DETROIT — General Motors on Wednesday unveiled the Buick Wildcat, a new concept car designed to signal a revolutionary change for the brand, as it moves to offer only electric vehicles in North America by the end of this decade.
The car reflects the future design and technological directions of the 119-year-old brand, including a significantly redesigned logo for the first time in more than 30 years.
Buick marketing manager Rob Peterson said elements of the Wildcat will be included in Buick vehicles — both traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and EVs — starting next year.
“It is a very, very important concept for the Buick brand, because it is launching us in a new direction,” he told CNBC during an interview.
A new gas-powered SUV with the new characteristics and logo will be unveiled this fall for the U.S. market, Peterson said. It is expected to go on sale next year.
While Buick is GM’s smallest vehicle lineup in the U.S., the brand is extremely important to the automaker in China, where it has been a prominent luxury player for decades.
GM has said that by 2035 it plans to offer only electric vehicles. Its luxury Cadillac brand has also set a separate goal to be all-electric by 2030.
New EV in 2024
Buick said its first EV for the U.S. is expected in 2024 on GM’s Ultium battery platform. It will be followed by several new EVs, and by 2030 the brand will no longer offer vehicles with internal combustion engines in North America, Peterson said.
Buick’s future EVs will launch under the name Electra, a former vehicle name used by the brand for decades until 1990. Buick has used the Wildcat name for nearly 70 years, including for other concept vehicles and production cars in the 1960s and 1970s.
The company is counting on its move to electric vehicles to help shake off its stodgy image as a maker of vehicles for senior citizens and to help attract new, younger buyers.
“The best way to change persona is through design language and through messaging, and I think that the sophistication of this new design language is going to be one of the fastest ways to get more people thinking about this,” Peterson said. “We won’t miss this opportunity.”[“source=cnbc”]