Any time that GM unveils a concept it is an event. And in most cases, stunning vehicle design is revealed. This is the Buick Electra concept and it portends Buick’s design language going forward. Impressive and involved body sculpting is intriguing and compelling. The gull-wing doors will never be seen in production, but concepts have to have gee-whiz features so we will give GM a pass. But is the Buick Electra concept just another GM show pony or actually a production-based glimpse into Buick’s future?
We have a problem with GM design but it isn’t the designs themselves
We have a problem with GM design but it isn’t the designs themselves. The problem we have is that there has been a litany of exciting concepts over the last 20 years that are teased. None of these concepts predicted anything, because nothing that looked even remotely like them was ever produced. They served no purpose.
Actually, they did serve the purpose of bridging hype-gaps. Between new models or to try to juice up attention on other products is how and what purpose they served. GM has this concept habit of teasing but never pleasing with an actual product that looks like the concept. Is that the case with the Electra concept?
By the way, the Electra name comes from Buick’s past. They were big, lumbering sedans built mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. The name came from an heiress of the time and had no connection to electricity, electronics, or anything electric-related.
The Electra concept made its debut this week in Shanghai, China
The Electra concept made its debut this week in Shanghai, China. It features “potential energy” styling. Designed at GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center in Shanghai, it is described as combining “the athletic look of a four-seat crossover with Gran Turismo aesthetics.” What the concept is transmitting is the body sculpting which in some form will carry over into a production car.
But none of the other aspects of the Electra concept will ever see the light of day. That expansive glass canopy? It will never see production. Its “dynamic stance?” Nope, you won’t be seeing that either. About the only thing we can see that will make it into production is the “illuminated Buick badge with flow-through design.”
There is supposed to be a hidden floating skateboard tied-into the stoplight under the rear bumper. Since there are no rear-view shots provided we can only take GM’s word on that. Both the copper-gold trim inside combined with the dark trim outside “replicates the atmosphere of outer space.” Huh?
While what’s underneath might be based in reality what you’re seeing is not
The Electra is based on GM’s upcoming Ultium electric platform that is planned for an EV onslaught. That is based on reality. Most if not all of what is packed on top is not. While we appreciate the effort, we dislike the chum.
For once we would like to see GM premier a compelling concept that stays true to its details and translates into a real car. It is an honest tool for gauging public appeal while also giving back by giving viewers more than a glimpse of what to expect. Instead, we get played once again by a concept that serves no other purpose other than as a piece of tomfoolery.