One of America’s Oldest Brands
Buick, one of the oldest, and for some time, most traditional brands in the U.S., and certainly within General Motors, is ready to embark on a huge transformation that will fully electrify its vehicle lineup in North America – led by a new badge and brand identity. And, if the new Wildcat concept is anything to go by, Buick’s electric future should be very exciting indeed.
The Wildcat EV, a concept car that signals Buick’s new design direction as well as its electric intentions, also debuts a new Buick badge and brand identity, which will debut on production vehicles starting in 2023. The brand’s first production electric car will hit the road in 2024, with the entire Buick lineup fully electrified by 2030. Buick’s future electric car products will carry the Electra name, drawing inspiration from the brand’s history.
Electrifying Wildcat EV Concept
For nearly 70 years, Buick has reserved the Wildcat name has for innovative concept vehicles that push the boundaries of design and technology. The first Wildcat, introduced in 1953, was a show vehicle that previewed next-generation Buick design. The Wildcat II and III concepts followed in 1954 and 1955, respectively, and the designs of all were overseen by legendary chief designer Harley Earl. In 1985, another Wildcat concept debuted. It was a futuristically styled, mid-engine and AWD supercar developed to showcase new engine technologies.
The latest Wildcat, called the Wildcat EV, was developed to convey Buick’s all-new design language. It features the brand’s new tri-shield logo mounted prominently on the body, symbolizing the design transformation and new production models will wear it starting next year. It also introduces a new, expressive face, with a forward-leaning front end that features a low-mounted, trapezoidal “grille.” The lighting front and rear does a little welcome dance when the driver approaches, adding some drama to the user experience.
It's interesting that the Wildcat is a 2+2 coupe. On the one hand, it’s gorgeous, with a powerful, expressive stance, and laid-back lines and tapered side glass that suggest speed. From every angle, the dramatic concept car looks ready to pounce. On the other hand, the market for luxury coupes is a small one – and so you’d have to imagine that Buick’s first production electric car will have to translate these styling cues to a crossover or an SUV.
The Wildcat EV’s interior gives perhaps a stronger indication of what we might see from future Buicks. It is inviting and comforting, and integrates new technologies designed to make the driving and riding experience more enjoyable. Simple, graceful forms are complemented by warm colors and materials.
The 2+2 configuration is divided by a prominent console that extends from the base of the instrument panel all the way through to the rear seats, using graphic and color contrasts to create the perception of floating elements – these accentuate the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. A combination of green and orange elements add visual interest and distinction, as does the clever use of lighting elements. Cockpit-style seats with cantilevered headrests appear to float, and there is a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, hinting at autonomous driving capability.
Of course, the Wildcat is also packed with technology. A sweeping touchscreen gives driver and front passenger access to all infotainment features, and is complemented by another screen on the console. In addition to the usual suite of driver assistance and infotainment features, Buick also says that the Wildcat EV is designed to enhance occupants’ well-being through biometrics and aromatherapy. The vehicle is designed to detect if the driver’s heart rate is elevated, and will automatically adjust vehicle settings to calm them down. For example, when Zen Mode is activated, the cabin lights will dim, and the car will disperse calming aromatherapy scents and activate the massaging seats.
Going All-Electric By 2030
The Wildcat EV caries a new Buick badge, the first significant change to the emblem since 1990. It’s no longer circular, and now features a sleek, horizontally aligned layout that integrates Buick’s traditional triple shields. Future Buick exterior designs will incorporate fluid, tense surfaces like the Wildcat’s to convey forward motion – and like the Wildcat, their interiors will balance modern design and new technology with warmth and a rich sensory experience that speak to Buick’s history.
A new design language is just the start of the changes at Buick. The brand will also revamp its complete identity and marketing approach over the next year and a half, with the goal of becoming an all-electric brand by 2030. The brand transformation will include a more seamless connectivity experience with apps and the brand website, and smart services such as a remote key fob, WIFI data, and three years of OnStar security services and other connectivity services will be standard equipment on all Buicks.
The first new production Buick with an all-electric drivetrain isn’t far away. In 2024, the brand’s first electric car will hit the market in North America, in support of parent company GM’s vision of a zero-emissions future. We’re excited to see what it looks like.
Explore all new, upcoming and previous model year electric cars with our GreenCars Buyer's Guide.