Mirror Image: 2011 Opel Insignia

I usually don't post cars this new, but this warrants attention and is likely just 1/1 in the U.S. right now (and probably will be for the next 24 years).

It's a 2011 Opel Insignia.

If it looks familiar, that's because General Motors is currently selling it as a fifth generation Buick Regal in the U.S.

Opel is GM's European division and is based in Germany. They are not sold here anymore, but some Opel cars were imported to North America in the past, like the '68-'73 Opel GT.

The Insignia is a front-engine, front-wheel drive family sedan developed and sold from 2008 to the present. GM then decided to sell it as a Buick under the regal nameplate in the U.S. from 2009 onwards.

This isn't the first time an Opel was used as a basis for a GM brand car. The Cadillac Catera and Saturn Aura were both based on Opel platforms, just to name a few.

Since the U.S. government only allows cars 25 years or older to be imported, the presence of this 2011 Opel right here in the States is peculiar to say the least.

The seller explains it was imported from Germany and that the title has been converted and can be registered in all states without issue. They don't say how this is legal, but if it has a clear U.S. state title, it could be ready to register as your own. Why anyone would take the time to import a car so similar to another car here is anybody's guess.

The advantages of owning this over a comparable 2011 Regal are few but still noteworthy. Rarity is obviously a major factor. Also, the Regal is a heavier - but only by about 13 lbs. more than this Insignia because of added strength to the b-pillar to meet U.S. rollover safety regulations. 13 lbs. isn't much but any alleviated weight is welcome to help make a car move faster.

The seller says it has desirable Opel traits of suspension and lighting, but does not elaborate. Just from looking at the pictures I do notice the headlights are different from the U.S. Regal, so they are probably advanced units not legal here yet, unfortunately.

Since a 2011 Regal retailed for $26k-$28k, the seller's asking price of $23,200 could be considered a fair deal. The car is like-new with only 3,250 miles, is extremely rare, and has upgrades over the U.S.-spec Regal. Let me put it this way: if you like the Regal, you'll probably love the Insignia.

Just be sure to get the whole story on importation. It wouldn't surprise me if the seller was or still is a government employee who got it through a loophole.

Find it here on ebay in Bridgeview, Illinois.


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