A Buick Is in Danger

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a buick is in danger

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.

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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  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Oct 10, 2018

    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.

  • DEVILLE88 DEVILLE88 on Oct 10, 2018

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

    • See 1 previous
    • Roberto Esponja Roberto Esponja on Oct 11, 2018

      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.

  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.
  • Kwik_Shift A manual bug eye WRX wagon (2001-03) would interest me more.
  • El scotto Ferrari develops a way to put a virtual car in real time traffic? Will it be multiple virtual players in a possible infinite number of real drivers in real time situations?This will be one of the greatest things ever or a niche video game.
  • El scotto It's said that many military regulations are written in blood. Every ship's wheel or aircraft joystick has a human hand on it at all times when a ship or aircraft are under power. Tanks, APC's and other ground vehicles probably operate under the same rules. Even with those regulations accidents still happen. There is no such thing as an unmanned autopilot, ever. Someone has to be on the stick at all times.I do not think MB understands what a sue-happy nation the USA is. The 1st leased MB in a wreck while this Type 3 "Semi-Autonomous" driving, or whatever it is called, will result in an automatic lawsuit. Expect a class action lawsuit after the 1st personal lawsuit is filed. Yes, new MB owners can afford and ever are lawyers.Mercedes Benz; "The best wrecks or nothing!" Oh and has anyone noticed that Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura, the gray suit with white shirt and striped tie, automobile companies have stayed away from any autonomous driving nonsense?
  • Merc190 Very streamlined but not distinctive enough for a Mercedes. And besides, the streetcar of the early 20th century seems a far more efficient and effective method of people moving in essentially an autonomous manner. A motor car is meant to be driven with proper attention to what's important in every situation. To design it otherwise is idiotic and contradictory.