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.
TTAC Commentator Sjalabais writes:
I am and have always been a car guy. Since I am an academic with two left hands and sausage fingers, my flavour have been indestructible 70s Volvos, of which I have owned a couple.
Now I am a father and a bit cash-strapped, with the need for an occasional 7 seater. A Volvo V70 with rear facing extra seats has been voted down in the household assembly, I am thus looking for a blob-shaped car. My location is Norway, but my issue is recognisable for any car guy in this situation, I fear. (Read More…)
It’s being revealed that Opel registered the Calibra and Cascada names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December. While some have speculated from the fact that Opel was the registrant of record that General Motors is considering returning its European brand to the United States, more likely the use of Opel was to hide a possible plan by GM to use the nameplates on Buicks. When GM sold Opel’s Astra as a Saturn before shuttering that brand, Opel had been the registrant for that name as well. (Read More…)
After talk of increasing the seperation between Chevrolet and Opel, GM has announced that it will axe the Chevrolet brand in Europe, despite previously aiming to make Chevrolet its low-cost brand, while signing a nine-year, $584 million deal to have the brand sponsor Manchester United football club.
In the wake of news that China’s Dongfeng Motors is going to take an equity stake in PSA/Peugeot Citroen, the French automaker says that it is scaling back its alliance with General Motors, which owns 7% of PSA. PSA said that a planned joint subcompact platform that was seen as the basis of the tie-up with GM will probably be cancelled. “Further analysis showed that the business model just wasn’t there,” a PSA spokesman said. Financial statements released by PSA say that anticipated savings of $1 billion due to synergies with GM will be adjusted downward.
Chevrolet will not be the sole brand in GM’s stable to offer a diesel passenger car. According to reports, Buick is next up for a diesel engine. It’s not known which Buick would get an oil burner but the likely candidate is the Verano, which shares a platform with Chevy’s Cruze, which is now available with a four cylinder turbo diesel in the U.S. The Opel Astra, even more closely related to the Verano, already offers a 1.9 liter CTDI diesel in Europe. (Read More…)
Opel Chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann told reporters gathered at the Frankfurt Motor Show that General Motors is considering selling the Opel Adam subcompact in the United States as a Buick. “We are looking at it,” Neumann told Automotive News. “Nothing is decided. But it’s an example of some of the Opel product being used elsewhere in the world.”
Opel and Buick already share some product. The Opel Insignia is sold as the Buick Regal and the small Opel Mokka crossover is marketed as the Buick Encore. The Encore has been selling at about double the rate that GM expected, proving that GM’s near-luxury brand Buick can sell small cars. (Read More…)
Amid labor unrest in Korea, and a desire to utilize capacity in Europe, GM is moving production of the Opel Mokka (aka, the Buick Encore, and Canada’s Chevrolet Trax) out of Korea and into a facility in Zaragoza, Spain.