Buick: Towards 100% electric
Like all GM (General Motors) divisions, Buick recently announced its move to all-electric by 2030. But it’s more than that, the brand has also taken the opportunity to renew its image while keeping a link to the past. Check out my interview with Ms. Heba Amin, Buick’s National Marketing Director in Canada, as well as recent Buick announcements.
Buick: A more feminine brand? Not necessarily.
While one might think that Buick is a more feminine brand because of its collaborations with Tessa Virtue or the brand’s various sponsorships of women’s events, this is not necessarily the case in reality, as buyers are almost evenly divided for the various Buick models. Obviously, the brand would be remiss to pass up these male consumers. Especially with the arrival of concepts like the Wildcat EV, which has very futuristic lines and is a technological beast.
The Buick Wildcat EV, a first on Canadian soil in Montréal.
I know we’re talking about the Buick Wildcat EV concept (Buick’s historical name for concept models) a few weeks after the Montreal Auto Show, where the model made its first appearance on Canadian soil, and there’s a reason. Since it was displayed on a rotating platform, you could hardly have seen it more than in this video below where you can see all the details. Note that this concept will probably never see the light of day, but will define the lines of the American luxury brand.
In this video, you can see the expressive, masculine new face of Buick. It features a bold, plunging front end with a low trapezoidal grille, very masculine lines. There is also a sharp, notch-shaped upper light, while the outer edges of the grille house the main light. The lighting elements are configured to create a unique welcome choreography as the driver approaches, similar to many luxury vehicles on the market.
Moreover, this 2 + 2 coupe is expressive and powerful, and one cannot remain indifferent to these shapes, defined by an all-new relaxed proportion complemented by a low, wide profile. Also noticeable is the windscreen that broadens into the side windows, which slim down considerably with the flowing roofline to enhance its dynamism, something that may not be observed for safety reasons, as are the tiny mirrors.
Aggressive lines: the brand’s future?
“From every angle, the vehicle looks like it’s ready to pounce,” said Bob Boniface, said director, global Buick design in this June 1st, 2022 press release. “It’s the result of careful attention to the proportions and sculptural beauty derived from the intersection of forms, not lines.”
Additional exterior design highlights include:
- Distinctive semi-swing doors for easy entry and exit.
- Unique aluminum trim that appears to flow seamlessly into the interior seat structures.
- Micro-LED lighting technology and thin-beam projector lenses for the front lighting.
- Blade-style taillights embedded in the roof’s sail panels, culminating in check mark-style horizontal lamps that echo the front lighting signature.
- An external “state of charge” indicator visible in the exterior hatchback glass.
- Jet Age-inspired 18-spoke “turbine” wheels.
“The more you look at the Wildcat EV concept, the more the details reveal themselves,” said Boniface. “Its timeless proportions acknowledge the brand’s rich design legacy, while our latest technology moves you forward.”
A cosy interior
Inside, the Wildcat EV concept’s cabin has an inner glow that is inviting and comforting, all while integrating new technologies designed to make the riding experience more enjoyable. “It’s a space intended to strike an emotional chord,” said Therese Pinazzo, Buick exterior and interior design manager. “It is defined by simple, graceful forms that convey balance, harmony and a feeling of warmth.”The vehicle configuration, delineated by a gigantic console that extends from the base of the instrument panel to the rear seating area, uses unique graphic and colour contrasts to create the perception of visually floating elements intended to accentuate the cabin’s lightweight feel and spaciousness. Colour plays an important role in the warmth and comfort the interior conveys. Legato Green flows through the cabin and is accented with brush or polished aluminum trim. Lively orange elements, including the seat belts, also add visual distinction.
Additional interior design elements include cockpit-style seats with cantilevered headrests that appear to be floating, and a lightweight, flat-bottom steering wheel.When it comes to technology integration and infotainment interaction, a sweeping touchscreen is the access point on the instrument panel, along with a complementing screen on the console.
The Buck Wildcat EV concept: A vehicle with a link to your health?
Like the recent innovations in the smart products market, the Buick Wildcat EV concept has been developed as a platform (not an actual vehicle) for futuristic features such as artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy. The vehicle is designed to detect an increase in the driver’s heart rate and automatically adjust vehicle settings to help calm the driver. For example, when the “Zen” mode is activated, it dims the cabin lighting, disperses soothing aromatherapy scents and activates the massage seats. Everything about the concept vehicle is designed to convey what is possible—in design, technology and the transformative experience of electric mobility. “We are on the cusp of true change, and this concept is a tangible vision of it,” said Sharon Gauci, executive director, global Buick and GMC Design. “It inaugurates the next chapter in Buick’s design heritage, as we make the crucial transition to our all-electric future.”
Rejuvenating Buick, easy?
While Buick has been known in the past for its huge vehicles and big engines, the rejuvenation comes as the brand wants to move in a new direction, while building on its heritage, but positioning it towards an electric, collision-free, traffic-free and obviously petrol-free future,” Mrs. Amin tells me. To promote this vision, Buick will launch its first electric vehicle to North America in 2024 and confirms an all-electric lineup by 2030.
You may find, as I did, that GM’s two luxury brands (Cadillac and Buick) are not far apart in terms of vehicle design. How will they stand out and how will they be differentiated in the future when the vehicles share the Ultium platform? Buick’s stated goal is really to go after a younger demographic. The future will be exciting for the brand, according to the national marketing director, with the lines of the Wildcat concept foreshadowing the style of future vehicles.
Where are the cars at Buick?
Unfortunately, as with all automotive interviews, they never told us which models will be produced in the future, even if a new model will hit the road in 2024. While the Buick Wildcat EV Concept is a car and Buick’s history is built around the car, going back to 1899 with the Super Riviera, Roadmaster, Electra (Buick’s electric vehicle series name by the way), Le Sabre, Skyhawk, the Skylark, the Park Avenue, the LaCrosse (a surprising name when it took the name of the Allure in Canada) or the superb Cascada, I would love to see this popular Buick history come back on the road when the lineup is currently composed only of SUVs.
I personally would like to see a return to cars, as there are far too many large SUVs, I think we should return to small cars, as large and heavy vehicles are harmful to the environment and safety, as much for their size, as for their gas or electricity consumption or for the space they occupy, I still believe that most of us don’t need such large vehicles, but smaller cars like the European Audi A2 or concepts like the Genesis Mint are better suited for the urban space and short distances we travel daily.
Learn more about the Buick brand by following this link.