In my mind, Volkswagens used to be the “Euro Buick.” Positioned one note above the mass market rabble, VW’s Passat shared parts with Audi’s A4, while the Touareg and Phaeton were luxury cars with a mass market logo on the hood. Then Volkswagen decided this was the wrong strategy for them, so they repositioned VW as the German alternative to Toyota and Chevrolet. This left a gaping hole in the market for shoppers looking to step into a European near-luxury vehicle that flew under the radar. And then Buick stepped in.Buick’s Opel-based product offensive has transformed the brand from Barcalounger wheels for the octogenarian, to a window into the soul of GM’s German brand. This transformation isn’t an easy one as Buick’s problem wasn’t just blue-haired buyers and slinky-soft springs. Buick is the penultimate middle child. Jammed between Chevrolet and Cadillac, brand B’s mission is to give Chevy buyers something to aspire to and Cadillac buyers something to graduate from.
Tag: Opel Insignia
General Motors is so desperate to find new customers for Opel cars that they’re introducing the brand to Australia, where it’s set to butt heads against Holden – Australia’s long-time favorite car brand.
With Opel’s fortunes in the toilet and Chevrolet vehilces gaining ground in Europe, Opel brass are looking at an obvious solution – stop building Chevrolet products in South Korea and start building them in Europe.
With a new Citroen C5 due in 2016, production of the mid-size Citroen will shift from PSA’s Rennes plant to an undisclosed Opel facility. A French car, built by Germans – eat your heart out, Clemens.
With Pontiac and Saturn gone, Buick must assume a larger role within General Motors. It must now seek to win over enthusiasts who would have previously bought Pontiacs and the import-intenders who previously bought Saturns. The first product to follow from this expanded mission: the new 2011 Buick Regal. The Regal began life as the Opel Insignia—it will even be imported from Germany for the first year—and was to be marketed in the United States as the second-generation Saturn Aura. But it has been available in China as the Buick Regal for over a year now, so putting the tri-shield on the grille isn’t entirely an afterthought. This isn’t even the first time Opel has manufactured a car for Buick dealers—this tie goes way back. Even so, is the Regal a plausible Buick?
Are more losses showing up on your post-bankruptcy financial statement? Are uptight Europeans and Republicans making your overseas division rescue harder than it needs to be? Is the thought of another year defined by Consumer Reports mediocrity getting you down? Good news! GM’s court jester Bob Lutz hasn’t been shipped off to chair Opel just yet, and he’s been sprinkling the autoblogosphere with his patented enthusiast-baiting niche product hints.