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GM taps Opel for future Buicks

Jamie LaReau

Automotive News | March 9, 2009 – 12:01 am EST


GM taps Opel for future Buicks

DETROIT — Even as General Motors explores the sale of Opel, it will tap its European unit as a source for future Buick sedans.

For the past two years, GM has shared Opel vehicles and design with Saturn. Sources familiar with GM’s plans say those products now will go to Buick.

The Opel Insignia, due to go to Saturn as the redesigned 2010 Aura, will go to Buick as the 2010 Regal sedan in the United States, says a source familiar with GM’s product plans.

"Opel is one of the brands that we’re going to look at in terms of future sourcing," Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, told Automotive News. "In fairness, we’ve got to look at everything.

"I wouldn’t want to make a statement that all future Buicks we do will leverage the Opel platform because that wouldn’t be true. The Enclave didn’t use Opel nor did the new LaCrosse sedan. It’s an avenue for us to explore, for sure."

But what happens to Buick’s product plans if GM sells Opel?

"I don’t know the details of what GM is trying to get done with that restructuring," Docherty said. "But even so, we’d stay with the idea that GM will utilize all of its global architectural platforms."

Another source close to GM says it would be in any future partner’s best interest to honor the global architecture-sharing programs in place.

Docherty declined to comment specifically on Buick’s getting the Opel Insignia. She said that as GM works to cut Pontiac’s product offerings, the company can offer new Buick vehicles to keep the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel well-rounded.

Buick’s lineup will focus on sedans and crossovers, Docherty said. "We’re looking at a bunch of stuff from a sedan standpoint," she said. "We’re going to add some more sedans, so stay tuned."

In its viability plan, released Feb. 17, GM said that if it cannot sell Saturn, the brand will shut down after its current product cycle ends in 2012. 


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