General Motors’ Opel and Buick brands will be more intertwined as the carmaker tries to bring their product development teams much closer, GM chief executive Dan Akerson remarked at an investor conference last week. GM’s CEO remarked that bringing the brands’ product development teams much closer will result to “all sorts of synergies” between Opel-Vauxhall and Buick.
GM is seeking to squeeze all it could from its costly engineering resources in Germany, where Opel is based. Opel started filling out Buick's lineup after the 2009 collapse of Saturn, which had sold rebadged Opels in its final years. Buick is set to get some Opel-derived models to sell in the United States and China. Buick first started to rebadge Opel vehicles a few years ago, when it started selling the 2011 Regal, which is based on the Opel Insignia, in the US.
Most of Buick’s lineup in the US contains Opel’s European flavor. For instance, the Verano sedan that was rolled out in late 2011, is the US version of the Opel Astra. Likewise, the Encore small crossovers are Opel Mokkas that migrated to the US. The Regal, Verano and Encore also have their own versions in China.
The three brands – Buick, Opel and Vauxhall – all have products that are based on the same platforms developed mostly by GM’s engineers in Germany. According to Akerson, developing Buick and Opel models underpinned mostly by GM's German engineering provides "architecturally more scale," helping leverage the cost of its engineering resources in Europe. [source: automotive news - sub. required]