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Epsilon II: Buick Lacrosse vs Opel Insignia

January 23, 2009 in Archive

The latest vehicle to come along on the new Epsilon midsize architecture has just been revealed prior to the Detroit Motor Show. It’s the Buick Lacrosse.
I’m not really keen on doing this, but people are going to be talking about the comparison anyway, so we may as well do it here.
The trap, of course, is that people will start thinking that the Saab 9-5 is going to follow directly within the footsteps of these two cars. I am NOT willing to accept that that’s a fait accompli. Yes, the Saab 9-5 will be built on this architecture. Yes, it’ll feature XWD just like the Lacrosse does (though they don’t use that name) and yes, it may even end up with one of the V6 engines.
But I am willing to hold out. I’ve heard from people who have seen it saying that the car looks awesome. That it’s going to be a killer. I know that they can take these basic architectures and apply much different driving characteristics to each model. I know that the 9-5 will be worth waiting for.
So with that said, here are the comparison photos of the Opel Insignia and Buick Lacrosse. There’s no doubt there’s more in common here than just the name of the architecture they were built on.
There’s some more notes at the end.
Click the photos to enlarge. Buick shots from Autoblog. Opel shots from GM.
Buick first, Opel second.
Front quarter view:
01_lacrosselive
02_opel_insignia_first


Front view:
04_lacrosselive
256039
Side View (the money shots)
03_lacrosselive
258201
Rear view (pretty different)
05_lacrosselive
256018
Interior view (lots of similarities here, too)
20_lacrosselive
vauxhallinsig_hi_05
——
There’s nothing bad about either car, you know.
Both are good looking vehicles. They look modern and I’m sure the finished product will be just want the customer wants. They’re certainly a heck of a lot better than some of the stuff GM has put out in the past.
The problem is the similarities we can see here. It’s not a problem for your average Opel or Buick customer because they’ll get what they want – a good looking, reliable and comfortable vehicle. They’ll sell in different countries so there’s no overlap.
The potential problem with Saab is that the average Saab customer is more aware, better educated and more discriminating than your average Buick or Opel customer. They don’t want their next Saab to look like their neighbor’s Opel, Vauxhall or Buick. It’s the bowtie GM radio dilemma all over again.
As I said at the start, I really don’t think that’s going to happen with the next Saab 9-5. I think it’ll be differentiated enough to be its own car, though the media will obviously do their usual referencing.
But the similarities between these two vehicles highlight how important it is for GM to realise the need to differentiate the 9-5. It’s make or break time.

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