110 interesting facts and milestones for Buick.
1. Detroit plumbing inventor/executive David Dunbar Buick, already building gasoline engines, founds Buick Auto-Vim and Power Co. in 1899.
2. Walter L. Marr built an experimental Buick in 1899-1900, then bought it for $225 in 1901.
3. In 1902, Eugene C. Richard applied for a Buick patent on an overhead valve, or valve-in-head, engine. The design is later adapted across the auto industry.
4. David Dunbar Buick founds the Buick Motor Co. on May 19, 1903 in Detroit.
5. Flint Wagon Works purchased the Buick Motor Co. on Sept. 3, 1903, and moved it to Flint.
6. From 1903-1998 Flint, then known as “Vehicle City” for its vigorous carriage industry, was Buick’s home.
7. Buick helped William Crapo “Billy” Durant create General Motors in 1908.
8. Buick’s first vehicle, the 1904 Model B, was also the shortest, riding on an 83-inch wheelbase. The 2013 Encore luxury small crossover isn’t quite as small, but it does have the shortest wheelbase (100.6 inches) since the 1912 Model 34 (90.7 inches.)
9. In 1904, a famous test drive was taken by Marr and Buick’s son Thomas from July 9-12 from Flint to Detroit and back.
10. Willian C. “Billy” Durant, who would co-found General Motors, took charge of Buick on Nov. 1, 1904.
11. Buick produced 37 cars during its first year of production in 1904.
12. In 1905, Durant moved Buick’s car assembly temporarily from Flint to Jackson while raising money to create a huge factory on Flint’s north side.
13. From 1906-1907, Buick’s north Flint complex was built. Nearly 16 million Buicks were completed between 1907 and 1999.
14. After merger talks failed with Henry Ford, Durant created General Motors on Sept. 16, 1908.
15. Buick quickly became a part of General motors, followed by Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Oakland, which later became Pontiac in 1908-1909.
16. In 1908, Buick claimed U.S. car leadership with production of 8,820 vehicles.
17. Buick has a deep motorsports history, proving its performance on race tracks as early as 1908. A Buick has served as Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 six times, and the brand also won two NASCAR Manufacturer Championships, in 1981 and 1982.
18. Between 1908 and 1910, Durant’s Buick racing team, headed by Wild Bob Burman and Louis Chevrolet, captured 500 trophies.
19. There are photographs of Dr. Sun Yatsen, first provisional president of the Republic of China, riding in a Buick in Shanghai in 1912.
20. In 1914, GM Field official Johnston Martin claimed Buick as the first car driven across South America. He sent a 1912 Model 28 from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile.
21. Buick introduced the six-cylinder engine and electric starter in 1914.
22. After just over three decades of engineering progress, the first production Buick topped 100 mph. It was the appropriately named 1936 Buick Century.
23. Durant, after losing GM (including Buick) to bankers, helped Louis Chevrolet form Chevrolet Motor Co in 1911.
24. Durant regained control of GM and built it into an empire from 1915-1916.
25. Walter P. Chrysler was Buick’s president in 1916.
26. From 1917-1918, Buick built Liberty aircraft engines, mortar shells, ambulances and experimental trucks for World War I.
27. In 1920, Walter P. Chrysler resigned as Buick president and later forms Chrysler Corp.
28. Durant, overextended in stock market, was again forced out of GM in 1920.
29. Buick built its one-millionth vehicle in 1923.
30. In 1925, Buick and GM Export sent a Buick around the world without an assigned driver, handing it off to various dealers to publicize worldwide service.
31. David Buck died March 5, 1929 at 74 years old.
32. In 1929, Buick opened its first sales office in Shanghai.
33. By 1931, all Buicks are powered by straight eight engines.
34. The 1938 Buick Y-Job, credited to famed designer Harley Earl, is regarded as the first concept car ever built. Its waterfall grille is still used on Buicks today, and it featured futuristic technologies like power windows. Earl drove the car himself for more than a decade.
35. In 1940, Buick debuted its Estate Wagon.
36. U.S. production hit a then-record of more than 320,000 units with nearly 8,000 being exported from the U.S. in 1941.
37. In February 1942, the last civilian car left a Buick facility before full attention was placed on engineering and producing aircraft engines, ammunition and the M18 tank destroyer, better known as the Hellcat.
38. The M18 and Hellcat logo originated in the design studio of Harley Earl, whose team also worked extensively on early camouflage paint. The logo, flanked by the words “Seek, Strike, Destroy,” depicts a wildcat biting down on crushed treads, signifying the Hellcat’s mission of targeting enemy tanks.
39. Buick engineers brought the Hellcat to life from the design team’s sketches and developed an innovative torsion bar suspension that provided a steady ride, according to GM.
40. Production of the M18 Hellcat began in mid-1943 and ended in October 1944. The project was so secretive that a story about the “new” tank destroyer ran in newspapers just a month before production ended.
41. Vehicle production restarted in 1945. Buick, like other auto brands, experienced tremendous growth through the ’50s and ’60s following WWII.
42. Durant dies March 18, 1947 at the age of 85 in New York.
43. On its reliability and quality, Buick, known as the “doctor’s car,” quickly turned into a brand that mainstream consumers aspired to own and the wealthy respected.
44. In 1955, Buick reached third place in the industry with 745,000 deliveries.
45. Buick became the first major corporate sponsor in golf with the Buick open at Warwick Hills near Flint in 1958.
46. In 1959, Buick sales slumped; Buick dropped the Roadmaster, Super, Century, and Special to introduce the LeSabre, Invicta and Electra.
47. The Buick Electra 225 nameplate was introduced in 1959, with the “225” referencing the model’s overall length in inches.
48. By 1975, the Electra grew to become the longest vehicle ever produced by Buick. It measured 233.7 inches from bumper to bumper.
49. In 1962, Buick Special, with first U.S. mass-produced V6 engine, is Motor Trend “Car of the Year.”
50. The 1963 Riviera, often regarded as one of history’s most beautiful cars, celebrated its 50th anniversary that year. The powerful sport coupe was said to be inspired by a Rolls-Royce that Buick design boss Bill Mitchell saw through a fog in London.
51. In 1965, Buick joined the muscle car-era with the first of 145,000 Gran Sport and GSX models.
52. Buick’s quickest car was also one of the brands rarest. Car and Driver magazine recorded 0-60 mph acceleration for the 1987 Buick GNX at just 4.6 seconds. Just 547 were built.
53. The controversial “boat-tail” design debuted on the Riviera in 1971. It survived three model years from 1971-1973.
54. The compact Skyhawk arrived in 1975.
55. Powertrain innovation is a Buick hallmark. Today, the company’s turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0L delivers 259 hp, but displacement was king in the 1960s and ‘70s. Buick’s largest engine, a 455-cubic-inch (7.5L) V-8, was introduced in 1970.
56. The 1979 Riviera was the first front-wheel-drive Buick.
57. The ’70s and ’80s were arguably Buick’s heyday. In 1985, production of the Century and Electra spurred Buick’s North American production to top 1 million.
58. In 1982, a soft-top Riviera helped lead the return of the convertible, which had disappeared from domestic lineups in the late ‘70s.
59. Buick worldwide sales topped 1 million for the first time in 1984.
60. In 1988, the Academy Award-winning film “Rain Man” prominently featured a 1949 Roadmaster convertible.
61. The Flint-built LeSabre ranked No. 1 in North America and No. 2in the world in major independent quality study in 1989.
62. Buick changed its slogan from “The Great American Road Belongs to Buick” to “Buick: The New Symbol for Quality in America” in 1989.
63. By the 1990s, Buick was sponsoring four PGA Tour events.
64. In 1991, Buick led the industry in improvement in market share and sales.
65. By the late 1990s, Buick was the industry-leader in supercharging.
66. A commemorative plaque was unveiled in 1994 at David Buick’s birthplace in Arbroath, Scotland.
67. In 1996, Durant was named to the Business Hall of Fame.
68. Buick offered hands-free experimental driving to officials and press in 1997.
69. Detroit once again became Buick’s home, when GM moved its headquarters from Flint to the Motor City in 1998.
70. In December 2009, the first Chinese Buick rolled off a production line in Shanghai.
71. Buick opened its “Gallery and Research Center” at Flint’s Sloan Museum in 1998.
72. The last of nearly 16 million Buick built in Flint rolled off the line on June 29, 1999.
73. The last Buick built in Flint was a 1999 LeSabre.
74. In 2001, the Rendezvous, a crossover vehicle, was Buick’s first model based on a truck since 1923.
75. In 2002, starting momentum for Buick’s centennial in 2003, Buick and Sloan Museum collaborated to take a selection of vintage Buicks on a tour of automotive museums across the country.
76. 2002 marked the last time Buick’s market share was above 2 percent in the U.S., according to Edmunds.com.
77. From 2002 to 2009, Buick’s sales drastically dropped about 330,000 units in the U.S.
78. Buick celebrated its 100th birthday on May 19, 2003.
79. To celebrate Buick’s centennial, Buick Club of America celebrated with a national meet in Flint.
80. In 2007, Buick introduced the 2008 Buick Enclave, which remains one of its most-popular models. It marked the beginning of Buick’s new design direction.
81. For the 2007 model year, Shanghai GM introduced the Buick LaCrosse.
82. In 2008-2009, Buick’s U.S. market share dipped to 1 percent.
83. In 2009, GM and government officials reach the decision to keep Buick as a brand.
84. Buick’s U.S. sales were about 102,300 vehicles, a record-low for the brand.
85. On June 1, 2009 GM went into a government-backed bankruptcy.
86. In October 2009, Buick announced it would resurrect the Regal name for a new sedan.
87. The second-generation Buick LaCrosse received rave reviews for its design when introduced as a 2010 model.
88. 2010 marked the first time Buick experienced increased sales in the U.S. since at least 2002.
89. In January 2010 Buick debuted the Regal GS showcar at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
90. In October 2010, GM announced an investment of $145 million at the Orion Assembly Center to build the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick’s future compact sedan – the all-new Verano.
91. In November 2010, GM said the 2012 Lacrosse would debut Buick’s eAssist, a new mild hybrid as its base model.
92. Buick debuted the Verano during the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
93. In 2011, Buick partnered with the NCAA to become the “official partner of human achievement.” This year marked the third-consecutive year of the partnership.
94. In July 2012, less than a year after its launch in China, sales of the Buick LaCrosse reached 100,000 units.
95. The fastest production Buick in history is today’s Buick Regal GS luxury sport sedan. At the 2012 Nevada Open Road Challenge, it recorded a top speed of 162 mph.
96. Buick has made many models with seating for two, four, five or six passengers. But only twice in 110 years has the brand produced vehicles with seating for up to eight: the 2008-2013 Enclave and the 1991-1996 Roadmaster Estate.
97. Buick debuted the Encore during the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
98. Buick introduced its “Experience Buick” campaign, which offers the security and convenience of a 24-month lease that includes routine maintenance, an OnStar Directions and Connections plan and SiriusXM radio, all bundled into one simple monthly payment.
99. Through the end of 2012, Buick has sold more than 43 million vehicles. That’s the equivalent of every vehicle sold in the United States over the past three years.
100. In March 2012, Buick and GMC told dealers that the brands will introduce nine new or significantly updated models in the next 12 months, starting with the new Buick Enclave luxury crossover SUV and GMC Acadia crossover SUV .
101. Amid an aggressive product overhaul in October 2012, Buick announces its average customer age for the brand has dropped to
57, a seven-year decline from five years ago.
102. Buick retail sales for 2012 were up 6 percent over 2011 and at the highest level in six years, giving the brand its third consecutive year of retail sales gains in 2012. Buick total sales increased 2 percent in 2012 and were the highest since 2007.
103. Led by Buick, Shanghai GM’s sales increased 10.9 percent to a record more than 1.3 million units in China in 2012.
104. Buick sales in China increased 8.4 percent on an annual basis, finishing 2012 at a year-end high of 700,007 units, dwarfing the brand’s U.S. sales of about 180,400 cars and trucks.
105. January 2013 marked the first deliveries of Buick’s new luxury small crossover, the Encore.
106. Buick’s February 2013 retail sales were the best since 2004 with a 13 percent year-over-year increase, the 10th consecutive month of higher sales to individual customers. Total sales, including those sold to executive fleets and other commercial customers, were up 15 percent.
107. A year after its debut, Experience Buick leasing — a two-year term with a single monthly payment that includes entertainment, safety and maintenance features — led Buick to double its leasing business as a share of total sales over the last 12 months.
108. Buick debuted the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and Regal during the 2013 New York International Auto Show in in March.
109. Buick debuted the new Riviera concept at the Auto Shanghai 2013 in April.
110. Buick celebrates its 110th anniversary on May 19, 2013.