GM Close To Importing Opel Cascada Convertible to U.S.
- Importing the Opel Cascada convertible into the U.S. "could happen soon," insiders at Opel told Edmunds at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
- The Cascada, a four-passenger, front-wheel-drive drop top, would fit well into the Buick lineup.
- Opel's Adam minicar would also make an attractive import, but it may not be possible to tweak the current car to comply with U.S. regulations.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Importing the Opel Cascada convertible into the U.S. "could happen soon," insiders at Opel told Edmunds at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
The Cascada, a four-passenger, front-wheel-drive drop top, would fit well into the Buick lineup. This latest development illustrates how General Motors is attempting to link Opel and Buick so that similar vehicles can be sold wearing different badges in markets around the world.
Work to ready the Cascada for the U.S. market has been in progress since last June. GM CEO Dan Akerson said last June that he thought the Cascada and the Opel Adam would be a good fit for the U.S.
Opel is eager to export the Cascada to bolster its business, which is now in recovery but has struggled considerably during the recession. The Cascada is loosely based on the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal, and would probably be offered with some of the engines offered in the Regal. GM Opel sources also suggest that Opel may again supply Regals to the U.S., as it did early in the model's life.
Opel's Adam minicar would also make an attractive import, but GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky told Automotive News that the current version of the car "cannot be federalized" to comply with U.S. safety and other regulatory requirements. Bringing it in would therefore require either a major re-engineering of the existing car, or developing the Adam's replacement to suit.
The regulatory unsuitability of these models for the U.S. is an unfortunate consequence of GM's subsequently reversed decision to sell off its European operations during its Chapter 11 period. When Opel-Vauxhall looked as if it would go to new owners, GM began development of both models without requiring them to comply with U.S. regulations, a decision that saved money and made sense at the time.
Edmunds says: We can almost certainly expect to see the Cascada in the U.S. — probably wearing a Buick badge.