Opel to be shuttered in China, but will restart Buick production in GermanyFri, 28 Mar 2014
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."
By Brandon Turkus
See also: Opel putting Astra Extreme into production, Opel Meriva gets refreshed with more chrome and new diesel, Opel Adam S and Adam Rocks make us want GM's Euro city car even more [w/poll].