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

gm executives arent worried about buicks future after opel sale

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]

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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.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.