Now the question becomes where does Buick go from here?
Reuters is reporting that the French PSA Group has completed its deal with GM to purchase German automaker Opel. The board of the company, which consists of Peugeot and Citroen, reportedly reached a deal Friday, although an official announcement is expected to come on Monday March 6th. Spokespersons for Opel and PSA offered no comment to Reuters but it’s highly unlikely this report is inaccurate. The acquisition of the German company by the French has seemed like a done deal since reports of it first surfaced a few weeks back.
The move is a no-brainer for both sides. PSA gets to cut costs, increase its overall sales volume and acquire a marque that isn’t French. GM gets to rid itself of a brand that has been sieving money for years. Apparently the only real issues involved GM’s liabilities for the $10 billion in existing Opel pensions and a non-compete clause in China and other foreign markets; GM didn’t want Opel going up against its international Chevrolet offerings. Reuters says that the two sides came to an agreement once the American automaker offered “substantially” more than the $1 to $2 billion it had previously committed to the pension fund. The only real questions left are how much will Opel sell for and where will Buick go from here.
The answer to those questions are more than likely “a couple billion” and “rebadged Chevys.” Hopefully the latter doesn’t turn out to be 100% true. Buick is known as a car company for old people, but some Opels actually look pretty slick. That being said, China is the biggest market for the luxury brand and will dictate its future product. If the Chinese don’t care that their Buicks are rebadged Chevys then Americans will just have to deal with it.