By on March 26, 2014


Industry sources tell TTAC that Buick is due for a new niche car in the next couple of years, and it could only be one of two models.

According to our sources, the nameplate will be a low-volume car that is expected to attract someone who might otherwise be interested in a Verano. That narrows it down to two choices: the Adam subcompact, or the Cascada.

The Adam, sold as an Opel in Europe, will also be badged as a Buick for the Chinese market. GM’s new small, turbocharged engine family seems to be a good fit for the car, which was heavily touted at the new engine’s introduction. According to Jalopnikthe Adam would apparently be packaged with a new three-cylinder engine. How that might fit with the Buick brand would be an interesting question, as the Vernao and other cars are often touted as offering a quiet ride and superior NVH characteristics. But having a small car that appeals to younger buys wouldn’t be the worst thing. I never thought the Encore would work, but I was dead wrong.


The other possibility is the Cascada, a four-seat ragtop based on the Verano. While convertibles are hardly the strongest segment, the death of the Chrysler 200 has left a giant void in the market for an American convertible that isn’t a pony car. Believe it or not, consumers (and of course, rental fleets) are interested in a front-drive ragtop that places more emphasis on comfort than speed, and the Cascada could fill that void nicely.

The big question is, what will it be? I’m going to hedge my bets and say…both. I really do believe both products will arrive on our shores first, but the Adam might be the one that gets here first. B&B, time for you to play armchair product planner and make your case for one or the other.

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40 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Buick’s Next Niche?...”

  • avatar

    Didn’t a GM exec say he wanted a wagon?

    If so, perhaps the Astra wagon. Or the Insignia Country Tourer or something like this?

    Adam… I guess. But I really don’t see how this fits with Buick. Thing is I don’t see it being a Chevrolet either.

    I’m going with an Astra of some sort.

  • avatar

    They should name it, Reatta. That has a nice ring to it.

  • avatar

    There’s no way it’s going to be the Adam, that niche is overplayed and flooded with too many competitors that have too few consumers.

    Cascada, maybe.

  • avatar

    While I think that the Adam is a neat product, I would much rather see the Cascada come over as a Buick. I think it would be easier to pass off as a Buick, and price it accordingly. But as Derek stated in the article, I too was skeptical on the Encore, but it’s done well thus far (sadly).

    • 0 avatar

      The Encore is BMW X1 with a $13,000 discount with much better braking performance:

      Besides in Motor Trend’s figure-eight tests it beats the CX-5 in handling. With the Trifecta Tune I can hold off the Silverados on the highway leaving work and I’ve seen 39 mpg on a tankful during break-in last fall.

      Look to Buick to fill niches between Chevrolet and Cadillac, like a mid-sized CUV.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I vote Cascada. It’s not just the 200, the 9-3 also left a void and I think that car would fill that nicely.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    There’s more margin in the Cascada, or whatever they would call it here.

    They’ll change the name. “Cascada” is to close to “Castrate-Uh” or perhaps the dishwashing product known as “Cascade” or perhaps I’m mispronouncing the wourd (sic) and it rhymes with “Cas-caca.”

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think a small Buick Chinese hatch would go over well. Baby hatch shoppers want something cool – and Buick is largely inherently uncool.

      I agree on the Cascade name. Always puts me in mind of the big, shiny green box. I think it’ll get a name starting with V, to associate it closely with the Verano, since the SUVs start with E.

      Veneno, Valero, Valise, etc.

  • avatar

    What ever the Chinese want is what we’ll get

  • avatar

    If I had to choose only one, I’d go with Cascada first. Like others mentioned, more profit margin in that one. But in an ideal world, both would be great. I still think that there is room for another Mini challenger. Even where I live, there are way more Minis than 500’s, although the 500’s have a pretty good presence. Of course, the Mini has been around longer. I still think there’s room for the Adam, especially if it could ride the coat tails of the Encore.

  • avatar

    The Cascada convertible would fit much better with Buick’s near luxury image. Higher average transaction for such a car would make it an easier pitch as a niche vehicle too.

  • avatar

    The Next niche are inexpensive midsize 4-door sedans with AWD.

  • avatar

    Buick Skyhawké

  • avatar

    I would like to see both. They both seem to fit nicely into Buick’s lineup.

  • avatar

    They’d get a bigger splash if they actually introduce them simultaneously. Presence in the Smart/Mink/500/A1/etc. arena establishes credibility, looks young and can be bought by old big 3 loyalists for use in the city, and the front drive ragtop field could bring volume while reintroducing the product line to a slew of vacationers with enough coin to make a good impression worth establishing. Both at once would enforce the freshness of the direction, multiply the buzz; there’s no way GM will ever do it this way.

  • avatar

    re: Encore

    Whenever I have seen one pull up to a stop, their ridiculous appearance and front fascia makes me imagine they might topple over forward. It’s the least stable looking vehicle I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty of Discovery II’s.

  • avatar

    Gas powered wheel-chairls.

    I couldn’t resist.

  • avatar

    Sorry, but this article gets me thinking again about the value of the GM bailout. With fewer and fewer execptions, GM’s “domestic” vehicles are badge engineered versions of Opel or Daewoo products. Does GM even employ any engineers in the US anymore?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Silverado/Sierra, the Tahoe, Yukon/Denali, Suburban, and Escalade? GM sells like a million of those a year combined, engineered and built right here in the USA. I’m pretty sure the Impala/XTS is a US job too. And Corvette, hopefully good for 25K-plus units.

      Seriously, just because Opel or Daewoo might have developed the base platform doesn’t mean US engineers don’t design for US tastes.

  • avatar

    The Premium Subcompact Convertible Pickup Truck. Just gussy up a Chevy Montana from Chevy do Brasil, chop the roof off, and Buick’s your uncle(‘s car)!

    Seriously though, Lexus dealers are apparently moaning for the manufacturer to give them a luxury minivan. Maybe it’s time to bring one of Opel’s MPV offerings over…the Meriva or Zafira.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see a Buick version of Cadillac’s ATS coupe, without CUE, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Jan Bayus

      I rented an ATS for a week in Northern CA, and CUE was the reason I would never buy the car. Never had a worse experience with any technology. Otherwise the car exceeded my expectations on every other way.

  • avatar

    I wish it was “neither of the above”, and instead this;

  • avatar
    Jan Bayus

    Adam for sure. With the VXR option it is a slam dunk.

  • avatar

    The Cascada is probably too expensive to fill the Chrysler Sebring/LeBaron/200/Whatever niche.

    The Adam oughta be called the David here. Adam Opel, David Buick – the founders.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice! Obscure, but nice. Then again, Buick had ads with an actor channeling Harley Earl so I wouldn’t put it past them.

      With the demise of the 200 and Saab convertible, this would be great but I suspect it would be too expensive unless they cut corners disgustingly.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey, when you’ve got history, sell it. Hyundai can’t do that. Heck, even Toyota & the gang can’t claim much in the way of history anyone would care about (save the 240Z and the Land Cruiser).

        I just realized the name David works also as David and Goliath. Not bad image for small car.

        Anyone know any executives at Buick so I could pitch the idea?

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Mark Reuss also said a Buick entry “similar to the Porsche Panamera, but better looking” was a good idea. That may be the flavor they shoot for with the mid-size CUV which is in Buick’s future, or something else.

    GM has immense global product development capability with lots of architecture choices for future products.

    With all of that said, a Buick convertible (Cascada) seems quite likely.

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