Buick

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Buick is a brand of luxury automobiles built in the United States and China by General Motors. Buicks are also sold in Canada and Israel. The name is pronounced "BYOO-ick" (IPA 'bjuIk).

Contents

History

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Louis Chevrolet in a Buick racer in Crown Point, Indiana, during the Cobe Cup Race in 1909
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1938 Buick Y-Job

Buick originated as an independent motor car manufacturer, the Buick Motor Company, incorporated on May 19, 1903 by David Dunbar Buick (who invented the overhead valve engine on which the company's success was based) in Flint, Michigan. In 1904 the struggling company was taken over by James Whiting, who brought in William C. Durant to manage his new acquisition. Buick himself unwisely sold his stock for a small sum at his departure, and died in very modest circumstances forty years later.

Durant was a natural, however, and Buick soon became the largest car maker in America. Using the profits from this, Durant embarked on a series of several dozen corporate acquisitions, calling his new mega-corporation General Motors.

At first, the different manufacturers who comprised General Motors competed against each other, but Durant put a stop to that. He wanted each General Motors division to target one class of buyer, and in his new scheme Buick was near the top—only the luxurious Cadillac brand had more prestige.

In 1929, the marque launched the Marquette designed to help bridge the price gap between Buick and Oldsmobile, however the Marquette was discontinued in 1930.

Even today, Buick retains that position in the GM lineup. The ideal Buick customer was comfortably off; possibly not quite rich enough to afford a Cadillac or not desiring the ostentation of one, but definitely in the market for a car a cut above the norm.

Speculation [1] (http://www.forbes.com/columnists/2005/06/14/generalmotors-buick-discontinuation-cz_jf_0614flint.html?partner=yahootix&referrer=) exists, however, as to whether GM will repeat its termination of the Oldsmobile by eliminating the Buick brand in order to further cut costs, following the cancellation of GM's planned Zeta project to develop new rear wheel drive cars which would have fit the Buick market niche [2] (http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0503/21/A01-123402.htm), and the consolidation of Buick, Pontiac, and GMC trucks into a single dealer franchise, which would make it simple to eliminate the Buick brand without leaving any dealers with no product.

Distinguishing features

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1962 Buick Electra with portholes

Buick's emblem is three shields arranged touching on a diagonal, within a ring. This design was adopted in 1959 and represents the three models that comprised the lineup that year—LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra. The shields are adopted from the shield of the Buick family crest, which in modified form had been used on Buicks since the 30s. A version of the traditional crest appeared on Electras through the 70s.

A traditional Buick styling cue dating to 1949 is a series of three or four portholes or vents on the front fender behind the front wheels. These were originally called Ventiports (later just portholes), and have appeared sporadically on several models since, as nonfunctional ornamentation. Lower cost models were equipped with three portholes, while higher cost models came with four; when the number of portholes was standardized across the entire model line, buyers of the higher cost models complained bitterly that they felt shortchanged. As of 2003 they have been re-introduced on the Buick Park Avenue. Buicks other styling cue during the 1940s - 1970s was the "sweep-side", a curved line running the length of the car.

The Buick V8 engine, nicknamed the "nailhead", became popular with hot-rodders in the 1950s and 1960s, because the vertical attachment of the valve covers, in contrast to the angled attachment of other V-8 engines, enabled the engine to fit into smaller spaces while maintaining easy access for maintenance.

Geographical distribution

Unlike some of GM's other brands, Buicks are not marketed globally, although in the early years of the marque Buick had a substantial export presence. In pre-World War II China, for example, one in five cars were Buicks.

Currently most Buick sales are restricted to the United States and Canada. One exception is Israel, where the Buick LeSabre and Buick Rendezvous are imported.

Since 1999, a Chinese version of the Buick Century/Regal has been produced and sold in China under Shanghai GM and has proven to be popular among upscale, professional families, establishing Buick as GM's most popular brand in China. In addition, Buick of China also sells the subcompact Sail, sourced from GM's Asian operations and based on the Opel Corsa B, the compact Excelle, based on the Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira, and a modified version of the Venture/Montana/Silhouette/Sintra minivan named the GL8. In June, 2005, Buick announced that it will buld a car named the Buick Royaum in Australia for export to China, based on the Holden Statesman and Caprice luxury cars. Buick has stated that it expects China to become its second largest market.

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.

Buick models

Current

Past

Companion Make

See also

External links

  • Buick home (http://www.buick.com/)
  • Buick in China (http://www.buick.com.cn/) (English & Chinese)
  • Buick in Canada: English (http://www.gmcanada.com/english/vehicles/buick/buick.html) - French (http://www.gmcanada.com/french/vehicles/buick/buick.html)
  • Buick in Israel (http://www.umi.co.il/site/mainpage.asp?pi=31&di=0) (Hebrew)
  • Buick in Taiwan (http://www.e-gm.com.tw/buick/index.asp) (Chinese)
  • BuickForums.com (http://www.buickforums.com) A place for Buick owners and enthusiasts to talk about their vehicles.
  • Reatta.net (http://www.reatta.net) Reatta enthusiast website and message board
  • Buick Club (http://www.buickclub.org.au) Extremely well stocked informational sitede:Buick

fr:Buick no:Buick pl:Buick zh:别克 sv:Buick

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