General Motors' Buick brand, for which China is the largest market, is to introduce a new, luxury Avenir sub-brand.

The nameplate was used previously by Nissan between 1990 and 2005 for a station wagon aimed primarily at commercial van buyers and sold mainly in Japan.

"The Avenir sub-brand is inspired by Buick's evolving customer base. The brand has grown quickly with female buyers expecting a high-end experience and premium quality," Buick said in a statement.

"Through the first half of 2016, Buick has been the industry's fastest-growing major international brand, and Avenir is key to future growth and delivering on the high expectations of new customers coming to our showrooms," said Duncan Aldred, head of global sales, service and marketing. "Avenir will be Buick's signature. The highest expression of the luxury experiences we're delivering now and in the future."

Avenir vehicles will have a three-dimensional mesh grille, large-diameter wheels, and unique trim finishes. Inside, the automaker promises "unique seat details, modern trim materials and Avenir script identification".

Avenir, French for future,was taken from a 2015 concept sedan from 2015. The sub-brand's grille design is from this year's Avista coupe concept.

The Detroit Free Press said Buick US sales of 148,845 to the end August were flat but it is launching new models – the Envision SUV and LaCrosse sedan.

The brands sells about triple as many vehicles in China – about 990,000 in 2015 – as in the US.