The 2016 Buick Cascada, revealed at the 2015 North American Auto Show, will indeed be imported directly from General Motors’ European unit, Opel, rather than being built domestically. The factory specifically is located in Gliwice, Poland where it currently runs at 70 percent capacity due to a slowing European economy and tumbling Russian currency. This may actually be a good step in the right direction to make good on GM CEO Mary Barra’s promise to return Opel to profitability by 2016.
With the assembly plant humming along at 70 percent, taking on a load from Buick to build left-hand drive vehicles for the North American market with add a new steady stream of operations for the lagging branch. A falling European currency value also makes exporting cars to North American much more attractive.
General Motors also announced it will manufacture a new crossover at its German assembly plant to replace the Zafira people mover in Europe. Adding to the newfound European production is Opel confirming a new Buick model for the United States will be built at the same German assembly in the next half of this decade.
All of this is part of a wide program being implemented by Barra and Opel chief Karl-Thomas Neumann, internally known as DRIVE 2022. The plan calls for a slew of new engines, transmissions and a family of new cars such as the Adam, Cascada and Insignia. Thus far, General Motors has been unsuccessful in returning Opel to a profitable status even after shutting down factories, shedding Saab and reversing a decision to sell Chevrolet across Europe.
The last time General Motors turned a net profit in Europe was in 1999.