It was among the first American marques of automobiles, and was the company that established General Motors in Durant had served as Buick's general manager and major investor. Buick was the first production automobile maker in the world to equip its cars with overhead valve engines , which it did in For much of its existence in the North American market, Buick has been marketed as a premium automobile brand, selling larger luxury vehicles positioned above GM's mainstream brands, while below the flagship luxury Cadillac division.
David Dunbar Buick was running a successful plumbing-supply business in the s when he became interested in automobiles and gasoline engines. Although a gifted designer, Buick was never a great businessman. He repeatedly ran into cash shortages and was always looking for more investors.