By on June 19, 2012

Bloomberg’s trademark monitor reports that GM filed an application to register “Electra” as a trademark, which triggered suspicion that a Buick Electra may see the light of day again.

Previously filed Electra trademarks, one from 1967, the second from 1989, had expired.

The Detroit News cites GM’s spokesman Nick Richards who says that there are no plans to revive the Electra, that “it’s all rampant speculation based on a single document,” and that it is simply “us protecting the names of historic vehicles.”

Green Car Reports interviewed Mr. Obvious and says that “it would make sense for Buick to launch its own version of the range-extended electric Volt.” That of course for the Chinese market where “Buick is a respected brand .”  Green Car Reports forgot a minor detail: To qualify for Chinese subsidies, it can’t be a Buick, must be a Chinese brand, a Baojun for example.


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29 Comments on “Trademark Filing Triggers Rumors Of Electrafied Buick...”

  • avatar

    Wow. GM didn’t already own “Electra”?

    • 0 avatar

      You have to refile periodically, your filings don’t last forever. You TECHNICALLY don’t need to file, origination of fair use shows ownership (I am really, really over-simplifying to keep this short and simple) but filing affords additional protections.

      So even if GM let it lapse, and Hyundai came out with an Electra for the US market, GM would have a very strong case that they have ownership and calling a Hyundai Electra is not fair use of a brand GM “owns” – I put “owns” in quotes because this is the lapse scenario.

      It is very common for brands to refile to continue protection. Somewhere out there Coca-Cola refiles to protect its brands – I can’t remember the interval, I want to say every 25 years…

      • 0 avatar

        Isn’t it also necessary for a mfr to offer a product under a trademarked name in order to preserve a trademark, even if in a very limited way? I’ve seen unusual product packaging in discount stores like Big Lots that I thought were the result of a Kraft or Proctor Gamble preserving a name for the future. If so, why isn’t GM required to offer something called Electra in order to preserve the trademark?

      • 0 avatar

        Ford planned to apply the “Futura” nameplate, used for the top-of-the-line Falcon and the Fairmont, to what is now the Fusion. But Pep Boys had control over the name (for its Futura tires). GM probably wants to protect the Electra nameplate from this sort of scenario.

  • avatar

    Brings back memories. The father of a friend in high school bought her one of these. She was and is a terrible driver and he wanted some substance between her and the accident (that fortunately never happened). He bragged that he only paid a nickel a pound for the well-used one he bought.
    I think that trunk could sleep six in a pinch.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Every time I see a loaded Lucerne I want to run to the nearest PepBoys and spell out “Electra 225” on the trunk lid.

    Although GM, I’d settle for the importation of the Chinese Park Avenue.

  • avatar

    My Dad bought a 1966 “deuce and a quarter” back in 1974. It was the Sherman Tank I learned how to drive on. And the first car me and my girlfriend made out in! Check out the brochure at for the 1966, it’s like 60 pages!! Holy cow, was that Charlton Heston!

  • avatar

    Seems like GM has given up on the Roadmaster and Fleetwood names, leaving them now to the RV industry.

    Roadmaster is entry 46 of 67 if you search the U.S. Trademark office website. That trademark was cancelled March 17, 2002, after having been applied for (in anticipation of the 1991-96 Buick Roadmasters) on July 31, 1989.

    Fleetwood is entry 52 of 91 by the same search method. It was cancelled, interestingly, only on November 1st last! The trademark for it was filed April 7, 1989.

  • avatar

    Bringing some innovative drivetrain technology (like Voltec) to the Buick line might help to shake the “Buicks are for old people” image…?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      You can get an e-assist Lacrosse now but apparently reviewers are quite underwhelmed by the car.

      • 0 avatar

        E-Assist is a respectable way to save an MPG or two, but it’s not a real hybrid.

        GM tried to pull a fast one by telling the green car community that a similar system was as good as the Prius a few years ago when the Malibu “hybrid” was released, and they were rightfully laughed off of the block as soon as the first buyer looked at the MPG sticker in the window. The Prius buyers who told GM Marketing that they wanted to make an environmental statement must have forgotten to mention that actually using less gasoline is the core of that statement. The GM “hybrid” vehicles of the era have all kinds of garish decoration declaring the vehicles hybridness, but it’s generally not reflected in the MPG sticker in the window – so the statement is an empty gesture and everyone who cares about “hybrids” knows it.

        The Volt is different. It’s more hybrid than the Prius. There biggest problem is that it costs too much, but that would be less of an issue with a “Buick Electra”, just so long as it delivers the luxury too. The other problem is that the gas-only MPG is sub-par, even compared to some non-hybrids in GM’s own lineup (Cruze Eco). It doesn’t matter much if you drive on electric most of the time (as most Volt owners do) I imagine they’ll fix this for the Voltec 2.0 so that they can really call the Prius obsolete.

        Anyway, I’d like to see a Voltec-based Buick Electra with good stats. I personally need a family people mover so I’m notnlikely to buy one, but some actual futuristic technology under the hood would make the case that a Buick might be looking toward the future, rather than back toward my parents…

      • 0 avatar

        So, playing with the idea of brand identities, maybe it should go like this:
        Chevrolet: Practical cars of every shape and size.
        Buick: Upscale technology cars.
        Cadillac: Land yachts that are so extravagant that you don’t care that they can’t corner like a BMW.

        The old model of “normal cars”, “affordable luxury”, “luxury” died the day we were able to get leather seats, a sunroof, and power-everything in a normal car.

  • avatar

    A lot of legacy nameplates may not be currently protected by trademark registration. Back in the day it was more informal, so Chrysler told Ford it could use “Falcon” because Falcon was a name used by Chrysler on one of the Exner-Ghia concepts in the ’50s. FoMoCo reminded Porsche in the early mid-’50s that Continental was already taken.

    Today they try to wrap up all sorts of brand name protection like multiple trademark registrations for the same mark, so GM will probably also register a trademark on Electra for use on apparel, accessories and other merchandising, in addition to its use on automobiles.

    I’m still trying to find out the status of Pontiac’s intellectual property. At the time of the bankruptcy it was announced that the Pontiac brand and related IP would go to Motors Liquidation, the entity created to liquidate the parts of GM that weren’t going to survive. I’m not so sure that’s what happened.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t be surprised if motors liquidation co gave new GM an option to purchase, or traded all that ip back to GM for some other consideration like new GM committing to provide parts and service for all the defunct GM brands.

  • avatar

    Please, Please

    Call it a 225 and give it front engine, rear drive. I might even want one if they ever figure out how to build window regulators–

  • avatar


    1) GM Riding Down Electra Avenue?

    2) GM Having Electra Dreams? (probably been done)

    3) Buick Going Electra?

    4) When Better Cars Are Built, Buick Will Build Them Electra? (or, in China?)

    5) GM Getting An Electra Complex?

    6) Is Electra the Lost Pleiad of the GM Family?

    *7) Is GM Sculpting A New Electra?

    *Edit after reading the comment below.

  • avatar

    Just a little trivia concerning the Electra. The Electra was named for Electra Waggoner Biggs who’s husband was the president of Buick back in the 50’s. This is from the Waggoner Ranch (Texas) website:

    “Electra Waggoner Biggs is a nationally known sculptress and passed away in 2001. Best known for her sculpture of Will Rogers on his horse “Soapsuds” called “Into the Sunset”. Amon G. Carter commissioned Electra Biggs to create the work after Will Rogers’ fatal airplane crash at Point Barrow, Alaska in 1935. Electra Biggs also had the honor of having an automobile named after her. In 1959, John Biggs’ brother-in-law, Harlow H. ‘Red’ Curtice, President of Buick Motors, Division of General Motors, named one of their luxurious Buick models, Electra.”

    The town of Electra, Texas was named for her grandmother, also named Electra.

    The Waggoner Ranch rivaled the famous King Ranch in south Texas. In fact, where the King Ranch was spread out over several several parcels of land, the Waggoner Ranch could boast that it was the biggest continuous ranch in the US.

    Also, the Waggoner mansion in Decatur, Texas was copied for the famous house in the film “Giant” with James Dean.

    Now you know.

    • 0 avatar

      A couple of corrections to the above comment..

      First, Electra Waggoner’s husband was not the president of Buick. As it states in the quote, it was her husband’s, brother in law. So much for fast typing and no proof reading.

      Second, after I posted and the edit time ran out, I saw that Sajeev Mehta wrote an article in TTAC back in 2006 where he mentions the Electra being named after Ms. Biggs. So the final line should read “All of you except Sajeev and readers of TTAC since 2006, now you know”.

  • avatar

    Rollin’ in my ’64

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    One never knows when Lockheed-Martin might want to build a flying car. Oh, wait, “Electra” has a bit of a bad connotation for Lockheed …..

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A hybrid Buick called “Electra”? Well, duh. A true case of the keen eye for the obvious.

  • avatar

    GM needs to hold on to this idea until they have an electric luxury car with a 225 mile range.

  • avatar

    You all can keep the electric/hybrids. I’ll take that 64 in the photo. My grandma had a 64 Electra 225 coupe, and I still regret letting it get away when the transmission went. Shoulda fixed it and kept it.

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