Though it is one of the lesser brands from a volume perspective under General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) umbrella and is certainly one of the least talked about relatively speaking, the Detroit-based automaker has been quietly growing its Buick nameplate, and to great results. In 2013, Buick sold 1.03 million models to make for the best year for the brand since 1984.
The previous record was created before the company had entered the Chinese market. Now, that region hosts the largest demand for Buick vehicles: Sales in China rose 16 percent last year to 809,918 for Buick alone, according to Bloomberg. In the U.S., Buick deliveries increased 14 percent to 205,509.
Buick is General Motors’ soft luxury brand, meant to fill the void between its Chevrolet and Cadillac names. While Cadillac has started to migrate to its own platforms, Buicks are still heavily based on existing Chevrolet models.
Buick’s 1984 record sat at 1.003 million — that’s when 941,611 Buick cars were sold in the U.S., and none were sold in China. How the times have changed. From 1984, though, it was a long and rough ride down. Buick sales around the world fell to 431,548 in 1998 and hit a U.S. sales low in 2009 at 102,306.
Since 2009, however, Buick has been on an upswing, perhaps aided by the folding of the Pontiac and Saturn brands that General Motors also managed at the time. GM’s spinning off of the Saab brand may also have helped struggling Buick make a resurgence.
China has been a serious boon for GM. The company recently reported that total sales in the country rose 11 percent to 3.16 million for 2013, while U.S. sales picked up 7.3 percent to 2.6 million, Bloomberg reports.