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Auto blogFri, 28 Mar 2014 18:28:00 EST
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).
Bob Lutz sits down for Autoline Detroit - Click above to watch video after the jump
Autoline Detroit recently played host to Bob Lutz, and, as is always the case, the former General Motors vice chairman dished out some great commentary. Lutz was promoting his new book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, and talk quickly turned to his role as it related to product development and high-level decision making at GM. While on the topic of brand management, Lutz revealed a few rather interesting tidbits about his former employer:
All Chevrolet vehicles were required to have five-spoke aluminum wheels and a chrome band up front, as part of the Bowtie brand's overall image.
Let's get the most pressing bits of this story out of the way right off the bat: What we see here appears to be a new compact crossover from Buick. According to the spy photographer, this machine may be a little bit smaller on the outside than the current Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain 'utes, which makes sense since recent rumors suggest GM's small crossovers will migrate to a new platform that will mark a convergence between the automaker's Delta (Chevy Cruze, Buick Verano) and Theta (Equinox, Terrain) platforms. This Buick would likely use this new D2UX platform.
We've been expecting Buick to unleash a crossover to slot between the very small Encore and the very large Enclave, and various rumors have indicated that the model may be known as either the Anthem or Envision. It's worth mentioning that Buick had planned, back in 2009, to release a vehicle in the compact CUV market, but abandoned those plans after a particularly poor reception.
And now for something completely different... Take another look at the spy shots above, and pay special attention to the cylindrical device mounted to the vehicle's roof. We can't say for sure what it is, but our spy photographer opines that it looks quite a bit like the 360-degree Lidar camera equipment used by Google for its autonomous cars. Is General Motors working with Google on autonomous car technology? We don't know, but you can definitely consider us intrigued.