All automakers with a few decades under their built have inevitable built up a catalog of recognized nameplates, used in the past but currently tucked away in a drawer. In recent years we’ve seen a number of brands pull them out for a second life.
Chevrolet's Blazer, Ford's Bronco and Jeep’s Wagoneer are just a few of the names that have been dusted off. Other names remain locked away, at least for now, like the Corvair (Chevrolet) and the Pinto (Ford), for example.
Sometimes, a name that has already been used can make sense in a new context, like electrification. Ford cleverly brought back the Lightning name for use on the electric version of the Ford F-150.
Buick also has a name that’s tailor-made for the new era: Electra. That nameplate was used from 1959 to 1990 on a big sedan, in fact a real boat. The name 225 was often attached to the name; it represented the length of the car in inches.
Buick has been periodically protecting the name for years now – in fact we first reported on that back in… 2012! Not surprisingly, Buick re-registered the name in late December with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.
There’s reason to believe this time Buick will actually put the name on a vehicle. Recall that in 2020, at the Beijing Auto Show, the General Motors brand unveiled an electric SUV concept it named Electra.
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Photo: BuickBuick Electra concept, 2020, doors open
It’s anticipated the model will use GM's Ultium platform, conceived to underpin a range of models across the company’s brands. If so, the future Electra model could share its batteries, electric motors and structure with other GM electric products, such as the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.
As for what an Electra SUV would look like, we’ll hold back on making assumption. It probably wouldn't be a simple clone of the Lyriq, but that doesn't mean it would necessarily look like the concept unveiled in China.
In fact, one should always be careful with filing a name with the registry office. Sometimes it’s just a protective move.However, because of the nature of the name, the electric shift at GM and the concept presented in 2020, it certainly looks like there’s enough smoke to guess there’s a fire.
Confirmation will come from Buick over the next year, of course.
Photo: BuickBuick Electra concept, 2020, profile