2016 Buick Cascada: Water Test B Roll
April Showers Are No Problem for Buick's New Convertible
DETROIT – How does Buick ensure the 2016 Cascada convertible will stay dry even in the middle of an April shower? By making a big rainstorm part of manufacturing the car that goes on sale early next year.
"Cascada will be best enjoyed in warm, sunny weather, but it's been designed and engineered to be used year around, regardless of the weather," said John Dolch, program quality manager for Cascada. "Not only is Cascada's top engineered to be weatherproof in extreme conditions, but each and every Cascada built will also be put through a rigorous water test."
Specialized water test booths, located at the end of Cascada's assembly line, will allow freshly built cars to roll off the line and into testing. Each booth has at least 124 individual nozzles, which will quickly immerse the Cascada in a miniature rainstorm for 10 minutes.
Each nozzle emits 1.9 gallons of water every minute. Cascada's test is designed to produce nearly the equivalent of 1.23 inches of rain in a minute, which matches a world record set in Unionville, Md., in 1956.
Additionally, two Cascadas will be randomly selected daily to undergo another water test, known as the "deluge." While this test is designed to last only eight minutes, each nozzle blasts roughly three gallons of water each minute.
Much like actual rain clouds, Cascada's water testing booths are also part of a water cycle. While nearly 132,000 gallons of water – or nearly 5,500 full bathtubs – will be used daily, only 1.5 percent of that volume is lost to evaporation. The other 98.5 percent of the water used will be collected, filtered, and recycled for use in later tests.
These tests may seem extreme, but they're especially important given April showers are more than an old proverb. As winter gives way to spring, rain showers are bound to splash cities across the U.S. with more than a little precipitation.
"Typically, April sees weather patterns bring in more moisture from the Gulf, especially in the eastern half of the United States," said Jim Piro and Allan Reppert, climatology supervisor and meteorologist, respectively, with AccuWeather. "Rainfall for the spring looks to be wet along much of the East Coast, from New York south into northern Florida, and stretching along the Gulf Coast into eastern Texas."
Some spring showers may take drivers by surprise on an otherwise sunny day, but Cascada engineers came prepared. Its power-folding top will be fully deployed in as little as 17 seconds, and at speeds up to 31 mph.
Beginning in early 2016, Cascada owners in arid corners of the U.S. may not have to worry about facing those showers, but they may still appreciate the result of these tests.
"Chances are good you'll still clean the car with a pressure washer, or run it through an automated car wash," Dolch said. "The same watertight concerns will still apply, even under clear blue skies."
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