Opel, General Motors' troubled German brand continues its quest to reinvent itself and find solid profitability. In the course of that metamorphosis, the company has a bit of good news/bad news today. The good news is, it will once again begin screwing together Buick models for the American market. The bad news, though, is that it's being shut down in yet another country, China.

Let's start with the good news. The last vehicle Opel's Ruesselsheim factory built for the North American market was the early run of the then-new Regal, which is based heavily on the Opel Insignia. Production ran for just over two years, from 2009 to 2011, before moving production to Oshawa, Ontario.

Now, thanks to a 245-million-euro investment (just over $336 million), Opel will kick off production of a unspecified model for the US in the "second half of the decade," according to Automotive News. According to Opel, the new model will be announced before the end of 2014. You can begin your speculation about this new model down in Comments (we're wagering it'll be the Cascada convertible, sold here under the Buick umbrella).

As for Opel's China presence going away, this one isn't a surprise. Opel sold just 4,365 cars in the PRC in 2013, while corporate cousin Buick sold 810,000. Considering the Middle Kingdom's much larger population, this is arguably an even bigger failure than the brand's collapse in Australia, where it sold just 1,530 cars over a 10-month span. Opel was doing so poorly, in fact, that it rebadged one of its most popular models, the Adam supermini, as a Buick.

"This is a long overdue decision," Opel's CEO, Karl-Thomas Neumann, said in a statement. "It would have cost hundreds of millions of euros to raise awareness of the Opel brand [in China] and to expand the distribution network."


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  • 21 Comments
      Gugue
      • 8 Months Ago
      Who would imagine back in the 90's that in the future Renault, maker of Laguna, R19, Clio... would joint with the Nissan, maker of Maxima, Sunny, Altima, Primera... to make cars together... Who would imagine back in the 90's that Fiat, maker of Marea, Brava, Coupé, Palio... would buy in the future the Chrysler, maker of Cirrus, Concorde, Vision, Caravan... and even make some Chryslers as Lancia! Who would imagine back in 90's that the German Opel, maker of Vectra, Astra, Corsa, Omega... would be more succeeded selling its cars under the brand... Buick! maker of Riviera, Century, Roadmaster, Regal....
      FuelToTheFire
      • 8 Months Ago
      ANY educated person who uses logic rather than impulsiveness and emotions would know that it makes more sense to close Opel and make Chevy the sole European brand. Let's face i: Opel is a money loser. A HUGE part of GM's costs is Opel. By shedding Opel, GM would also shed its costs. Opel is a big money loser because its products are thoroughly substandard. The new Malibu is a BETTER car than the Insignia, because while they share platforms, the Malibu was developed right here in the States, while the Insignia has Opel's lackluster development. It should also be noted that Chevrolet started going downhill when they started using Opel platforms. The J body Cavalier and the W body Impala were both good cars, and still would be good cars today if GM had bothered to update them. This would shift R&D to the much-more innovative US, and Chevrolet can finally start developing its own platforms. Many argue that "Opel IS GM in Europe, if you take it away then you take away their only brand". False.If you would actually bother to look at facts and statistics, Chevrolet actually sells MORE cars than Opel in Europe. Europeans have shown that they are perfectly willing to try out a new brand like Chevrolet, I belive that within 5 years or so, GM will have realized the mistake and will be selling Chevys in Europe again. I think this lineup would be ideal. Bring the South American Cobalt(distinct from the Astra-derived Cobalt sold in the states) for a subcompact competing with the Polo and Fiesta. Refresh the Impala's W body thoroughly , shorten it, and use it for a compact Malibu. The Lucerne's G-body can be used for a midsize impala, and the Middle Eastern Chevrolet Caprice can be used as a fullsize.The Equinox, Traverse, and Tahoe should also be sold there. The Silverado can be sold as a bigger, more American competitor to the overpriced mini pickups they have there like the Amarok, and the Express van can be sold as a V8 competitor to the Sprinter. If Europeans are smart, they will accept Chevrolet.
        Jonathan Knapman
        • 8 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Erm, I live in Europe (the UK more specifically, which incidentally is GM's Europe's biggest market), and pretty much everything you just said is false. Yes Opel does lose catastrophic amounts of money, but it's not that simple. Almost all of Opel's model range is based upon Opel-derived platforms, meaning that they assume nigh-on 100% of the development costs for all of their cars. Meanwhile, these very platforms also underpin a substantial portion of the Chevrolet range, while in the case of Buick, much of its line up actually consists of badge engineered Opels (the Regal, Encore, Excelle GT, and the Verano, which is little more than an Astra with a few layers of foundation). In essence you can shutter Opel, but you can't shutter these development costs. You can dictate that Chevrolet assumes the development of these pretty crucial platforms, but it won't change GM's bottom line (I don't know how many times this needs to be repeated). Moreover, your "plans" for Chevrolet's European line up are somewhat of a joke. The South American Cobalt is simply not competitive when faced with European and Korean superminis such as the Fiesta, Polo or the Rio; the Caprice, Equinox, Traverse and Tahoe are all far too large and cumbersome for European roads; and along a similar train of thought I'm not even going to entertain the idea of selling the Silverado over here due its monstrous proportions. There is literally no European market whatsoever for full-size trucks, as they quite simply don't fit on our roads, on our driveways, in our parking spaces, not to mention that they're wholly incompatible with European emission regulations and the cost of fuel here. Finally, your assertion that Chevrolet sells more cars in Europe is quite simply untrue. In 2012 Vauxhall/Opel sold 1,049,897 cars, giving it a 5,6% market share. In the same period, Chevrolet sold 172,100 cars, giving a 1,4% market share. So, in the most diplomatic way possible, I suggest you keep your frankly bizarre opinions to yourself until you gain even a basic understanding of the European car market.
          Neil
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Jonathan Knapman
          i cant wait for the cascada to make its way over here to the US! it has been confirmed as a buick and will likely use the verano's more powerful engines. opel has done a great job designing their current cars, which show in our cars like the buick regal. the only thing i wish is that our regal had your 2.8 turbo v6!
        normc32
        • 8 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Chevy a BWM competitor like the Regal? http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1403_2014_buick_regal_gs_awd_snow_drive/?fullsite=true
      normc32
      • 8 Months Ago
      Yes, Buick is good! http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1402-2013-buick-encore-awd-vs-bmw-x1-xdrive28i-comparison/?fullsite=true At 200,000 units last year Buick creamed every maker near-luxury segment including some luxury makers like Cadillac, Infiniti, Acura, Audi....with only five models.
        May
        • 8 Months Ago
        @normc32
        Of course you know that most Buicks are rebadged Opels - designed in Europe by Opel and for Opel's money.
          normc32
          • 8 Months Ago
          @May
          It has got to be quite a cash cow for GM the way they've evolved Buick into something. And we all know they are the safest even before Opel was heavily involved: http://blog.iseecars.com/2014/03/10/study-buick-beats-out-volvo-to-have-the-greatest-percentage-of-the-safest-vehicles/
          normc32
          • 8 Months Ago
          @May
          It has got to be quite a cash cow for GM the way they've evolved Buick into something. And we all know they are the safest even before Opel was heavily involved: http://blog.iseecars.com/2014/03/10/study-buick-beats-out-volvo-to-have-the-greatest-percentage-of-the-safest-vehicles/
      Jerry
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sweet mother of Mary! When will GM just shut down Opel or dump them? They make uncompetitive, overpriced, poorly designed/build products. GM spends over a $1 billion a year to keep them afloat and there is no end in sight to the bleeding.
        May
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jerry
        They will never dump Opel because it's responsible for most of their R&D. Let's say that this $1b loss to cover by GM is a payback for techonogies developed by Opel that GM uses all over the world.
        May
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jerry
        They will never dump Opel because it's responsible for most of their R&D. Let's say that this $1b loss to cover by GM is a payback for techonogies developed by Opel that GM uses all over the world.
        May
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jerry
        They will never dump Opel because it's responsible for most of their R&D. Let's say that this $1b loss to cover by GM is a payback for techonogies developed by Opel that GM uses all over the world.
      Technoir
      • 8 Months Ago
      This brand has been struggling for so long, how long before the brand is killed off? At some point you have to admit to a loss and put an end to it.
      Daniel D
      • 8 Months Ago
      Meanwhile Holden whose engineering would have been invaluable for the Chinese market and is geographically closer is also being closed down.
      Rex Anders
      • 8 Months Ago
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/r3mguzfk1jxxiak/General_00_ov.png My idea of what needs to happen... or something along those lines. Spoiler alert... Audi
      ShiftItManual
      • 8 Months Ago
      It makes sense to pull Opel out of China and just sell the cars as Bricks. I'm surprised they even tried selling Opel there in the first place.
      normc32
      • 8 Months Ago
      Yes, Buick is good! http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1402-2013-buick-encore-awd-vs-bmw-x1-xdrive28i-comparison/?fullsite=true At 200,000 units last year Buick creamed every maker near-luxury segment including some luxury makers like Cadillac, Infiniti, Acura, Audi....with only five models.
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