Arguably the most interesting — or at least atypical — Buick in the brand’s lineup, the Cascada was a European creation that wore many badges. And now it’s truly, definitively dead.
Unlike the recent deep-sixing of the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Cruze, the last Cascada to roll off Opel’s Polish assembly line did so with little fanfare. Perhaps a few autoworkers raised a tallboy of Tatra after work, we don’t know. For Opel parent PSA Groupe, the ceasing of Cascada production is akin to sweeping old cobwebs away in preparation for new wallpaper.
But what a life it had.
With official confirmation that the Buick Cascada will eventually be joining the Lacrosse for an extended dirt nap, General Motors’ “lesser” luxury brand has to make a decision. Will Buick press onward with a limited lineup or will it try and find replacements for North America? Considering Buick’s crossover volume moved from around 30 percent of its U.S. sales volume in 2011 to 84 percent in 2018, the marque likely isn’t worried about replacing unloved models. But it’s also unusual for a luxury brand, even a quasi-luxury one like Buick, to go without at full-size sedan.
Further compounding the issue is GM’s continued repositioning as a crossover, pickup, and EV manufacturer. Sedans are playing an increasingly minor role and, with the company having sold its interest in Opel to France’s Groupe PSA in 2017, it can’t lean on Europe for vehicles anymore. But what about China?
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.
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.
By the standards of niche market convertibles, the Buick Cascada is, or at least was, a certifiable hit.
Sales of the Cascada have tumbled by a fifth in 2017, year-over-year. More recently, Cascada sales fell by nearly 40 percent during the height of the summer. But since going on sale at the beginning of 2016, more than 11,000 Buick Cascadas have been sold in the United States. At times, the Buick has even outsold Mazda’s MX-5 Miata. And no, before you draw an entirely incorrect conclusion, hardly any Cascadas have gone into the daily rental mix. More than 99 percent of the Buick Cascadas sold in America were retail acquisitions.
But for its third model year, Buick feels it’s time to spice things up. The Cascada, historically available in very few shades, is getting new paint options for the 2018 model year. Why?
“Color is back,” Buick’s Catherine Black says.
“Buick revealed its Cascada convertible, an elegant four-seater that will go on sale in the USA in the first quarter of 2016. This marks another example of the two brands’ successful collaboration, which already includes the jointly-developed Buick Encore and Opel Mokka, the Buick Verano and Opel Astra notchback as well as the Buick Regal and Opel Insignia,” proclaimed Opel in January 2016, just ahead of the Cascada’s reveal in Detroit.
One paragraph. Four products that intrinsically link Opel and Buick.
It’s no surprise, then, that General Motors’ possible sale of Opel to Peugeot has those in and out of the RenCen wondering: What of Buick?
Front-wheel-drive, soft top, four-cylinder engine, hefty curb weight— the ideal car for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Miami International Airport?
On sale since January, the Buick Cascada has attracted 6,154 individual U.S. buyers over the last ten months.
According to Buick, General Motors has only seen three Cascadas make their way into fleet use, for a total of 6,157 Cascada sales through the end of October.
Michael Phelps has won more gold medals in the pool at the last four Summer Olympics than the whole Team Canada claimed, across all events, in the last seven.
Despite currently producing more total medals per capita than the American team in Rio, we Canadians can be found suffering from an inferiority complex. And yes, per capita medal counts are the kinds of statistics you can expect from the citizens of a nation that suffer from an inferiority complex.
It doesn’t help that Canada’s new vehicle market, one-ninth the size of the U.S. market, is deemed too small to benefit from one of the planet’s best sports sedan values, the Chevrolet SS.
Yet the Chevrolet SS is by no means the only new vehicle on sale in the United States that doesn’t cross the border.
After years of covering the automotive industry, I’m still amused by the enormous gulf between auto enthusiasts and “real people.” (I’m talking to you, B&B!) We get excited when Honda decides to offer a manual transmission in the V6 Accord, despite the tens of buyers who will come running for it, or General Motors’ confidence to sell the Chevrolet SS here at all. “Real people” like it when there’s a less expensive way to get into a BMW M product, as well as the ability to go into a showroom and walk out the same day with the same nameplate they know and trust.
A great example of this chasm/schism is the Buick Cascada. Here’s how we imagine the reaction of each affinity group:
Auto enthusiasts/press: “Buick’s decided to rebadge an aging Opel and try to pass it off in the United States as The New Thing in the segment abandoned by the Volkswagen Eos and Chrysler 200 convertible?”
Real people: “There’s a convertible Buick now?”
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- Jeff NYC does have the right to access these charges and unless you are traveling on business or a necessity you don't have to drive or live in NYC. I have been in NYC a few times and I have absolutely no desire to go back. I can say the same thing about Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston where I lived for 29 years. A city can get too big where it is no longer livable for many. I was raised in West Houston near the Katy Freeway which is part of I-10. The Katy Freeway when I moved from Houston in 1987 was a 6 lane road--3 lanes on each side of the interstate with each side having side access roads which we called feeder roads for a total of 8 lanes. Today the Katy freeway has 26 lanes which include feeder roads. I went back to Houston in 2010 to see my father who was dying and lost any desire to go back. To expand the Katy Freeway it took thousands of businesses to be torn down. I read an article about future expansion of the Katy freeway that said the only way to expand it was to either put a deck above it or to go underground. One of the things the city was looking at was to have tolls during the peak hours of traffic. Houston is very flat and it is easier to expand the size of roads than in many eastern cities but how easy is it to expand a current road that already has 26 lanes and is one of the widest roads in the World. It seems that adding more lanes to the Katy freeway just expanded the amount of traffic and increased the need for more lanes. Just adding more lanes and expanding roads is not a long term solution especially when more homes and businesses are built in an area. There was rapid growth In Northern Kentucky when I lived in Hebron near the Northern Kentucky Cincinnati Airport. , Amazon built a terminal and facility onto the airport that was larger than the rest of the airport. Amazon built more warehouses, more homes were being built, and more businesses. Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky are constantly expanding roads and repairing them. Also there is the Brent Spence Bridge which crosses the Ohio River into Cincinnati that is part of I-71 and I-75 and major North and South corridor. The bridge is 60 years old and is obsolete and is in severe disrepair. I-71 and I-75 are major corridors for truck transportation.
- Art_Vandelay It's not like everyone is topping their ICE vehicles off and coasting into the gas station having used every last drop of fuel either though. Most people start looking to fill up at around a 1/4 of a tank. If you constantly run the thing out of gas your fuel pump would probably be unhappy. If you running your EV to zero daily you probably bought the wrong vehicle
- ToolGuy Imagine how exciting the automotive landscape will be once other manufacturers catch up with Subaru's horizontally-opposed engine technology.
- FreedMike Oh, and this..."While London likes to praise its own congestion charging for reducing traffic and increasing annual revenues, tourism has declined..."The reason London's tourism numbers are down is that the city has resumed its' "tourist tax." And why did the tourist tax get reimposed? Brexit. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/tourist-tax-cost-millions-myth-hmrc-survey-foreign-visitors-spending-uk-b1082327.html
- Dukeisduke Eh, still a Nissan. Nope.