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The Buick Riviera Concept

Buick is a car company struggling to find an identity.

Once a fairly luxurious division of General Motors, the 70’s and 80’s saw the marquee descend into irrelevance as it put of cookie cutter copies of standard GM platforms that were as dull as they were unsuccessful.

With the exception of the Grand National and the 90’s Riviera, it has been a long time since Buick had any kind of special car it could proudly stand behind and call uniquely its own.

Their current lineup is not much better, as the brand has become somewhat of an afterthought in terms of marketing, with the occasional Lucerne or Lacrosse debuted to an uninterested audience.

Buick hopes to change that starting with the Riviera concept.


The Riviera is a name long associated with personal luxury at Buick. Since the 60’s, several different generations of this 2 door have been offered, and many of them are sought after collectibles.

The 2009 Riviera concept proposes a bold new direction in styling for Buick, with sculpted, aerodynamic styling that lends the coupe an aggressive sports car stance. Gull wing doors almost split the car in half as a large section of the roof also lifts away with the door upon entry.

The door is so large that it exposes almost the entire side of the vehicle and making for easy access to either the front or the rear of the car. In addition to being a spectacle unto themselves, when raised the doors projected the word ‘Buick’ in lights upon the ground.

Of course, with the doors up, no one is going to be looking at anything else, but it is certainly a nice touch.
Split across the center by a console that travels the full length of the interior, the Riviera is a true two plus two, with front and rear buckets.

Other interior goodies include a touch-controlled LCD screen and a three-dimensional gauge display, continuing Buick’s tradition of using the Riviera as the test bed for their use of new technologies.

These very modern trappings manage to shake the feel that you are in a placid Buick of old and point to a positive direction for the companies interior styling.

The Riviera concept rides on GM’s midsize Epsilon platform, which means that production is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility.

There has been no mention of what power train options might be available, or even what is currently underneath the hood of the concept itself. If the vehicle did see its way to a showroom, it would most likely loose some of the more radical aspects of its exterior design – sadly, this probably means the doors – but the general feel of the car would remain the same.

Buick has seen some success in the Chinese market, and this unexpected sales windfall has caused corporate parent General Motors to seriously examine how to best position the brand in that emerging market.

A halo car like the Riviera, which in China has no negative emotional baggage from years of image mismanagement would do well to restore the carmaker’s former glory and establish Buick as more than just an also-ran in the airport car rental game





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