Currently reading: Vauxhall in new Buick tie-up
Opel-Vauxhall to forge close links with Buick to make "almost a new global brand"

Opel-Vauxhall has begun forming closer ties with GM’s American-Chinese Buick marque to create “almost a new global brand”, according to CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke.

The German-British group’s role in the global strategy of parent GM has been redefined, Stracke says. Opel-Vauxhall is to become a “regional brand exporter”, concentrating on fast-expanding markets like Russia and China, positioning its cars above those of Chevrolet, and embracing Buick.

“Opel is not so used to selling premium-like products,” says Stracke, “but we have made a start with the Insignia. We also have begun improving our dealers and customer services, but it is a long journey.”

Stracke batted away suggestions that Detroit might once again be interested in selling GM Europe, something it came close to doing in 2009, to concentrate on marketing its affordable Korean-built Chevrolet models in greater volumes around the world.

He insisted the group strategy for Opel-Vauxhall was “now very clear” and “nicely knitted into the overall strategy”. Detroit bosses want success for GM Europe, he said, and “are only there to help”.

But within 24 hours of Stracke’s reassurances, the Wall Street Journal revealed that GM chiefs were again considering swingeing cuts to their European operations, including the closure of plants at Ellesmere Port and Bochum. Just over a year ago they closed Antwerp, shed 8300 jobs and convinced unions to instigate savings of more than £200 million a year until 2014.

Stracke believes Opel-Vauxhall makes a natural partner for Buick in the GM fold, citing the Insignia-related Buick Regal and forthcoming Opel-Vauxhall Mokka baby SUV (shown this year at Detroit with Buick badges) as examples of a co-operation that will see them “sharing as much as possible”.

Steve Cropley

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Overdrive 18 February 2012

Re: Vauxhall in new Buick tie-up

Lee23404 wrote:

507 wrote:
The Insignia equals premium? At least they have a sense of humour!

Why not? It doesn't look any less 'premium' than a 3-Series or A4, has an interior with perceived quality up with those cars, so why not?

Oh yes, the badge. Not everybody is a badge snob, though.

I kind of agree. The name Vauxhall obviously doesn't invoke images of premium cars in one's mind, but the current line up of cars is pretty good imo. The Insignia, Astra (especially the VXR), Zafira Tourer and Corsa all well built and decent to drive. I'd say they hold their own against most.

I really hope Opel/Vauxhall can turn around their sales performance. Like I always say, the more choice in the market place, the better.

ianp55 18 February 2012

Re: Vauxhall in new Buick tie-up

I'm not sure that the introduction of Buick to the GM Europe portfolio makes any kind of sense, after all what market is the marque targeted at? in the old GM marketing stategy it was placed somewhere between Cadillac and Oldsmobile and now that Olds had long bitten the dust just where does it stand in it's home market let alone over here.

I understand that Buick only survived the last cull of GM brands that led to the demise of Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn plus the sale of Saab, the reasoning being that the marques runaway success in the Chinese market would be jeopardised by pulling the plug on Buick in the US.

Well you never know Chrysler are trying to sell Lancia's as Chrysler and vice versa also Dodge's as Fiats so it might work but don't I'm not holding my breath

Lee23404 16 February 2012

Re: Vauxhall in new Buick tie-up

Oilburner wrote:

How about two more to throw into the mix, the BMW 320d as suggested by Lee and the infamous Citroën C5, in it's most complex (and expensively fragile) Exclusive trim with Auto box:

BMW 320d (since 2002): 0.4% of sold

Citroën C5 Exclusive Auto (since 2002): 0.8% of sold.

Hmm. Maybe the 320d does fail my test!! So much for French unreliability eh... ;)

I had a 2008 C5 for two years and it was completely fault free, the only car I've ever had for any length of time that had no faults at all, no matter how minor.