Earlier today, Robert noted that “GM doesn’t have a fucking clue what it’s doing with its products or brands.” For more proof of this, consider this report from GMInsideNews which claims that a Buick-branded version of Opel’s Astra has been approved for the North American market. According to the GMI story, the 2012 Buick “Astra” will be built at either GM’s Lordstown, OH, assembly plant or at their new San Luis Potosi, Mexico, assembly plant starting in 2011. The crazy part? “At this point the car has NOT been approved for Buick in China, that decision will be up to Shanghai GM.”
Of course, to make it all work GM has to hang on to Opel. Which means getting an outside investor to pony up cash (in order to secure a further $4.4 billion in German government loans) without buying the whole concern out from under The General. This outcome is highly unlikely to say the least. But that’s probably good news for GM in the long term, since the Astra-as-Buick decision proves that GM desperately needs to be saved from itself. The Astra has been a singular sales flop for GM under the Saturn brand, with sales hitting noticeable numbers only after the model was canceled. At a higher price-point, and with an even more compromised brand’s badge on the hood, the Astra will be headed nowhere fast.