Buick is an automobile manufacturer under General Motors (GM) and is the oldest active American brand, and among the oldest in the world. Originally named the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, that manufactured internal combustion engines as well as motor-cars.
On May 9, 1903 the company was incorporated as the Buick Motor Company by David Dunbar Buick in Detroit, Michigan. James H. Whiting took over the company later that year and moved it to Flint, Michigan. In 1904 William C. Durant was acquired to manage operations.
There were two prototypes built between 1899 and 1902 by Walter Lorenzo Marr. Another prototype was built in mid-1904. A fourth prototype was constructed which convinced Whiting to begin the production of the Buick to be sold to the public, a 1904 Model B.
A total of 37 Buicks were made that year, none of them are still in existence. However, there are two replicas, the 1904 endurance car, located at the Buick Gallery & Research Center in Flint, Michigan and a Model B which was assembled by a car enthusiast in California, celebrating Buicks 100th anniversary. The first Buicks were nicknamed the “moving couch of America”, manufactured to resemble a living room in a vehicle.
Buick soon became the largest car maker in America. Durant acquired a few other companies and named it General Motors. In 1911, Buick was the first manufacturer to produce a closed- bodied vehicle, four years ahead of Ford. In 1929, Buick Motor Division produced the Marquette, as a mid-range vehicle priced between Buick and Oldsmobile, but production was discontinued in 1930.
Buick became the first company to introduce turn signals in 1939 as well as all models having a steering column mounted shift lever.
Slowly, Buick models decreased, however, the company had maintained their Century, Regal, LeSabre, and Park Avenue models. In 2001, Buick introduced their first SUV, the Rendezvous crossover. The Buick Centieme crossover concept was produced to celebrate Buick Motor Division’s 100th anniversary.
In 2005, Buick began reducing their model line up. Eventually to just three models, the LaCrosse/Allure, the Lucerne, and the Enclave.
Since 2005, GM has gradually combining Buick, GMC and former Pontiac dealerships to create a Buick-GMC network. During General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009, the company selected Buick as a “core brand”. In January 2009, Buick unveiled the new 2010 LaCrosse sedan with all new styling which compare in luxury with the Lexus ES. Also in 2009, J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study, ranked Buick as the most dependable brand in the United States sharing the honor with Jaguar.
Buick soon became the fastest growing automotive brand in 2010 attracting younger customers. The Regal sedan was re-introduced in 2011 after a seven year absence and in June, the Lucerne full-size sedan was discontinued. Several months later, the all-new 2012 Verano compact sedan was released.
As of 2014, Buick’s North American lineup consists of the Encore mini crossover, the Verano entry-level compact sedan, the Regal mid-size sports sedan, the LaCrosse mid-size sedan, and the Enclave full-size luxury crossover.
Image Caption: 1932 Buick. Credit: Bull-Doser/Wikipedia (public domain)