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z28luvr01

C&G @ NYIAS: Lunch With Buick

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The first media event for the New York Auto Show was a luncheon with folks from Buick’s design team. Located at Cipriani restaurant on 42nd street, the event was a celebration of Buick’s past, present, and future design. Upon walking into the restaurant and handing off my belongings to the coat-check people, I was greeted by the legendary Buick Y-Job concept. What a sight this vehicle is in person! It's everything Buick has stood for in the past and willl once again. You can never go wrong with graceful, flowing lines and the highest attention to detail.

Situated towards the rear of the presentation area was a giant screen (for the presentation) flanked by the Velite and Riviera concepts. Though the Velite is a few years old, it still exudes a timeess quality to its design, and it would look right at home in Buick's showroom right now. The Velite influence on the Enclave is very easy to spot. Lastly, I got my first peek at the Riviera. Pictures don't do this car justice. The car is all Buick from front to back - I'm not just saying that because it has a waterfall grille and portholes. The Riviera is a car that commands respect in person, with a graceful, romantic and no-nonsense proportions. Inside, though it's full of concept car glitz, you can see where Buick is going with their interior design direction: gently flowing surfaces that caress the passengers' senses rather than jolt them, and ample sophistication that compliments rather than dominates the overall ambience.

The show started with a sneak peek at the new Buick commercial. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say, it involves Tiger Woods, golf, some paint, and a Buick.

The highlight of the event was a presentation given by Ed Welburn on Buick's design direction while the screen behind him displayed a live sketch of the next Buick concept, called Invicta, that will debut in the Beijing show next month. While Mr. Welburn spoke about the collaboration between American and Chinese Buick designers for future Buicks intended for both American and Chinese consumption, Buick designer Justin Thompson constructed the Invicta sketch line by line. The end result - see for yourself:

invictalowdt3.jpg

You can clearly see the Riviera formula being taken to the next level. A simple overall shape with complex surfaces that just oozes elegance. So what do you think it is? The proportions look to be more FWD than RWD to me, but I'll leave the guessing to all of you. There will be a live chat on Thursday from 3-4PM Eastern with Justin Thompson over on GMNext, a site comemorating GM's 100 year anniversary by looking toward its future. To participate in the chat, visit the site, click on events, and the chat should be listed. Registration is required.

I was privileged to be seated at a table with Dave McIntyre of Buick Design (and a huge C&G fan). He's a very personable guy and easy to strike up a conversation with. While I couldn't get him to spill much about Buick's future plans, he did have this to say:

  • A Velite-like vehicle is still not completely dead, and if one were to come out, it would be surprising as to how "accessible" it would be.
  • He does forsee an "adjustment period" for GM and the rest of the industry to adjust their lineups to meet CAFE, but it likely won't last quite as long as the "detune and downsize" approach that GM took in the 70s. With all the tools that GM has in its toolbox, he does not see a reason why GM can't make efficient, green vehicles that still cater to customers' needs with regard to space and performance.
  • The cooperation between Buick of China and Buick of North America is a huge boon to the brand. He referenced Lutz' "damaged brand" comment from a few years back as a segue into how the success of Buick in China significantly strengthens Buick's case in the US.
  • All Buicks from this point forward will be designed to be sold both in the US and in China. This means a little more than meets the eye. Not only will both markets collaborate on design, but powertrains as well. Buick of China does have experience developing efficient engines that get great fuel economy, which will definitely be useful for Buick to adapt to the new fuel economy regulations.
  • When trying to figure out Buick's future productm "don't limit yourself" to thinking about what's out there now or known to be in the pipeline.
All in all it was a wonderful, exciting event. I became just a bit more of a Buick fan, and I got a glimpse of the culture inside GM. I don't see a "reactionary" attitude towards the changing times. GM seems willing and able to answer the challenges with innovation, rather than shrink back and take the quick and easy way out. If what I saw today is any indication of what goes on at the rest of GM, I think they're going to be all right.
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And now, some shots of the beautiful Buicks on display:

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It seems as if the Buick we know of today won't be the same in 3 years. And I mean that in a good way. For once China is a positive thing for a US industry.

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More:

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Sounds promising. My Lucerne lease is up in January. What will my options be for a new Buick?

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I do not know exactly... Hey sweet thanks for the photos and the convo information. Have fun your a lucky guy, and the man you talked to liked C&G how about free new Buick's for everyone?

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z28luvr01: Thank you for your first-hand report! We all wish we could have been in your shoes!

I've seen a photo taken of the presentation, showing Welburn and Thompson standing in front of the Invicta image on the screen. Besiees the outline of the Invicta, there are three portholes and what might be the front grille frame or shape shown. It's on thegmsource.com, but I haven't seen that complete image elsewhere.

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It's a real treat to see yet another time-honored Buick cue return- the Sweepspear. So much to pull from from Buick's heritage...

Sketch looks interesting, and I :lovey: the name. :wink: :thumbsup:

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I never thought I would say this, but next to the Riviera (and after four years of sitting around), the Velite has definitely lost something.

Until recently, I had a strange glimmer of hope that the Velite would become a reality someday. Now it just looks like Buick missed that boat and is left with a four year old concept car to show for it.

Oh well. Bring on something Riviera-derived before the same thing happens to it.

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Ditto what balthy said. The sweepspear makes a triumphant return! A very promising sketch.
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I didn't even notice the Swipespear! and Wow, REAL BUICK NAMES! Invicta, I mean come on, that just made my day. Some of those concepts are pure expressions of why I love Buick.

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I never thought I would say this, but next to the Riviera (and after four years of sitting around), the Velite has definitely lost something.

Until recently, I had a strange glimmer of hope that the Velite would become a reality someday. Now it just looks like Buick missed that boat and is left with a four year old concept car to show for it.

Oh well. Bring on something Riviera-derived before the same thing happens to it.

"After an eight year lull in production, General Motors is reintroducing the Buick Riviera as a concept vehicle. The car, which made its U.S. debut March 19 during the New York International Auto Show, is a mid-size luxury concept coupe that integrates the company’s new Buick Hybrid System. Company officials indicate the vehicle is scheduled to make its international debut in China prior to the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics." (Source: GM Global)

Of course the concept has already had its international debut in China.

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the fabulous Buicks should be part of thier display everywhere they go. they evoke luxury, timelessness, class..........this is what Buick's stand should be all about at the auto shows. More to the point, GM's conceptualization for thier auto stands, from what I saw at the LA auto show, is poor in general. Having more elements present that reinforce the ideas behind the brand would help thier cause. Pure elegance is the feeling I get from those shots above.

The Riv's interior never fails to impress, that's a great looking car, and needs to come out soon.

Question for Z: what did Dave have to say about C&G?

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"After an eight year lull in production, General Motors is reintroducing the Buick Riviera as a concept vehicle. The car, which made its U.S. debut March 19 during the New York International Auto Show, is a mid-size luxury concept coupe that integrates the company’s new Buick Hybrid System. Company officials indicate the vehicle is scheduled to make its international debut in China prior to the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics." (Source: GM Global)

Of course the concept has already had its international debut in China.

well well that means we will see a production Riviera this years, based on EP II. good to hear, right after I was having the thought actually

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Geez. I can't wait to see this concept. I think changing the Lacrosse name to Invicta is a good move.

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I wonder if the Invicta will share body panels with the Malibu, just as the Grand Prix and LaCrosse did. I like the Invicta name a lot more than LaCrosse, but now GM has to run a big advertising campaign to get people to know what it is. As opposed to a car like the Accord that has been around forever.

Edited by smk4565
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I wonder if the Invicta will share body panels with the Malibu, just as the Grand Prix and LaCrosse did. I like the Invicta name a lot more than LaCrosse, but now GM has to run a big advertising campaign to get people to know what it is. As opposed to a car like the Accord that has been around forever.

:rolleyes:

Look at the teaser and see for yourself.

invictalowdt3.jpg

Invivta is no doubt a concept LaCrosse, so it's on EPII whereas the Malibu is on EPI. You know a little research goes a long way.

Edited by Dodgefan
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I wonder if the Invicta will share body panels with the Malibu, just as the Grand Prix and LaCrosse did. I like the Invicta name a lot more than LaCrosse, but now GM has to run a big advertising campaign to get people to know what it is. As opposed to a car like the Accord that has been around forever.

My, my are we ignorant! :rolleyes:

I don't even know where to begin with you, you are really that bad. I'll touch on some key points and let someone else step in to further and/or correct what I post, if they wish to.

  • The W-Body Buick LaCrosse and post-2004MY Pontiac Grand Prix do not share any common sheetmetal, with a possible exception being the roof panel as all W-Body cars shared a common roof line, design wise.
  • The 2008 Malibu is Epsilon I and the LaCrosse replacement is Epsilon II. They are on totally different platforms. Even so, none of the Epsilon I cars share a single piece of common sheetmetal (I want to say the roof panel may be shared, but I'm not 100 percent willing to commit to saying that), nor do the upcoming Epsilon II cars. However, there is some commonality between the Epsilon I Aura and Malibu in regards to the interior (lower door panels, door handles are shared, to name some pieces from the top of my head) and in regards to some very minor exterior details (side turn signals and door handles). But, other than that, they have nothing in common design-wise.
  • The Invicta name has been used previously on past Buick models, circa late 1950s and 1960s. No, it hasn't been around 30 plus years, but it is a name steeped in Buick's heritage and has little to no negative baggage. And who said a Malibu-scale advertising effort was necessarily a bad thing, anyway?

Next time, learn a few facts before you spew feckless drivel around.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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The overlay is very nice work. The spy photos of the 2010 LaCrosse do show a resemblance to the Malibu. The concept may not, but Buick often changes concepts, the concept LaCrosse from 02 or 03 almost had a hatchback look to it. This car can probably replace the Lucerne as well as the LaCrosse, so to avoid a repeat of the Malibu being nicer than the Impala or CTS being nicer than the STS.

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>>"The Invicta name has been used previously on past Buick models, circa late 1950s and 1960s. No, it hasn't been around 30 plus years, but it is a name steeped in Buick's heritage and has little to no negative baggage."<<

Trust me 100%- "Invicta" has zero negative baggage, there's just not a incredible amount to speak of of an image there, period. It was the '59-62 mid-line series, the smaller LeSabre body with the big Electra engine, in the spirit of the earlier Century and the later Wildcat full-size performance series... but it has 'fallen thru the cracks of time', esp relative to the heritage the Century & Wildcat enjoy today.

It's a great name either way; according to Buick, Invicta means "invincible, unconquerable, unbeatable".

I like the overlay pic, but hope to see larger wheelwells/rims than the prototype is wearing.

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The overlay is very nice work. The spy photos of the 2010 LaCrosse do show a resemblance to the Malibu. The concept may not, but Buick often changes concepts, the concept LaCrosse from 02 or 03 almost had a hatchback look to it. This car can probably replace the Lucerne as well as the LaCrosse, so to avoid a repeat of the Malibu being nicer than the Impala or CTS being nicer than the STS.

There is no resemblance to the Malibu, you're just pulling baseless opinions out of your ass again. The greenhouses are completely different, as are the character lines. By your logic a Silverado and Continental GT are similar because they have glass and a roof. Sad part is I can see you attempting to make that connection.

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