Opel CascadaIt's difficult to overstate how significant the post-bankruptcy years have been for General Motors' Buick brand. Arguably the most improved American automaker, Buick has rounded out its range with an excellent compact in the Verano, a well-balanced midsizer in the Regal and a segment-busting mini-CUV, with the Encore.

Seeking to keep that momentum going, the next several years will see the brand address a trio of its most obvious issues. First and foremost will be a replacement for the aging LaCrosse, a vehicle whose only bit of attention since its 2009 debut was a very light refresh in 2013.

According to Automotive News, we should expect the next-generation LaCrosse to arrive late next year or early in 2016, as a 2016 model. AN expects big design changes, as Buick attempts to further the LaCrosse from its popular platform-mate, the Chevrolet Impala. The changes won't be so radical, though, as to do away with its front-drive architecture, as the latest version of the Epsilon platform will underpin the next LaCrosse. The 3.6-liter V6 is likely to carry on, although a smaller, budget-minded offering is also extremely likely (we'll eat our hat if it's not the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the Regal, Verano and Cadillac CTS et al.).

The other issue plaguing Buick's lineup is a lack of a midsize crossover. This is particularly damning for the brand as most of its showrooms are shared with GMC, which boasts its own midsizer in the form of the Terrain. With the upcoming Envision (see here for teasers), that problem should be addressed. Like the LaCrosse, the Envision will likely be a 2016 model. It will debut and launch in China early next year, while we can expect it to arrive stateside later next year, or even early in 2016. For American consumers, both a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the aforementioned 2.0T could see action in the Envision.

Finally, while Buick can boast a pair of vehicles available with manual transmissions, it's still far from what we'd call a brand for fun driving experiences. Of course, one way of solving that problem is with a two-door convertible. Yes, it's extremely likely that the Euro-market Opel Cascada convertible will be sold in the US early in 2016. Whether it keeps the Cascada name is unclear (all in favor of Skylark, say "aye"). Regardless, adding a reasonably priced, relaxed, two-door droptop to the Buick range to fill the space left by the not-so-dearly departed Chrysler 200 Convertible seems like a no brainer.

What are you thoughts on these plans? Should Buick be addressing other needs? Would you consider a Buick convertible? Should the brand push even further to distinguish the LaCrosse from the Impala? Have your say in Comments.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Months Ago
      Buick may as well continue to mine the Opel vault since it doesn't create anything on its own. Give Buick the Adam also. Chevy seems to mine Daewoo.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 5 Months Ago
        There is no 'Daewoo' and there hasn't been for a lot of years now. GM designs cars globally, with different regions responsible for certain segments. RWD performance luxury, pickups, suv's, cuv's - North America, low cost compact and subcompact, Korea, higher cost and feature compact and midsize, Europe. It isn't that difficult of a concept to understand, and lots of other OEM's do the exact same thing.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Only Opel will give this Buick a proper redesign. GM somehow just can't let go of those goofy portholes and wierd lines of this LaCrosse.
        • 5 Months Ago
        those portholes are a buick tradition! you don't mess with tradition unless you want to go the was of oldsmobile and Saturn!
      • 5 Months Ago
      You need 3 years to strip 3 Opel badges and slap on Buick ones??? Badge a year??? Good job GM, good job.
      • 5 Months Ago
      "The other issue plaguing Buick's lineup is a lack of a midsize crossover. This is particularly damning for the brand as most of its showrooms are shared with GMC, which boasts its own midsizer in the form of the Terrain." That someone would make this statement is exactly the problem that continues to plague GM. Buick doesn't need a car to compete with the Terrain. Buick needs a car to compete with the Lexus RX or the Acura RDX or the Mercedes ML. Buick doesn't need to compete with GMC. That doesn't make any sense.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Amen brother. THAT is exactly what got them in trouble in the first place. . .looking only inward for competition and ignoring how great everyone else got.
        • 5 Months Ago
        You're digging deep to find a complaint there. Nowhere in that comment did it state that Buick was looking to compete with GMC with their mid-size CUV. Basically, why would it be damning for Buick not to have a mid-size CUV to compete against the Terrain? It makes no sense for Buick and GMC to have competing models on their showrooms. However, that's exactly what you think this comment meant. What the comment really means is that GMC has a mid-size CUV on their showroom while Buick does not. So, if a buyer doesn't want a compact or full-size CUV (which Buick offer), then the only model the salesperson can show them is a GMC if they wish to keep the sale in-house. So, the comment is meant to simply state that Buick needs a mid-size CUV which they can sell and not have to "downgrade" a buyer to a GMC instead. Much the same as the Encore and Acadia are both sold in Buick/GMC showrooms, they appeal to different clientele. Same would hold true for any mid-size CUV from Buick as well.
      Felipe Politano
      • 5 Months Ago
      Too bad the Envision, as for what we can tell from those early pictures, is no game changer. Hope they do skip the base 2.5-liter engine to better differentiate it from the Equinox/Terrain... maybe give it a base 1.6-liter turbo good for some 200hp, or go straight to the 2.0-liter turbo in the Verano/Regal. It should have a V6 option as well, since the Chevy/GMC already do. The Cascada will be a surprisingly big seller for Buick, since the 200 is on its way out... rental companies need mainstream convertibles, and GM will be pleased to fill that void. I'd say they'll be offering it with the 2.0-liter turbo and a cheaper version for fleets, hopefully with the euro-spec 1.6-liter turbo in place of the aspirated engines.
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Vert should do well. That market has been vacated since the old Sebring-which Chrysler sold a ton of..,
      • 5 Months Ago
      I knew some Manufacturer would realize that if Chrysler quits building the 200 Convertible and No more Nissan Murano , Toyota stops building the Solara convertible They will have thousands of retail customers and thousands of car rental customers attention. Glad to see a 4 seat convertible with room for luggage in the wings.
        • 5 Months Ago
        This will probably be better as the 200 was domestic only?
      • 5 Months Ago
      Skylark conv ? Sounds good , that was my first car!
      • 4 Months Ago

      you want fun in a Buick.....well, see my 2008 Buick Lucerne CSX....the one with the 4.6 V-8, and the magnetic ride control suspension......it is comfortable!!!!!!!!!! (way more than our 2011 Lacrosse CXS) and it is responsive in the curves through the mountains here in southwest Colorado ( think Wolf Creek Pass).....I have 83,000 miles on it now and I will do whatever it takes to keep this vehicle for as long as I shall live.....this from a guy who still has the  1985 T-Bird Elan coupe (133,000 miles today), and the 1986 Bronco II (128,000 miles) 4 wheel drive, that is still prowling the off road trails of the San Juan mountains.......I used to be a Ford guy back in the day, but now, give me GM products to live with....(said Lucerne and Lacrosse, and a 2008 Corvette, and the latest addition, a 2013 GMC Sierra......life is good with the General......(yeah, I lost a ton on my GM stock back in 2008, but who cares, driving is what it is all about........)     so say what ya want......that's how I feel right now.............

        • 3 Months Ago

        I have a Lucerne and I agree, it rides and handles so much better than any GM car on the epsilon platform.  

      • 5 Months Ago
      Cascada has the best proportions of all CCs out there. Opel might have the best design team in Europe.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Cascada is a fantastic looking convertible. Bring it over as-is short of changing the badge on the grill.
      Ken Mam
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the Rivera, whenever that shows up.
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