Buick is a brand of General Motors (GM). Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Israel. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make. Buick models share some architecture with other GM brands.
Buick is currently the oldest still-active American automotive make, and among the oldest automobile brands in the world. It originated as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, an independent internal combustion engine and motor-car manufacturer, and was later incorporated as the Buick Motor Company on May 19, 1903, by Scottish born David Dunbar Buick in Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, the company was taken over by James H. Whiting (1842–1919), who moved it to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and brought in William C. Durant in 1904 to manage his new acquisition. Buick sold his stock for a small sum upon departure, and died in modest circumstances 25 years later.
Overall domestic sales of the Buick brand peaked in 1984, with a broad model line ranging from compacts to large cars, including performance-oriented turbocharged models. Buick's hero car of the 1980s was the Regal Grand National, a midsize coupe with a turbocharged 3.8 V6, and one of the fastest production cars of the decade.
The number of Buick models in the lineup fell over time, with the compact and performance segments being abandoned altogether. However, Buick maintained their traditional Century, Regal,
LeSabre, and Park Avenue sedan lines. By the 2000s, Buick had a staid image, while not directly competing with import luxury makes. In 2001, Buick introduced its first
SUV, the Rendezvous crossover, while golf star Tiger Woods became its spokesperson.
The Buick Centieme crossover concept car commemorated Buick Motor Division's 100th anniversary.
Buick began consolidating its lineup in 2005, eventually reducing its line to just three models with new nameplates: the 2005
LaCrosse/Allure, the 2006 Lucerne, and the successful 2008 Enclave. While total sales slipped, the profitability of this model line ensured Buick's future within General Motors.
Since 2005, GM had gradually consolidated Buick with GMC and former Pontiac dealerships to create the current Buick-GMC network. During General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization and emergence in 2009, the company designated Buick as a "core brand", citing the division's success in China. Behind the scenes, GM began to move products originally planned for other brands to Buick. The Opel Insignia was originally intended to become the second-generation Saturn Aura, but instead became the new Buick Regal.
In January 2009, Buick unveiled the new 2010 LaCrosse sedan, an all new styling direction which included traditional Buick cues. The market responded to the
LaCrosse, with reviews favorably comparing to luxury models such as the Lexus ES. In the 2009 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study, Buick tied with Jaguar as the most dependable brand in the United States.
In 2010, Buick became the fastest growing automotive brand and attracted a younger customer demographic. An all-new Regal sedan, a smaller model based on the European Opel Insignia, was re-introduced for the 2011 model year after a seven year absence.
In June 2011, the Lucerne full-size sedan was discontinued after six years in production. Several months later, the all-new 2012 Verano compact sedan joined the lineup. Additionally, the performance-oriented Regal GS officially went on sale and became the first Buick in almost 20 years to be offered with a manual transmission and a turbocharger. Buick also entered the hybrid market with the introduction of eAssist technology on the 2012 LaCrosse and Regal which helped improve fuel economy ratings by as much as 38% over the regular gas-engine versions. Meanwhile, sales of the Enclave crossover remained strong.
In January 2012, the all-new Encore mini crossover was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Also in 2012, a turbocharged version of the Verano was introduced and the Enclave was redesigned for the 2013 model year.
As of 2013, Buick's North American lineup consists of the newly introduced Encore mini crossover, the Verano entry-level compact sedan, the Regal mid-size sports sedan, the LaCrosse mid-size sedan, and the Enclave full-size luxury crossover.
A GM company spokesman said that Buick is positioned as a "premium" marque (entry-level luxury) to compete with Acura, Lexus, and Volvo, while Cadillac is supposed to be aimed at the "luxury" performance segment which includes BMW and Mercedes-Benz. While both the LaCrosse and Regal share the Epsilon II platform, the larger LaCrosse is more luxury oriented and will face off against the Lexus ES350 and Acura TL, while the Regal's rivals will include the Acura TSX and Volkswagen CC.
Buicks were sold in Mexico from 1921 to 1962 when a protectionist policy on behalf of the government restricted the percentage of imported parts that could be used in the manufacture of vehicles and the sale of imported cars. From then onwards, all GM products were sold by Chevrolet dealerships. In 1990, after a heavy modification to the protectionist policy of the sixties, GM started assembling the Buick Century in Mexico, at the plant in Ramos
Arizpe, in the state of Coahuila, just south of Texas, and selling it through Mexican Chevrolet dealerships, so it was not uncommon for many people to call it "Chevrolet Century". In 1997, GM stopped production of Buicks in Mexico and the brand was not sold there until 2009.
With the announcement in 2009 of the elimination of the Pontiac brand, it was speculated that Buicks would be sold once again in Mexico, since there was a large network of Pontiac-GMC dealerships already in place. On July 24, 2009, Grace
Lieblein, the new president of GM in Mexico, revealed that the Buick brand would be available in Mexico in late September of that year, after an absence of a dozen years, with the LaCrosse and the Enclave models. Buick shared the dealership floor with Pontiac and GMC until the Pontiac brand faded away in the summer of 2010.
Buicks were once sold in New Zealand. 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 for the New Zealand market.
In Israel, Buicks are imported by Universal Motors, Ltd. (UMI), which also imports other GM vehicles. For model years 2004 and 2005, the Buick LeSabre and Buick Rendezvous were sold. For model years 2006 and 2007, the Buick LaCrosse and Buick Lucerne were sold alongside the Rendezvous. For model year 2008, the Buick LaCrosse and Buick Lucerne were available. Buicks were sold throughout the Middle East until the second-generation Buick Roadmaster was discontinued.
Making up nearly 35% of those sales, China is Buick's largest market, selling more there than even the United States. In 2007, General Motors sold over 330,000 Buicks in China, more than twice what they sold in the United States. In pre-World War II China, one in five cars was a Buick Buick is a leading vehicle brand in China.
Since 1999, a Chinese version of the Buick Century/Regal has been produced and sold in mainland China by 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, in its first generation 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. Many Buicks for the local market are equipped with smaller more fuel efficient engines with double overhead camshafts, than those with overhead valves in the same nameplate for the American market. The engines of 2005-09 Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent, originally intended for Buick in China, were made in China and imported by General Motors.
In June 2005, Buick announced that it would market the Australian RWD Holden Caprice in China as the Buick Royaum (2005–06). 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 (a rebadged Opel Corsa). Buick has stated that it expects China to become its second largest market.
In 2006, 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
In April 2007, Shanghai GM announced the Buick Park Avenue, for the Chinese market only. The vehicle is based on the Holden Caprice, with engines manufactured in Australia.
In 2009, Buick sold 447,011 vehicles, an increase of 59.6 percent compared with the previous year.
Buick has sold over two million vehicles in China. The first million took eight years, the second came in at only three years.
GM Taiwan was founded in August 1989. In the early 1990s, Buick, along with other GM brands, was very popular and frequently seen on Taiwanese streets. Park Avenue, 3rd and 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.
On April 17, 2006, Yulon GM debuted the first Buick vehicle ever built in Taiwan, the LaCrosse sedan. It is very similar to the Chinese version of the
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