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FRANKFURT -- General Motors is considering bringing the Opel Adam minicar to the United States, likely wearing a Buick badge, Opel Chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann said today.
"We are looking at it," Neumann told reporters on the sidelines of the auto show here. "Nothing is decided. But it's an example of some of the Opel product being used elsewhere in the world."
The possibility illustrates GM's new efforts to better sync up Opel and Buick so that similar vehicles can be sold wearing different badges in Europe, the United States and China.
GM already does that with several vehicles, such as the Buick Encore small crossover in the United States and China and the Opel Mokka in Europe. But GM executives say they are redoubling their efforts to co-develop Buicks and Opels to better use their engineering and design resources.
The small, sporty Adam is aimed at fans of the Fiat 500 and BMW's Mini brand. The 11,500 euro (about $15,250) hatchback has been praised by Europe's enthusiast magazines.
A U.S. debut for the Adam would be at least a few years away if GM decides to offer the minicar in the United States. GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, also speaking to reporters at the show, said the current Adam, launched across Europe early this year, "cannot be federalized" to meet U.S. safety and other regulatory requirements. That suggests that any U.S. entry would wait until at least the first re-engineering of the Adam.
"We have to work on the car," Neumann said. "That's one of the issues that we have to look at."
GM CEO Dan Akerson said in June that he thought the Adam would be a good fit for Buick's U.S. lineup. He said that he wished GM had designed the Adam and the Opel Cascada mid-sized convertible to clear U.S. regulatory hurdles back around 2009, before GM's bankruptcy, so that the company could have brought those vehicles to the United States with minimal cost.
Neumann said GM's goal is to intertwine Opel and Buick product development more closely.
"Maybe that can be done better in the future, if we design the product so that it would fit into other markets," he said. "That's exactly what we're aiming at."