Bye, Bye, Buick: A German-American Convertible Prepares to Exit the Stage

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bye bye buick a german american convertible prepares to exit the stage

Everyone knew this was coming, but now it’s official. The current model year will be the Buick Cascada’s last.

Hitting dealer (and rental) lots in the U.S. at the dawn of 2016, the Opel-built drop top motivated its two-ton weight with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder — an engine that gave away the model’s European heritage. With Opel no longer in the hands of General Motors, Americans stand to lose another model that, while perhaps not hugely desirable, is at least interesting and different.

Word of the Cascada’s discontinuation date comes via Automotive News, which cites GM’s plan to end production over the summer. Dealers have been told to make their final order. Thus, the 2019 Cascada will be the last Cascada.

Now owned by France’s PSA Group, Opel announced plans last fall to cease production of three car models, including the Cascada. The convertible-only model calls Poland home and is sold by various marques, depending on market. Britain’s Vauxhall has its own Cascada, as does Australia’s Holden brand.

Buick, soon to be left with only a single passenger car, touted the Cascada’s ability to draw new buyers into the brand.

“The Cascada has played its role in the portfolio perfectly, outselling many other premium convertibles while bringing in [six of every 10] buyers from outside GM,” the brand said in a statement to Automotive News. “However, it has reached the end of its originally-planned lifecycle and 2019 will be the last model year offered. Dealers have been notified and many will have stock through the rest of this year.”

While debate [s]raged[/s] smoldered over the past few years as to the Cascada’s attributes, the car did fill a role in sunny climes, what with the demise of the Chrysler Sebring/200 convertible. The car’s sales told the story, however. Its first year on the U.S. market proved to be its best, with volume falling off in each subsequent year. Only one month saw the Cascada top 1,000 units (April 2016). The Cascada’s fourth-quarter 2018 sales totalled just 743 vehicles — a 26.1 percent decline from Q4 2017.

With the Cascada’s death, America loses not only its last two-door Buick, but also its last “domestic” non-sports car convertible (of the car variety, that is). Those seeking a roomy whip for sedate boulevard cruising had best call up the Germans.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Akear Akear on Feb 17, 2019

    Apparently, PSA has turned Opel around in just a year's time. This is something GM management simply could not do. This perfectly illustrates that GM management simply is not effective. The article below also claims wall street and its stockholders give GM little flexibility. How long will it be until PSA drops GM to fifth place in international sales. Remember, people never thought Nissan will surpass GM in global sales.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 19, 2019

      Akear, thanks for the link - interesting read. Based on what I have seen/heard, Carlos Tavares (CEO of PSA) is a good man.

  • SavageATL SavageATL on Feb 18, 2019

    Look, I love a relaxed fit convertible. I had a '93 Cutlass and before that an '86 Aries. Sometimes you just want a nice four seater convertible with a useable back seat and trunk, a segment nicely filled at one point by the Solara/LeBaron/Sebring. The Camaro is too silly, the Germans are too expensive/fragile/cramped, and the Mustang is too small. The Cascada had the Opel build against it (I had a Catera, so nope) then it had no useable back seat and it was ugly inside with cheap, ugly black plastics. GM hasn't built a car I would be remotely interested in buying in years and doesn't seem likely to.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.