GM Heads for the Chinese Riviera

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

As TTAC scribe Megan Benoit wrote in her Enclave review, when better Buicks are built, they'll be built in China. And so it is. GM has released this press shot of the designed-in-China Buick Riviera concept, headed for the (TTAC-attended) North American International Auto Show. Just in case you didn't get the message that the storied Buick brand is now [more or less] a foreign nameplate, note that the gull-winged, carbon fiber-clad concept car debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show. Although GM says the Riviera is supposed to showcase Buick's forthcoming global design language, I reckon all that means is that the portholes and the Paul Weller grill stay. It's a shame that GM didn't look for the same kind of Euro-American design genius that informed legendary designer Bill Mitchell's first Buick Riviera, but at least they didn't call it the CX10.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Jan 10, 2008

    How cool would that be to see Tiger Woods driving that thing to the next PGA event?

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Jan 10, 2008

    If they can get a production version with gull wing doors that would be very cool.

  • Dorian666 Dorian666 on Jan 10, 2008

    I have come to the conclusion that North America is a third world area for most car manufacturers. We get the least body choice, least engine choice, least interior type choice , least paint colour choice. The only luxury we get is the largest engine avaiable. Vehicles are high volume low profit in NA here and that is affecting our options.

  • John Williams John Williams on Jan 10, 2008

    I believe the NA Focus was considered by "focus groups" (ha!) and corporate HQ to be the safest choice in terms of design -- that and the fact that most of Ford's European offers have in the past been complete failures in terms of sales. Cost is also a big consideration -- the EU Focus would be costly to bring over, let alone build here. I think the big problem is that the Big 3 are looking at Accord/Camry sales too hard for their own good -- by adopting nearly all of their bad traits while cost-cutting the good ones. Hence you're left with a stodgy 4 door sedan with bland styling marked with gimmicky trademark Big 3 styling cues, engine and suspension tech that's at least a generation behind the CamCord, and interiors that loudly announce the overall cheapness of the car itself. And don't forget the cars are currently playing second-fiddle to the Big 3's "Sure-Fire Cash Cow": SUVs and CUVs. Meanwhile, cars like the Park Avenue and concepts like the Riviera are sent away to Europe and China, countries where potential customers have a higher expectation of the Big 3 and higher standards to hold them to.