2008 Buick Rivera

GM has recently figured out that different parts of the world like different slices of Americana, and perhaps these areas are where it can get the best ideas to its reinvigorate brands all over the globe, even in the U.S. Today, General Motors introduced the Buick Riviera concept at the Shanghai Motor Show and says this is the look of Buick’s new global design direction.

Yes, that means future U.S. Buicks will start to look like this in the near future. We’ve already seen enlarged grilles on the 2008 Lucerne and LaCrosse as well as on the upcoming Enclave crossover. Now, GM’s Asian design studio will take the reins of the future of Buick’s style, with a catchy blurb from a GM exec: It’s not East, not West…It’s Buick.

As for the Riviera, it looks a little too compact for American tastes. The last Riviera rolled off the line in 1999, and even if it wasn’t enjoying the mass popularity of it’s heyday, it always maintained a distinct look from the competition. The concept is powered by a new hybrid powertrain that will end up in a future production car — although probably not the Riviera — to debut in China prior to the 2008 Olympics.

The Riviera concept is a radical look and we haven’t wrapped our heads around it quite yet. Check out the pictures below and let us know what you think in the comments.

General Motors has released new photos of the Buick Riviera Concept, which reminds us that we are that much closer to getting our first up-close look at this concept designed in China. The Riviera, which made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show last year, will make its first North American appearance in Detroit in just a few days.

Designed at GM’s Pan Asia Technical Center, the Riviera will supposedly set the tone for the next generation of Buick vehicles. Design highlights include carbon fiber bodywork, gullwing doors, and a futuristic interior with blue ambient lighting. We doubt much of that will ever make into a production vehicle, but we do give two thumbs up to the team that designed the exterior.

GM said 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 Buick Riviera concept was designed in China at the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center and showcases the GM brand’s new global design direction.

The Chinese design staff studied Buick icons, including the original Y-Job Concept of 1938 and Riviera coupes from the 1960s as they came up with their own interpretation of the storied nameplate.

Gullwings are the unexpected element in the 2+2 Buick Riviera concept coupe, which also gets 21-inch 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels and carbon-fiber body panels. Side mirrors are derived from those on Formula 1 cars.

Details in the cockpit of the Buick Riviera concept include electronic shifter pads that replace the traditional transmission shifter, leather bucket seats and ambient light stripes in the cool shade of Chinese jade stone.

Scribbled on June 7th 2008 in Buick, Buick Rivera
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