Cascada reverts to fabric roof of Astra drop-top two generations back; shares three-door hatchbacks steeply sloped screen

Cascada reverts to fabric roof of Astra drop-top two generations back; shares three-door hatchback's steeply sloped 'screen

If General Motors Europe's new Astra-based Opel/Vauxhall Cascada convertible is built and drives as well as it looks in teaser photos released today (5 September), Volkswagen's recently launched Golf cabriolet, its folding tin top Eos sibling, and even the Audi A5 and BMW 3-series could all be in for some serious competition.

There had been speculation the new model, called Project G3700 internally and slated for build alongside the three-door hatchbacks in Gliwce, Poland, would revive the old Opel/Vauxhall Manta or Calibra nameplates used on previous generation coupe models but Opel/Vauxhall has researched and focus-grouped up a completely new name. Parent GM has previously used similar sounding names in North America, including Acadian in Canada and the current Cadillac Escalade.

Cascada, a Spanish word meaning waterfall, is the third new name to be introduced by Opel/Vauxhall this year, following Mokka and ADAM and each model is set to be an addition to the company’s current range.

Several European automakers make a really good job of convertibles (aka cabrios or cabriolets) and there's always been a reasonable number of offerings in the Astra's C-segment for decades. Apart from the Golf, which dates back to the 1970s, Opel/Vauxhall has, since the early '80s, directly challenged Ford's Escort, and later, Focus with several generations of Astra drop-top. Each generation of the sparring pair had fabric tops until the last when they both went the folding metal roof way with both outsourced to specialist coachbuilders for final assembly - Bertone for the Astra.

Apart from bringing design and assembly in-house, Opel/Vauxhall has upsized the Cascada closer to the D-segment than its Astra Twin Top predecessor (discontinued in 2010); the Cascada is 225mm longer. GM's press release says (a) it's the first new "mid-size" convertible built and designed by the company for over 70 years and (b) is 4.7m long – over 70mm longer than Audi’s elegant A5 Convertible.

Talk to some folding tin-top owners you meet (VW Eos, Renault Megane in particular) and you hear of niggling problems with the complex electro-hydraulic folding mechanisms that sometimes are beyond the ability of the average local dealer to fix. Perhaps that or plain buyer preference is why the Cascada reverts to what looks like a very neatly fitted fabric roof - which can be opened or closed at the touch of a button at up to 30mph (50km/h) - clipped snugly to the steeply sloped windscreen apparently borrowed from the Astra three-door which itself shares few exterior parts with its five-door hatch and wagon (Sports Tourer) siblings.

Vauxhall reminds us it also had open-topped versions of the Cavalier (aka Opel Ascona) built by outside manufacturers but the Cascada is the first mid-size convertible that it has designed and built in-house for decades.

As with Ford, Vauxhall products were different from its German sibling's until the late 1970s and one of the last large, convertible-bodied cars the English brand built was the iconic OE-type 30-98, which could be specified with the company’s own Velox body. The 30-98 was the UK’s first catalogued 100mph car, and a serious competitor for Bentley’s three-litre models in its day.

Vauxhall chairman and managing director, Duncan Aldred, is enthusiastic about the lift each model offers his brand: “Cascada, along with ADAM and Mokka, will bring a fresh and exciting dimension to our product line-up for customers. This year is genuinely a new chapter in Vauxhall’s long history, and I’m pleased that we’re able to enter the mid-size convertible sector with Cascada, and continue to refresh people’s perception of our great brand.”

Though teased just weeks before the French show opens, the Cascada won’t be at Paris (where ADAM will take Opel's centre stage). Our sources say it will make its public debut in Geneva next March, just before European sales start.

Opel and Vauxhall need new products like these - with the potential to encourage cautious consumers to open their wallets and buy new cars - to be smash hits. Parent General Motors' second quarter 2012 net profit plunged US$1bn to $1.5bn and the ongoing loss in Europe grew from an EBIT-adjusted $0.1bn in Q2 2011 to $0.4bn this year.

At least one Opel plant in Europe is likely to close in the next few years and factories in Germany and UK currently have short-time work plans in place.

EXCLUSIVE: Opel-Vauxhall future model plans

Show the press release

 

LID LIFTED ON ‘CASCADA’: FIRST MID-SIZE VAUXHALL CONVERTIBLE SINCE 1930s

  • First official teaser pics reveal classic lines and mid-size, four-seat body
  • First Vauxhall-designed and built mid-sized convertible to be launched post-war
  • Move from compact-sized cabrio class; body longer than Audi A5 Convertible

Luton – Vauxhall today revealed the name and first teaser shots of the first new mid-size convertible built and designed by the company for more than 70 years.

Called Cascada, the model is 4.7 metres in length – more than 70mm longer than Audi’s A5 Convertible – with a full-size fabric roof, giving the car a classy and elegant profile, seen in the two official images. The roof can be opened or closed at the touch of a button, even when the car is moving at up to 30mph.

While Vauxhall has enjoyed considerable success in the past with open-topped models in the compact class, and has also commissioned open-topped versions of the Cavalier to be built by outside manufacturers, the Cascada is the first mid-size convertible that it has built and designed in-house since before the last war.

One of the last large, convertible-bodied cars Vauxhall built was the iconic OE-type 30-98, which could be specified with the company’s own Velox body (see pic). The 30-98 was the UK’s first catalogued 100mph car, and a serious competitor for Bentley’s 3-litre models in its day.

Cascada, a Spanish word meaning waterfall, is the third new name to be introduced by Vauxhall this year, following Mokka and ADAM, and each model is set to be incremental to the company’s current line-up.

Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director, Duncan Aldred, was enthusiastic about the lift each model offered the company: “Cascada, along with ADAM and Mokka, will bring a fresh and exciting dimension to our product line-up for customers. This year is genuinely a new chapter in Vauxhall’s long history, and I’m pleased that we’re able to enter the mid-size convertible sector with Cascada, and continue to refresh people’s perception of our great brand.”

While the Cascada won’t be shown at this month’s Paris Motor Show (where ADAM will take centre-stage) more information will follow soon, ahead of the car going on sale in early 2013.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

While the Cascada is not the first mid-size convertible Vauxhall in recent years, it is the first post-war model to be designed, engineered and manufactured by the company. In 1978, the Cavalier Centaur convertible was launched, but while it received type approval from GM, it was developed and built by Magraw Engineering in the UK.

The Centaur was followed by a drop-top version of the Cavalier Mk. 2 in the early Eighties. Again, this model was developed independently of Vauxhall, by British firm International Automobile Design, and engineered and manufactured by German company, Hammond & Thiede.

The Cascada marks Vauxhall’s departure from the compact cabrio sector, with which it enjoyed much success with cars like the Astra Mk.3 Convertible and the more recent Astra Twin Top. The Cascada is a full 225mm longer than the Astra Twin Top (which was discontinued in 2010) and now targets rivals in the mid-size sector.

 

Original source: http://www.newspress.co.uk/ViewPressRelease.aspx?pr=38432