Buick tells us how design makes a difference | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • The Wildcat concept began with a basic sketch by a young designer

  • Buick’s new design language honors its past while embracing the future

  • With each new model, the design will continue to evolve

Beautiful design makes you fall in love with the car. It puts a smile on your face and makes you want to sit down and go. It is a key part of the brand’s identity and reflects countless hours of work by talented teams of creative people.

Changes in brand design language are not taken lightly. They require a careful balance of staying true to the brand’s heritage while pushing it forward to embrace the future. Buick is currently redefining its design language, so we brought us to Michigan to see its new design center and hear directly from the people behind Buick’s new look.


The new look began with the first update to Buick’s three-shield logo since 1990. It still has the three shields of red, white and blue, just with a slightly different arrangement and no circle. This one simple change was greeted with wild cheers and jeers from the public, and it was just a badge. Change is risky.

Next, Buick introduced the Wildcat EV concept, which was actually pretty wild. Bob Boniface, director of exterior design, told us how the concept came about. “One young designer made this sketch. It ended up being a Wildcat, but I saw a sketch and it had that low mouth and body-mounted badge and those thin lights. It was so simple, but it really caught my attention and I thought it was something that could revolutionize or change the face of the brand.”

Buick Wildcat concept from the rear

From concept to production

It did just that, with hints of the concept now appearing in the latest Buick vehicles, from the Encore GX to the new three-row Enclave. Developing the Wildcat concept was a three-year process. It is even more difficult to offer production models to customers, so it is difficult to keep the design fresh until it hits the market.

“It takes a long time, so it’s hard to make bets and predict where the market will be three years from now, four years from now. This is why design is so important. Designers must have their own point of view. “, said Boniface.

Marc Reuss, president of General Motors, stopped by the Design Dome and shared his admiration for the work being done. “Bob and the team have done a great job over the last couple of years to bring back to life Buick Design, which is very passionate to a lot of people here, including myself,” he said.

Buick Wildcat Concept Wheels

Immersed in automotive industry

To make the right design decision, you need to look into an imaginary crystal ball and know well what is on the road today. “Every designer in this building can tell you about every car, make, model, segment on the road,” Boniface added.

It all boils down to the fact that we do not use fashionable details, but what has a meaningful design. – Bob Boniface, Director of Exterior Design, Global Buick

A clear understanding of the competition helps designers see trends and decide when to ignore them. “We don’t want people to buy it this year and in two or three years that car looks old and move on to the next thing,” Boniface said. “We want Buicks to look good for a long time – timelessness.”

Buick Wildcat Concept from the front

EV Challenge

Electric vehicles create unique challenges. Aerodynamics are more important than ever to maximize range, but the design focuses on one. “Big news for electric cars is ahead,” Boniface said. “You still need to get air for the battery and onboard electronics, but you don’t need as much open air as you would in an internal combustion engine.” It’s easy to see the design influence of electric cars with many sporting flat, featureless sheets of metal where beautiful grilles once stood.


The stunning Wildcat proves that Buick can build great cars of the future

We’ll take a closer look at the Buick Wildcat at the Detroit Auto Show.

Boniface doesn’t think this is the best idea. “Just because you can remove the neck of the vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean you should because people still identify the front of the vehicle by looking at it as a human face.”

Buick Wildcat Concept taillights

Timeless design

It’s hard to say exactly where the future of Buick design will go. It’s an ever-evolving process, and ideas about what things should look like change over time. “Does an electric car need to scream that it is something other than an internal combustion car, or should it just appear to be a beautiful car that just happens to be an electric car?” said Boniface. “I would say that 10 years ago, when electric cars were still very new, you wanted to tell the world that I was driving something different. Now that electric cars have become more common. I don’t know if the message should be that strong. ”

Whatever the future holds, Boniface is confident that Buick’s designers are up to the challenge. “We are very confident in our ability to create something beautiful that is not just temporarily beautiful. We’re talking about having a timeless design language. That’s what the big brands do, and that’s what we’re very good at. here.”

Buick Wildcat Concept Profile

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