Buick, formally the Buick Motor Division /ˈbjuːɨk/, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). For much of its existence in the North American market, Buick has been marketed as a premium automobile brand, selling entry-level luxury vehicles positioned above its mainstream GM stablemate Chevrolet, and below the flagship Cadillac division. Buick holds the distinction of being the oldest active American marque of automobile, and the original Buick Motor Company was a cornerstone of the establishment of General Motors in 1908. Before the establishment of General Motors, GM founder William C. Durant previously served as Buick’s general manager, while his friend Louis Chevrolet worked as a racing driver for Buick and later learned automotive design working there. In 1939 Buick also pioneered the use of turn signals, which did not appear on other car brands until almost a decade later.
Since the discontinuation of Saturn in 2009, GM has positioned Buick to be an analogue to its German Opel brand, sharing models and development. Buick-branded vehicles are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China. Buick sold 1,170,115 vehicles worldwide in calendar year 2014, a record for the brand.
Buick is currently the oldest active North American automotive maker (Autocar, the truck-maker, is the oldest motor vehicle brand) and among the oldest automobile brands in the world. It originated as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, an independent internal combustion engine and motor-car manufacturer, and was later incorporated as the Buick Motor Company on May 19, 1903, by Scottish born David Dunbar Buick in Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, the company was taken over by James H. Whiting (1842–1919), who moved it to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and brought in William C. Durant in 1904 to manage his new acquisition. He teamed up with R S McLaughlin in Canada in 1907 with a 15-year contract for motors. In 1908 GM Holding was founded. Buick sold his stock for a small sum upon departure, and died in modest circumstances 25 years later.
Since 2005, GM had gradually consolidated Buick with GMC and former Pontiac dealerships to create the current Buick-GMC network. During General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization and emergence in 2009, the company designated Buick as a “core brand”, citing the division’s success in China. Behind the scenes, GM began to move products originally planned for other brands to Buick. The Opel Insignia was originally intended to become the second-generation Saturn Aura, but instead became the new Buick Regal.