The critically acclaimed 2008 Cadillac CTS has been awarded an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award thanks to uniformly high crash-test scores and standard active safety features like GM's Stabilitrak stability control.

Buick gave journalists an early look at the Riviera concept car before its North American debut at the North American International Auto Show later this week.  The concept car carries strong hints of a dramatic new look for future Buick products, a plan that was confirmed by Buick executives including Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn.  The return of the Riviera name "signals a new global design direction" for Buick, according to Buick-Pontiac Product Director Dave Smidebush.

Looking at a glance like a hardtop rendition of the Velite showcar of 2004. the Riviera is all about automotive drama.  Gullwing doors, blue accent lights under the chrome and a spa-like interior suggest that Buick is planning to inject a dose of serious theatrics into its traditionalist styling language.  Designed in Shanghai, the Riviera blends elements of classic Buicks with smooth modern curves.  There are subtle Chinese influences as well, like the white jade-inspired texture and color of the headlamp units.  

In keeping with Buick's luxury heritage, the Riviera is a full-size 2+2 that's designed for comfort and relaxation rather than performance.  The interior is swathed in leather, ultrasuede and brushed metal, with many surfaces backed by cool blue illuminated panels.  Passenger space and comfort have been considered to give the Riviera a "day spa" feeling on the inside.

There are no plans to produce the Riviera, but Buick executives confirmed that some of the Riviera's show-car details will turn up on future Buick products aimed at both the U.S. and China.  

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