Buick is going all-electric with its throwback Electra line

Buick has been around for more than a century, having first been introduced in 1903. Buick, the GM brand that sits between Chevrolet and Cadillac on the luxury scale, said on June 1 that it will deliver its first all-electric car next year for the 2024 model year. This will be the first in a long line of EVs for Buick, which has also stated that this new EV will serve as a springboard for the company's transition to an all-electric brand. In a move that looks to the future of the company, Buick is bringing back the Electra name.

The term Electra was first used in 1959 to designate Buick's largest and most opulent vehicle at the time, ranking above the Invicta and LeSabre. The Electra was a big, comfortable American luxury cruiser spanning nearly three decades. It was downsized in the late 1970s as a result of competition and rising fuel prices, but it remained to fill the same spot in GM's portfolio of cars. The term was last used in 1990, when the sixth-generation Electra was replaced by the Park Avenue, a car with a completely different form.

Buick has been a relatively amorphous brand with little personality over the previous two decades. Its popularity in China helped it survive the 2008 financial crisis, which also claimed erstwhile GM stablemate Oldsmobile. For many years, rebadged imports from Germany and South Korea kept the brand's American dealerships going. Buick, which was once a dynamic and full-fledged sub-luxury carmaker, is today limited to just three crossovers of varied sizes.

"By the end of this decade, the Buick brand is dedicated to an all-electric future," said Duncan Aldred, worldwide vice president, Buick and GMC, in a statement. "The new Buick logo, the Electra naming series, and a fresh design style for our future models will completely redefine the brand."

Buick also unveiled a new concept car to assist illustrate the brand's future design language as part of the June 1 presentation. The new Wildcat EV concept, which is also inspired by a Buick nameplate from the past, demonstrates that the company and its designers can still create an innovative and forward-thinking design approach.

“The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand,” Sharon Gauci, executive director of Global Buick and GMC Design, remarked. “Buick has always been forward looking and this expression is a glimpse of where we’re going, and the optimism we have for the limitless possibilities of an electric future.” 

The concept 2+2 coupe is remarkable in a manner that Buicks haven't been in a long time, providing the grace that the brand previously possessed in abundance. The idea has a visual appeal that's almost Lexus-like, with a mix of athletic performance and elegance. Buick did not offer any out-of-this-world performance figures or headline-grabbing power numbers, unlike many concept vehicles in the recent past. The business obviously intended this design to stand on its own, showing future electrified Buick vehicles.

Buick is changing its logo to coincide with its shift to electric vehicles and a new design language introduced by the Wildcat. The company's tri-shield badge, which hasn't altered much in over thirty years, is receiving a makeover as well.

General Motors said in January 2021 that all gasoline and diesel-powered light-duty vehicle sales will be phased out by 2035 across all of its brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Buick appears to be moving that aim ahead by a half-decade, announcing that all internal combustion engines would be phased out by 2030. The company's three surviving models are beginning to show their age, and a refresh is in the works.
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