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European Plans Spell The End Of The Buick Cascada

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Now under French ownership, Opel will stop producing the Cascada after 2019.

The Buick Cascada may not be long for this world, thanks to a decision not from General Motors, but from a French-owned German automaker.

GM recently sold its Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA group, which continues to furnish some models to be sold as Buicks in North America. But Opel has revealed product plans for the coming years – and they don't include the Cascada. In order to "focus on high volume segments," the German unit announced, "the Opel Adam, Karl, and Cascada will not be replaced after the end of their life cycles, but will remain on sale until the end of 2019."

The statement refers to two small hatchbacks it currently produces, along with the Cascada that's rebadged as a Buick on this side of the Atlantic.

Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle declined to comment on the convertible's future in America. "The Cascada continues to bring in a higher percentage of new customers to Buick than any other model," he pointed out. That may be neither here nor there, but we wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Buick join its former European colleagues in phasing out the Cascada, rather than replace it with a new model after Opel discontinues production.

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Over the first three quarters of this year, GM reports having sold 1,101 Cascadas in the United States out of the 45,911 Buicks it moved in total. That makes it by far the brand's slowest-selling model, amounting to barely half the deliveries of the next-slowest LaCrosse, and less than a twentieth of the most popular Encore. Those numbers, in fact, place the Cascada as the slowest-selling vehicle GM offers in North America, and barely a drop in the bucket of the nearly 700,000 vehicles it has sold in the US so far this year.

The Cascada's slow sales reflect a general trend away from cossetting four-seat cabriolets, and arrived on the market in 2015 as the segment had already plummeted. Erstwhile rivals like the Lexus IS-C, Infiniti G37 Convertible, Volvo C70, and Volkwagen Eos have all been discontinued amidst flagging sales. Their departure have left the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro (on which GM may be forced to rely) to anchor the lower (though more exciting) end of the declining market for four-seat convertibles, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz to dominate the higher end with models like the A5, 4 Series, and C-Class cabrios.