Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

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Thread: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

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    Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore
    February 17, 2017
    Michael Wayland
    AutoNews.com

    DETROIT -- Buick’s sales success and product expansion in recent years have been driven by General Motors’ decision to incorporate platforms and vehicles from the Opel division into the brand’s lineup.

    If talks between GM and PSA Group lead to the sale of Opel, Buick’s lineup likely would be affected. However, GM already has gotten more out of Opel for Buick than many ever would have imagined eight years ago -- the last time the automaker nearly sold the German division.

    After GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, executives tapped Opel to fill out Buick’s thin product portfolio, which consisted then of the LaCrosse and Lucerne sedans and the Enclave crossover. Buick’s U.S. lineup now has seven vehicles, including four models derived from Opels: the Encore small crossover, Cascada convertible, Regal midsize sedan and Verano compact sedan, which ended production in October for the U.S.

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member nadepalma's Avatar
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific Inc., doesn’t believe Buick would be impacted heavily if the sale goes through, as the brand’s focus has shifted to China.

    “I don’t think we’re going to feel it here in the U.S. in terms of product life cycles because I think China has taken the lead on Buick development,” Sullivan said.
    Which is basically what everyone openly knows. Buick's focus has shifted to China in such a way that the GM-SAIC/PATAC has the lead in most of the product planning decisions. In fact, I'd wager that GM-SAIC probably has more collaborative product work with Opel than GM North America does at this point.
    The next-generation Regal could be impacted by an Opel sale. GM recently released photos and some details of the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, on which the Regal is based. The Insignia, up to 385 pounds lighter than the current version, suggests that the Regal will become slightly wider and lower, with a longer wheelbase.
    This won't be impacted all. The cake is baked and is getting ready for shelves. There's no way that any Opel sale is going to impact that project form moving forward.

    Even if PSA were bold enough to take the Opel Insignia and start selling it in the United States (which very well could happen for Opel as a brand at some point, as French cars have a poor reputation in the United States), it wouldn't be for years.

    No. GM is smart enough to make such considerations for the Regal (and any other such product). Later on down the line, Buick will probably lean almost exclusively on PATAC for product development, and it's not likely to harm their product pipeline at all.

    A much more interesting question to ponder is: How will this affect Holden long-term?! Holden's revival as a brand is very Opel-dependent and they are supposed to import much of their products from Opel moving forward. How will deletion of Opel from the GM Empire impact their future product planning and cadence? I'm not talking about the short/medium-term; but certainly in the longer term after the next crop of products have sun-setted. Holden tried to sell many Chevrolet-sourced products with mixed results. Will they source such products from Buick now?
    Last edited by nadepalma; 02-17-2017 at 01:26 PM.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Holden will become a purveyor of cheap Chinese rebadges.
    Aussies didn't like paying for real bad-ads Oz-made Holdens, so I guess that's the alternative.
    A few American muscle cars will get thrown in the mix.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by nadepalma View Post
    A much more interesting question to ponder is: How will this affect Holden long-term?!
    If you think about it, only the Holden Astra hatchback, Holden Cascada convertible and the upcoming Commodore are rebadged Opels, the rest of the Holden lineup are Chevy-rebadges, this includes the new Holden Astra sedan which is a rebadged Chevy Cruze sedan.


    The other question is what will the future of GM's FWD platforms be? All FWD models from the C-segment and up use Opel-developed platforms. Will GM North America start doing its own evolutions of the leftover Opel platforms for the next generation models that will be launched in the next decade?
    Last edited by AG3*; 02-17-2017 at 04:02 PM.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by AG3* View Post
    The other question is what will the future of GM's FWD platforms be? All FWD models from the C-segment and up use Opel-developed platforms. Will GM North America start doing its own evolutions of the leftover Opel platforms for the next generation models that will be launched in the next decade?
    The Gamma platform development has already been handed to GM Korea for development responsibility - Delta has already spawned D2xx for Cruze II and Epsilon has already spawned E2xx for Malibu IX so I doubt that GM were totally dependent on Opel for FWD platform development.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Given that we live in a crossover type of world Buick doesn't have much if any need for Opel at all these days.
    Last edited by Burnout Czar; 02-17-2017 at 09:39 PM.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
    The Gamma platform development has already been handed to GM Korea for development responsibility - Delta has already spawned D2xx for Cruze II and Epsilon has already spawned E2xx for Malibu IX so I doubt that GM were totally dependent on Opel for FWD platform development.
    Isn't D2XX technically a Delta 3, and the E2XX an Epsilon 3?
    These are the platforms also used by the new Astra and Insignia.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by AG3* View Post
    Isn't D2XX technically a Delta 3, and the E2XX an Epsilon 3?
    These are the platforms also used by the new Astra and Insignia.
    Yes, they are evolutions from Delta/Epsilon - but no longer exclusive to Opel/Vauxhall, now used more widely within GM.

    Since Opel has been a wholly-owned subsidiary for nearly 100 years, any IP belongs to GM Corporation, at least I'd expect it to be.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Opel gives Buick the volume to spread global costs and access to Europe which is shut down now for GM and has made Buick into a regional brand and GM into a regional automotive company like PSA is today.

    Opel/PSA/Vauxhall will become the automotive industry's "Airbus" while GM becomes it's "McDonnell Douglas" (who is not around anymore).

    This is not a wise move by GM, and will only allow PSA to enter the N.A. market and grow into what Hyundai/Kia has become.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by SierraGS View Post
    Opel gives Buick the volume to spread global costs and access to Europe which is shut down now for GM and has made Buick into a regional brand and GM into a regional automotive company like PSA is today.

    Opel/PSA/Vauxhall will become the automotive industry's "Airbus" while GM becomes it's "McDonnell Douglas" (who is not around anymore).

    This is not a wise move by GM, and will only allow PSA to enter the N.A. market and grow into what Hyundai/Kia has become.
    If you read other reports on this site, then you know that Buick is the power in the Buick/Opel/Vauxhall/Holden combine. Buick is GM's second best selling brand. Opel/Vauxhall limps in way behind. It is Buick that earns a profit. Opel/Vauxhall loses money. I might add that the new generation Regal/Insignia was designed by Buick--Buick Inc. Industries--to be accurate.

    I think that it is a bit of an overstatement that Buick will be unaffected by the sale of Opel to PSA. However, I think that Buick will transition to an Opel-less GM with minimum disruption.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    If GM had been anyways serious about elevating the perception of Opel and Vauxhall in Europe,
    it would have commissioned Opel to develop the Alpha platform for cars and Utilities
    and not locked it up with Cadillac and Camaro.

    That to me was the defining moment when i realized that GM chasing after BMW with Cadillac
    was the kind of nonsense that would ultimately cost Opel, Vauxhall (& Buick) dearly or worse, kill them.

    Could you imagine Opel Vauxhall with the equivalent of 3 and 5 series cars as well as an X3 and X5 competitor.
    I'd say, that was a huge missed opportunity for GM all for the exclusivity of Cadillac and not inclusive of other brands.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
    Yes, they are evolutions from Delta/Epsilon - but no longer exclusive to Opel/Vauxhall, now used more widely within GM.
    Ever since the gen1 Epsilon and Delta made their debuts in the 2000s, their use was never exclusive to Opel/Vauxhall but Opel lead their development, perhaps they did this because of Opel's know-how of making sharp FWD platforms?

    I just wonder if its "future" replacements (most likely by GM Korea and/or GM North America) will be better (Assuming the PSA deal is finalized).
    Last edited by AG3*; 02-18-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by AG3* View Post
    Ever since the gen1 Epsilon and Delta made their debuts in the 2000s, their use was never exclusive to Opel/Vauxhall but Opel lead their development, perhaps they did this because of Opel's know-how of making sharp FWD platforms?

    I just wonder if its "future" replacements (most likely by GM Korea and/or GM North America) will be better (Assuming the PSA deal is finalized).
    There's actually a great opportunity to capitalize on this change by ramping up use of the Alpha platform to Chevrolet, Buick and Holden/GM Asia.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterMe View Post
    I might add that the new generation Regal/Insignia was designed by Buick--Buick Inc. Industries--to be accurate.
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    You mean E2SB? Yeah, maybe they had some input. E2JB and E2WB - it's all Rüsselsheim, I don't recall seeing any non-German sounding surnames.

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    Re: Once Buick's lifeline, Opel isn't so crucial anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by SierraGS View Post
    This is not a wise move by GM, and will only allow PSA to enter the N.A. market and grow into what Hyundai/Kia has become.
    PSA must be laughing all they way to the bank. $2B is a bargain price. Given Opel's product pipeline and sales network I was expecting $4B plus. Surely even with additional costs of closing 2 or 3 plants over the next few years this is a sweet deal for PSA.

    Clearly GM are clueless. It's a major fail on all fronts and they are trying to make it sounds like this "deal" is creating some shareholder value, rainbows, unicorns and all that carp.

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