By on March 24, 2016

2016 Buick Avista Concept, Image: General Motors

Would Buick consider producing a pickup truck? Now that the brand’s lineup has been fleshed out to include sedans, SUVs, and a convertible, what’s stopping General Motors from adding a Buick-badged variant to either its midsize or large-truck portfolio?

According to Ed Welburn, who oversees global design for GM, there’s a simple answer.

“No, I don’t see it,” Welburn said, wincing. “Wow. I haven’t gotten that question from anyone.”

At that point we expected silence, as it’s not if anyone is clamoring for a Buick pickup truck, despite a market that’s moving toward softer pickups that err on the side of comfort and convenience — but Welburn went on.

2016 GMC Canyon

“If we did a Buick, it would be totally different than the GMC [Canyon], that’s for sure,” he said. “It would be an interesting design project to do it. I can envision it, but I can’t see doing it for production. If you’re not going to do it for production, I wouldn’t put any energy into it.

It wouldn’t be the first time that GM tried to produce a pickup truck with car-like features, as the SSR (remember that one?) emerged under Wilburn’s eye.

He acknowledged that the front fascia of the Avista is going to be the new face of the brand for the near future, and mentioned that the Enclave makes a fine substitute for a minivan in the lineup — just in case we were going to ask.

Our version of a Buick pickup truck would skew toward elegant roughness, more of a lifted Avista with a lengthened rear deck. And we’d toss in the 2.8-liter diesel, for good measure.

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36 Comments on “This Is How GM Design Head Ed Welburn Envisions a Buick Pickup...”


  • avatar

    Isn’t this called BADGE ENGINEERING?

    Isn’t this what put GM into bankruptcy the first time?

    Slapping a Buick shield on a guzzied up Chevy?

    For who?

    The Chinese?

    Cause real Muricans are gonna go F-150 or RAM mostly…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Real Muricans snapped up El Caminos and Rancheros at one time, before the compact versions became midsized, then full sized. A luxe compact Buick along that line might work, without endangering the profitable trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      The Escalade is BADGE ENGINEERED, yet remains a step above its lesser siblings and sells very well. BADGE ENGINEERING. is also what the big Caddy you love so much is. Why dont you just buy an Impala? Youre contributing to their spiral towards bankruptcy again!

      Much smarter to spend all the money and give it its own unique platform to sell 30k a year, if they are lucky. Im sure the Buick pickup will bring Corvettr money.

      The only alternative to Canyon (as far as platform sharing candidates) that I see is a pickup version of Enclave.

      Maybe both?! Stick one out there like they did the Enclave. It catches on, do the orher.

      If its done right, like Enclave vs.Traverse, it could be a “thing”

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    April Fools a week early?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Did TTAC ask this question?

    Even though Welburn is a design guy, you should have taken the opportunity to ask about turning the 4.3L into the 3800 Series IV.

    I could go for a CTS-sized Alpha platform Buick sedan with an ~360hp supercharged 3.8L pushrod V6 for a little over $40K. All the parts already exist.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Why would Buick offer a PU when pretty much all their current dealerships already have GMCs sitting in the same showroom.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Did anyone actually read the article? Wellburn is completely clear that a Buick pickup is not going to happen.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ed Wellburn is a moron.

    He’s very proud of the reincarnated Camaro (last gen), which he personally assured would have an incredibly awful/tacky interior & hideous sight lines.

    If Buick ever did build a pickup (which they won’t), I would expect it to be assembled in China, with 100% Chinese fabricated parts content, and then be given a really futuristic name, like Synergy, before being driven into container ships for the journey to ‘Murica.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      You’re pretty casual about calling people morons.

      Care to let us know the accomplishments and credentials you’ve accumulated as a result of your superior intellect?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’ve learned to brush off DW most of the time, he’s a big braggard and he may be the best troll I’ve ever seen depending on who he really is. But his analysis is atleast half-based in reality which is better than some of the other more rambunctious types.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    buick : cars :: GMC : trucks

    …of course it would never happen under general motors’ current brand portfolio, but it makes for an interesting thought experiment, and also illustrates the case for cadillac’s EXT…

    …just as an aside, that avista concept is still goreous every time i see it, and i genuinely hope buick knocks it out of the park in their continuing effort to reinvent the brand…

  • avatar
    JimZ

    It would be the Lincoln “Mark LT” all over again.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Actually, the Mark LT did okay. Even after it was replaced by the 2009 F-150 Platinum, it continued in Mexico as a Platinum with a Lincoln baleen grille. The Blackwood is the one you’re thinking of that sold, like, 2,000 units.

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect the Mark LT existed mostly to give Lincoln/Mercury dealers a pickup to sell. Once they killed off Mercury and merged most of their Lincoln dealers into Ford dealers, that need was gone.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Sooooo he is basically saying that they ARE working in a production Avista, since he doesn’t put energy into things that aren’t for production…

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I wouldn’t put down a deposit quite yet. ut he did say that Buick *is* committed to the Avista in the sense that the Avista nose will be slapped on all their cars.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I dunno why there isn’t a Cadillac pickup that’s basically an Escalade front end and interior fitted to a Denali. Like the old EXT, but not an Avalanche.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I’m not sure how Ed keeps his job – but apparently the idiots underneath him have no more talent at design than he has approving them for production. This clown oversees what can best be called “designed by the blind, for the blind” design office. There has been nothing compelling and beautiful that has been produced by this company in decades. Having show cars does not mean anything if you build garbage. And Cadihack can now be best called the design for people that have no eyes, no brains, and no legs.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    A Buick truck sounds unsuccessful, or at least a long shot, based on history. Lincoln tried with the Blackwood, Chevy (a brand that HAS a truck following) tried that SSR thing. Neither had success. Even Mercury had a truck a long time ago. Do you ever hear about that? No. Made for a cool and rare classic, though. It just seems that people don’t look to certain brands for a truck. Cadillac had an exception with the Escalade, and if memory serves, the more truckish version based on the Avalanche isn’t around anymore, either.

    My two cents is that SUV is as close as a brand like Buick wants to get to a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Mercury truck was a Canadian thing and was due to the fact that dealers were far and few between in much of CA at the time. It is also why they added the companion brands of Monarch and Meteor. Mercury dealers got a low priced line to sell and Ford dealers got a mid price line to sell and both had the same trucks with only the badges changed. The Mercury truck was not sold as a premium or mid price product the msrp was the supposed to be the same for identically equipped trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Ah yes, I remember the Merc truck , and the Fargo. Canadian ..eh ?

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Past Mercury trucks – ask Canadians about those. Meaning only, that’s where they were last sold. Another GM truck, what ‘grade’ would a Buick truck be? Near-Luxury Grade? to go with GMC’s Professional Grade and Chevrolet’s (I don’t know) ‘HAHA-You Don’t Have a GMC’ Grade? The importance of truck sales to these guys can’t be more critical, but the marketing is so adolescent. I mean, none of them, even Toyota, favor an ad narrator with a voice higher than the late Barry White, or Sam (Ram Tough) Elliott. The marketing is hilarious for trucks.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    someones missing a niche by not making an el camino/ranchero variant. theres gotta be some pent-up demand for it somewhere, enough to at least make it worthwhile for maybe a 5yr generation.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    I’d rather see a new Riviera. Build it so it’s not outrageous a overly priced. The Crossfire and Solstice were nice cars but overly priced. Same for the last Thunderbird.


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