A couple of years ago, Buick considered selling a re-badged, Americanized version of sister company Opel’s stylish Adam city car in a bid to take on the Fiat 500 and the Mini Cooper. The General Motors-owned car maker has announced that it has dropped those plans in the wake of low gas prices and sluggish small car sales.
“I very much did feel when I came over that [bringing the Adam] could really help accelerate the Buick brand story,” explained company boss Duncan Aldred in an interview with trade journal Automotive News. “I don’t see that as much. Whether the market shifted or the fashion nature of those cars has changed, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be looking for a small, B-segment car today.”
The current-generation Opel Adam (pictured) wasn’t designed to comply with American safety and emissions regulations so Buick would have needed to federalize it, a process that’s both costly and time consuming, in order to sell it here. Buick’s interest in the model reportedly convinced Opel to design the next-gen Adam with the United States’ regulations in mind, so it will essentially be ready to land on our shores with only minor tweaks if the firm’s executives ever change their minds.
The second-generation Adam isn’t scheduled to debut until 2018 at the earliest, meaning it likely wouldn’t arrive here until the 2019 model year, and a lot can happen in a couple of years’ time. In other words, minicar fans hoping for a German-flavored alternative to the Fiat 500 might not be entirely out of luck.
Until then, the popular Encore crossover will remain the smallest member of the company’s lineup. The family might be expanded toward the top, however, as Aldred revealed he hasn’t excluded launching a stylish flagship model positioned above the Lacrosse in the Buick hierarchy. He stopped short of providing specific details, but an earlier report claims the head-turning Avista concept that bowed in New York will spawn Buick’s first-ever four-door coupe before the end of the decade.