GM still tossing Buick Adam ideas around internally.
October 4, 2013
By: Nick Saporito
Just as Buick and Opel publicly comment on their allegiance, speculation has heated up regarding the possibility of Buick bringing over the Opel Adam city car. Despite the talk, sources tell GMI that no decision has been made regarding the issue and that GM is looking at two different options for the car.
Based on an older Fiat-Opel subcompact architecture, the car is not engineered to be federalized in North America. Federalizing a vehicle refers to the process of making the vehicle legal for a specific country of sale, such as crash test standards and fuel economy requirements.
According to sources close to GM product planning, it would cost several hundred million for GM to federalize the Adam to sell in North America under the Buick brand. While that sounds like a lot of money, that’s a relatively minor capital investment to bring a new vehicle to market.
The question GM is tossing around internally is whether or not the Adam would sell in volumes high enough to justify the investment to federalize the car.
Allegedly some are pointing to the success of the Buick Encore and Verano – two small Buick’s that have supposedly beat internal sales projections, as proof that the Adam would sell in high enough volumes to justify bringing it over soon. At the same time, some still doubt that such a small car would do well in the United States, where buyers notoriously love midsize sedans and crossovers.
The second option GM has with the Adam is to wait for the next-generation version of the car. It is possible the next Adam will be based on a PSA Peugeot architecture as part of GM’s new alliance with the French automaker, however sources state that the car could be engineered for sale in North America from day one.
It is unclear what the timetable would be for either option, however apparently GM has not decided on either just yet.
In June GM CEO Dan Akerson publicly stated that he felt the Adam would make a good Buick product, suggesting the car has support from the top ranks. Last month Opel Chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann also mentioned at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the company was looking into offering the Adam under the Buick brand.
A third option would be for GM to just forget the idea of the Adam in North America entirely, however public comments seem to suggest that as the least likely option at this point.