By on October 9, 2018

2016 Buick Cascada

The Buick Cascada, known to Europeans as the Opel Cascada, appeared on North American shores for the 2016 model year, offering buyers (and renters) a pleasant, four-seat replacement for the discontinued Chrysler 200 drop-top.

Now wholly owned by France’s PSA Group, not General Motors, Opel plans to ditch the model once 2019 is up, meaning America stands to lose its last non-sports car convertible. It would also knock the Buick brand down to five models.

Opel announced Tuesday it would stop building the Cascada, introduced in Europe for 2014, after 2019. The Polish-built convertible and two other small cars “will not be replaced after the end of their life cycles,” the company said.

That seems to kibosh the idea that Opel could continue funnelling Cascadas to Buick, even after dropping the model from its own lineup. The newly Frenchified brand plans to go deeper into crossovers and electrification while dropping slower-selling cars, a strategy that seems to be a template followed by every automaker under the sun.

2018 Buick Cascada Dark Moon Blue - Image: General Motors

A Buick spokesman contacted by Motor Authority said the brand has nothing to announce about the model’s American future, but did mention that the Cascada remains an important part of the Buick family. The model draws a higher percentage of new customers to the Buick brand than any other model, the spokesman claimed. Still, the model doesn’t bring in a huge volume of buyers.

By far the slowest selling model in Buick’s lineup, Cascada volume fell 25 percent over the first nine months of 2018. A niche car, the Cascada amounted to 2.2 percent of Buick’s 2018 sales, and that’s after rounding up. The first three quarters of 2017 shows a Cascada take rate of 2.8 percent.

While the model was seldom talked about (it offered a single powertrain consisting of a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 200 hp and 207 lb-ft, or 221 lb-ft in overboost mode), it did provide the Buick brand with a point of interest. Something GM’s other divisions — and indeed, those of other Detroit Three automakers — couldn’t claim. Should the model disappear, the brand becomes less interesting than it already is.

[Image: General Motors]

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65 Comments on “A Buick Is in Danger...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    The Cascada was based on the old Astra platform anyway. GM could build a new Cascada on the new Cruze platform, but they most likely won’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      The Cruze platform wasn’t built to accommodate a convertible. Extensive reworking would need to be done. Yhe Alpha platform would be a better choice. Since GM already builds 1 convertible on it. (Camaro)

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    I see one in the parking lot where I work often. Every time, I think how lucky I must be to see it given how few of these are sold. I feel the same way when I see the Murano Crosscabriolet that lives in my town too.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    My wife has no idea what she’s going to buy to replace her ’06 Solara when the thing wears out. The Solara was a surprisingly practical car, with the interior room of a spacious coupe, the trunk of a decent-sized sedan, the fun-factor of a convertible, and a V6 engine for pep, even if the handling wasn’t particularly sporty.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lie #1: “the Cascada remains an important part of the Buick family”

    BS #1: “it did provide the Buick brand with a point of interest”

    “Point of interest”, “halo car”, whatever. At less than 400 sales *per month*, it was a turd. I’ve seen exactly 1 of these in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ” At less than 400 sales *per month*”

      100 to Hertz
      100 to Avis
      100 to Budget
      100 to newly divorced 50year old+ women who want to “live it up”
      =400

      • 0 avatar
        Mackie

        Ugh… These snarky rental fleet comments are so old. And I suppose your mid-life crisis car will be super cool and badass, eh?

        (No, I do not drive a Cascada)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Cascada fleet sales are about equal to the Honda Accord if you’d actually look up some numbers. Buick was insistent they would not turn the Cascada into a fleet special.

        Had they done so, I don’t think it is a big leap to speculate they could have moved 15K to 20K a year to the various rental agencies as it checks all the boxes. Low powered, seats 4, can charge a premium for it, built on Delta II so easy/cheap to service.

        Not in defense of this, “hey, we have excess capacity at this factory I know what we can do…” special that was destined to live for a single generation.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          If this is the case, that was stupid. This was the perfect rental convertible.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Buick rental sales as a division are somewhere between Toyota and Hyundai – about 13% fleet. Buick made a decision as part of their reimaging that they would not do fleet sales as they did during the “old” GM.

            Had they made the Cascada the Sebring Convertible second coming, the mockery would insue, versus the, “well a good way to get the efficiency a LEAN manufacturing operation requires to be profitable.”

            The Cascada always had a Chevy SS sales strategy around it, with just a touch more marketing around it’s initial launch. It existed to drive some additional manufacturing capacity and nothing more.

            The slice of the market they were going after is tiny anyway, US convertible sales represent about 1% of all sales per year. So addressable market is somewhere between 160,000 to 170,000 units a year total. Cascada had about 3% of the convertible market total.

            Put another way, Cascada sales are about on parity with — the Toyota Yaris in monthly numbers (Yaris hatch)

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Correctamundo!

  • avatar
    NoID

    Without Opel to partner with, IMHO maybe we just make one luxury brand for the USA (Cadillac) and one for China (Buick). That way you could have room for historic cushy barges (old Cadillac + XTS, historic Buick), refined Teutonic sedans (new Cadillac), and CUVs/SUVs (current luxury trend for both) without stepping all over each other for market share.

    Just my two cents.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Ahhh, some GM haterade.

    …offering buyers (and renters)…

    The Cascada is about 4% fleet. Yup, they are lined up as deep as Altimas on those rental lots.

    …Now wholly owned by France’s PSA Group, not General Motors, Opel plans to ditch the model once 2019 is up, meaning America stands to lose its last non-sports car convertible…

    The Cascada is built on the rather old Delta II platform the last GM vehicle in NA you can buy on DII. The death of this, “hey, lets get more value out of the production coming from this factory,” special was preordained the day it hit our shores.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “The death of this, ‘hey, lets get more value out of the production coming from this factory,’ special was preordained the day it hit our shores.”

      Right. It’s a similar scenario as that of the Chevrolet SS that GM also brought to market but did nothing to try and sell. Except that vehicle had some real merit and enthusiasts knew where to find it—so they didn’t have to market it much—and the Cascada resides only in the hearts of abandoned 200 Convertible and Eos buyers.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve seen one in real life. My local Buick dealer had one from first year of production that sat unloved in the showroom until the dealer traded it for something they could sell.

    Sebring/200 convertible owners better hurry up and get one while they can.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I have seen exactly none of these in sunny, Southern California. With a 1.6T, I can understand why. This model won’t be missed, an new ones will probably be on sale for a year after its cancellation.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve seen exactly one of these in the wild, it was ok, but face it, there’s only four ways to do a convertible, Mustang, Camaro, Wrangler, Miata

    Unless, of course, you’ve taken the family to Orlando to see Mickey, then this is the perfect car

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “A Buick spokesman contacted by Motor Authority said the brand has nothing to announce about the model’s American future, but did mention that the Cascada remains an important part of the Buick family.”

    Well if they’re going to file 86 on an “important part” of the Buick family, I can only imagine what they would do to an unimportant part.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “but did mention that the Cascada remains an important part of the Buick family.”

      Sounds like what two happily married celebrities might say right before they announce their divorce

  • avatar
    mikey

    Shockingly ..I’ve seen two in the wild..I do live in whats left of “Motor City of the North”. When you consider that the Cascada isn’t even sold in Canada .. I figure they had to be GM Company/Staff vehicles .

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Don’t forget that the truly ‘important part of the Buick family’ is everything the brand sells in China – not North America.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      The irony is that Buick’s appeal in China has historically been dependent, at least in part, upon the perception of its popularity in the United States. I wonder what happens when Chinese buyers finally awaken to the fact Buick is now essentially irrelevant here.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        I’ve long suspected this is the only real reason GM keeps Buick N.America around. The Chinese don’t care if Buicks are big sellers in the US; but they do want to think they’re driving a car regarded as prestigious in America.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Was happy when I first heard Buick would come out with a new convertible. Thinking it would be an adult version of the Camaro maybe. Could never get past the styling, let alone huge wheels, and small engine.

  • avatar

    Fake Buick

  • avatar
    deanst

    Make the Avista coupe and I’ll never say a bad word about GM again!

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      deanst

      Car sales are falling off a cliff. The Avista would need to come in as a long range fully electric vehicle, and be priced against Teslas model 3.
      Would you still buy it?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    convertibles are supposed to be sexy – this Buick is the opposite of sex

    like the last Sebring, the Buick’s belt line is way too high, like sitting in a bathtub, almost as bad as the Nissan MoronO soft top.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “it did provide the Buick brand with a point of interest. Something GM’s other divisions — and indeed, those of other Detroit Three automakers — couldn’t claim.”

    Yeah, the Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Challenger and Charger (including all their high performance variants) aren’t interesting. F-150 Raptor isn’t interesting. RAM Power Wagon isn’t interesting. Jeep Wrangler isn’t interesting. Focus RS, the Fiesta and Focus STs sure aren’t interesting.

    No.

    Only the Buick Sebring is/was interesting.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t blame this product as much as GMs lack of interest in marketing this product and pricing it at an unrealistic price. The only advertising was just as this car was being introduced. I actually like this convertible in that it is not a sports car or a muscle car and it has a rear seat. This is more of a cruiser. I doubt GM considered this as a long term product. As for cars versus trucks and suvs the sales and the money is not in cars so why bother investing large dollars in a totally new car. Buick’s bread winners are the Encore and Enclave which keep Buick alive in the US along with selling GMCs along side. Buick is not dead yet just transitioning away from cars.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The presence of GMC SUVS and crossovers in the same showroom makes Buick transitioning to crossovers problematic. Or it would if buyers weren’t snapping up CUVs at a crazy rate. It remains to be seen if this is a permanent shift or just a short-term trend, like 2+2 FWD sport coupes were a generation ago.

      • 0 avatar

        Seriously I don’t get the business case for why the Buick nameplate needs to continue existing here. It all comes across in a seriously lame way.

        Why can’t the basic SUV, CUV and sedan lineup be sold with the tri-shield in China? If necessary, they can amortize the same products with a Chevy, GMC or Cadillac badge here. They’ve been doing this both here and in Europe for decades. Who except the Ghost of Alfred Sloan would actually give a damn?

        It must be confusing to the buyer looking at both an Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia in the same showroom. The fact that there are three big sedans – Chevy Impala, Buick Lacrosse and Cadillac XTS – cannibalizing each other’s meager sales seems outright criminal.

        Roger Smith killed the 5-division business case over 30 years ago. GM itself still seems unwilling to catch on.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @BklynPete – during the bankruptcy the government was going to reduce GM to just Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac but the “Buick in China” thing is how Buick lived.

          • 0 avatar

            @Principal Dan – Yes, I do remember. In the 10 years since, what has Buick accomplished in this market to remain a viable standalone GM brand from the other three?

            I come from a Buick family and ask this with sadness in my heart. But reality check – if clinging to the past is diverting GM resources, shouldn’t the old dear be put out to pasture? 116 years is a good run. Lots of dead brands have new lives elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar

          if management can’t sell Pontiacs, you don’t get rid of Pontiac, you get rid of management.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Are there any reasonably-priced 4-seat convertibles with a reasonably accessible hip point left? I guess it’s not such a giant market, consisting mostly of retirees finally getting “the fun car” and European vacationers wanting to drive Highway 1 in a rented droptop.

    The Cascada, with its absurdly large show-car rims and tidy overhangs, actually looks really nicely proportioned, which is hard to pull off on these slab-sided coupe-vertibles. My hat is off to the styling team.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    A hodgepodge of old Astra bits with old Insignia/Regal style rear lights.

    The car the new Saab 9-3 cabrio could’ve been (and rumour has it that it started off as, before GM got rid of Saab)

    PSA Peugeot-Citroen are looking to axe all GM platform models and replace the profitable ones with home-grown platformed models. They’re also axing the Viva (aka Spark) and Adam small cars, the former likely to be replaced with something on the same line as the 108/C1/Toyota Aygo.

    As someone who saw Chrysler Europe get snapped up, badge engineered then wound down, it is scarily like history repeating. At least it worked out well for Peugeot, the Horizon (of which the Plymouth / Dodge Omni were similar in the same way as European and US Ford Escorts were vaguely similar…) replacement Arizona became the 309 and gave Peugeot a foothold in the compact family hatchback market, where they are popular to this day – stopping the numbering increment with the last few generations of 308.

    Keep an eye on the Regal, US and Australia sales aren’t living up to expectations (thanks to crossovers and the Kia Stinger…), PSA would be happy enough to either axe the GM platformed Insignia or replace it with a 508-based model.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    it’s a really nice car…….but that is the stupidest name ever put on an american car.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I realize the Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden versions also were sold as Cascadas, but it seems like Skylark would’ve been a natural for the Buick version.

      I really dislike the bicolor, 20-inch-only wheel choice for the US market. The other divisions’ versions are available with smaller wheels that look and function better.

      I’ve seen about five or six of these in the wild. Wheels aside, it’s a car that looks much better in person than in photos. Kinda sad to see it leave the market. There are other ragtops out there, but I think they’re all either sporty (Miata, pony cars) or the higher-end German brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      At least cascada means waterfall or cascade in Spanish. Alero (remember Olds?) meant overhang.

      Pajero, a Mitsubishi model name, has a “special” meaning in some Hispanic countries.

      I truly do wonder if companies spend any money anymore on research prior to choosing their model names.


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