By on March 12, 2018

Image: GM

Buick had best hope every consumer knows exactly what the tri-shield badge stands for, as  the automaker will soon dispense with “Buick” lettering on all of its models.

The dropping of the brand nameplate on Buick vehicles, first confirmed by GM Authority, began with the refreshed-for-2019 Envision crossover. A fluke born of Chinese manufacture? Nope — Buick is going away, in name only.

According to the automaker, all crossovers and sedans will do away with brand lettering for the 2019 model year, leaving just the iconic (and itself refreshed) badge and model name to signify the vehicle’s identity.

Buick spokesman Stu Fowle told CarBuzz that the decision relates to “global brand consistency,” and the General Motors fells the tri-shield has enough recognition to stand on its own. There’s research to back this up, he asserts.

As well, no other GM brand bothers with a nameplate on the trunk or liftgate, save for GMC, and it’s not commonplace in the industry, Fowle added. The prestigious “Avenir” sub-brand will continue making its presence known on Buick vehicles.

Image: GM

Already, models sold in China fail to inform passers-by (via shiny lettering) that the vehicle in question is, in fact, a Buick. It doesn’t seem to matter, as Buick is China’s best-selling GM brand. China, of course, is also Buick’s biggest market. Sales of Buick-badged vehicles topped 1.18 million in China last year, helping GM post record volume of 4.04 million vehicles.

In contrast, Buick sold 219,231 vehicles in the U.S. last year — a 4.5 percent decrease compared to 2016, and half of the brand’s 2002 volume. (For the record, U.S. sales over the first two months of 2018 are up 2.5 percent.)

It’s hard to imagine GM’s decision to remove the nameplate having any effect on sales. It’s purely a cosmetic thing, though it will make it easier to tell 2018 models from newer ones. Why is that important? Picture yourself, years from now, on a used car lot run by a guy you don’t exactly trust.

[Image: General Motors]

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74 Comments on “‘That’s a Buick?’: Starting in 2019, There’ll Be One Less Way to Know...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I can spot a Buick without the name or the badge, I just look for a turn signal that never stops.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Saves ten cents per unit, woohoo. All your emblems are belong to us.

    • 0 avatar

      This was my first thought, $ savings.

      But as Stu points out, other brands don’t have actual brand letters stuck on, just embedded places: handle of the tailgate, across the grille, inside the lights.

      Seems like other brands got rid of the stick-on brand lettering between 2005 and 2010.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think its a cost and convenience thing because of China. Note the Simplified Chinese characters on the right of the trunk lid.

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2014-Buick-Regal-GS-China-550×412.jpg

        Buick is no longer an “American” brand.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Maybe they can use the savings to bring back body side moldings so we can have fewer door dings.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Meh at least the Tri-shield badge is color again – but Buick please make it brighter.

    I want RED WHITE AND BLUE not “eh red, eh white, eh blue.”

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    WTF? If they’re going to drop the Buick nameplate, at least add the details back to the trishield (the diagonal stripes, the deer’s heads, and the plus signs.

    Maybe they should just put the Buick nameplate back on, this time in Chinese.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Portholes.

    Oh, wait–then Buick simply becomes “Bet U it Isn’t Called Kia”.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      I strongly suspect Kia will be the next to go this route, thankfully. A few months back I received a manufacturer survey asking for on my thoughts about the current branding, and my interest in a new logo that would presumably ditch the “KIA” lettering.

      • 0 avatar

        I bet you they’ll swap it for the stylized KDM “K” logo, or a variation thereof. A very welcome change, as that KIA is low-rent.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          Agreed on both points, Corey.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          The KDM logo is far superior. The Stinger also gets it own logo in Korea. They could do that with more individual models. Actually, all manufacturers should do that with more individual models.

          • 0 avatar
            Lichtronamo

            GM did that at one time during the Ron Zarella era, when each model line was supposed to be it’s own brand. The Chevy Malibu had a wave like logo on the back with a little blue bow tie with hin it. Then they added the GM chicklets to the front doors for overall GM identity, which is what most manufactures site when going with alphanumeric designations to emphasize the manufacture’s brand over individual models.

        • 0 avatar
          ihateyourmustache

          Agreed.. I’m on year two of a 2016 Kia Sorento, and my only issue with it is the ugly emblem.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged Miata Man

            May I suggest…

            http://koreanautoimports.com/2016-sorento-loden-k-metal-skin-badge-emblem-grill-trunk/

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “They still make Buicks?”

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    From first picture, looks like a Rogue, with Buick emblem

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Unfortunately I can recognize the blobby flabby amorphous shape of those boomermobiles, but everyone else can always identify them with their “L” VIN. The ultimate insult to future generations, the culmination of all things boomer, and the trendsetter for outsourcing the most visible and significant sector of manufacturing.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In recent years Honda no longer has the sub model lettering on its cars. No Civic or Accord DX, LX or EX though you can tell the upper models by the upscale alloy wheels. The Civic Si of course had its distinct emblems as well as the Accord Sport.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      True.

      The EXs and above have sunroofs, and the Touring trims get an emblem.

      The new Accords get a “2.0” on the cars with the larger engine, just like the dear departed V6 did.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Why do I get the idea that the Buick brand is going to go the way of Pontiac and Oldsmobile? With so many of their cars being former Opels and now Chinese imports, they’re very close to becoming GM’s next irrelevant brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      Did you see the note above above +1 Million sales of Buicks in China last year? Hardly irrelevant. Irrelevant only in the USA? See 2017 sales below:

      Lincoln: 111,159
      Cadillac: 156,440
      Audi: 210,213
      Buick: 219,231
      Lexus: 305,132
      BMW: 305,685

      Won’t be a surprise when the LaCrosse and Regal get cut. They could add another CUV between the Enclave and Envision similar to a Lincoln MKX/Nautilus with two rows of seats to fill a C/D sized sedan gap.
      MB: 337,246

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    So, 219,231 Buick sold in 2017.
    In 2008 Pontiac division sold 267,348.
    Government “car zhar” Steve Rattner dictated that Pontiac and Saturn and Hummer be killed.
    How well has that worked out?
    Pontiac is missed. Hummer and Saturn not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The answer to this question is: China.

      I remember when Oldsmobile’s death was announced. I was a C&D subscriber in those days. C&D proclaimed: “If Oldsmobile is done then Buick is dead a week from Thursday and Mercury isn’t far behind.”

      Sadly as we sit here in 2018, Buick is the only survivor.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Buick sold 238K cars in China in the last two months of 2017, more than a year’s worth of sales in the USA. 1,183,927 sales for the year.

      Can we stop acting like it’s a mystery that Buick is still around?

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      Buick China only works so long as Buick USA and that link to it exists.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    This is not new for GM, and they still have not learned their lessons.

    The 1994 Oldsmobile Aurora debut w/o the brand name. People liked the car but did not know what it was or where to go buy one. Oldsmobile appears on the first refresh.

    The first refresh of the 2007 Saturn Aura included a new larger emblem so buyers would know what it was. Similar to yelling in a foreign language, if you don’t know what it is, a bigger emblem isn’t going to help!

    Nothing says luxury like a dinner plate sized Cadillac emblem on the ‘Sclade!

    • 0 avatar

      The Aurora was not a similar case, as it debuted with a stylized Rocket at the front, which was not clearly Oldsmobile.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah they kept the name off the Aurora AND changed the logo. No bueno.

        In my 1987 Cutlass Supreme their was a rocket on the steering wheel, on the dash above the radio, and the word “Oldsmobile” in front of the passenger. The hood ornament and the trunk lock were rocket logos and it said “Oldsmobile” in the grille – lest you forget what you were driving.

        • 0 avatar
          KalapanaBlack7G

          Well, those days weren’t exactly GM’s best for brand/model differentiation. So they labeled the hell out of it so you really knew whose version you bought!

          Now, the whole industry is coalescing into a generic handful of shapes with slightly different wheel and grille patterns. You’d think the manufacturers would be shouting about which model they have. But this is post P&G “Brand Uber Alles” nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I really thing GMs true death knells were being rung by the “Brand Managers” they brought in during the 1990s.

            “Oh so you upped the sales of Tide 300%! You should be helping us sell Pontiacs!”

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Can never figure out why Olds put the rear-defroster switch on the left side of the dash like they did in the later years, the same year they moved the wipers to the turn signal along with the cruise control. (The cruise master switch was located there before they implemented the multifunction signal stalk. That was the same year they implemented the Delco 2000-series DIN.5 ETR stereos with the clock.) The defogger switch and clock were originally between the two vents on the right side of the cluster.

      • 0 avatar
        JEFFSHADOW

        Actually the first Aurora had the stylized “A” emblem on the hood with no Rocket logo anywhere. The “Oldsmobile” name was on the radio. Today’s uninformed drivers think my Aurora is a brand new car!
        I can view my 1998 from my home office corner room window and the 2003 Final 500 #410 sits right next to it.
        I added the stylized Rocket emblem to the back of my ’98 but plan to place a recently acquired ‘A’ logo there instead.
        Some members of the Oldsmobile Club of America added V8 and 32V emblems on the expansive taillamp area (reminds me of my cool 1979 Pontiac Trans Am!).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Olds Aurora was actually a fine automobile and had one of the finest V8 engines on the market at that time. An old codger I know still drives one, but only on Sunday.

      In that era few people were willing to pay $36K for an Olds.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    RIGHT !!!

    That’s why you have the letters “CHEVROLET” spelled across the grill on the Chevy Silverado 4500/550 !

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2018/03/heavy-chevy-silverado-name-appears-medium-duty-trucks/

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Plymouth, Pontiac, Olds, Saturn, Mercury…they’d all probably be CUVs by now anyway. Resistance is futile.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, I don’t know why anyone that’s a fan of the dead brands would want them around right now.

      Is a 2018 Oldsmobile lineup made up of Trax, Cruze, Equinox, and Acadia rebadges really worth getting misty-eyed over?

  • avatar
    Fred

    Not a problem as I always take off the badges from my cars. Well, except for the ones that require me to fill holes or part of the grill.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    My 65 Corvair does not have the word Chevrolet anywhere on the car. Just one bow tie on the hood and one on the steering wheel. I’m sure there were a few more GM cars that did that in the past, but not sure which ones. That said, I think it’s a mistake. The tri shield isn’t the Disney mouse ears.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Friend of mine recently got a Corvair to restore. Told me he looked at buying a new one back in the day, but the dealer kept trying to talk him out of it to upsell him to something bigger and more expensive. Wonder if the lack of branding was due to dealer and executive antipathy towards small cars.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      My first car was a 66 Mercury Comet. Nowhere on the car was the word “Mercury” except for the radio dial and the VIN tag on the door frame. The front, back and wheel covers all said “Comet”. It always bugged me that there was no Mercury identification. Anyway my high school friends called it the Vomit most of the time.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Buick, as always trying to copy Lexus, is a bit late to the party. Lexus removed “Lexus” lettering from their cars, leaving only the L logo, in the 2010-2011 time frame.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Lexus stopped putting their name on the back. This is a good move for Buick.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    “I see you got a new Hogwarts.” “A what?!” “A Hogwarts. Aren’t those shields on the back the dorms, or houses? You know the blue one is Ravensomething, the red one is snakesomething and the white one is griffinsomething, a Hogwarts, right?”

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    The TTAC peanut gallery never fails to disappoint when a GM or especially Buick article pops up.


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