By on June 17, 2013


Opel and Buick are going to get a lot cozier in the coming years if Dan Akerson has his way. The GM CEO wants the two companies to align their product portfolios even further, so that the high R&D costs of Opel products can be absorbed further.

Speaking to Automotive News at an investor conference last week, Akerson told the paper

“What we’re trying to do is bring together the product development teams much more closely,” Akerson said, so that “there will be all sorts of synergies, I believe, between Opel-Vauxhall and Buick….We think we can take costs out that way,” he said. “You’ve got to change the rules of the game in Europe — we do — because of where we are today.”

Opel has been a consistent money loser in Europe, but the firm has provided Buick with the kind of product that has revitalized its lineup. The Buick Verano, Encore and Regal are all derived from Opel products, and the upcoming Opel Cascada convertible (above) is also rumored to be making its way Stateside. The big challenge now will be engineered cars that can appeal to consumers in Europe, America and China, three markets with varying tastes.


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24 Comments on “Buick To Share Even More Resources With Opel...”

  • avatar

    More annoying product standardization. Something which pleases the US, China, and Europe will be huge and long, have acres of artificial wood, a large chromed face, many badges and regency emblems, and have a sporty but softly sprung suspension. It will also be FWD, with AWD optional, and must come in LWB format.

  • avatar

    Judging by what has come out of Buick the last few years, I would think this to be a positive direction. I’m hoping the days of over luxuriating Buicks for a truly dying market segment that likes that kind of thing are over.

  • avatar

    Wow does GM have a short memory!! It was only 6-7 years ago they planned to do the exact same thing with Saturn/Opel.

    • 0 avatar

      Some ideas die hard.

      • 0 avatar

        Really it’s the same as producing the SAME car for Buick/Olds/Chevy/Saturn/Pontiac/Cadillac. They cannot seem to get away from their terrible idea of sharing everything.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes and no, sharing Opel isn’t quite the same as clone the C/H/W/N bodies up and down the US brands. Opel is a European brand aimed at European consumers (in theory) I would think adapting them for the US market wouldn’t be as simple as changing up the body cladding and front clip on a Bonne vs an Eighty Eight or LeSabre. Maybe I’m wrong and it is.

    • 0 avatar

      Not necessarily short memories. They had started it with Saturn but it was too little too late and with the 2008/09 issues Saturn left. The Opel-Buick link up has lasted longer (even if only 4 years). Buick always made more sense because Opel cars here would be more expensive than Saturn could support.

  • avatar

    Sounds like a good idea, if they can do it right. The current strategy seems to be working since Opels and Buicks aren’t sold across the street from each other, which was the big problem with Chevy/ Pontiac. Also seems like the two are lined up at approximately the same entry luxury market.

    Personally, I think getting the Cascada here would be great. I’m a big fan of midsize, sedan convertibles and that one looks particularly nice.

    • 0 avatar

      There is nothing “entry luxury” about Opel in Europe. They are a non-premium mainstream brand. Which is, of course, why they are in a world of hurt. They can’t compete with the actually premium brands, and the cheap brands under price them considerably.

      But tastes are enough different between here and there that a top-spec example of a mainstream brand over there works OK as an entry-luxury car here. See Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. Which other than the fact that my last rental of an e-assist version resulted in a transmission failure, is a VERY nice car.

      • 0 avatar

        Didn’t Ford try that trick with the Merkur? As far as I recall, the North American market didn’t buy putting a “luxury” tag on a rebadged Mondeo.

        And then there was the Jaguar X-Series…

        • 0 avatar

          The Jaguar X-type was a Mondeo rebadge, but the Merkur was a true Euro-market car, whether the 3-series competitor XR4ti or the Scorpio (which, size-wise, splits the difference between the then-current 5 and 7 series generations). The problem with Merkur was the dealer network and branding. The cars had the same great handling as contemporary Bimmers, the same chassis solidity of that era Mercedes, and the same spotty reliability and electrical voodoo as ’80s Audis. Where they fell apart was delivering a cohesive message to tell import intenders that these were real German cars. Selling a midsized leather-lined Taurus lookalike hatchback in the same showroom as a Town Car, and for the same price, put the nails in that coffin.

      • 0 avatar

        They are not the only company to take a mainstream European car and make it an entry level luxury car in the US – Honda Accord becomes Acura TSX.

      • 0 avatar

        Sounds like Saab?

  • avatar

    The reality of this is that Buicks are rebadged Opels in a nice trim. I don’t doubt that Chinese tastes will also influence product development too (long wheel base, etc). Yes GM already tried this with Saturn, but that was probably one of the least compatible brands to make a mirror image of Opel.

    Anyway, I don’t see how this is a bad thing. Yes its a lot of sharing, but it really is just a One Buick/Opel/Vauxhall plan a la One Ford.

  • avatar

    I hope that convertible does come over here, for I don’t want to be forced to buy a Chrysler 200.

    Incidentally, Buick, please either re-badge a GMC Yukon as a Buick Electra, or build a large car again – seeing Shaq all cramped and folded like a pocketknife in that La Crosse just cracks us up, knowing full-well he wouldn’t be seen in one, as he’s twice as large as the car!

  • avatar

    So reading from the B&B, GM is doomed for having too many platforms and GM is doomed for sharing platforms.

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