The Regal is Back! Will it Sell?

2011 Buick Regal

2011 Buick Regal

Last week General Motors announced they would officially be bringing back the Buick Regal.  The car is set to arrive in spring of next year as a 2011 model.  The car will launch with a base 2.4 liter four cylinder that puts out 182 hp while returning 30 mpg on the highway.  Later in the summer, a 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder that puts out 220 hp will launch.  The more powerful engine will still manage 29 mpg on the highway.  The list of specifications reads like a list of what Buick needs to get customers to both show up in the showrooms and buy their cars.  The car may look familiar to some of you, and that is because the car is a rebadged Opel Insignia.  The car that instantly won Car of the Year in Europe and is already selling well as a Buick Regal in China.  The turbo model will come with “Interactive Drive Control System.”  This will have four different driver selectable suspension settings.  GM has not gone into detail about the system yet though it sounds promising.

2011 Buick Regal Interior

2011 Buick Regal Interior

The main question is simple, will this car sell?  Buick already has the new LaCrosse and the Enclave, both of which are being viewed as successes so far and selling quite well.  GM knows they need more home runs and more foot traffic in the showroom.  The Regal should bring a lower entry price point into the Buick showrooms.  GM is hoping that, in itself, will lower the age of the customers.  While we do not know pricing yet, we can naturally assume the Regal will be priced both aggressively and will undercut the new LaCrosse somewhat significantly.  I personally think, from the specifications we know so far, this car will definitely help both Buick and General Motors.  My only hope is that the rumors of a GS (GS stands for Grand Sport) model come true.  That would not only be an epic move on GM’s part, but also drive huge foot traffic that might otherwise not come near the Buick showroom.  Bob Lutz actually recently told Car and Driver that they are considering a version for the new Buick Regal to be Regal GS.  It would essentially be a rebadged Insignia OPC.  It would push somewhere along the lines of 335 hp and all wheel drive and possibly have the trick torque vectoring rear end.  Finish all this off with a six speed manual transmission and a reasonable price point that would obviously going to undercut the Germans, and everyone else that would compete, and you have a recipe for huge success.  I truly believe that GM needs a model like the Regal with a GS trim level.  It will show how serious they really are about growing their market share and changing the image of Buick once and for all.  Hey GM, I want a Regal GS, I want it now, and a wagon variant would not hurt.

Note- Hakim Givens created a mock up of what a Regal GS wagon variant might look like.

regalwagon

Concept of what a Regal GS wagon might look like- Image by Hakim Givens

2011 Buick Regal

2011 Buick Regal

Opel Insignia OPC

Opel Insignia OPC

Opel Insignia OPC

Opel Insignia OPC


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4 Responses to “The Regal is Back! Will it Sell?”

  1. I believe that Buick will do okay with the Regal. Likely, the Lucerne will go and the brand will concentrate on smaller vehicles, while keeping/updating the Enclave and advancing the LaCrosse.

    Buick still has to work through its stodgy image with consumers. All three newer models help, but a fourth car with a sporty bent could be the game changer that they need.

    11/19/2009 at 9:57 am Reply
    • The Lucerne is scheduled to disappear and the LaCrosse will be the flagship model. Yes, they do have a image problem and they will need to work hard to correct that. The Enclave is scheduled for a refresh in 2012/2013. If they bring the OPC and turn it into the GS that could be the sporty game changer they need. Time will tell.

      11/19/2009 at 10:01 am Reply
  2. As a side note, Buick’s renaissance (at least here in the US) will depend on vision and clarity on GM’s part.

    I interact with a lot of people who are considering purchasing a new car and the question that comes up is this one: why did GM kill Pontiac while Buick remains?

    Personally, I think that GM could have kept all three brands (or tossed GMC because they already have Chevy trucks) and would have succeeded quite well. I have family members who own Pontiacs and they simply are not looking at Buick to replace their cars though they might go to Chevrolet instead.

    Though they might remain in the GM fold — and that isn’t guaranteed considering their hesitancy about buying from a company who is still restructuring following bankruptcy — I’m sensing that what’s left of the Buick/Pontiac/GMC affilation doesn’t hold much appeal for them.

    I’m not saying that GM can’t make Buick work stateside, its that they just don’t have time on their side. Importantly, whatever products they do release have to go beyond customer expectations or risk losing more of their market share. I believe US sales will improve across the board in 2010, but with very few cars offered through Buick/GMC dealerships, people who aren’t interested in current or promised models or trucks, SUVs, and crossovers will move on.

    11/19/2009 at 1:04 pm Reply
  3. Branden #

    Well stated article. Simply put, I am a 26 yr old salesman for Buick and GMC and am excited about the direction they are going in. I currently drive a Grand Prix and would probably be looking at either a Malibu or Regal a few years down the road.
    Buick is too successful in GM’s global presence for them to simply get rid of them. Buick is the reason why they are able to bring products like the Lacrosse and Regal to the NA market. Obviously they are rebadged Opel’s, but there is no other brand for them to market them in the current GM family. Cadillac’s lineup is close to complete as it is, and these cars are too rich for Chevy customers.

    11/19/2009 at 4:03 pm Reply

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