In the '20s and '30s, Buick cars were in demand thanks to David Buick's reliable in-line 6- and 8-cylinder OHV engines. On the eve of World War II, the company introduced such innovations as turn signals and the 'through fender', as well as two new body types, the 2-door Sedanet fastback and the Estate Wagon wood-paneled station wagon. Since the late '40s, Buick's hallmarks have been the VentiPorts in the front fenders and the curved side chrome moldings (Sweepspear). Harley Earle's design studio made the '50s Buick models some of the most striking on the American market and developed several futuristic concept cars based on them.
The '60s saw the establishment of the modern Trishield emblem with red, silver and blue shields derived from the Buick family crest. The decade was marked by the introduction of the first production V6 engine in the United States, the debut of the Riviera luxury coupe and the production of a series of high-performance Gran Sport cars. In the early 1980s, the division experimented with turbocharger technology and achieved success in NASCAR racing. In 1985 annual sales of Buick approached 1 million units, but declined steadily thereafter due to the crisis of the U.S. auto industry. The new stage in the development of the brand began with the entry into the Chinese market in the late 90's.
In recent years, there is a rapid growth in popularity of Buick, especially in China, where it already sells twice as many cars than in the U.S. The brand is also represented in Mexico, New Zealand and the Middle East, but is virtually unknown in Europe. Today, Buick products mainly belong to the entry-level luxury segment and compete with low-cost models of Acura, Lexus, Infiniti and Volvo.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Buick was forced to leave the compact segment, but crossover Rendezvous (2001-2007), mid-sized SUV Rainier (2004-2007) and minivan Terraza (2005-2007) were put into production. In 2008, the Buick Enclave luxury SUV replaced both four-wheel-drive models. In 2005, the mid-size Century and Regal were replaced by the Buick LaCrosse, and in 2006, a new full-size sedan Lucerne made its debut.
General Motors bankruptcy did not eliminate the Buick division, largely due to its success in the Chinese market. Pontiac and GMC sales centers were incorporated into the Buick dealer network. Based on the Opel Insignia, the new Buick Regal was developed. Buick and Opel cars were further unified more and more.
Buick is becoming the fastest-growing car brand, mostly due to high sales in China: 447,011 cars were sold there in 2009, 60% more than the previous year. The second generation LaCrosse sedan, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, is positioned as an entry-level luxury model, a competitor to the Lexus ES.
The company's lineup was joined by a mini-crossover Encore (twin Opel Mokka) and a compact Verano sedan based on the Chevrolet Cruze. Also on sale was a high-performance modification Regal GS, equipped with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine Ecotec rated at 270 hp, 6-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The introduction of eAssist hybrid technology on LaCrosse and Regal models improved fuel economy by 38 percent.
Buick sales for the 2014 model year reached a new record of 1170115 units. In the North American market, the brand sells Verano compact sedan, Cascada convertible, Regal and LaCrosse midsize sedans, Encore crossover and Enclave SUV. Do not forget to use Buick VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.
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