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Opel to build a Buick model in Germany exclusively for the American market

Published by on Mar 31, 2014 in News Leave a comment

Buick Opel Russelsheim

According to recent rumors, General Motors’ European division, Opel, will introduce two new models at the Russelsheim factory in the second half of this decade. One of them will probably be the upcoming Opel flagship, codenamed Monza, a full-sized SUV scheduled to enter production in 2017. But the really interesting part is the other one, which will be a Buick model that will not be sold in Europe, but only in the United States.

So why would GM build a Buick in Europe if they don’t plan on selling it there? According to Wolfgang Schafer-Kulg, leader of the Opel Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, decisions concerning the upcoming Buick production were made as part of the collective agreement between Opel workers and management. Also, the production of the Buick model at the Opel factory will start shortly after Opel will pull out of the Chinese market, where investments to increase sales would be too high compared to potential results. But General Motors will keep an active presence in China through its other brands, especially Buick. In 2013, the 22 Chinese Opel dealers sold 4,365 vehicles, while Buick sold more than 810,000 units through its network of 650 dealerships. Similar actions were taken on the Australian market, which Opel left after only 12 months, GM focusing on the local Holden carmaker.

As for the German factory in Russelsheim, General Motors plans on investing around 245 million Euros (around $340 million) to make it ready for building the new models. More details about the Buick model will be released towards the end of 2014, but sources inside GM claim that the project has already received the green light from Detroit and production is scheduled to start in 2015 or 2016. Besides the two models, the Russelsheim factory will continue building the Insignia (all body versions) and will also build the Zafira Tourer starting with January 2015, when production lines will be moved from Bochum.

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