DETROIT ? The Buick Riviera, a stunning concept car designed to showcase Buick's new global design direction, makes its North American debut at the Buick stand during the North American International Auto Show.

Unveiled at China?s Auto Shanghai 2007, the gull-wing, front-wheel-drive Riviera concept coupe was developed with global design input by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), a design and engineering joint venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). PATAC is headquartered in Shanghai.

?We said last year the Riviera concept made us realize how small the world was ? it?s not East; it?s not West. It?s Buick,? said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design. ?The reaction to the car around the globe proved that to be very much the case.?

Engineered to accommodate a new hybrid system that will go into production this year at Shanghai GM (SGM), GM's flagship joint venture with SAIC, the Riviera features several technological and manufacturing advances. They represent the latest achievements of GM and its partners in the promotion and development of alternative propulsion technologies in China.

"The Riviera concept underscores the diversity, strength and depth of the GM global design and engineering network,? said Welburn. ?It also reflects PATAC's growing role within the GM Design family and China's significance as the world's largest Buick market.?

The Riviera marks the return of a renowned Buick nameplate after an eight-year hiatus. Between 1963 and 1999, GM sold more than 1.1 million Rivieras in the United States.

?The Riviera concept, with its tightly stretched carbon fiber body panels, combination of positive and negative curves, strong front and rear identities and gull-wing doors, captures the essence of Buick classics, while presenting a thoroughly 21st century design,? said Welburn. "It certainly lives up to the nameplate's reputation for bold design. The Riviera communicates the global design vocabulary of the Buick brand and sets the stage for General Motors' design, engineering and manufacturing centers to work together on the next generation of Buick midsize luxury cars."

Riviera's enticing curves and ?earth and water? interior tones are drawn from diverse inspirations including classic Buicks, ancient Chinese artifacts and modern electronic icons. To PATAC designers, the car, inside and out, communicates universal beauty ? a look that transcends cultural or national boundaries.