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Redusernab Asks: Hypothetically, What PSA Cars Should Buick Buy Now That They Own Opel?

Robert Emslie March 14, 2017 Redusernab Asks 30 Comments

As was recently revealed at last week’s Geneva Auto Show, Groupe PSA has finalized its purchase of GM’s manufacturing and distribution network in Europe, comprised of Germany’s Opel and Vauxhall in Great Britain. It’s an incredibly odd melding of nations and brands, and represents an end of General Motors’ presence as a European auto maker. This means that the Ford Motor Company, which was the first major American car maker to establish a foothold in the European car market is now the last to do so as well. That kind of pissses me off.

It probably angers the execs at Buick even more so as that venerable brand has been leaning heavily on Opel for their product R&D. Buick took over the mantle of Opel’s masked U.S. presence from Saturn when that company went tits up, which is all the more fitting seeing as it was Buick that was paired with Opel back in the seventies when GM brought the German cars over under their own name.

Lacking Opel, GM will now look to China for development of future models, a smart move seeing as the Asian country is one of Buick’s strongest markets. Let’s consider however, a bizarro world scenario in which Buick still sources their cars from the other side of the globe but now gets the from Groupe PSA. That opens the door to not just the next generation of Opel models, but also those from Peugeot and Citroën. If that situation were the way the world worked, what do you think would make up the coolest Buick lineup?

Image:

  • stigshift

    The hydraulically suspended, turbocharged, sleekly styled Buick Regal DS Decapotable, bodied by Henri Chapron…

    • Daniel Spin

      yes please!

  • Daniel Spin

    Ok, so after an extensive wikipedia browse, I really think it would be down to three models. Yes, I only looked at Peugeot, simply because a few modern Citroens look a bit too fun to be Buicks.

    Peugeot 408 becomes the new Verano

    508 becomes the new regal (with the wagon variant please)

    and the RCZ because it would be a bit more entertaining to look at than the Cascada

    • Tomsk

      RCZ = New Reatta?

      • Spin

        That could be fun!

    • CraigSu

      Funny you should mention the Regal:

    • Vairship

      The RCZ should really be called the Buick Opel by Peugeot!

  • Jofes2

    This is a difficult question, because PSA in Europe has mostly had the role as an avant-garde car maker with quirky technology and experimental designs. My impression of Buick in America is that it’s a more conservative brand, catering to older people with fake wood trim and beige leather. That’s very anti-Citroënist.

    If anything would work, it would probably be a Peugeot 508 SW like the one in the picture. It could be like a modern Buick station wagon.

    • Toaster

      That may be/have been the case for Citroen, but Peugeot were always the orthodox choice amongst french cars. Citroen was weird, Pugs were solid and Renaults were cheap.

      I think we have it backwards.
      The 508/C5 is getting long in the tooth, as is the DS5 as a flagship. With no replacement on the horizon and no suitable architecture for large cars in the PSA inventory, I rather foresee the next big PSA cars to be Opel Insignia based.
      The Bolt EV is also sure to make it into PSA Showrooms in some form, PSA has nothing on that front and GM probably wants to leverage its electric technology in Europe.
      Citroen still needs a replacement for hydroactive suspension once the C5 dies, GMs magnetorheological wondershocks could do the trick.
      And the corvette. Opel dealers often sell the corvette as an orphan.
      A Peugeot with big, honkin V8? Mon Dieu!

      • crank_case

        Recent Citroens and DS, all on conventional suspension have all had poor ride unfortunately, which is unforgiveable in a Citroen. They’ve acknowledged the problem but don’t want to go back to the complexity/cost of hyrdropneumatic suspension. Their answer is hydraulic bumpstops (a secondary damper replacing the bumpstop). The magnetorheowotsits are cool, but they’re also expensive, not something you can imagine on a Citroen Cactus, those shocks are more about body control and composure than real world comfort.

        A comfortable ride isn’t just achieved by merely making the suspension/damping soft, because then what happens is the damper goes to the end of it’s travel and you get a nasty thud when it hits the bump stop, that’s where this system comes in, it allows you to run soft damping, but then have a secondary, firmer damping for those big potholes to avoid crashiness.

        • Toaster

          The top level C5s are still hydropneumatic, once they are gone, it’s over. Cost, fuel economy standards and a lack of synergy made sure of that.
          I doubt the hydraulic bumpstops will be all that, unless they also include something like the old Peugeot AMVAR system that allows for variable damping.
          The beauty of hydroactive is the combination of composure and comfort. No wallowy, nose heavy front wheel drive barge should handle as well as my C6, but I’m ready to be surprised.
          Wether you set up magneto-shocks for comfort or sport is another matter altogether, I wouldn’t have expected corvette-like handling anyway.
          As far as price goes, I would want them on the top trim levels of whatever PSA has to build to sell the french president this decade, so I can buy it 100000km later out of a rich grandpas garage for a song. No Cactii for me, no sir.

          • crank_case

            Skeptical too, but we’ll have to see, suspension techs come a long way since the 1970s. Hydraulic bump stops are good for soaking up imperfections, I believe it’s what a lot of off road race vehicles use (though much more expensive variations of the idea obviously), but remember hydropneumatic wasn’t just for the DS/SM/CX, ordinary folks were able to have it as standard on family cars like the GS, BX and Xantia which were Cortina/Sierra/Mondeo rivals, only cars a step down like ZX/Xsara or smaller didn’t get it, but they had pretty nice Peugeot related setups so still rode and handled well. I’m not sure when it suddenly became “uneconomic” to use hydropneumatic spheres, but the idea is that you have have this tech on even the cheap seats. The Cactus is probably the only remotely appealing car in Citroens range right now, the only one to make any sort of impact anyway. It’s got a 2CV esque charm despite the flaws, but ride is the niggly point. They aren’t trying to take on the Fiesta ST with their hatchbacks. Citroen wants to be the “comfort” choice again, while Peugeot tries rekindle the GTI, and in fairness, the 208 GTi is the best stab at it in a while.

            I think part of the problem is that cars are heavier know, and you have an increase in unsprung weight too with bigger wheels (look at the little pizza cutters on a 2CV, GS or AX by contrast, they didn’t even deem four bolts neccesary, a pig when you wanted your wheels balanced). It’s harder to run the soft springs / relatively firm dampers combo and still maintain body control and comfort, so they up the spring and damper rates and ride quality suffers. Magnetic dampers could help, but it’s an expensive tech.

            The poor old French President has to make to with a DS5 Hybrid these days, sometimes even an Audi.. no wonder french politics is in a state of upheaval, their leaders are cranky from being rattled around all day. 😀

            • Toaster

              Central hydraulics were somewhat competitive costwise as long as they replaced a bunch of other expensive systems such as discrete power steering pumps, brake boosters, springs & shocks etc. Those got better and cheaper over the years due to economy of scale and technological advancements, Central hydraulics got better for the most part as well, but actually gained complexity in the process.

              Diravi steering was the first system to go as it was pretty complex, and as good as it was when you’re used to it, it didn’t help them in the market, as it probably took a bit longer than a short test drive to appreciate its greatness, and they never marketed that properly.

              The moment modern stability control was introduced, there was no way for Citroen to justify the R&D to integrate the high pressure brakes into that, esp. since Peugeot was using conventional systems, so out goes that.

              Fuel Economy ratings also meant they had to abandon the pretty much bulletproof engine driven pumps, and once you go to electric pumps (which still hurt fuel economy, albeit less so), conventional steering and conventional brakes, there’s not much left for all those complicated hydraulics to replace. And once you offer hydraulics only as an option on your highest priced models, it results in your R&D budget getting even smaller.
              The general market trend towards faux sportiness also didn’t help them either, few people seem to know what hydroactive suspension can do for you handling.

              It could have worked if PSA would have positioned Citroen early on as a higher priced alternative and used Peugeot as their bread and butter brand, sort of mirroring VAGs approach with Audi and Volkswagen and I guess what they try to do now with the DS Brand. But they didn’t. Citroens were for most part cheap Peugeots and often also looked the part.

              Now, somehone will bring up the 2 CV and its egalitarian legacy and how that would have made things difficult, look at what Audi and BMW built during the 50s and 60s, doesn’t seem to affect Quattro and M Sales much.

              • crank_case

                Thanks for explaining that, didn’t realize it was utlizied in other systems. You’re right about Citroen in hindsight (and perhaps if Peugeot had continued with RWD saloons, it could have been seen as sportier now and not just in hatchbacks, but FWD was seen as “better” in the 70s/80s), but I guess there was probably a bit of BL style silly politics there, they weren’t going to elevate a former rival and I guess beyond the 2CV a lot of people did associate citroen with cars like the AX/BX and by the 90s, in the UK, the Saxo VTS – the car of choice for boy racers thanks to a free insurance deal. Even the “egalitarian” 2CV had pleny of scope to be worked up to a premium model, much like the BMW Mini is no longer a utilitarian family car. By the 80s, 2CVs had become the car of choice of a certain type of middle class bohemian Guardian reader type. People who probably bought volvos later, it could have been reworked into a pseudo SUV eco-utlitarian thing, like the Cactus but with a higher price premium. Again though, hindsights a great thing, in the 80s, modernising the platform and creating the Visa seemed like a good idea at the time.

                From an eco point of view – funny thing is Peugeot were working on Pneumatic hybrids – with compressed air doing the job of battery power, but abandoned it because they couldn’t get the EU to incentivise sales like with electric hybrids so there was no business case.

      • thedonscork

        Your wrong about Peugeot. There’s a brand new 508 already being designed and developed over the last 2 years and is out next year with sports coupé styling and new hybrid engines and autonomous features, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the new Insignia but future models could be built on same platform. Opels new Crossland X has been developed already copying Peugeots new award winning 3008 and is already being built on same platform and same factory in France as the 3008.

        • Toaster

          Isn’t that one just a big facelift? And I’m more interested in the Citroen side of things for theological reasons anyway.

          • crank_case

        • crank_case

          “Award winning” 3008… ah yes, European Car of the year, which has decended into a farcical, “what’s the most mediocre car we can hand this gong to before getting drink” junket. I mean I’m sure it’s pleasant enough but the Alfa Giulia and Volvo S90 were in the running this year for goodness sake. It’s the automotive equivalant of the Eurovision song contest. 😀

  • crank_case

    There’s nothing in the current lineup that I can imagine having much appeal, except perhaps bring back the Peugeot RCZ that was canned in 2015.

    • thedonscork

      New 3008, new 5008, 308 gti and new 508 next year are another 4 to name but a few! Certainly far more appealing than any of Opel/GMs offerings.

      • crank_case

        They’re all ok-ish, can’t imagine trying to sell them with a Buick badge or having much appeal outside Europe due to their engine ranges.

  • dukeisduke

    I’d start with the Citroen DS, and then the SM.

  • engineerd

    The easy answer is a new Buick Envision which is just a rebadged Peugeot 4008. I’ve even done the engineering for them, free of charge.

    The more fun answer is a Buick Cascada based on the “ribbed for her pleasure” Citroen C4 Cactus.

    • outback_ute

      The 4008 is just a rebadged Mitsubishi ASX/Outlander Sport – not sure GM would go for that!

      • engineerd

        Now that I’ve done the engineering for them, they just might!

        • outback_ute

          What, a GM version or the Peugeot?

    • mrh1965

      really really nice work but you forgot the portholes

  • Peugeot 205GTi, Citroen DS and 2CV, Vauxhall Chevette HS and Lotus Carlton, Humber Super Snipe, Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, Sunbeam Tiger, Hillman Imp, Talbot T14. That should about do. The PSA range got pretty boring after that.

    • thedonscork

      You’d wanna take another look so, 308 Gti 270 and the new 3008.

  • Hubba

    GM goes for overall victory at Le Man’s with a Buick badged Peugeot.

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