HomeCar CultureCommentaryCommentary: I thought Buick already had a great nameplate

Commentary: I thought Buick already had a great nameplate


Buick selects Avenir as its new and highest expression of luxury sub-brand | Buick photo
Buick selects Avenir as its new and highest expression of luxury sub-brand | Buick photo

I’m told that Avenir is the French word for “future.” So, how long into the future will it be before we see an Avenir at a collector car auction?

Oh, in case you had not heard, Avenir is a new General Motors’ sub-brand, the “highest expression of Buick luxury.”

Once upon a time, back in the days when you bought a Chevy but aspired to a Buick, the highest expression of David Dunbar Buick’s brand wasn’t a Buick at all, but a Cadillac.

But there’s a new world order at GM, which pointed out a few things in announcing Buick’s new Avenir trim level: The brand has become popular with women buyers, half of Buick buyers are newcomers to the brand, and 90 percent of people buying the Buick Enclave are opting for one of the top two trim levels.

“This year, an unprecedented number of new global products such as the Envision compact SUV and the 2017 LaCrosse sedan offer an elevated luxury experience that’s encouraging new car buyers to reassess what they know about Buick,” the GM news release proclaimed.

1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe | RM Sotheby's photo
1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe | RM Sotheby’s photo

“Through the first half of 2016, Buick has been the industry’s fastest-growing major international brand, and Avenir is key to future growth and delivering on the high expectations of new customers coming to our showrooms,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick Sales, Service and Marketing, was quoted in that release.

Basically, it sounds like Buick wants Avenir, the name of a Buick concept car that dazzled the auto show circuit last year, to do for it what the Denali model designation has done for GMC.

Roadmaster, a Buick badge with heritage | RM Sotheby’s photo

“Avenir will be Buick’s signature,” he added. “The highest expression of the luxury experiences we’re delivering now and in the future.”

Focusing here as we do on classic cars, we wonder if Buick suffers from a lack of institutional memory, if it considered or simply overlooked a name that for many years stood as the highest expression of the brand (and some of us still think it does)?

That name that said so much, and still does, was and still is Roadmaster.siglarry

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
  1. Buick has a great name in AARP only. It has been a word associated with projectile vomiting here in Nascar gearheads world. Come on man, tell me you never called out BUICK at the porcelain throne after too much BUD. Try comfortable ride and simple controls for the old folks as their forte’.
    PS: I own a 1987 GN. Fast and fragile. The exception to the rule. I dare ya’al to print this one.

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