A Tale of Two RWD Buick Concepts
Though not a golfer, nor someone who buys cars with automatic transmissions, I fulfill much of the demographics that Buick is working hard to shed, and I have a soft spot in my heart for the brand. I have been advocating a rear-wheel-drive car for Buick’s lineup ever since Sang Yup Lee’s 2004 Velite concept used General Motors’ old Zeta platform. The convertible concept was to have become a RWD sedan for 2009 but, well, you know what happened to a lot of good future product intentions back then.
But in the years since the Buick Velite concept, Chevrolet has had several mainstream RWD cars, in addition to the Corvette, Cadillac has returned to a mostly RWD car lineup, and even Pontiac had a couple of them before that brand was killed.
What are the chances it will go into series production?
“The capabilities are there to build it; it was brought into here as a pure concept,” says Aldred. “We wanted to show off Buick design, we wanted to showcase a few of the things that you will see in Buicks over the next one, two, three years, whether it’s the lighting technology, interior design, grille treatment, etcetera. And from there, we wait and see what happens.
“We have a halo in the range, the Cascada. When that’s run its course — it’s right at the beginning of its journey, but you’ve got to plot ahead in this game — I’d like another halo for Buick. It’s a very important brand, 1.25-million sales internationally last year.”
As one enthusiast friend who’s not in the industry noted, Cadillac has always pushed back whenever it looks like Buick might encroach on its territory. The days of Limiteds and Electra 225s are long gone.
Now I’m convinced my non-automotive-industry friend is right: Buick had a business case for Avenir, but Cadillac put the brakes on it.
Being a two-door coupe, it can’t rely on China for its business case. I suspect it has a better chance than the Avenir if for no other reason that it’s on a much less-costly platform, Alpha, that Cadillac (ATS, CTS) already shares with Chevrolet (Camaro). We have seen many two-door concepts become four-door production cars before, and if it has any chance, the same thing will happen with this Buick. To distinguish a production Avista (change the name though; it sounds too much like “Olds Vista Cruiser”) a four-door coupe with the Avenir’s roofline makes a lot of sense.
So, does that mean I’m predicting it will be built? No. I’d say it has a better chance than Avenir, but it’s still a long shot.