Buick Wildcat Concept Could Inspire ‘Exceptional By Design’ EVs

Even though you don’t hear much about Buick these days, this General Motors brand sold more cars in the U.S. in 2023 than Chrysler, Genesis, or Acura, even without a single plug-in or even a hybrid in its lineup. Now it’s reiterating its commitment to a future where its products will be design-driven vehicles with flowing lines inspired by the 2022 Buick Wildcat concept and the eventual transition to EVs.

The automaker announced its new tagline today—“exceptional by design,” which it says is meant to evoke “the sculptural form and aesthetic philosophy of the Buick brand and product.”

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The future of Buick

For years, Buick has quietly done well in America, but for a long time the bulk of its sales were in China. But its EV pipeline seems uncertain, and many U.S. car dealers folded rather than sign up for an electric future. 

The first Wildcat-inspired models to be introduced in the US were the latest Encore GX, followed by the Envista, which are certainly watered-down versions of what was a striking and quite beautiful two-door coupe concept. They aren’t meant to be halo vehicles, though, and neither will the Envision and Enclave, which are the next models to be launched with Wildcat-infused design.

We’ve seen an official design sketch of what could become the brand’s first EV, the Ultium-based Electra, and it previews what is certainly a bolder-looking vehicle, which it needs to be to rise to the new brand ethos and also stand out in the highly competitive segment it will enter. (And yes, this seems to be different from the Ultium Buick Electra E5 sold in China; really, Buick would be nuts not to use that historic name for future EVs.)

The sketch has not been confirmed to preview the Electra, though, and it wasn’t unanimously liked, so the production model could end up looking completely different.

Buick Wildcat EV Concept

As well as it’s doing here, Buick’s biggest market isn’t the U.S, but China. Even as the Western automakers lose market share to homegrown brands there, the nation accounts for about 80 percent of its global sales, and it’s where its lineup is already mostly electrified. Its stateside lineup currently lacks an all-electric model or a plug-in of any kind, but the Electra EV SUV should be shown toward the end of the year and go on sale in 2025.

In any case, this feels like the first real signs of a future from Buick we’ve seen in a while, at least where the U.S. is concerned. And the Wildcat concept was certainly a memorable one. But last year, GM bought out around half of the U.S. Buick dealers who declined to invest in selling and repairing EVs. 

Can Buick help lead the way as GM sorts out its EV issues? Here’s hoping it can, and that the cars look like this. 


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