GM’s sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group in 2017 has left Buick in a precarious position when it comes to its U.S. lineup.
Gradually, Buick will have to ditch the rebadged Opel models it has been selling for quite a while in the United States. The recent announcement regarding the Cascada convertible is just the beginning, as more than half of Buick’s current lineup is made of Opel vehicles.
Besides the Cascada, Buick sells the Korean-made Encore crossover (Opel Mokka), Regal sedan and Regal TourX wagon (Opel Insignia), and Regal GS performance sedan (Opel Insignia GSi). Basically, the only non-Opel models in the lineup are the Envision and Enclave SUVs, as well as the LaCrosse flagship sedan.
Speaking of the latter, GM has already announced it will stop making it come March, so that leaves Buick with only the Enclave and Envision as certain products. With Opel vehicles slowly becoming off-limits, where will Buick source its future models from? The most obvious answer is GM China, which has already given America the Envision (pictured).
Buick China to come to the rescue once again
Ten years ago, Buick was saved from getting axed by the brand’s prominence in China and now the automaker may have to rely on GM China to fill its U.S. lineup — especially given the parent company’s shift to crossovers and EVs.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean importing more models from China. Instead, Buick and GM China will need to combine resources and build vehicles for both markets. Buick’s prominence in China gives it “opportunities to leverage some models” for both markets, Phil Brook, vice president of Buick and GMC marketing, told Autonews.
EVs could be among those models since GM needs to meet stricter emissions standards in China anyway. “It would be difficult to get a Buick electric vehicle program like that up and running just for the U.S. market as we sit here today but certainly down the track we’ve got great options because of the need in China,” Brook added.
By 2023, GM plans to launch at least 20 all-electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles worldwide. While GM execs remain tight-lipped about future Buick products for the United States, last month the company announced dealers that a new model would be introduced this year. It remains to be seen whether that’s a new nameplate or an Avenir-badged version of an existing model (possibly the Encore).