General Motors has worked on overhauling Buick's lineup by twinning a number of their new models with vehicles from its European arm, Opel. If GM CEO Dan Akerson has his way, the Buick range will expand with two more Opels: a convertible and a minicar.
The two models in question are undoubtedly the Opel Cascada droptop and the cheeky Opel Adam minicar. At an investor conference this month, Akerson said that the two models "would help Buick in this market and in China in terms of demographics," according to Automotive News.
The Opel Cascada made its debut this past March at the Geneva Motor Show. Based on the same platform as the Opel Astra/Buick Verano, the Cascada is a more aesthetically pleasing variant of its donor car. The four-seat droptop is also within spitting distance dimensionally of the highly regarded Audi A5 Cabriolet, which could prove to be a good competitive benchmark if GM were to bring the Cascada to the U.S. as a Buick; it would also potentially compete with the Chrysler 200 convertible, the Volkswagen Eos, the Infiniti Q60 convertible, the upcoming BMW 4 Series convertible, and the recently refreshed Mercedes-Benz E-Class convertible, depending on how the Cascada is priced. European buyers can choose from a 1.4-liter turbo-four engine in 120-hp and 140-hp configurations, a 165-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel, or a 170-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four, all with the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Verano, on the other hand, comes with the same transmission options but the choice of a 180-hp 2.4-liter I-4 or a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four.
On the other end of the spectrum is the funky Opel Adam hatchback. The minicar was introduced last year to battle the Fiat 500 and the Mini Cooper, although its design cues are far from retro. The Adam is sized between those two cars, and has three engines offering between 70 and 100 hp and a five-speed manual. Opel promised that a six-speed manual and a direct-injected, turbocharged engine would be coming soon. GM's European arm also offers a slew of upmarket equipment on the diminutive Adam such as blind-spot warning, a heated steering wheel, and a self-parking system.
The addition of the Cascada and the Adam to Buick showrooms could help to flesh out the tri-shield brand's lineup. Buick currently offers five models: three sedans and two crossovers. There has also been plenty of talk about a four-door coupe due for 2015 that will be the brand's halo car and resurrect the Riviera nameplate. That car may or may not have been previewed by the Riviera Concept shown at this spring's Shanghai Motor Show, but it's expected that the 21st-century Riviera will share its powertrains with the 2014 Cadillac XTS – that means the choice of either a 3.6-liter V-6 good for 305 hp or a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 410 hp.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)