Yes, this is happening. In the US.
Divorce proceedings between Opel, Vauxhall, and General Motors are still underway, but just as with any failed marriage, untying the knot is a lengthy process that requires divvying up property between the two parties. One thing it appears the General does not want to leave behind is the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer and Insignia Grand Sport. And thanks to Automotive News, we now know that it’s because GM wants to use both the hatchback and wagon version of the Opel to replace the Buick Regal.
This is big news, indicative of the downward trend in sedan sales that are giving rise to all sorts of new creations from automakers, usually of the SUV variety or of small cars that are badged as such. For those a bit hazy on a five-door hatch, bear in mind that it’s not the same as a Volkswagen Golf with four doors and a rear hatch. Rather, the Opel Insignia Grand Sport offers a large trunk opening similar to that of a Tesla Model S, essentially a hatchback opening that retains the rear lines of a sedan. On the other hand, the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer is a full fledged wagon. According to the report, both will be debuted in the US as 2018 models on April 4th, a week ahead of the New York Auto Show.
Missing from the mix will be a sedan variant, which will still be made but sold exclusively to the Chinese market. In all likelihood, the reasoning behind GM’s decision to replace a sedan with a five-door hatchback and a wagon is that Americans seem to value utility over looks lately, although those who still want the former can opt for the attractive hatchback. Either way you go, the message from Buick is clear, it wants to be seen as a brand that offers utility and looks without a loud styling language like some of Europe’s more upscale offerings do. So far as we can tell, this will be the last car that GM borrows from its ex European brands before the doors close for good.