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Buick - marque/manufacturer information

List of all Buick cars

Buick is a marque of automobile built in the United States, Canada, China, and in Taiwan by General Motors Corporation. Buicks are sold in North America, China, Taiwan, and the Middle East. The name is pronounced /ˈbjuːɪk/. It is now GM's only US-based entry-level luxury brand since the demise of Oldsmobile in 2004, although GM's Swedish subsidiary, Saab, fills a similar segment in price and prestige level.

History

Buick originated as an independent motor car manufacturer, the Buick Motor Company, incorporated on May 19, 1903 by the Scottish-American David Dunbar Buick (who invented the overhead valve engine on which the company's success was based) in Flint, Michigan. In 1904 the struggling company was taken over by James Whiting, who brought in William C. Durant to manage his new acquisition. Buick sold his stock for a small sum upon departure, and died in modest circumstances twenty-five years later.

Durant was a natural, and Buick soon became the largest car maker in America. Using the profits from this, Durant embarked on a series of corporate acquisitions, calling the new mega-corporation General Motors.

At first, the manufacturers comprising General Motors competed against each other, but Durant ended that. He wanted each General Motors division to target one class of buyer, and in his new scheme Buick was near the top—only the Cadillac brand had more prestige.

In 1929 the Buick Motor Division launched the Marquette sister brand, designed to bridge the price gap between Buick and Oldsmobile; however, Marquette was discontinued in 1930.

Today Buick retains that position in the GM lineup. The ideal Buick customer was comfortably off, possibly not quite rich enough to afford a Cadillac or not desiring the ostentation of one, but definitely in the market for a car above the norm. Buick is one of the oldest marques in the world, with Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Peugeot, Cadillac, Daimler and the discontinued Oldsmobile.

Speculation existed, however, as to whether GM will eliminate the Buick brand to cut costs. This followed the temporary suspension of GM's planned Zeta project to develop new rear wheel drive cars fitting the Buick market niche . GM also has started consolidating of Buick, Pontiac, and GMC trucks into single dealer franchises, which would make it simple to eliminate the Buick brand without leaving dealers devoid of product. However, with the development of the Zeta platform still ongoing (including the development of the 2006 VE Holden Commodore and the new Chevrolet Camaro), it may be likely that Buick will survive still.

Buick began consolidating its lineup in 2005, replacing the Century and Regal with the LaCrosse (known as the Buick Allure in Canada), and the LeSabre and Park Avenue with the Lucerne in 2006. Both of its SUVs, the Rendezvous and Rainier were discontinued in 2007 to make way for the new 2008 Enclave, while the slow-selling Terraza minivan has also been dropped for '08. This leaves the marque with just three models in the United States. There have been rumors on Edmund's and Motor Trend that Buick will have a roadster sedan in 2010, which could mean that the marque may survive beyond 2009.

There is speculation that future Buick models will have interior and exterior designs will have greatly increased influence from Buick of China. This is due to Buick's great success and high reputation in China. Motor Authority has also written that Buick will introduce the Buick Excelle in the United States in 2008 . Other Chinese designed models are likely to follow either as debuts or as redesigns of existing American models.

Distinguishing features

Buick's emblem consists of three shields, each bisected diagonally to the right by a straight line, the shields arranged touching each other in a left-diagonal pattern, inside a circle. If represented in color, the leftmost shield is red, the middle white, and the rightmost blue, although white is sometimes represented by light gray. This design, known as the Trishield, was adopted in 1959 for the 1960 models and represents the three models that comprised the lineup that year—LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra. The shields are adopted from the shield of the Buick family crest, which in modified form had been used on Buicks since the 1930s. A version of the traditional crest appeared on Electras through the 1980s.

A traditional Buick styling cue dating to 1949 is a series of three or four portholes or vents on the front fender behind the front wheels. The source of this design feature was a custom car (one not made by Buick, but personal car of stylist Ned Nickles), which in addition had a flashing light within each hole, each synchronized with a specific spark plug simulating the flames from the exhaust stack of a fighter airplane. Combined with the bombsight mascot (introduced in the 1940s), the ventiports put the driver at the controls of an imaginary fighter airplane. The flashing light feature was not used by Buick in production, but the portholes remained as nonfunctional ornamentation.

These were originally called "Ventiports" as they did allow air flow into the engine bay (later just "portholes"). Ventiports have appeared sporadically on several models since.

Lower cost models were equipped with three portholes, while higher cost models came with four. Often, people would denote their cars as "Four-Holers" or "Three-Holers" to assert the car's class. When the number of portholes was standardized across the entire model line, buyers of the higher cost models complained bitterly that they felt shortchanged. In 2003 they were re-introduced on the Buick Park Avenue. After the Park Avenue was discontinued, Buick salvaged the portholes to appear on the new Lucerne. In a break with tradition, the Lucerne's portholes refer directly to engine configuration: V6 models have three on each side, while V8s have four on each side.

Another styling cue from the 1940s through the 1970s was the "sweepspear", a curved line running the length of the car. In the earlier cars, this was a chrome-plated rub strip which, after it passed the front wheel, gently curved down nearly to the rocker panel just before the rear wheel, and then curved around the rear wheel in a quarter of a circle to go straight back to the tail-light. During the two-tone color craze of the 1950s, the sweepspear separated two different color areas. After that, the curved line was usually indicated either by a vinyl rub strip or simply a character line molded into the sheetmetal.

During the 1950s, the characteristic form of the Buick taillamps was a tier of small circular bullet-shapes. In the early 1960s, most models began to evolve a wide, rectangular pattern, until the '65 Skylark and Electra models appeared with full-width rear lamps. Since then, wide taillamps have been a Buick hallmark.

The Buick styling cue (dating from the 1940s) that has most often reappeared, though, is for the grille to be a horizontal oval with many thin vertical chromed ribs bulging forward. This has sometimes been called the Buick "dollar grin" particularly on the early 1950s models, which had thick, highly-polished ribs that somewhat resembled teeth. The 1950 model took this tooth theme to its extreme as the teeth crossed over the bumper exposing the 1950 "grin". The 1951 model reined in the theme bringing the teeth back behind the bumper.

It appears Buick may be preparing to abandon this styling cue for a new waterfall grille, as seen on the Buick Velite concept car from 2004 and the Buick Lucerne introduced for the 2006 model year. This waterfall grille bears some resemblance to grilles of Buicks from the 1980s, such as the Grand National.

The Buick V8 engine, nicknamed the "nailhead", became popular with hot-rodders in the 1950s and 1960s, because the vertical attachment of the valve covers, in contrast to the angled attachment of other V-8 engines, enabled the engine to fit into smaller spaces while maintaining easy access for maintenance.

By 1970, Buick was making quiet history with more conventional V-8s that had abandoned the "nailhead" design but made much greater power. For the 1970 model year, Buick re-named its "Gran Sport" performance models (not to be confused with the Chevrolet Corvette "Grand Sport" cars) as "GS" models, and initially this was headed up by the powerful GS455 Stage 1, so named for its 455 cubic inch (7.4L) engine, with its high performance "Stage 1" package. Built on the same "A-body" platform as the Chevelle, Cutlass/442, and LeMans/GTO, the GS cars were performance based vehicles spawned from Buick's Skylark line, and shared all of the A-Body GM offering's tendency for good looks. Both hardtop and convertible "GS" models were offered.

Midway through that year, Buick debuted its "GSX" model, which was an appearance package rivaling that of the GTO "Judge". GSX colors ran the spectrum that year, if that range included just yellow and white. Subsequent GSX models offered a variety of colors to go with the GSX signature hood blackout treatment and the swept wide pin striping vaguely reminiscent of the famous Buick "sweepspear". GSX models could be ordered with 350, 455, or 455 Stage 1 engines, and were outfitted with the usual GS options such as dual hood scoop hood with functioning "ram-air" intake, and dual exhaust. Horsepower ratings for the Stage 1 455s were a relatively mild 360 hp (or 370 depending on sources), but featured a pavement-tearing 510 lb/ft of torque at 2200 rpm, good to propel the relatively weighty GS455 Stage 1 equipped cars to quarter-mile times under 13.4 seconds. Buick halted GSX production after the 1972 model year.

The prototype GSX survived the show circuit, and was a fully functioning car that beat the odds to survive not only the usual showcar life of "construction-display-destruction", but also the life of an ordinary car, as it was sold from a dealership after being on display for some time. The car survives to this day, and is restored to its original condition and is fully streetable and licensed.

Geographical distribution

Unlike some of GM's other brands, Buicks are currently not marketed globally, although the marque had a substantial export presence until a few years ago. Some Buicks were also built in Europe or were available with specific trim for European market until 1996.

In pre-World War II China, one in five cars were Buicks.

Currently most Buick sales are restricted to the United States and Canada. However, Buick has attracted a considerable market in a few countries.

Buick in New Zealand

Buicks were once sold in New Zealand. Back then, they were also built at the GMNZ plant in Petone, outside Wellington. At the end of World War II, the Buick name was not revived.

Buick in Israel

In Israel, Buicks are imported by Universal Motors, Ltd. (UMI), which also imports other GM vehicles. In the 2005 model year, the Buick LeSabre and Buick Rendezvous were sold. For the 2006 model year, the Buick LaCrosse and Buick Lucerne will be sold alongside the Rendezvous, which might replace the LeSabre in sales.

Buick in the Middle East

Buicks were sold throughout the Middle East until the Buick Roadmaster was discontinued.

Buick in China

Since 1999, a Chinese version of the Buick Century/Regal has been produced and sold in China under Shanghai GM and has proven to be popular among upscale, professional families, establishing Buick as one of the most popular vehicle brands in China. In addition, Buick of China also sells the compact Excelle (based on the Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira), a five-door hatchback version called the HRV, and a modified version of the first generation Pontiac Montana minivan named the GL8.

In June 2005, Buick announced that it would market the Australian Holden Statesman in China as the Buick Royaum. Buick previously marketed the subcompact Sail, sourced from GM's Asian operations and based on the Opel Corsa B, until 2005. Since then, Shanghai GM has replaced it with the Chevrolet Sail. Buick has stated that it expects China to become its second largest market.

For the 2006 model year, Buick debuted the Chinese version of the LaCrosse sedan. The only differences are exterior design, different engine choices, and a facelifted interior. It is positioned above the Regal but below the Royaum.

In April 2007, Shanghai-GM has announced the Buick Park Avenue, for the Chinese market only. The vehicle will be based on the Holden Statesman, with engines manufactured in Australia.

General Motors, selling vehicles under the Buick, Chevrolet, Opel, Saab and Cadillac names, is the best selling foreign automaker in China. Selling a combined 876,000 vehicles in 2006, GM overtook Volkswagen the year before, although that company still holds the claim on best selling brand. Making up nearly 35% of those sales, China is Buick's largest market.

Buick in Taiwan

GM Taiwan was founded in August 1989. In the early 1990s, Buick, along with other GM brands were very popular and frequently seen on Taiwanese streets. Park Avenue, 3rd & 4th generation Regal, and 6th generation Skylark used to be sold in Taiwan.

In December 2004, General Motors signed a memorandum of understanding with Yulon, a firm based in Taiwan, for the licensed manufacture of Buick vehicles there. In July 2005, Yulon GM Motor Co. Ltd. (Yulon GM), a joint venture with 51 percent equity stake held by Yulon Motor and 49 percent by GM was founded, mainly to serve as a channel for local sales. Currently, the only Buick vehicle sold in Taiwan is the imported Rendezvous.

On April 17th 2006, Yulon-GM debuted the 1st Buick vehicle ever being built in Taiwan, the LaCrosse sedan. It is mainly the same with the Greater Chinese region version LaCrosse.

Buick models


  Buick, a division of General Motors, automobile timeline, United States market, 1980s-present
Type 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Subcompact Skyhawk
Compact Skyhawk
Somerset
Skylark Skylark Skylark
Mid-size Century Century Century
Regal Regal Regal LaCrosse
Full-size Riviera Riviera Riviera
LeSabre LeSabre LeSabre LeSabre Lucerne
Electra Electra Park Avenue Park Avenue
Estate Roadmaster
Crossover Rendezvous Enclave
SUV Rainier
Minivan Terraza
Sports Reatta
  • Buick Allure (2005 — Current, only sold in Canada, same as the LaCrosse)
  • Buick Apollo (1973 — 1975)
  • Buick Centurion (1971 — 1973)
  • Buick Century (1936 — 1942, 1954 — 1958, 1973 — 2005)
  • Buick Electra (1959 — 1990)
  • Buick Enclave (2008 — Current)
  • Buick Estate Wagon (1940, 1946- 1964, 1970 — 1996)
  • Buick Excelle (2003 — Current, rebadged Daewoo Nubira, only sold in China)
  • Buick G-series (1999 — 2003, rebadged Buick Century, only sold in China)
  • Buick GL8 (2000 — Current, only sold in China)
  • Buick Gran Sport (1965 — 1972)
  • Buick GSX (1970 — 1972)
  • Buick HRV (2004 — Current, only sold in China)
  • Buick Invicta (1959 — 1964)
  • Buick LaCrosse (2005 — Current)
  • Buick LeSabre (1959 — 2005)
  • Buick Limited (1936 — 1942, 1958)
  • Buick Lucerne (2006 — Current)
  • Buick Park Avenue (1991 — 2005)
  • Buick Rainier (2004 — 2007)
  • Buick Reatta (1988 — 1991)
  • Buick Regal (1973 — 2004)
  • Buick Rendezvous (2002 - 2007)
  • Buick Riviera (1963 — 1993, 1995 - 1999)
  • Buick Roadmaster (1936 — 1958, 1991 — 1996)
  • Buick Royaum (2005 — Current, only sold in China)
  • Buick Skyhawk (1975 — 1980, 1982 — 1989)
  • Buick Skylark (1953 — 1954, 1961 — 1972, 1975 — 1998)
  • Buick Somerset (1985 — 1987)
  • Buick Special (1936 — 1958, 1961 — 1969)
  • Buick Sport Wagon (1964 — 1972)
  • Buick Super (1940 — 1958)
  • Buick Terraza (2005 - 2007)
  • Buick Wildcat (1962 — 1970)

Companion make

  • Marquette

Concept vehicles

  • Buick Y-Job (1938)
  • 1951 Buick LeSabre (1951)
  • Buick XP-300 (1951)
  • Buick Wildcat I (1953)
  • Buick Wildcat II (1954)
  • Buick Wildcat III (1955)
  • 1956 Buick Centurion (1956)
  • Buick Riviera Silver Arrow I (1963)
  • Buick Questor (1983)
  • 1985 Buick Wildcat (1985)
  • 1988 Buick Lucerne (1988)
  • Buick Bolero (1990)
  • Buick Sceptre (1992)
  • Buick XP2000 (1996)
  • Buick Signia (1998)
  • Buick Cielo (1999)
  • 2000 Buick LaCrosse (2000)
  • Buick Blackhawk (2000)
  • Buick Bengal (2001)
  • Buick Centieme (2003)
  • Buick Velite (2004)
  • Buick Riviera (2007)

Cultural references

  • In John Updike's Rabbit, Run, the Episcopalian clergyman Eccles drives a Buick, a symbol of the American way of life.
  • The Phantom Regiment euphonium section is affectionately called the "Buicks", after a fan's comparison of the section's sound to "a fleet of Buicks coming at [them]". **quote taken from the DCI on ESPN2 Telecast**
  • In the Wideload game, Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel Without a Pulse", all of the unmovable cars that are portrayed as hovercars in the game are either Buicks circa 1955, or Chevrolet Bel Airs circa 1957.
  • Bob Dylan's 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited featured a song called From a Buick 6.
  • In Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin mentions Buick when he asks the woman at a rent-a-car company to rent him a car after the one he was promised did not exist.
  • In Stay Tuned (film), John Ritter's character as a mouse said that the donuts were "As Big as Buicks".
  • Bruce Springsteen, in his song "My Hometown", sings "I'd sit on his [father's] lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town."
  • In 1988, Thomas Dolby released his third album, entitled "Aliens Ate My Buick".
  • In the 1977 film Annie Hall, Woody Allen's character refers spiders as "Big as Buicks"
  • In the 1987 film Empire of the Sun, John Malkovich drove a Buick 38 see here
  • In the song "Larger than Life", the movie theater organ is referred to as "as big as a buick".
  • In the 2006 Academy Award-winning film The Departed, the character played by Jack Nicholson is driven in a 1994 Buick Roadmaster.

List of all Buick cars

Source: Wikipedia

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