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Could The Opel Adam Minicar Become The Smallest Buick Ever?

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Buick and Opel have long been linked, starting 45 years ago when Buick dealers sold Opels imported from GM's German brand.

There will be no more Opel-brand cars sold in the States, but a number of current and future Buicks were developed by Opel and are sold in Europe as Opel models.

So we got to wondering, could the upcoming 2013 Opel Adam minicar presage a future model that would be the smallest-ever Buick sold in the States?

Right now, the smallest Buick is the compact Verano sedan. buick's next largest car, the Regal mid-size sedan, was first launched in Europe in 2007 as the Opel Insignia.

The brand-new 2013 Buick Encore compact crossover is sold as the Opel Mokka. And Opel's compact Astra was briefly sold in the States as a Saturn in 2008 and 2009.

In Europe, below the Astra sits the subcompact Opel Corsa--and now Opel has released some photos of an even smaller car, to be sold as the Opel Adam.

The Adam three-door hatchback--it's named after Adam Opel, the founder of the Opel brand a century ago--will be unveiled to the public and available for order at September's Paris Motor Show. It will arrive in European showrooms next January.

The styling borrows a contrasting roof color from the Audi A1, and--as the satiric car site SniffPetrol noted--seemingly a number of other elements from several existing European small cars.

The Adam will be offered with three different engines: a 64-hp 1.2-liter four, and a 1.4-liter four with two different outputs of 87 hp or 100 hp. No word yet on fuel efficiency, but we'd expect it to be at least in the mid-30s on the U.S. test cycle.

A five-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission announced so far, but Opel says a "new generation small gasoline engine" with direct injection and turbocharging will debut, paired with a six-speed manual.

The Adam includes both smartphone integration and a number of features not previously found on minicars, including automatic parking assist and a blind-spot warning system.

2013 Opel Adam

2013 Opel Adam

Enlarge Photo

Like many minicars, customization is the name of the game with the Opel Adam.

Three packages--yes, they're really named Jam, Glam, and Slam, ahem--and innumerable options both on the order form and for dealer installation will let buyers to order their own personalized and unique Adam.

So this all got us wondering: If the MINI Cooper and more recently the Fiat 500 have brought style and panache to the minicar segment, could there be an opportunity for Buick to enter a new niche with a car unlike anything else sold in the States?

Chevy has its upcoming 2013 Spark minicar, true, but that's being pitched as entry-level wheels for young first-time drivers.

What do you think? Could Buick pull off a tiny, tech-forward cool European-style minicar? Or should it stick to sedans like the Verano, Regal, and Lacrosse, and crossovers like the Enclave and Encore?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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Comments (7)
  1. No go as a Buick. Totally different approach to automobility than ever put forth by Buick, this car is nothing special - mid 30's mpg numbers are nothing to brag about, a Buick grill on this car would lessen the upgraded image Buick has been developing over the past several years with its larger cars.

    Make it a GMC if anything. Even if it fails, the GMC brand will survive because it has never depended upon cars to keep the brand alive. Come on GM, think out of the box.
     
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  2. Maybe a Chevy, but definitely NOT a Buick. Buick is more "premium" brand of GM. Unless Chinese market want it (Buick is hot there), GM won't offer a tiny Buick in States...
     
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  3. If some forward thinking GM exec decided to bring this to the US, by the time it made it out of the committee for Americanization {read trash the basic concept group} it would have 6 cupholders, a 2 liter SOHC 4 cylinder, be widened and lengthened 4 inches each direction {too many supersized Happy Meal customers} and have a 4 speed automatic. Then they would smile at the EPA 34 mpg highway rating it might attain.
     
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  4. Here's a crazy thought, sell them as Opels !!

    Dont change a thing and fit in a niche currently occupied by VW. European cars tend to have a better quality feel than US cars, better plastics materials etc. so you can charge a premium and still acheive the volumes you need.

    Currently Opel have chronic over capacity in Europe so selling the entire European range (including Diesels) would mop up some of that capacity.

    Ford are doing it already , all the new smaller fords are World cars that have their roots in Europe, the days of a different Focus or Mondeo for the US market are gone. They have the advantage of a simpler brand structure but the principle would be the same.
     
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  5. Good suggestion!
     
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  6. Buick is the GM innovator right now. Besides the Cruze, Chevy has very little going for it (other than rental cars). Buick should try it.
     
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  7. You have NO idea on how GM's internal brands work...
     
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