Opel, Buick To Expand Product Sharing, Become A “Hybrid Global Brand”37
Currently, Buick and Opel share three vehicles: Astra/Verano (Excelle), Insignia/Regal, and Mokka/Encore. Going forward, that number will grow, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson. In doing so, Buick will be thinning out the development costs that Opel racks up with engineering the vehicles, as GM continues to mesh together its global development teams more closely.
And while Buick, Opel and Vauxhall may be regional brands, the three make up what Akerson describes as a “hybrid global brand.”
So what other types of vehicles may spawn from this brand love triangle? With spy photos of a compact (or midsize) Buick crossover, and the Opel/Vauxhall Antara in need of an all-new model, it’s very possible that the compact CUV space is next.
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My guess is an Enclave for Europe
For them, cars like the Range Rover and Volvo XC90 are considered huge. I don’t know if they could handle the minivan-replacement that is the Buick Enclave…lol
In the medium to long term, Buick and Opel are intended to be a single brand! It is the most accurate and foolproof strategy to, first, return to profitability in Europe refocusing Opel as semi-premium brand, which in turn will free up space for the growth of Chevrolet in the European mass market.
The relationship between Buick and Opel will gradually narrowing … It not only renaming models, but rather sharing development costs for the upcoming models. Undoubtedly the next (Enspire-Anthem) / Antara be the first major step in that direction!
With this strategy both brands can enter new market segments, Buick will continue to increase its offer compact where the Germans have a great experience while Opel will compete again in the higher segments with the arrival of the new generation LaCrosse (the rumored reborn Opel Omega) and the Enclave.
P.D.: I guess GM will unify and Lambda Epsilon platforms in a single global platform for the next generation, as it did with the Delta and Theta.
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That is the reason why the next Zafira won´t be developed by Opel anymore, because Opel will be more involved in global activities of GM. Vehicles such as the Adam or Meriva are primarily designed for the European market, while the Insignia or the Astra can be sold in much higher volume outside of Europe. The development of these vehicles will stay at Opel/GM unlike “niche” (eg. Zafira Tourer) products with focus on Europe. Opel engineers will work closely with Buick engineers from the US and China in the future. The same thing already happened with Chevrolet US, GM Korea and Holden. Ruesselsheim could benefit most of this move and will most likely stay the important center of all Opel/Vauxhall and Buick cars. Opel will lead the development, but customer requirements from North America and China are considered stronger in the development process. However, I would have liked to see Opel as a global brand under its own badge, but this is after all a good compromise by GM. The Regal is currently built in Canada, but with very low sales (20,000 units) therefore it would make sense to built it in Germany again. Big Buick or Opel SUVs will likely sell better in NA, so GM can export them from NA to Europe.
Kyree, Europe is full (at least here in UK) of Range Rovers, Discovery, X5, Q7, ML, Toureg, XC90 & others. Yes strictly it’s not a Range Rover rival but there should be no reason it couldn’t compete with the others.
The current Enclave seems to be a nice car BUT in my opinion it looks too large for Western Europe. I don’t know how it would fit to the UK but I don’t think offering this car as an Opel would make a lot of sense for Germany or Western Europe. The other problem is that the interior doesn’t look like Opel/Vauxhall. So people would see it as another rebadged GM car, which isn’t very good concerning the image.
Length Buick Enclave: 5’126 mm
Length Audi Q7: 5’088 mm.
Difference 3.8 cm. Not much.
Both provide three row seating.
The Audi Q7 sells well in Germany and beyond.
So why should an Opel Enclave not sell well?
The only reason could be that nobody expects Opel to produce such a car. But that perception could change.
“The only reason could be that nobody expects Opel to produce such a car.”
That’s what I think. It won’t “smell” like an Opel and will “smell” like a Buick, people will know, and they won’t look at it.
Then again, they haven’t tried an Opel Enclave.
Perception is not an immovable object.
Especially markting people tend to think that they can change perception with a few clever tricks.
It is actually the presentation of cars like Adam, Mokka, and Cascada which can change the perception of the Opel brand, which might enable people to expect an “upper class” car from Opel. Remember what the production of the VW Phaeton did to the VW brand.
On the other hand, Opel had larger cars in the past, with the KAD series (Kapitän, Admiral, Diplomat), but gave that up for lack of profits.
I agree with you. I think GM is trying to raise the perception of Opel, as they should. I think they should follow what VW did with Audi from the 70’s onwards. Audi wasn’t perceived as a luxury brand back then, and look at them now.
In 2012, Audi Q7 was rank 151 in Germany and rank 182 in Europe. So in my opninion this isn’t very good. Even the Antara sold better than the Q7. Trend is moving to small and compact SUVs in Europe and not these massive ships. (Compact Audi Q5 was rank 55 in Europe!) This Enclave would end even worse than the Opel Antara, because people would know it’s only a rebadged car. The message would be: Look, Opel isn’t capable of developing its own premium cars. So exactly those measures are the source of the bad perception you mentioned.
And as I said before, the interior (and also the rear end) doesn’t look like Opel. So Opel would have to change the car for Europen requirements and this would cost far too much money for the marginal expected sales.
Yes I see what you mean with the interior & negative image associated with badging GM products (Frontera, Monterey & Antara) spring to mind. It could be Europeanised just by changing dials etc on dashboard, that’s if it is in GM’s plans to bring it to Europe – GM’s last medium/large SUV the Monterey sold before the big boom in SUV in Europe so missed out on the uptake. SUV tend to be going smaller & softer now maybe the next Enclave will follow this trend, ether way GM will want to do it right. As for new Omega I’ve heard rumours it is Cadillac or Buick based & its FWD again (more important than Enclave segment this one) it has to be done right. On a side note I’ve seen many images of the new Omega on the Internet some simlar to Caddy XTS & others looking like a stretched Insignia/LaCrosse, hope a new Omega isn’t too far away.
Time for many to understand Buick and Opel are now one just as Chevy and Holden. Now that does not mean each may have a model or two that may not be sold in each others market.
Case in point the new Buick CUV could be jut for China and Opel but they would not get a Enclave. SInce Buick dealers here have a Terrain they have less need for a small CUV. Also the Enclave is rather large for Europe and would sell in small numbers. Something about small roads and villages along with $8 gas does that.
Buick and Opel/Vauxhall won’t be one as Chevy/Holden, also not in the long term. This would be the end for both brands. Opel has a lot of cars that doesn’t fit to Buick and otherwise, so there will be much more than one or two exceptions. Or can you imagine a Buick Corsa, Adam, Agila, Meriva or Zafira and all the station wagons and utility vehicles? There will be some nearly identic cars but not the whole portfolio. Sharing all cars would also reduce the Opel-PSA cooperation to absurdity whose goal is to develop cars for the European market.
When Cadillac can offer and sell station wagons, why not Buick?
Also I can’t understand why MPVs like Zafira and Meriva should not suit the North American market, especially seen the Buick Enclave as a larger version of such type of car.
You are right, concerning the station wagons and the MPVs. It’s very discussibale. But even I am not an expert of the American market, the station wagons and compact MPVs aren’t very successfull. So Buick also refused to enter the Buick Regal station wagon. There must be a reason for that. And cars like the Agila or Meriva don’t really fit to Buick’s premium strategy.
I understand certain cars won’t fit each individual brand & yes all three should be somewhat different with their own stamp on things so yes each brand may sell model/s the others do not. Europe likes minivans Opel sells 5 to Vauxhall’s 3 yet Buick don’t have any for example. As for the PSA tie up I worry the build quality & quality of the materials, the manufacture of & the cheap image of PSA with the negative effects of above mentioned, hope its not a bad move by GM.
Good i love Opel models… I hope they will bring the Cascada as a Buick…
New Omega & Enclave are a must & fit into Vauxhall / Opel’s traditional market as well as more importantly currant market. I feel a Senator replacement to compete with S, 7, A8 etc is a waste of time because VW sell Phaeton’s at half it’s competitors prices unable to compete with rivals. Where as a large SUV to complement Mokka & Antara, & compete with Q7, X5, ML, XC90 & others would sell & could be done by European styling & additional differences of Buick cousin, a decent diesel (around 2.8-3.0) would complement the 3.6V6. A new Omega too would fit nicely with the modern upmarket range.
The German, cars such as Q7, X5, ML, Cayenne, XC90 & Toureg was all designed with the US market in mind even though they sell in decent numbers in Europe, with this in mind the Enclave wouldn’t be a badge engineered product as it would be europeanised (new bumpers, dials, lights, grill etc) as for prestige it wouldn’t be any different from the others. As for Adam, Meriva etc why not a Buick?? Audi make A1, BMW will soon make i3 & Audi & BMW will soon be both making fwd MPVs.
Q7, X5, ML and so on are not rebadged cars, that’s the difference. The Q7 is an Audi, it looks like and Audi; the X5 is an BMW it looks like a BMW… The Encalve is no Opel, it doesn’t look like an Opel. If Opel and Buick will develop the next generation Enclave together it could be a success, but using the current Enclave and europeanise it isn’t the soultion. Captiva/Antara was also europeanised and it’s far away from being a success. Antara is by numbers the worst compact-SUV of a german brand.
I don’t say it’s impossible using a Meriva as a Buick but I think it’s very unlikely. Time will show who is right. Concerning BMW, Audi and Mercedes: They are very successful with these small and compact cars but only because they are established premium brands. Buick is trying to become a premium brand (as I know, Buick also has still image problems), and to reach this goal you have to sell premium and not mainstream cars. So I don’t know if it would be good to sell mainstream cars in the current situation. Perhaps in the future …
Opel-Vauxhall-and Buick must become the new Tri-Shield with standardized naming of models–Insignia by Buick;Insignia by Opel; Insignia by Vauxhall.
The model must supersede the marque and of course customers will understand that these are all GM vehicles.
There should be no problem developing a common design language, it already shows with Cascada and Adam which are more Buick than Opel in design, and the auto press should be able to comprehend that these cars are being distributed by the regional brands.
GM should then outsource production/design of any non global auto like Agilia to PSA to accomplish scale. Personally, I think Buick could sell the entire Opel range as luxury expands into small segments. Furthermore, Chevy has a history of selling these cars globally and they are far superior to Spin and Beat.
“it already shows with Cascada and Adam which are more Buick than Opel in design”
These cars were completely developed in Rüsselsheim by and for Opel/Vauxhall. Originally there was no plan to sell these cars as a Buick!? If at all Buicks design language has its origin in Germany not the other way around!
The design of the Cascada has its origin in Astra GTC which is not selled by Buick!
Yes, these cars were developed for Opel however the designer borrowed certain historic cues from Buick–the ‘floating roof’ on Adam as well as the spear evident on both Adam and Cascada.
It is as if Adams was inspired by Buick back in his student days are told by the powers that be to leverage and harmonize Buick themes within Opel for the Chinese market.
Adams is one of my favorite designers and I just don’t think the cues were by accident. Even his hockey stick was used by Buick in the 1970s albeit turned around in an L formation. No automaker makes better use of character lines than Opel but these lines have a history that pre-dates the current Opel line up.
As a side note, I am stunned that Cascada (waterfall) was not shared with Buick from the start giving the symbolic nature of the name.
To be premium you have to sell premium cars, hence why alongside the already excellent range of premium products there needs to be a new Omega & Enclave models.
I absolutely agree with you!! I would also like to see a new Omega, a SUV comparing to the Enclave and especially an Insignia-based premium coupe. I didn’t say something different. But those cars have to be developed by Opel or at least mainly with Opel, because people react very critically when it comes to such expensive cars. History shows that simpel rebadging doesn’t work in Europe. Marketing can’t change that. As Grawdaddy said, people will smell it.
PS: I don’t want to say that the Encalve isn’t a good car. It looks very goodand I am sure it is very good but because of the reasons I mentioned, it shouldn’t be sold as an Opel, what does not mean that the next generation couldn’t be.
The German maybe the next Enclave would be 6 inches shorter time will tell although VW & Porsche SUV’s (lights & a few differences aside) are the same SUV (almost badged) and it dosnt do them any harm. Yes a new Omega is long overdue as is a coupe or two, if it is the plan to move Vauxhall & Opel back upmarket shurley these models are a must.
May I recall to “The German” and others what Manoli Katakis wrote in his article: ” Buick will be thinning out the development costs that Opel racks up with engineering the vehicles, as GM continues to mesh together its global development teams more closely.”
It is also worth while to read the Auto News article which was the source for this Blog post: “Developing Buicks and Opels that are underpinned mostly by GM’s German engineering provides ‘architecturally more scale’ and helps to leverage the cost of its European engineering resources, Akerson said.”
And “Expect the Buick and Opel brands to become even more intertwined in coming years as GM seeks to squeeze all it can from its costly engineering resources in Germany, CEO Dan Akerson said at an investor confernce last week.”
So when you worry about the Lacrosse or Enclave not looking like an Opel, just think about the next models of those nameplates to be developed mainly in the Rüsselsheim development center…
And look again at the Mokka/Encore, which came to market more or less at the same time, fruit of a common development process aimed at producing both a Buick and an Opel/Vauxhall.
“GM CFO Dan Ammann said that sharp demand for the Encore and Mokka offers a ‘proof point’ that the Opel-Buick strategy ‘isn’t just a concept.'”, writes Auto News.
Sure, such a strategy might not be so easy as seen from my comfortable place in front of my computer, “or, as Akerson put it: ‘This is probably the most complicated Rubik’s Cube, if you will, within the company right now.'”
I see new GTs, Sportwagons, and V8 Omegas!!
I don’t understand why GM doesn’t advertise the Buick Regal, I’ve been driving a 2012 for 6 months, and it’s a fine car. I’ve had older people come up to me and say your car is really nice what is this. The Regal has a really nice interior and handles fine. For those race car aficionados this wouldn’t be a good fit. This car can compete with all other midsize and compact cars in any class. My sixteen year daughter fits all three of her friends that are 5’6″ in the back seat. You can’t fit a 6 foot man comfortably but I have had a 5’9″ teenage boy fit comfortably. The radio is great and one last point,the sticker and m it toy Trade in of my 2008 Nissan Altima was really good. You need to advertise this car or I’ll have to sell it sooner than I wanted to. I feel my 2012 will depreciate to fast and at the end of 4 years when my loan is up. Why would GM manufacture a new 20014 Regal and not advertise it at all,what is up with GM?
The Antara almost doesn’t sell at all in Germany, so another 4,6m or something even bigger would be a stupid idea. The best selling crossovers in Europe are about 4,4m long (VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga/Escape or Nissan Qashqai to name some). Bigger models only sell if they come from luxury brands (and even those sell more small ones) – always remember: luxury is more important than size for European customers! That’s why Europe has Audi A1 and the US have Chevrolet Suburban…
With Chevy out of Europe, an Opel and Chevy march up seems more logical than anything else. Corsa, Meriva, Astra would all be great Ford fighters. Even Honda is using Astra as the next gen Astra bench mark.
Buick autos are too large for the European market. At best, Opel can only be providing architectures and engineering plus shared Korean designs.
The end of Chevy Europe changes everything and allows GM to save billions on R&D (2 full lines) and allows for the creation of a “One GM” line up shared between the there brands. Already in China, Spark has been replaced by a Corsa derived Sail with Spark being passed to value focused Bougun.
No “Chevy” is not out of Europe, only the Korean Chevrolets, i.e. rebadged Daewoos, developed, designed, built and sold by GM Daewoo and Technology (GM DAT), since February 2011 GM Korea (which is not a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors). Mind you, the Chevrolet distribution companies for Europe and the various individual countries are former Daewoo distribution companies, simply renamed to Chevrolet. And wholly owned by GM DAT resp. GM Korea, not by General Motors. I have checket that for Europe (seat in Switzerland) and Germany, and don’t think that this was different in any other European country.
The US-Chevrolets have played not the slightest role in that distribution. GM worked to unify the distribution, but hardly any of the Daewoo/Korea-Chevrolet dealers would take those cars, since their customer base is far away from being a target market group for a Corvette or even a Camaro, the only two others officially imported to Europe (there were grey imports of SUVs and Pickups by “exotic car” dealers, but that was outside the GM controlled circuits).
As to Buick cars being to large … well most of them have been developed by Opel, except the Enclave. There was a car on the Epsilon II LWB like the Lacrosse for Europe, i.e. the Saab 9-5, of which only a few units had been built because of GM’s bankruptcy. The Enclave is comparable to the Audi Q7, by size and other means.
Finally, with all the recent changes in GM, withdrawal of Opel from Australia and Korean Chevrolet from Europe, departure of Dan Akerson, the champion of the Buick-Opel integration, and of Steve Girsky, closure of manufacturing in Australia — maybe GM changes its global brand strategy and finds out that Opel is rather of the stature of Chevrolet than Buick.
GM seems to change its plan for Opel and Eurkpe by the month…by firing presidents who say it moved upmarket too fast; PSA deal (what would a mass market and upmarket brand have in common); the transfer of Mark Adams back and forth; Opel AU.
I expect Opel will to strattle two segments at the same time, much like VW with cars lime Golf and then CC…I call this mass market +, while we get two brands covering.that space.
I no longer see any reason for GM to produce both Cruze and Astra; Spark and Corsa. I expect Opel to keep up the hard work developing Opel, Chevy and Buick future cars. Any “One GM” effort seems based out of Germany. They must be saving a fortune.
Question…is the Chevy Korea line up much different than the US? I know it lacks trucks and Impala.
One more reply to Stephen Marcus writing “Already in China, Spark has been replaced by a Corsa derived Sail with Spark being passed to value focused Bougun.”
I think there are a number of misunderstandings in this sentence:
First, GM started in China with the Buick brand and besides badge engineering the Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira as Buick Excelle (still their bestseller) they also offered an old Opel Corsa (I believe the Corsa B) as “Buick Sail”. This Buick Sail was later passed on the the Chevrolet brand as Chevrolet Sail, and is in the mean time replaced by a PATAC developed Chevreolet Sail, which is also exported to various countries in South America and Africa, as Chevrolet Sail.
Then Chevrolet China had the Daewoo Matiz (2nd generation, Italian designed) which was called Spark in some markets, and still sold as such in some, and that had later been moved to the new passenger car brand Baojun of SGMW as Le Chi.
BTW, the SGMW own developed midsize car 630 will soon be exported to Algeria as Chevrolet Optra.
Why not exporting it to Europe under its original name “Baojun 630”? The success of Renault’s coup with Dacia shows that there is a market for such simple, no frills, cheap cars.
SGMW = SAIC-GM-Wuling