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Buick is rebranding as an electric-only automaker

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The automaker released a new concept car as a prelude to its all-electric future

Photo: Buick

Buick, the iconic American automaker owned by General Motors, announced a raft of major changes meant to underscore its shift to electric vehicles.

The company says it will release its first EV for the North American market in 2024 and will only sell electric vehicles by the end of the decade. Its future EVs will bear the name “Electra” in a nod to the company’s past. It’s unveiling a new concept car, the Wildcat, that’s meant to tease its all-electric future. And it’s even updating its tri-shield logo, doing away with the circular design for a body-mounted horizontal display, to emphasize its “brand transformation.”

Buick is the last of the four vehicle brands owned by GM (Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac being the other three) to unveil its electrification plans. Earlier this year, the company teased its first EV for US car buyers, revealing a headlight that mirrored a concept car called Electra, released by Buick a few years earlier. Now, the company confirmed that the Electra name will be central to the company’s efforts to sell only electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

“The Buick brand is committed to an all-electric future by the end of this decade,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick, in a statement. “Buick’s new logo, use of the Electra naming series and a new design look for our future products will transform the brand.”

The Wildcat concept is meant to illustrate this shift. A sleek, elegant sports coupe with body lines meant to invoke forward momentum, the Wildcat is a prelude to the automaker’s eventual all-electric lineup. It also bears little resemblance to the Electra concept released by Buick two years ago. That concept was a crossover SUV with radical-if-impractical coach-style scissor doors.

Both the Wildcat and Electra names have been applied to Buick vehicles in the past. The Buick Wildcat was a full-size sedan produced from 1963 to 1970, while the automaker’s Electra lineup had a longer shelf life, running from the mid-1950s all the way through 1990. Electra was also Buick’s flagship sedan throughout its entire production.

Buick struggles with a reputation as an old man’s car brand in the US, but it enjoys an elevated status in China, where its sales remain strong. The company will likely use GM’s new Ultium electric vehicle powertrain and battery system to power its future EV lineup. GM has said it will spend $35 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025, with the goal of becoming a completely carbon neutral company by 2040.