Buick said Wednesday it will launch its first EV in 2024 and revealed a sleek concept car that will set the direction on its journey to becoming a fully electric brand in North America by 2030. But that’s not the most surprising news. Buick, it seems, is opening the door to coupes and sedans.
Even though Buick jettisoned its sedans two years ago to reposition itself as an SUV brand, the Buick Wildcat EV concept is a low-slung 2+2 coupe, which indicates that the brand is open to adding cars back into its lineup as it launches electric models.
The concept bears Buick’s new tri-shield badging, which will begin appearing on Buick models next year and emphasizes aerodynamic lines. The fascia features a low-mounted, trapezoidal grille and high-mounted, check mark-shaped headlamps that executives said will be incorporated into future Buick models.
Buick also announced that it will launch five EVs in China, the brand’s biggest market, by 2025.
As it transitions to an EV-only lineup, Buick is reviving two names from its storied past. The Wildcat nameplate harkens to the series of 1950s concept cars created by GM Chief Designer Harley Earl to preview Buick’s next-generation design. Meanwhile, Buick’s forthcoming EV portfolio will carry the long-running Electra name, which the brand retired in 1990.
The company stopped making coupes in 1999, with the Buick Riviera. It resurrected the two-door body style to create the flashy Buick Avenir concept in 2015 but did not bring that car into production.
Buick did not reveal any performance details about the Wildcat concept such as battery range, speed or price but said its future EVs will be underpinned by General Motors’ new Ultium battery-electric propulsion system. The cost-saving, scalable platform, which also powers the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EVs, can be configured to produce 19 different battery and drive unit configurations.
“It can be applied across the portfolio,” Duncan Aldred, global vice president of Buick-GMC, said in a briefing Wednesday. “It can produce different body styles. It gives huge inherent advantages.”
The Wildcat concept features semi-swing doors, turbine 18-spoke wheels and a wraparound windshield designed to underscore its sloping silhouette. The headlamps use micro LED technology to animate when the driver approaches.
Inside, the cabin features a touchscreen that stretches the length of the dashboard, as well as a smaller screen in the center console.
Buick said that the car incorporates AI, biometrics and aromatherapy. The cabin will be able to adapt to its user to make suggestions on a variety of functions. For example, Zen mode dims the lighting, adjusts the cabin’s temperature and audio volume, activates the car’s massaging seats and releases calming aromatherapy scents, according to Buick.