The Buick Motor Company was founded in 1903. Five years later it was absorbed by a new holding company by the name of General Motors or GM. Today, the Buick marque is a premium brand, offering models that serve as a stepping stone from mainstream Chevrolet to luxury Cadillac.
Buick is the second longest surviving US automotive brand after Cadillac, founded just weeks before Ford got started. Along with Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, Buick composes GM’s North American marketing portfolio.
The Buick brand, long recognized by its tri-shield emblem and waterfall grille, has been a pioneer in all things automotive. In 1909, a Buick won the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex and in 1911 it offered its first closed-body car. In 1938 the Buick Y-Job made its debut, credited as the industry’s first ever concept.Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Buicks grew in size and numbers, but always stayed a step behind Cadillac and just ahead of Oldsmobile in the GM pecking order. Models such as the Buick Roadmaster, Skylark Convertible, Invicta, Wildcat and Electra 225 defined the brand during that era.
In 1970 the brand began to flex its performance muscle as it introduced the Buick GSX. One of its most well-known models was the Buick Riviera, a personal luxury coupe produced for more than 35 years beginning in 1963.
From the late 1990s to well into the 2000s, the Buick brand was represented by a portfolio of models based largely on other GM platforms. The Buick Park Avenue was the flagship model, followed by the Lucerne, LeSabre, Regal and Century. It was during that time when GM combined Buick, GMC and Pontiac dealerships under one roof, but Pontiac was officially shut down in 2010, one year after GM’s bankruptcy and restructuring.
Although GM assigned the bulk of its performance work to Chevrolet and Pontiac, Buick has also had its time on the track. In 1976, a Buick Century was the official pace car for the Indy 500. In 1987, it introduced the Buick GNX, a sport coupe based on the Regal Grand National that’s a drag racing favorite and prized for its sub-5-second 0 to 60 mph times. The Grand National also participated in NASCAR’s Winston Cup as well as the CART IndyCar Series and IMSA GT Series. By the mid-1990s, Buick exited motorsports.
GM’s restructuring breathed new life into the brand with the automaker working diligently to reach younger buyers. Its small Buick Encore and larger Enclave SUVs are sold alongside sedans such as the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Verano. Buick shoppers in need of utility options can cross shop GMC trucks and SUVs under the same roof.