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2011 Buick Regal Spied in US

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[source: Car and Driver]

2011 Buick Regal - Spied

The Chinese-market Regal has been caught testing in America. What does that mean for U.S. sales?

Buick is on the rebound in its home market, with the successful Enclave crossover and the appealing 2010 LaCrosse leading the charge. Could it continue with the reincarnation of the Regal? Spied on American soil was a camouflaged Chinese-market Buick Regal, itself a re-grilled and rebadged European 2010 Opel Insignia. Just what the covered-up Regal was doing here is anyone's guess, especially considering that it's already fully exposed on Buick's Chinese website.

But speculation has been ongoing for some time about whether a Regal would reemerge to flesh out America's Buick/Pontiac/GMC dealerships, and that possibility is even more likely now that one of those brands will soon evaporate, taking a huge quantity of mid-size sedan sales with it. Now, whether it makes sense to sell what is essentially a short-wheelbase LaCrosse alongside the LaCrosse is a marketing question we can't fully answer. But if it is markedly less expensive than the $27,835 Lacrosse, it could play well to Camry/Accord/Fusion buyers. Factor in GM's pending divestiture of Saturn—which was due to get a copy of the Insignia as its next Aura sedan—and the Buick version makes even more sense.

Could a Grand National Be On the Docket?

At a recent dinner with Buick executives, we were regaled with the typical marketing jibber-jabber about the "incredible" stuff that's coming next, and when we asked specifically about performance-oriented Buick models, we saw sparkles in their eyes and got one of those typical "just wait 'til you see what's coming next" lines that usually prompts a collective rolling of the eyes. But with the Regal redux looking like a real possibility, it would seem quite natural for Buick to bring back the vaunted Grand National (or Grand Sport) name, too—powered by, say, a turbocharged V-6, just like the beloved original that was sold in the mid-1980s. Of course, rear-wheel drive would be out of the question and a front-drive GN would be absolute heresy, but all-wheel drive could perhaps prove a somewhat amicable compromise. On one point, however, we will not give ground: it must be all black.

[spy Photos]

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Vince Burlapp's web site has some new pics up of the Buick Regal in black. OK, I'm sold.

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I wonder if there will be a 'Super' version..for that matter, how about a 'Super' version of the '10 LaCrosse?

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I don't think the mere fact that the Chinese version is testing here means anything, but I think this would be a good addition to the Buick lineup that wouldn't cost very much to implement.

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Good idea to compete with Camry/Fusion/Accord buyers, because then it will compete with Malibu buyers as well. To me it seems that the Ford Fusion is going after a younger demographic than the Camry or Buick goes for.

GM has used the "just wait til you see what is coming next" line for years and years, and when the car comes out it is average and quickly forgotten about. I seriously doubt anything "incredible" is in the pipeline at Buick.

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Good idea to compete with Camry/Fusion/Accord buyers, because then it will compete with Malibu buyers as well. To me it seems that the Ford Fusion is going after a younger demographic than the Camry or Buick goes for.

GM has used the "just wait til you see what is coming next" line for years and years, and when the car comes out it is average and quickly forgotten about. I seriously doubt anything "incredible" is in the pipeline at Buick.

It's a gap filler more than anything else...previously, they had the G6 and Aura to fill in between the Malibu and LaCrosse. They need something in the middle for Avis.

Rob

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It's a gap filler more than anything else...previously, they had the G6 and Aura to fill in between the Malibu and LaCrosse. They need something in the middle for Avis.

Rob

Exactly right. And some old folks won't want a Chevy, but will buy Buick because they think it is better (slushier ride and softer seats). Avis and Enterprise will love it.

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Why are people so against rental car companies? When I rent a car for work I would rather have something that I am familiar with (GM) then a Nissan or Honda or Toyota.

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Why are people so against rental car companies? When I rent a car for work I would rather have something that I am familiar with (GM) then a Nissan or Honda or Toyota.

I have nothing against rental car companies..I try and only rent domestics when I travel. Fleet sales are a part of the market.

Rob

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It's a gap filler more than anything else...previously, they had the G6 and Aura to fill in between the Malibu and LaCrosse. They need something in the middle for Avis.

Rob

Your previous complaint was that the Lacrosse was too large. Now you're complaining that the Regal is too small?

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Your previous complaint was that the Lacrosse was too large. Now you're complaining that the Regal is too small?

? I never said anything about the LaCrosse being too large. Someone else must have said that. It fills in the gap in the midsize line between the Malibu and LaCrosse. I'm not talking dimensions. Previously, GM had the Malibu->G6->Aura->LaCrosse. Now, those two middle models are gone.

The new LaCrosse seems more full size, though, and can probably replace the Lucerne. The new LaCrosse should compete well against the Taurus and MKS.

Rob

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Regal replaces Aura, but it has to cost more than a Malibu, really it should be around $25-30k. LaCrosse replaces old Lacrosse and Lucerne, but it needs to go up a little in base price, which can be done by dropping the base model with plastic wheel covers. Just make the CXL trim the base. But Buick will probably keep bare bones models of both for fleet sales, and create overlap with the Malibu and Impala.

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? I never said anything about the LaCrosse being too large. Someone else must have said that. It fills in the gap in the midsize line between the Malibu and LaCrosse. I'm not talking dimensions. Previously, GM had the Malibu->G6->Aura->LaCrosse. Now, those two middle models are gone.

The new LaCrosse seems more full size, though, and can probably replace the Lucerne. The new LaCrosse should compete well against the Taurus and MKS.

Rob

meant to quote SMK, sorry.

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I don't think the LaCrosse is too large (too heavy, yes), just that it is a large car, and big enough to be the biggest Buick (don't need the Lucerne anymore). Regal is a perfect size for the midsize market, 190 inches long matches the Fusion and Camry. Add a Delta car, and Buick would have small-medium-large.

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it's possible the regal and lacrosse base pricing situation will create demand at fleet levels...however all the signs we are seeing are pointing to a more disciplined GM in the making. it would be nice to see generic models created for fleet sales, compact, mid, and large....there goes your names, and call them chevrolets to further publicize the brand. all that being said, recently a report said GM would limit lacrosse production in order to retain value in the brand. if any brand should have fleet models it should be chevy, and it should not be mainstream models where fleet sales can hurt resale. if any fleet sales should be buick or cadillac they should be true luxury models reserved for higher price brackets at the local enterprise. all that being said and hoping GM is aware of this...

regal should be priced at the $24k-$38k price bracket. this is a way to retain former lacrosse buyers who bought the car at discounted rates in the lower 20's. in addition, holding the line on pricing this way guarantees a true premium step up from a similarly sized Malibu. correspondingly, quality must be high. it's good the insignia design is very likeable, exterior-wise, and represents luxury well. they should hurry the insignia/regal to market by early next year, to capitalize on any buick buzz. insignia opc HAS TO COME HERE, at least for enthusiasts. what an awesome car, and what a way to continue redefining the buick brand. decontent the equipment, make it affordable, don't make a malibu SS [unless it's a decontented LNF 2.0 6 spd], and market it with a desirable performance name. GNX has cachet and a nice ring to it. the name should sound good, like OPC or SS.

Edited by turbo200
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Well, at Buick it was Gran Sport, without the "d".

A coupe version of the Regal is needed if it comes to the USA (and maybe even a hardtop convertible). Something more than another sedan is needed to attempt to hold onto a modicum of Pontiac customers. And it must be sporty.

We've seen the concept version of an Insignia coupe. That would work.

Also, how about a Regal Estate Wagon? Much more elegant and fitting as a Buick than some goofy small MPV they keep hinting at. Leave that market to Chevrolet with the Orlando.

Edited by ocnblu
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I don't think the LaCrosse is too large (too heavy, yes), just that it is a large car, and big enough to be the biggest Buick (don't need the Lucerne anymore). Regal is a perfect size for the midsize market, 190 inches long matches the Fusion and Camry. Add a Delta car, and Buick would have small-medium-large.

I don't think I'd be the only one here who would refuse to consider any of the Epsilon cars "large". Hell I barely consider the Zetas "large".

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In the 70s and 80s, a 200 inch long car may have been common, but cars have changed. The Fleetwood/Roadmaster/Carprice died, then LeSabre/ParkAve/Bonneville/Aurora/Deville/Seville died, with just the DTS and Lucerne left, and those are on the way out. Much like the Ford panther platform is near dead. Even the Chrysler 300 is smaller than the LHS/Concord were. The Taurus/MKS/Impala will be about as big as it gets for sub $50,000 cars in a year or two.

Regal should be the volume Buick, but $38k will never happen. It should be $32k loaded, it can't cost as much as an MKZ, but should cost more than a Malibu. The problem Buick faces is the Regal goes against the Camry and LaCrosse against the Avalon, and Toyota builds a better Buick than Buick does.

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Regal replaces Aura, but it has to cost more than a Malibu, really it should be around $25-30k. LaCrosse replaces old Lacrosse and Lucerne, but it needs to go up a little in base price, which can be done by dropping the base model with plastic wheel covers. Just make the CXL trim the base.

:yes:

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