Buick Riviera Concept
The Buick Riviera, a stunning concept car designed to showcase Buick's new global design direction, makes its North American debut at the Buick stand during the North American International Auto Show.
Unveiled at China’s Auto Shanghai 2007, the gull-wing, front-wheel-drive Riviera
concept coupe was developed with global design input by the Pan Asia
Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), a design and engineering joint
venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry
Corporation (SAIC). PATAC is headquartered in Shanghai.
“We said last year the Riviera concept made us realize how small the
world was – it’s not East; it’s not West. It’s Buick,” said Ed Welburn,
vice president, GM Global Design. “The reaction to the car around the
globe proved that to be very much the case.”
Engineered to accommodate a new hybrid system that will go into production this year at Shanghai GM (SGM), GM's flagship joint venture with SAIC, the Riviera
features several technological and manufacturing advances. They
represent the latest achievements of GM and its partners in the
promotion and development of alternative propulsion technologies in
"The Riviera concept underscores the
diversity, strength and depth of the GM global design and engineering
network,” said Welburn. “It also reflects PATAC's growing role within
the GM Design family and China's significance as the world's largest
The Riviera marks the return of
a renowned Buick nameplate after an eight-year hiatus. Between 1963 and
1999, GM sold more than 1.1 million Rivieras in the United States.
“The Riviera concept, with its tightly stretched carbon fiber body
panels, combination of positive and negative curves, strong front and
rear identities and gull-wing doors, captures the essence of Buick
classics, while presenting a thoroughly 21st century
design,” said Welburn. "It certainly lives up to the nameplate's
reputation for bold design. The Riviera communicates the global design
vocabulary of the Buick brand and sets the stage for General Motors'
design, engineering and manufacturing centers to work together on the
next generation of Buick midsize luxury cars."
Riviera's enticing curves and “earth and water” interior tones are
drawn from diverse inspirations including classic Buicks, ancient
Chinese artifacts and modern electronic icons. To PATAC designers, the
car, inside and out, communicates universal beauty – a look that
transcends cultural or national boundaries.
A sense of existence
To establish their design direction, PATAC designers looked, in part, to Buick icons such as the original Y-Job concept of 1938, the 1960s LeSabre, Electra 225, and the Riviera coupes, of the 1960s and '70s.
design is structured around the Buick tri-shield logo, sitting proudly
on a trihedral waterfall grille that is formed by three intersecting
planes. This takes the traditional Buick treatment to a new level of
The Buick logo leads
into a reflective strip through the hood, a mark of respect to the
distinctive mid-hood crease prevalent in classic Buicks. Elongated LED
headlamps flow up the hood sides to three-section, top-mounted chrome
portholes as a single piece of jewelry.
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. Designers incorporated several other design
signatures from the original Riviera generation, including the
"double-sweep spear" line along the body side and a flared tail design.
In this theme, the Shell Blue exterior color was
chosen to elicit the right level of attention. The color is metallic
silver with light blue accents that highlight the coupe's exterior
curves. The gull-wing doors, selected for their exotic appeal, achieve
an expansive entrance to the 2 2 seating configuration. Measuring 1,938
mm at their widest point, the doors add to the coupe's sleek sideline.
At night, the fully opened doors gently cast the "Buick" name on the
The use of carbon fiber in all body
panels allowed designers greater flexibility through reduced mass and
added strength. This made the gull-wing engineering demands easier to
realize and sharp, tight radius curves possible across the body
surface. The side mirrors are sweeping yet unobtrusive, taking a cue
from Formula One racecars, and the Riviera sits on 21-inch, 10-spoke
forged aluminum wheels that combine polished and satin finishes with
PATAC designed the Buick
Riviera to accommodate the new hybrid system, which will be introduced
in China in 2008 this year prior to the Beijing Olympics. The new
hybrid system fits naturally with the Riviera's “earth and water”
All about relaxation
The Riviera’s interior
can be summed up with one word: sanctuary. The use of rich blue and
subtle creams, representing water and earth, is conveyed in the
high-quality 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.
Designers aimed to
have the driver feel relaxed and tranquil inside the car. Earth and
water tones were used, and hard, aggressive edges were studiously
The interior has no discernable start
and finish point for the front and sides, creating a comfortable lounge
feel. It is immediately futuristic yet somehow familiar. A
three-dimensional 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
Riviera’s interior designers
were encouraged to consider people's personal belongings to enhance
their feeling of familiarity and comfort in the vehicle. Continuing the
theme of calm simplicity, electronic shifter pads replace the
traditional transmission shifter and controls are kept to a minimum to
deter driver distraction.
Ambient light strips
are applied 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 historical Buicks of 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.
Royal blue Alcantara, a plush, suede-like covering, was chosen for the
door, console and roof, while sandy white leather covers the lower
door, lower console and seats.
Ancient influences in modern design
The design team set out to create a modern global design. 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
A strong influence was the yuanbao, a
small curvaceous gold or silver ingot used in ancient China as currency
and popular today as a symbol of ancient Chinese prosperity.
PATAC designers intended the design convey East and West coexisting in
harmony. The design brief was global, taking a portion of Buick’s DNA
and creating something for the world. The North American debut of the
Buick Riviera concept highlighted the achievement of that goal.
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BUICK RIVIERA CONCEPT KEY DIMENSIONS
Number and style of doors:
Wheelbase (in / mm):
113 / 2870
Length (in / mm):
185.4 / 4710
Width (in / mm):
76.3 / 1940 (excluding mirrors)
Height (in / mm):
55.7 / 1415 (doors closed)
Front overhang (in / mm):
36.1 / 918
Rear overhang (in / mm):
36.3 / 924
Front track (in / mm):
64.7 / 1645
Rear track (in / mm):
64.3 / 1635