(from General Motors
Press Release) World premiere at Auto Shanghai 2007: Buick
Riviera - Stunning Coupe Concept Unveiled in Shanghai
* China-Designed Gullwing Coupe For China's Global Auto Show
* Preview To Buick's New International Design Language
* Buick Returns Riviera Nameplate After Eight Years
* "It's Not East, Not West ... It's Buick"
SHANGHAI - The Buick Riviera, a stunning concept car designed
to showcase Buick's new global design direction, made its global
debut today at Auto Shanghai 2007.
The gullwing Riviera concept coupe was developed with global design
input by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in China,
a design and engineering joint venture between General Motors and
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
The Riviera was introduced today by Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and
CEO, and Hu Maoyuan, SAIC Chairman.
The Riviera has been engineered to accommodate a new hybrid system
that will go into production at Shanghai GM, GM's flagship joint
venture with SAIC, in 2008.
The fuel-efficient car, which will feature several technological and
manufacturing advances, represents the latest achievement of GM and
its partners in the promotion and development of alternative
propulsion technologies in China.
According to Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design,
"Developing and launching the Riviera in China underscores the
diversity, strength and depth of the GM global design network. It
also reflects PATAC's growing role within the GM Design family and
China's significance as the world's largest Buick market."
The Riviera also marks the return of a renowned Buick nameplate
after an eight-year hiatus, having sold more than 1.1 million units
in the United States between 1963 and 1999.
The Buick Riviera, with its tightly stretched carbon fiber body
panels, combination of positive and negative curves, strong front
and rear identities and gullwing doors, captures the essence of
Buick classics, Welburn said, while presenting a thoroughly 21st
"The Riviera concept certainly lived up to the nameplate's
reputation," Welburn said.
"We developed the Riviera to communicate the global design
vocabulary of the Buick brand and set the stage for General Motors'
design, engineering and manufacturing centers to work together on
the next generation of Buick mid-size luxury cars."
According to James Shyr, PATAC Design Director, the 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. The car, inside and out,
communicates universal beauty - a look that transcends cultural or
"Designing this car made us realize how small the world could be.
It's not East. It's not West. It's not the United States or China.
It's Buick," Shyr said.
Exterior Design - A Sense Of Existence, Not Anonymity
To establish their design direction, PATAC designers looked in part
to Buick icons such as the original Y-Job Concept of 1938, the 1960s
Le Sabre, Electra 225 and the Riviera coupes of the 1960s and '70s.
The Riviera design is structured around the Buick tri-shield logo,
sitting proudly on a trihedral waterfall grille which is formed by
three meeting planes. This takes the traditional Buick treatment to
a new level of sophisticated boldness.
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
The 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 have cleverly incorporated several other design signatures
from the original Riviera generation. They include the "double sweep
spear" line along the bodyside and the flared tail design.
"This car was inspired by great Buicks - their grace, their gesture.
This car was designed to achieve a sense of existence. It's not an
anonymous car when it drives past you but it's not completely in
your face either. We wanted to create something which would make you
want to run your hand across it rather than just look at it," Shyr
In this theme, the 'Shell Blue' exterior color was chosen to elicit
the right level of attention. The color is a metallic silver with
light blue accents, perfectly highlighting the coupe's exterior
The gullwing doors, selected for their exotic appeal, achieve an
expansive entrance to the two-plus-two seating configuration.
Measuring 1938 millimeters at their widest point, they add to the
coupe's sleek sideline. At night, fully opened doors gently shine
the "Buick" name on the ground.
The use of carbon fiber in all body panels allowed the designers
greater flexibility through reduced mass and added strength. This
made the gullwing engineering demands easier to realize and sharp,
tight radius curves possible across the body surface.
The Riviera sits on 21-inch 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels,
combining polished and satin finishes, with low-profile tires.
Taking their cue from Formula One cars, the side mirrors are
sweeping yet unobtrusive.
PATAC designed the Buick Riviera to accommodate the new hybrid
system, which will be introduced in China in 2008 prior to the
Beijing Olympics. The new hybrid system fits naturally with the
Riviera's 'earth and water' design theme.
Interior Design - All About Relaxation
In a word - sanctuary. The use of rich blue and subtle creams,
representing earth and water themes, are conveyed through
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.
"We had to have the driver feel relaxed and tranquil inside the car.
We used earth and water tones and avoided hard, aggressive edges,"
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.
The 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 central console.
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. Controls
are kept to a minimum to avoid driver distraction.
Ambient light strips are applied from 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 Buicks in 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
Royal blue Alcantara, a soft plush 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 - not
something which could be superficially described as a Chinese car.
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 enough.
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.
"This design was about the East and the West co-existing in harmony.
We always wanted to make a global car, to take a sense of the Buick
DNA and create something for the world," Shyr said.
"It is so wonderful that our designers can take some of the rich
culture behind them and make it international. East, West, Buick,
China - there's no missing piece in the puzzle in here. Riviera has
captured the essence of Buick - grace, gesture, form and emotion."
Buick Riviera: Key
Body style Coupe
Number and style of doors Two gullwing
Seating capacity 2 + 2
Bodyshell Carbon fiber panels
Exterior dimensions (mm)
Width 1940 (excluding mirrors)
Height 1415 (doors closed)
Front overhang 918
Rear overhang 924
Front track 1645
Rear track 1635