Next-generation Buick Enclave and LaCrosse to be sold in Europe under Opel nameplate

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 2, 2011

As part of General Motors’ efforts to quickly reinforce the Buick brand, the Opel Insignia has been turned into a Regal. Soon, the Astra will be transformed to a 2012 Verano. GMInsideNews reported that GM is planning to give a makeover to its European division by offering the next Buick Enclave and LaCrosse that will carry Opel badges.

It’s possible too that the vehicles will get a Vauxhall badge. If cost is the consideration, this move makes sense since it provides GM with economies of scale due to increased production.

It also adds to the Opel lineup without incurring major engineering expenditures. It’s to be expected though that there will be suspension improvements and various powertrains. It’s likely that the Buick LaCrosse will get the Opel Omega badge, a name intended for the German carmaker’s largest sedan.

Meanwhile, the SUV may be named the Opel Monterey. But since both American models are slated to arrive in 2013 or later, marketing teams have the luxury of time to create new ones.

In terms of sales, the Omega and Monterey didn’t do very well. It’s difficult to pick which model appealed more to European customers. They’re both large and are deemed attractive to US consumers. However, it can’t be denied that GM will reap huge savings by sharing platforms and development costs.

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse not simply offers all-wheel drive, but it also has a host of safety features and even a collection of state-of-the-art intelligent personal technologies. Buick will be offering customers the option to choose between two V6 engines though both have excellent fuel economy. Unlike some models, the 2010 LaCrosse was revamped from scratch. Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president shared that the 2010 LaCrosse was made using advanced technology, excellent craftsmanship, and extra attention to detail. This model is aimed to be the step forward in the revival of Buick and built on the Enclave’s success.

Similar to the strategy done on the Enclave, the ultimate purpose of the 2010 LaCrosse is to draw in new buyers to its dealer network. This luxury sedan made its official worldwide debut in Detroit during the 2009 North American International Auto Show held on Jan. 12, 2009. One appeal of the new LaCrosse is that it comes equipped with what is known as intelligent personal technologies. Inside its modern cabin for example, it allows for digital connectivity and even personal connectivity.

Its intelligent technologies are able to function in a way that it can give the driver a 360-degree field of vision. This gives both driver and passenger a feeling of ease as well as safety and security. This is possible by having the head-up display placed in the windshield. As such, the driver is able to look at important information, like the current speed, but without needing to take one’s eyes of the road. To ensure safety at night, the new LaCrosse utilizes an adaptive lighting package which can aim for up to 15 degrees, its discharge high-intensity headlight beams.

This improves lighting on the road and more importantly, on the curves. There is also safety system known as the Side Blind Zone alert. What this does is alert the driver should there be another vehicle travelling in the adjacent lane and is in the blind spot. There is even a camera on its rear portion whose images are displayed on the navigation system screen. The reason for the many safety features equipped as standard inside the 2010 LaCrosse is that Buick wants this new model to be able to get the 20 Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As such, some of these safety features include the airbags that are on the front, the side, and even the roof-mounted head-curtain. It also has the traction-control system and StabiliTrak stability and for the first year of ownership, OnStar is made available.

Enhancing the experience in the interior are features like the in-dash navigation, a USB port, auxiliary audio input, and connectivity through Bluetooth. For those sitting in the back, there is the power rear-window sunshade. It also has a DVD entertainment system that has two displays screen that have been incorporated to the seatbacks. Speaking of the interior, it comes in a two-tone with its main characteristic being the continuous and flowing theme that appears to wrap not just the door panels but the instrument panel as well.

That there was great attention to detail is seen everywhere inside with the dark wood accents that are offset by chrome, the instrument panel and its French stitching and thread which contrast each other, and the analog instrument cluster.

Also in the interior is Buick’s very own trademarked QuietTuning. This feature is the brand’s own way of ensuring that the interior noise is absorbed, blocked, and reduced. As a result, it gives a distraction-free environment for everyone inside.

One surprise would likely be the ambient lighting in cool blue seen all through the interior and includes the door panels, instrument panels, and center console. On the exterior, the 2010 LaCrosse sports a design that follows the brand’s long history of leading designs. Designs that, GM Global Design Vice-President Ed Welburn shared, have long been defining for many years how American cars should be designed. Examples of this include the Riviera, Roadmaster, and Y-Job Concept.

Currently, the design being implemented by Buick is a result of using resources from around the world and the skills of a global team. The design for example is due to the collaboration between designers in China and the U.S., both working in conjunction with Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center. This group also works with the body engineers, and the chassis developers, who are based in Europe.

New Buicks therefore are the first vehicles from General Motors to be built on three continents. Welburn shared that the 2010 LaCrosse is planned to symbolize what contemporary elegance is. All through its design, one will see that there is a balance in the contrasts and the exterior and interior were designed with this in mind, he continued.

The interior for instance makes use of warm wood, smoked chrome accents, and top of the line materials and leather and then combine this with a cool blue ambient lighting to give a very appealing cabin, he added. Meanwhile the exterior utilizes sculpted and tight lines which are complemented with the rich surfaces and accents, he added further.

It is easy to say that the design of the exterior is in line with the Buick Invicta Concept, which originally made its debut during the 2008 Beijing Auto Show. Welburn revealed that the 2010 LaCrosse can easily be recognized as a model from Buick especially with the trademarked style on its body-side which is similar to a sweep spear, the waterfall grille, and the portholes that are in the hood’s character line.

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