Ask General Motors CEO Dan Akerson if he has any regrets about the current Buick lineup, and he’ll give you a few. The leader of the brands that comprise GM said that if he had his way, the 110-year-old brand would have a convertible and a small premium hatchback in it by now.
Overseas, General Motors sells the Opel Cascada convertible, based on the same architecture as the Buick Verano, and the Opel Adam, a small car that is loosely based on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Sonic. The Cascada has been seen as a design breakthrough for GM, and the Adam has been garnering praise as it aims to compete against the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.
The Cascada costs approximately $33,000, putting it above the Verano Turbo in price; the Adam starts at about $15,000–the same as the Fiat 500. The cars were designed for Europe and Asia, but GM had limited resources when outfitting them for an American audience in the wake of the company’s 2009 bankruptcy.
Last month, GM’s North American president, Mark Reuss, said Buick is ready for a special car of its own, whether a convertible, coupe, or a full-size flagship sedan. We know that the brand is beginning the planning stages of reviving a rear-wheel-drive touring coupe, whether that ends up becoming a new Riviera or something sportier like the Grand National of the 1980s. We also know that Buick is planning a midsize crossover to slot between the subcompact Encore and full-size Enclave.
In recent years, Buick has reinvented itself as a “casual luxury” brand, according to its spokespeople, becoming more inviting to younger, more affluent shoppers. As a result–and with the help of the massive Chinese market–Buick has continued to grow sales with a slew fresh products. If Akerson has his way, that momentum could keep going for some time.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)