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Buick Teases with Hint of Invicta Concept Car


The image is little more than a series of sweeping lines and arcing curves, but use a bit of imagination and you might just see something more in this sketch, the first official hint of what will, in a few weeks, be revealed as the 2009 Buick Invicta Concept car. Indeed, it’s more than that, the prototype that will be fully unveiled at next month’s Beijing Motor Show is a good indication of what’s to come from the long-struggling General Motors division.

What appears to be a coupe-like-sedan is all but certain to become a production model, according to Dave Lyon, until recently the head of GM design operations in Asia. One of the automaker’s most important styling operations, known as PATAC, is based in Shanghai, and its stylists worked closely with their American counterparts on developing the 2009 Buick Invicta Concept.

And well they should. Buick now sells more vehicles in that emerging Asian market than it does in the United States. Indeed, senior GM officials concede that without China, they’d have very likely abandoned the Buick brand entirely, as many industry analysts have been demanding, for years. But as GM goes with a more global approach to product design and development, it’s able to justify a struggling brand, like Buick, by sharing costs in more than one market.

“China has been very important to us,” said Ed Welburn, GM’s director of global design, during a preview of the 2008 New York Auto Show. “Clearly it has had significant impact,” showing that the Buick brand has some viability left in it.

Once one of the most treasured GM brands, Buick had a long history of design leadership. Its 1938 Y-Job, in fact, was considered the first truly modern concept car. But cookie-cutter styling, in the 1980s and ‘90s, along with quality snags and other problems, all but doomed the division. Now, Welburn told TheCarConnection.com, GM is using cutting-edge styling to help rebuild Buick – with concepts like last year’s Riviera, and the new Invicta, echoing the strategy that helped Cadillac regain its reputation for design excellence.

There are signs that Buick can make a mark. Its new Enclave crossover, which made its debut in concept form, has become the hottest product in its segment, Buick selling 36,000 in the CUV’s first 10 months on the market.

“Design is absolutely critical to Buick’s comeback,” said Welburn, though he added that looks alone won’t be enough. New products “have to have it all,” inside and out, with good designs, plenty of high-line features, top quality and a competitive price tag.

Whether Invicta will deliver remains to be seen, but this teaser suggests the concept car will be worth a second look.

Buick to Auction Tiger Woods Paintings. by TCC Team (3/18/2008)

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Comments (14)
  1. All attitude and little substance.

    I am not teased.

    WISE UP Big 3.

    TRY to compete in what COUNTS!

    REliability and Safety, Handling and Performance, and above ALL, FUEL EFFICIENCY!
     
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  2. Give Buick a chance. If any car company can do it, it's Buick. They can combine winning style, durability, and comfort - they have forever (save for the forgetable models in the 80's and 90's - pontiac/chevy knock-offs). Take a look at Buicks from before they were a GM subsidiary. Take a look at some of the most beautiful American cars ever. Even gander at the last production Riviera. More importantly, look at sales. Buick has a rich history and a loyal following. Combine that with a promising foriegn-market appeall and you have a brand that can make it. For the first time in a long time, Buck and Cadillac can conceivably co-exist by actually appealing to two different customer bases instead of different price points. If Buick can revolutionize its line-up with the Enclave (they need an Ultra and/or Super version), a true rwd full-sizer (Park Ave), that smashing Velite or stunning Riviera concept (Named Riviera) and finally a real replacement to the LeSabre (instead of the LaCrosse and Lucern), they could have a complete line-up for real Buick loyalists. They need to take a page from their Saturn brethren and see how they can create a lin-up not a brand.
     
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  3. Thor,
    Haven't you been paying attention? Buick recently tied with Lexus for best quality in independant JD Power survey. GM rivals the best and new products have been rolling out to rave reviews.

    GM vehicles handle and perform well and compete with, or beat similar size competion. The 4 cylinder Malibu, G6 & Aura beat the city gas mileage of the Accord and Camry, just as one example. The larger Impala V6 matches or beats the Accord & Camry V6 highway gas mileage.

    You ought to look in the mirror and repeat "all attitude and little substance" .
     
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  4. Thor, I tend to avoid the flame wars, but I have to agree with Dan. GM is showing remarkable improvements at just about every level. Quality is rising in every category -- though GM still has only one vehicle on the Consumer Reports Top Picks -- and so is reliability. Prices are way better than many a Japanese competitor. Check comparable vehicle mileage stats and you will likely be in for a surprise. There's a reason why the North American Car of the Year jury -- a group to which I belong, in full disclosure -- voted the Malibu NA Car of the Year.
    Styling is a particularly interesting area, where GM is making enormous strides, and outdistacing most of its Japanese rivals, if not also the Europeans.
    Is GM "there" yet, not quite. They still have plenty of lame product, but as the Buick Enclave demonstrated, even in tough segments, like high-line crossovers, GM can do something solid -- and with a "dying" brand, no less.
    Time to get past your prejudices. It has taken me awhile, but GM is starting to earn my respect again, for the first time in decades.
     
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  5. I'm an American living outside of Shanghai, and make no mistake about it, Buick is HUGE here! The new Park Avenue (a variant of the new G8 and its Aussie kinfolk) turns heads on the street. There are more businessmen being carted around in Regals in Shanghai than there are Town Cars in NYC. You can't go into any nice hotel, restaurant, or bar without seeing lines of Regals and GL8 vans (new version of the Venture/Montana) lined up outside with their smoking drivers. Granted, I speak from a population generally discouraged from driving here (an iffy prospect in China in general), but even the Europeans and other Asians tend to prefer the Buick vans over Toyotas and the like!

    Guess what Thor, China counts too, and for a lot!
     
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  6. Buick isn't that hot at all, personally I think GM made a big mistake by keeping Buick and dumping Oldsmobile.The Enclave may have some nice features but it looks bloated in my eyes, the styling over at Buick is really nothing exciting at all. By comparison, Oldsmobile at least brought out a few attractive looking sedans before thier demise. The only great things I see happening( car wise ) over at GM these days are mainly at Cadillac (they have some great cars CTS,STS and XLR), a couple of Pontiac products (the rear drivers ie; G8 and Solstice ), the Saturn Aura and Astra, the Chevy Malibu and Corvette. I think they should put Buick out to pasture or market it only in China( where the brand has a real following ).
     
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  7. I will admit to a big dose of Buick bias. I own two of the "forgettible" Buicks of the 1990's - a 1993 Roadmaster Estate Wagon and a 1994 Park Avenue Ultra. Together, they have almost 280,000 miles on them. Both are highly drivable, reliable, and comfortable cars.

    That being said, Buick styling has all too often been "run of the mill" - and that's being charitable. GM should never have let themselves get into the position of offering four major platforms on each of four different nameplates. Chevrolet should sell only small to medium size cars, Buick limited to medium to large offerings, with Pontiac providing performance and niche products. This, together with leaving the luxury range to Cadillac would be a rational use of the sizable (if rapidly declining) amount of goodwill that is connected to GM products.
     
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  8. "Paul Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 10:21 pm
    Thor, I tend to avoid the flame wars, but I have to agree with Dan. GM is showing remarkable improvements at just about every level."
    Thanks for the reply. I enjoy listening to you on Autoline and other venues once in a while.
    I was about to reply to Dan that I am fully aware that Buick is considered underappreciated by as much as 70%in terms of Reliability, although a close associate has a park Avenue that has been anything but reliable.
    I am also fully aware of the love affair of CHinese Communist Party bigwigs with black buicks, and have been in SHanghai to teach a course for a whole month and have seen th estreets full of "buicks", real and phony (such as every re-badged daewoo called "Chevy" in the US and Europe, is called "Buick" in China.
    BUT, if things are as rosy as you all claim, why the sales drop? In fact, there is a prefectly good explanation. Buick has priced itself out of the reach of its customers, namely the little old ladies who are on a fixed income. The higher gas prices combined with Buick's unimpressive fuel effiicency, and especially combined with ludicrously high prices for new Buicks, have made these customers unable to buy new Buicks anymore. Do you remember a recent Auto news article on the subject?
     
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  9. But I agree that GM as a whole, and Buick in particular, are doing much better than their Detroit Rivals, FOrd and Chrysler.

    In fact, I proposed that since the name GM is all-inclusive (General Motors can include either Ford or Chrysler, just as it included Caddilac, Buick and Pontiac), it maybe is time for GM to buy Ford and Chrysler for a piece of bread and streamline their operations. It will mean additionall huge job losses, but that willbe one time only, then it will return to health and can compete with the ueber-imports like TOyota, Nissan-Renault, and VW later.
     
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  10. Also,
    "Paul Says:GM is showing remarkable improvements at just about every level. Quality is rising in every category — though GM still has only one vehicle on the Consumer Reports Top Picks — and so is reliability. Prices are way better than many a Japanese competitor."
    After substantial discounts, maybe. But since we are talking about Buicks, they do not come cheap. the Lucerne pushes $40,000. Compare it to what? The LExus ES300? Not as luxurious. The TOyota Avalon is perhaps the best comparison, and it is actually cheaper and more fuel effiicent, while having 268 or so HP, than the lucerne!
    And the hourly labor cost for service for the Buick is NOT low, my associate pays $90 an hour or more to have it fixed, and that $90 is for more than 2 years now, maybe it's more today. That is ludicrously high, and almost as high ($5 lower) as I pay for the BMW 7 series to be serviced!
    " ..the Malibu NA Car of the Year.
    Styling is a particularly interesting area, where GM is making enormous strides, and outdistacing most of its Japanese rivals, if not also the Europeans."
    Some call the Malibu "G6 3.0" and the Saturn Aura "G6 2.0". They are based on the same platform, the G6and pontiacs in general are quite good styling wise, but the G6 did not get good reviews overall. The Aura was an improved version, but it did not sell well (why?) And now the Malibu looks really good (exterior styling), but so far it is not selling much. Dealers sell the few copies they have for more $ than the far bigger Impala (which was a sales hit in 07, due to its ample room and good HP and reasonable price, far less than the Chrysler 300 and even the Taurus)!
    "Is GM “there” yet, not quite. They still have plenty of lame product, but as the Buick Enclave demonstrated, even in tough segments, like high-line crossovers, GM can do something solid — and with a “dying” brand, no less."
    How long will the enclave be popular? It is an OBESE crossover at almost 5,000 lbs, and it's not cheap either. $4 gas prices will sober up buyers eventually.
    "Time to get past your prejudices. It has taken me awhile, but GM is starting to earn my respect again, for the first time in decades."
    I prefer to speak about an automaker's "good name" instead. It will be very hard, almost impossible, for an automaker that has gone down the path of inferior products for decades and still is not better than the competition, to recover its good name. That "good name" costs billions to develop, as marketing people know. It's not a prejudice in my case, I have actually owned and driven for decades both Pontiacs, VWs and Hondas, and recently a BMW, and the data confirm my prior opinions, the Hondas are far better in quality and reliability, the German products fail far more frequently (even tho they drive great and have excellent styling), and the Pontiac was quite inferior in many ways (except it got excellent MPG due to its tiny size and HP... but that was the 80s and 90s, and it really was a re-badged Opel Ascona)
     
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  11. "I think GM made a big mistake by keeping Buick and dumping Oldsmobile."

    Oldsmobiles never sold in China - Buicks do, and they sell more there than in the US.
    It would be sheer stupidity for GM to write off that profitable business.

    Frankly, I like the idea of a new Invicta...
    ...perhaps the hybrid version could be called "Electra"?
     
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  12. Hey guys;
    What's this about Buicks not having good gas mileage? My 99 Century (3100) got 25 in the winter in mixed driving (27 in summer) and 30-31 on trips.

    We sold it six months ago and got an '03 Focus (2.0 liter) in order to have a smaller more economical vehicle. What a disappointment. The tranny is much less smooth. The engine is always audible and crude sounding. The MPG is 26 winter so far. One long trip we hit 31, so our basic Focus is the same as our loaded Century that we miss a great deal.

    I also picked up a 94 Taurus (Vulcan 3.0) as a beater. It's tranny and power do not compare to the Century (0-60 in about 12 seconds rather than 9 flat) and it gets about 22 in mixed driving and 26-27 on a long gentle trip. Our loaded 99 Malibu 3100 also got the same mileage as our Century, so it's no fluke for that engine and tranny. It was even quicker at 0-60 in 8.5.
     
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  13. Also about Buick gasoline mileage, my buddy Dallas Henry routinely gets 25 in mixed driving from his 2000 LeSabre (3800 series II), and he gets 31 every yeaqr going to Tulsa and back here to Maine. That car has really great torque to go with its 205 silent horsepower too.
     
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  14. "We sold it six months ago and got an ‘03 Focus (2.0 liter) in order to have a smaller more economical vehicle. What a disappointment. "

    If you wanted an economical vehicle, in every respect (MPG, Resale value, AND total service and Repair costs, you should have given a chance to the Corolla and the Civic.

    My old Civic hatch routinely gets 35 city and 44 highway, and my old Accord gets 28 and 35-37 respectively. (both 5-speed 4s)

    25 and 30 do not cut it any more in $4 gas.

    And in addition, you'd get a far better interior and higher quality overall than the 03 FOcus, with which I am only too familiar, and I agree with you, it was very dissappointing.

    (in 03 I had to rent on business trips first a Focus in Detroit ($70 a day, and very poor overall) and a Camry in Denver (only $77, and more than twice the car and quality than the poor FOcus)

    In addition, while Ford sells the new and much improved FOcus in Europe, to save a few lousy cents, they do NOT sell it in the US, even in the 2008 and 2009 model years, they just did a facelift (which is not necessarily a better looking car than the old version) but kept the old platform. Disgraceful.
     
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