General Motors’ European brand, Opel, will build a Buick model for the U.S. market by the end of this decade. The automaker announced today that as part of a €245 million ($337 million) investment into an assembly plant in Russelsheim, Germany, the factory will start, “the assembly of a future model which will be sold in the U.S. under the Buick brand name.”
Bringing a foreign model to the States as a Buick isn’t entirely without precedent. The Buick Regal is based on Europe’s Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, although the Buick version is built in Canada; and the Buick Encore small crossover is built in South Korea and sold in Europe as the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka. Currently, the Russelsheim plant builds the Opel Insignia and will start building the Zafira people-mover in 2015. The plant also is scheduled to add another, unnamed bodystyle of the Insignia.
It remains unclear which new Buick model will be built in Germany by Opel, but one strong possibility is the Adam subcompact. Rumors have swirled for months that the Opel Adam would eventually make it to the U.S. market under the Buick nameplate. Given that the car is already produced in Germany, it could be possible for Opel to add production of a Buick-branded Adam there for export to the States. Opel said production of the Buick car would begin in the second half of this decade — some time between 2015 and 2020.
A Buick spokesman in the U.S. declined to comment on the future model.
Earlier this year, GM product chief Mark Reuss was open to the idea of a Buick-badged Adam in an interview with Automobile. “It ain’t a bad idea,” he said. “You’d have to [run it through Buick and make it a little expensive.] I don’t want to put it into Chevrolet.”
This year, the European Opel Adam will receive GM’s new generation of efficient Ecotec engines, including a 1.0-liter turbocharged inline-three. GM said that family of engines will make it to the U.S. market by 2015.