.

Though its press conferences are off, GM still intends to display vehicles at Los Angeles where the production version of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle will nonetheless make its first motor show appearance.