2007-04-20, Shanghai – The Buick Riviera, a stunning concept car designed to showcase Buick’s new global design direction, made its global debut today at Auto Shanghai 2007. The gullwing Riviera concept coupe was developed with global design input by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in China, a design and engineering joint venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). It was introduced by both Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO, and Hu Maoyuan, SAIC Chairman.
The Riviera has been engineered to accommodate a new hybrid system that will go into production at Shanghai GM, GM’s flagship joint venture with SAIC, in 2008. The fuel-efficient car, which will feature several technological and manufacturing advances, represents the latest achievement of GM and its partners in the promotion and development of alternative propulsion technologies in China.
According to Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design, ”Developing and launching the Riviera in China underscores the diversity, strength and depth of the GM global design network. It also reflects PATAC’s growing role within the GM Design family and China’s significance as the world’s largest Buick market.”
The Riviera also marks the return of a renowned Buick nameplate after an eight-year hiatus, having sold more than 1.1 million units in the United States between 1963 and 1999.
To establish their design direction, PATAC designers looked in part to Buick icons such as the original Y-Job Concept of 1938, the 1960s Le Sabre, Electra 225 and the Riviera coupes of the 1960s and ’70s. They incorporated several other design signatures from the original Riviera generation including the double sweep spear line along the bodyside and the flared tail design.
The Riviera design is structured around the Buick tri-shield logo, sitting proudly on a trihedral waterfall grille which is formed by three meeting planes. The logo, hood strip, headlamps, side mirrors and rocker covers all have ‘icy green’ backlighting available at night, matched by backlit logo and exhausts at the rear.
The gullwing doors, selected for their exotic appeal, achieve an expansive entrance to the two-plus-two seating configuration. At night, fully opened doors gently shine the Buick name on the ground.
The use of rich blue and subtle creams, representing earth and water themes, are conveyed through the interior, its leather bucket seats, plush carpet and a luxurious padded steering wheel. Completing the organic feel, the roof comprises two shaded glass windows offering increased headroom and a celestial connection for occupants.
The speedometer, inspired by past classics but utterly modern in design, compliments the touchpad styled central console loosely modeled on a computer mouse. An LCD display screen crowns the central console.
Ambient light strips are applied from across the console and inserted on the door liner, stretching to the front seats. Deliberately imitating precious Chinese jade stone, the lights are tinted a subtle icy green, which also offers tribute to a favored color of Buicks in days gone by.
Interior trim treatments befitting the Buick prestige abound – miniature aluminum tri-shields in the front seat headrests, a wooden floor mat in the rear and a rear central armrest which can move sideways left and right to accommodate passengers of different sizes.
Ancient Influences In Modern Design
The design team set out to create a modern global design – not something which could be superficially described as a Chinese car. At the same time, they sought to draw from their heritage outside the automotive industry from classic shapes, concepts and artifacts. They wanted to include a subtle Chinese essence and influence if one looked deeply enough.