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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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.