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This Former General Motors Concept Would Make An Excellent EV: Round 2

Josh Leatherwood Feb 18 2021

Photo courtesy of GM

Photo courtesy of GM

 

The 2016 Buick Avista

 

Like it or not, GM’s goal with Buick seems rather simple: Sell content-rich, mid-lux vehicles to folks who want less flash than luxury brands and more substance than mass-market brands. Combine that utilitarian positioning with the fact that the General’s founding division is more global than ever, and you get a competent line-up of solid crossovers that some buyers consider niche and cool, and others consider homogenic and bland. Two of Buick’s upcoming crossovers are electric models that welcome the future the brand ultimately, uh, envisions -- pardon the pun Buick folks.

 

Image courtesy of GM

Image courtesy of GM

 

Enter the gorgeous Buick Avista concept. Introduced in 2016 to some of the most positive exposure GM has enjoyed, the Avista was a great example of what happens when people are allowed to get creative and think outside the box. Unfortunately, like many of GM Design’s exceptional Cadillac concepts, the car never really had a shot at seeing a production line. Most likely because it would interfere with Camaro sales and, let’s face it, not too many folks are lining up to buy coupes or sedans anymore.

 

The 2001 Buick Bengal concept continued the brand's legacy of pairing striking style with cool cat names. Image courtesy of GM

 

The 2015 Avenir, another awesome Buick concept relegated to the history books. Photo courtesy of GM

 

That is… Not enough people are lining up to make a strong business case for internal combustion coupes and sedans. But, in the realm of low-volume, halo-price electrics, the argument might be more appealing. A revived Avista, especially re-engineered as a hardtop convertible, could serve as an excellent halo for the Buick brand’s transition to electric. At the moment, Cadillac doesn’t deal in convertibles, so there’s no conflict in-house. And just look to the Model S and Tesla to see how a serious halo, if executed properly, can legitimize and reposition a brand. Those of you familiar with GM history will recall the original Buick Skylark and it’s stated mission. The ’53 Skylark was a top-of-the-line specialty car that was created to celebrate the Buick brand and, along with its Cadillac and Olds stablemates, promote GM’s design leadership. The more things change….

 

1953 Buick Skylark. Image courtesy of Hemmings

1953 Buick Skylark. Image courtesy of Hemmings

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