Last month, we told you how Buick plans to operate from here on out, engaging in playful “white space“, as they like to call it. What does this mean, you ask? Buick feels they don’t need to be set in their own ways, and can therefore occupy a unique space in the market.
That’s how vehicles like the Verano and Encore came about, instantly resonating well among consumers and earning valuable sales. We should note the Verano was one of the first upscale small cars to go on sale in the U.S. It was later challenged by the likes of Acura ILX, along with the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. The Encore, meanwhile, beat every manufacturer to the subcompact small-crossover party in the U.S., reaping the rewards. So what about the recently-announced Buick Cascada?
On paper, it would seem the Cascada follows the newfound “white space” strategy, but is there an underlying reason for bringing the Opel-sourced soft-top to the U.S.? As AutoNews Europe notes, Cascada sales have been rather disappointing in the European market due to the shrinking demand for convertibles. In that regard, the Cascada occupies a very unique niche in the market, serving something like a stepping stone before buyers consider a more premium offering like a luxury roadster in the form of a Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, BMW Z4, or the Audi TT.
Low European sales ultimately create the possibility of General Motors needing to export the Cascada to the U.S. to maintain or even increase global volume of the vehicle. GM will also send the Cascada to Australia, where it will become the Holden Cascada. The globalization of the compact, Delta platform-based soft-top will therefore help in using a large lump of unused capacity at GM’s Gliwice factory in Poland, where the car is built.
Another theory is that bringing the Cascada to America was simply part of GM’s strategy to align the Opel-Vauxhall and Buick brands on a global level. In doing so, the Cascada is also capable of changing perception of the Buick brand, which is also a plus.
At the end of the day, the Encore and Verano created new segments in the U.S. automotive market, and then turned out to do wonders for Buick by not only earning sales but also by bringing new customers to the brand. Perhaps the Cascada can do the same.