By on December 30, 2021

General Motors is hoping to re-up the Electra name for Buick as per a December filing with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO). While many of you will recall the model as another ho-hum sedan from the 1990s with the potential to be graced with a 3800 motor, the car actually dates back to a time where tailfins were all the rage and there was no such thing as too much chrome.

Though it’s unlikely that the name would be affixed to anything burning gasoline in the modern context. Buick has already shown an all-electric concept wearing the Electra name at the 2020 Beijing auto show and it would be the mother of all twists to snub it. 

With this part of the year representing the absolute slowest period for automotive news, everyone starts trawling the USTPO for content, and Car and Driver struck pay dirt here. It surmised that the prospective Electra would use GM’s Ultium platform (a given) and may even be rejiggered version of the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq:

As such, we wager Buick will christen its upcoming EV the Electra. Like the Electra concept, expect the production Buick Electra to use GM’s latest electric vehicle hardware, which goes by the name Ultium. In other words, the new Electra could share its battery pack options, electric motors, and basic platform with other GM EVs, such as the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.

That said, we doubt GM plans to simply swap the Lyriq’s Cadillac crest for Buick’s tri-shield badge. If the Electra concept from Shanghai is anything to go by, then the potential production Electra ought to wear distinct, brand-specific sheet metal. While we suspect the concept’s scissor-hinged doors will fail to find their way to the production vehicle, it is possible the saleable Electra EV trades the traditional two-box body style typical of most SUVs for the concept’s coupe-like shape.

It’s also possible that the name could be used to bring one of the Velite models sold by Buick in China to our market. There are a couple of good candidates — especially the long-range version of the Velite 6 or Velite 7. But there’s nothing forcing the corporate hand other than a corporation’s natural desire to save money on development. This could end up a stretched and rebadged Chevy Bolt, redone Caddy Lyriq, or something totally novel.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the Electra concept that’s already been shown off in China is supposed to use the latest and greatest Ultium has to offer. SAIC-GM said the powertrain consists of two Ultium drive motors that deliver a combined output of 583 horsepower (allegedly capable of zero-to-60 in just 4.3 seconds) and a battery that’s fat enough to sustain the crossover at least 412 miles on a single charge. That sounds pretty good, especially for the U.S. market’s notoriously vast driving distances. But we’re talking about a foreign concept vehicle that’s not been built and doesn’t even technically have the rights to use its own name in our market yet, so it may be wise to tamp down expectations.

That said, the Buick Electra concept was designed by a team from both China and the United States with the goal of using the car to inform future EVs for all markets. Were we talking about any brand, this could have been attributed to SAIC-GM shoveling coal for the hype train. But Buick is crazy important to GM’s Chinese interests and we’re inclined to believe that their desire to craft a global-market EV using the concept as its starting point is totally valid. A revised version of the concept is supposed to result in a global-market Buick midsize crossover by 2024 — though that wouldn’t preclude a rebadged clone of the Cadillac Lyric either.

[Images: SAIC-GM]

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37 Comments on “GM Files to Trademark Electra Name for Buick...”


  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    As GM winds down USA and Canadian Production, this is nothing more than a checkmark on the to-do list. Their bread and butter have V-8 and 3.6L that both eat each other alive after 70K miles. As their market share continues to decline, Ren Cen and the UAW will team up and commission those on K Street for full court press. They will beg for stolen taxpayer wealth to subsidise EVs. Before the ink is dry, USA and Canadian factories will end production which will shift to the CCP.

    …… and then off to Grand Cayman with the executive bonus and the UAW will laugh at their members as the fools they are.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, if there ever were a great name for an EV, it’s “Electra”.

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    Wow, how exciting!

    Signed,

    Nobody

    Since Mary loves retreating from markets and believes she can cut her way to growth (yes, as stupid as that sounds) I give her four years before she takes Buick out back of the barn to put it out of its misery.

  • avatar
    probert

    I’m holding the trademark for the Olds Delmont – and if someone thinks they’re going to get it cheap, they’d better think again!!!!

  • avatar
    Michael500

    All GM has to do is subtract 5 from Electra 225 to Electra 220, easy one. The Electra name has a rich history: Amelia Earhart’s plane, the Lockheed airliner in 1957, the long majestic Buick sedan, and who can ever forget Carmen Electra.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Unpopular take: GM’s new EVs will actually be pretty good.

    (Perhaps after some growing pains, but perhaps not major ones.)

    • 0 avatar
      aja8888

      The trouble is, the buyers are drifting away to other brands. GM is late to the game here. another reason is the Bolt battery fiasco has left a bad taste in the mouth of potential buyers, even though GM was not at fault.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      When they start making them, they will be pretty good – I doubt anyone disagrees, just seems like a very modest goal and a sad inevitablity. The big question is will they be profitable, or have margins worth discussing – so far only Tesla has been able to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>Unpopular take: GM’s new EVs will actually be pretty good.<<

      that would certainly be the triumph of hope over experience

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I don’t remember who first called, but I read the suggestion of “Electra” for Buick here first sometime in the last 18 months.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Eliminating the Buick brand would be suicide for GM especially since Buick is a popular brand in China. Before GM would take the Buick brand out to the woodshed the Chinese would buy it. More likely Barra and Company are grooming GM to be a takeover target preferably by the Chinese. In the meantime the Government is alway there to give GM more money to develop EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      MitchConner

      Seriously, do you think anybody in China could give a rat’s dupa if GM turfs the completely useless Buick brand in the United States?

      Here’s a subtle hint: NO. Here’s another: NOOOOOOOOO.

      That was the same idiotic logic used to keep Buick over Pontiac after GM’s bankruptcy. Yeah, Pontiac sells a lot more cars than Buick in the United States — but Buick’s popular in China — so let’s keep it instead.

      Huh?

      Unless millions of Chinese buyers fly over from Beijing and Shaghai to buy their Buicks in the United States there is absolutely, positively ZERO reason not to maintain the Buick brand there and get rid of it here.

      Then again, all the MBA spreadsheet jockeys bust their trouser seams whenever anybody says “global” — so dumb decision justified with a PowerPoint buzzword — even though there’s no market overlap and, as a result, no cost savings or other benefits to maintaining separate brands involved.

      And the Chinese are not buying GM. CNOOC offered Unocal $18.5B a few years ago — and everybody lost their minds. Chevron eventually stepped in. And that’s before the Chinese started acting like complete scumbags. No way they’re buying anything major here. A bunch of houses in Calfornia and New York, yes. Major companies? No way.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        GM sells a lot more Buicks in China than the USA so as long as GM is in China Buick will not be dropped. The Chinese have bought Volvo and other car companies so why not GM if the price is right. So the Chinese do care about Buick since it is still considered a premium brand there. According to statistics from the Shanghai government, in 1930 one out of every six cars on the city’s roads was a Buick. In 1999, when GM began regular production at its Shanghai GM joint venture, Buick was the chosen brand – largely because of its legacy in China as a prestigious automobile.In 2017, Buick sold more than 1.4 million vehicles worldwide, a record for the brand.The main market is now China, where 80% of Buick-branded automobiles are sold.

  • avatar

    it was 60’s thru 80’s.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Right after I leased our 2021 Cadillac CT5, I attempted to contact GM’s Mary Barra. The receptionist said that no personal calls or emails were allowed. The Cadillac division should take over the defunct CNC Motors building in Upland, California and operate it as ‘SoCalCadillac’. I would come out of early retirement to help run it!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The show car’s shape is wildly impractical but I’m hoping that it points the way toward a CUV that is Enclave-sized but has far more panache and presence. I’ve always been mystified by GM’s inability to take the swagger it puts in the Yukotahoburbalade and translate it into a slightly smaller unibody CUV. There are so many good examples from other brands, especially European ones, and yet all we get is boring, utilitarian Lambdas, even from Buick and Cadillac. I want the Electra to be an Enclave replacement that someone might actually want, not just need.

  • avatar

    I remember Buick Electra as a majestic 1959 sedan. I do not remember any Electra from 1980s. Chinese probably agree with me. On the other note – why people become so hysterical lately and send death threats and wish bankruptcy to someone they don’t like and probably do not know.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      it had one of scariest front ends ever

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Like stiff horned eyebrows after Grandpa finally scissored off his inch and a half long doggie-style ‘brows. As a kid who lived along the main highway in those days, just a two-laner, what I remember is the damn wind whistle they made as they motored by at 60 or so on the primitive rubber bands we then called tires, cross-ply two-ply rayon balloons that came with a massive 90 day warranty. They also featured zero traction, pillow ride, and a propensity to squeal when Grandma hauled that big MF into the driveway at a drastically sporting 10 mph.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not really a wish for GM to go thru bankruptcy so much as GM hasn’t learned from their mistakes. I don’t wish for people to lose their jobs. As for names Electra is an excellent name for an electric vehicle and has a lot of history for Buick. The Electra from 80 thru 84 was a continuation of the platform from the 77 GM full size downsizing but in 85 the Electra was all new with front wheel drive and V6 and that generation lasted thru 90 with 90 being the last Electra. Another good name Buick could use from the past for an EV would be Invicta.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    The name has been used by Buick for decades. Why wouldn’t they have trademarked it back then?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Ok, fine, but what about the LeSabre? The Electra and LeSabre went hand in hand. How about LightSabre to update the name for the EV era while respecting tradition?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    LeSabre is a good name and so is Wildcat. Buick has several names from the past that would be great to use for EVs. Now all Buick has to do is make good EVs worthy of those names.

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