GM Executives Aren't Worried About Buick's Future After Opel Sale

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

General Motors’ sale of Opel to France’s PSA Group sparked much debate on what the European division’s loss would mean for Buick, which holds strong product ties with the German manufacturer.

The new Buick Regal, which bowed today in liftback and wagon bodystyles, shares its architecture with Opel’s new-for-2017 Insignia. At the 2018 model’s Detroit-area launch, GM’s executives downplayed the impact on its Buick division, claiming there’s no disruption in sight for the brand.

According to Car and Driver, GM’s vice president of global Buick and GMC, Duncan Aldred, isn’t concerned. “The sale of Opel will have no impact on the fresh new lineup Buick is building out,” he claimed.

GM stands to gain $2.3 billion from the completed sale of Opel, its UK subsidiary Vauxhall, a smattering of assembly plants across several countries, and its main engineering center. GM Financial’s European operations are also part of the deal.

Besides the Regal, which is built in Rüsselsheim, Germany, Buick draws its Cascada convertible directly from the Opel lineup. The Encore, badged as an Opel Mokka in Europe, comes to the U.S. by way of GM Korea, while the Envision sails from a factory in China (where the model first debuted). The LaCrosse sedan and full-size Enclave crossover, of course, are U.S.-built.

The sale comes at a significant time in the life of the Regal, but Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing, and supply, said the model isn’t threatened by the sale. (Market direction is another matter.)

“This is very much part of our portfolio plan,” said Mark Reuss. “As we said, Opel and the engineering/production piece of this is very much intact for all of our global platforms. So, you know, no impact.”

While the deal isn’t complete, Reuss claimed that all product-related issues would be solved by the time GM officially hands off its operations to Opel. That would keep Opel-based Buicks flowing to U.S. dealers for the models’ current generation, at least. He wouldn’t say whether GM would pay PSA for development work in the future.

Buick has said in the past that utility vehicles — much like with other automakers — are a big part of its focus. It’s easy to see the Cascada being dropped at the end of this generation, leaving the Regal as the only major question mark. Still, the two automakers aren’t parting completely.

In a continent rapidly adopting new laws limiting the use of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, PSA needs electric vehicle technology. It had its eye on Chevrolet’s Bolt, sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e. Part of the deal between the two companies includes a collaboration on electrification projects designed to give both companies an edge in the expanding segment.

[Image: Opel]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Asdf Asdf on Apr 06, 2017

    Buick is synonymous with China already now, so no doubt it'll become GM's "Crap Made In China" brand for the next generation of vehicles, even in the US - that is, if anyone outside of China still cares about Buick at that point at all...

  • Armadamaster Armadamaster on Apr 07, 2017

    How Buick survived bankruptcy is still mindboggling to me. And it still looks like a Saturn, except now they look like ten year old Saturns.

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.