Buick to drop its own name from future cars

March 13, 2018

Beginning next year, Buick won't put its signature on its cars. Instead, the only identifying mark to notify onlookers that they are behind a Buick will be the red, silver and blue “trishield” emblem. The only words to appear on the rear will be the model name, like Regal or Enclave.

The trend was picked up by GM Authority, which first noticed the absence of the brand lettering on the revised 2019 Buick Envision.

MORE: Read about the 2019 Buick Envision

The move raises the question of whether the Buick logo is, on its own, identifiable enough to signal the car’s brand. Among mass-market brands, only Hyundai, VW and Audi eschew writing out the brand name on the trunk. VW’s name is encapsulated in the logo itself.

However, the VW circle, as well as Audi’s four rings and Hyundai’s “flying H” are arguably more recognizable than the Buick trishield. In addition, Audi and Hyundai both have a consistent “corporate face” that aligns every model with the marque.

In 2002, Mitsubishi also decided to drop its name badge from all its cars sold in the US, relying only on a chrome “triple diamond” crest to identify the company. However, the decision was reversed a few years later.

Back in the mid-1990s, now-defunct Oldsmobile tried something similar. Its then-new Aurora sedan had logos unlike other Oldsmobiles and the only place the car actually said "Oldsmobile" was on its radio.

Buick is seeking to redefine its brand, as evidenced by the new Regal GS and a marketing campaign that shows people stunned to discover what a Buick looks like. It will take some time to disassociate Buick from the “grandpa’s car” reputation it’s garnered. Perhaps the best way is to keep people guessing about the brand of car it actually is.

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