Detroit Motor Show: GM’s Australian-made limo

AUSTRALIAN car designers have shown they’re still a force to be reckoned with, penning and building a next-generation Buick-badged limousine concept that has taken centre stage on the General Motors Detroit Motor Show display.

The luxury-laden four-seat Buick Avenir was designed in collaboration with GM North America out of the Holden-based GM Design Australia centre in Port Melbourne. It also was built at GM Australia’s fabrication studio.

The heavily sculptured Avenir – the name is French for ‘future’ – “embraces Buick’s rich design heritage of creating exquisite sculptures, precise in their design and beautifully proportioned”, GM’s PR said after revealing the concept car.

“As a brand with one the richest histories of design, Buick’s legacy is recognised and revered around the world,” GM Global Design vice-president Ed Welburn said. “The designers in Australia understood the essence of Buick’s design language just as well as those in America, which fostered a more cohesive collaboration between teams, with seamless integration.”

According to GM, the Avenir’s classic rear-wheel-drive proportion and exterior design theme originated at the Australian design studio, while the interior theme was penned in the US.

GM International Design vice-president, Australia’s Mike Simcoe, said the teams’ understanding of the project brief and the sculptural essence of Buick “transcended the time zones”.

“GM’s global design studios are very well connected and we contribute to each other’s projects all the time,” Simcoe said. “There is a tremendous understanding of the brand’s design language and passion for the future of this portfolio.”

According to GM, the Avenir’s signature sweep-spear side motif and nod to the ‘boat-tail’ styling of the 1971-’73 Riviera are modern interpretations of classic Buick cues proposed by GM Australia’s lead exterior designer, Warrack Leach.

“When you receive a brief titled ‘Buick Flagship’ you immediately think of a vehicle with impressive road presence, a confident yet graceful stance, emotive and progressive form language, but above all else, a beautiful automobile,” Leach said in a statement.

“It has been incredibly exciting to be part of this passionate global team, and we are immensely proud of what we have achieved. To be given the opportunity to present a show car at Detroit, one of the biggest automotive stages in the world, is the ultimate compliment.”

Under its bonnet, the Avenir features a next-generation fuel-injected V6 engine with cylinder deactivation and an idle-stop system to save fuel.

Drive is sent to all four 21-inch wheels via a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission using paddle shifters, while a selectable suspension damping system adding a sense of sport.

The Avenir features LED exterior lighting, a 12-inch infotainment screen, wireless charging system for mobile devices, and a wireless internet hotspot.

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