Rumors are running rampant in the automotive press that General Motors will expand the Buick model line-up and market a new Civic-sized sedan in the US that will be built by Opel at Opel's Russelsheim, Germany assembly plant.
The new compact Buick sedan was originally designed to replace the Chinese-market Buick Excelle, which itself is a Buick badged version of the Daewoo Lacetti. GM executives are said to be considering if a small Buick sedan should be offered for sale in the US market. Automotive press reports that Buick's US lineup will soon be the same as its model offerings in China. According to these new rumors, Buick dealers are lobbying for a well-equipped sedan that is much smaller than the just-introduced LaCrosse/Allure and that GM's other sedan alternatives (such as a Buick-badged version of the Aura/Malibu) simply doesn’t appeal to younger, highly affluent buyers that Buick needs to attract to survive in North America.
The new Buick sedan will be based on the front-wheel-drive "Delta 2" sedan platform, currently being utilized by the Chevy Cruze and the upcoming Volt. The new car (perhaps titled the Skyhawk or Skylark?) would be similar in size to the current Honda Civic. If given final approval by GM's North American management team, the car would most likely be built by Opel and imported from Germany.
I have serious questions as to whether a Buick sedan that's the size of a Civic and Cobalt would really appeal to "upscale" North American small-car buyers. Buick is supposed to be a "premium" brand, and I question if GM could pull this kind of "extreme make-over" off, along the lines of what they did to reinvigorate the Cadillac brand and make it relevant again to consumers. Your thoughts please, fellow motorheads?
[Edited 2009-02-01 16:42:01]
[Edited 2009-02-01 16:46:11]