We Hear the Buick Avista Has Caused Some Internal Friction at GM…

Take this with a grain of salt, we’ve only heard one side of the story, and we’re unlikely to ever get the other half. 

According to one of our own here at GMI–who was not intimately involved in the project nor willing to reveal sources– not only is the Buick Avista dead, but it ruffled some major feathers internally at GM.

The crux of the issue seems to lay with Team Camaro, the swoopy Buick coupe was a literal punch in the mouth when they pulled the sheet on Avista in Detroit. It received several design accolades in the weeks post-Detroit and through the New York Auto Show it was the darling of the media; even now people continue to ask, when will they build it?

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We reached out to Buick’s brand communications manager, Stuart Fowle looking for an answer.

“We don’t comment on future products as you know, but we’ve never suggested that the car does or does not have future plans. Others in the media certainly have, but we haven’t,” Fowle wrote in an email to GMI.

“Avista was a project that brought Buick designers together and created a strong sense of community, teamwork, and future design direction.”

Which certainly lends credibility to Team Camaro being caught off guard by the concept. It’s quite possible the first time the car was seen by many key people in the Camaro program was right there in Cobo Hall.

Couple that with the drooling reactions the masses had in response to the Avista and you can begin to imagine Team Camaro seething over stolen thunder.

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For what it’s worth, our source says mentioning Avista and Camaro anywhere near the GM design guys is analogous to farting in church.

There are unverified stories about exactly how the Avista came to be, but with Ed Welburn being a big Buick guy it’s believed once he saw the sketch he wanted to show it and helped move the project along.

If the rumor is true we can probably thank Welburn for having seen the Avista at all. Which loops us back to the Camaro.

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The Avista is a grown man’s coupe, not only is it slick and stylish, but it was shown shortly after the evolutionary styling of the 6th Gen Camaro debuted to a somewhat lukewarm response. On top of that you could imagine if the Avista did make it to market price points would certainly overlap with fully kitted Camaros.

It’s not just price overlap, there would be a severe conflict of clients, the Avista and Camaro SS would ostensibly share a well-to-do demographic. Do you really think Team Chevy want’s to split Camaro SS shoppers with the Buick barn? Between the two cars, Avista is ostensibly the one that appeals to an aging population with cash to dispose.

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I’m not sure what’s going on inside the Renn Center but the Avista does seem to have some high powered champions on its side.

7 months ago in Detroit Mark Reuss, GM’s executive VP of global production development, gave us hope saying, “we’re getting the data points in North America right now because everybody loves it. And so, when is the right time to do it?”

“Is it three years from now; is it two years from now? Is it a year from now? When is that? That would be the next discussion. And so, it’s not out of the question, but the point of the car is, ‘here’s where Buick’s heading.'”

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Furthering the sentiment, in an interview earlier today Buick’s global design boss, Bryan Nesbitt said out of all the vehicles throughout Buick’s storied past the one he wants to drive most is the Avista.

“It captures, really, all the romance and the history of those [past] cars. It still has all that sleek proportion, it’s wide, it’s low and it’s very handsome. That combination of artful integration, you know, I really like the execution of the Avista, so really, that’s the one I want to drive.”

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Furthermore there was a dubious report last week that claimed GM would be ditching the slow selling Chevrolet SS sedan to free up space for the Buick Avista. Of course that ignores the fact that the Chevrolet SS is currently built in Australia at Holden’s soon-to-be-shuttered Elizabeth plant.

However rumors have been flying since the start of this year that the SS sedan could be reincarnated, riding on the new Alpha platform shared with Camaro and the Cadillac ATS and CTS.

Surprise, surprise, Avista is also built on Alpha…

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