Buick will delete its badge nameplate from all models starting with the 2019 Envision, a marketing ploy that may actually cause people outside the brand’s TV commercials to wonder, “Is that a Buick?”
The news, first reported by GM Authority and confirmed by Buick to Car and Driver, could be seen as an admission that the Buick nameplate doesn’t appeal to customers looking at foreign competition—or even the blingy GMCs sold at the same dealerships. The change will only affect the “Buick” badge on the decklid or liftgate, which is the only exterior marking spelling out David Dunbar Buick’s last name—one that has had a 115-year history in American car culture. Buick badging on doorsills, infotainment screens, and other parts won’t change. Buick may opt to fill the blank space on its top-spec models with an Avenir badge, the expensive trim that Buick introduced as its own analogue of sorts to GMC’s Denali.
“The decision was made for global consistency, but is also backed by research that indicates the Buick tri-shield logo is very recognizable on its own,” said spokesman Stuart Fowle.
The last Buick without a name badge was the flashy, avant-garde Riviera coupe from 1995 to 1999. Oldsmobile tried something similar with the 1995 Aurora, which didn’t say “Oldsmobile” anywhere and instead sported a stylized A logo that confused interested customers into looking for the car at rival dealerships. But despite an image built by elderly Americans buying their last Park Avenue—in the late 2000s, the brand’s average buyer was more than 70 years old—should the name disappear from the cars? Focus groups might answer every which way, but to us, a Buick will always be a Buick.