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Buick Regal Sales, Inventory Build Under Way; Lucerne’s Future

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Buick Regal Sales, Inventory Build Under Way; Lucerne’s Future Dim

By James M. Amend

WardsAuto.com, May 28, 2010 9:00 AM

SAN DIEGO, CA – Buick Marketing Manager Roger McCormack says dealers have delivered more than 70 units of the new-for-’11 Regal sports sedan since sales began some two weeks ago, and he expects inventories to begin swelling by the end of June.

He also says the aging Buick Lucerne large car likely will become a victim of the brand’s otherwise rapidly expanding product portfolio.

“Lucerne is still part of our portfolio; it definitely fills a need right now,” McCormack tells Ward’s during a media preview here for the new Regal. “We still have traditional Buick buyers, where the Lucerne is a great vehicle for them – big, quiet and comfortable.”

But at the same time, Buick as a brand wants to become more youthful, and the boat-like Lucerne does not fit that profile.

“We have the LaCrosse and Lucerne both competing in the large-car segment,” he adds. “Do you need two cars in the same segment? We’re going to expand our portfolio, and in the long-term it is not going to include two cars in (that) segment.”

The Lucerne bowed in 2006 and sold strongly, accounting for 96,515 deliveries and commanding 12.2% of its segment. But sales slid to 31,292 in 2009, for a 9.6% segment share, and are down 23.9% to 7,765 so far this year, for a 6.3% share.

In contrast, sales of the redesigned-for-’10 LaCrosse have continued to gain momentum since the car’s launch in third-quarter 2009. Through April this year, deliveries have surged 214.3% over the model’s predecessor to 19,581 units.

Buick expects the LaCrosse to notch a record month in May, with more than 5,500 unit sales.

General Motors Co. builds the Lucerne outside of Detroit at its Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant, alongside the Cadillac DTS, which is expected to transition from a shared H-platform to a stretched version of Cadillac’s Sigma architecture.

Buick Regal inventories slim but growing.

McCormack says Regal inventories should reach between 4,000 and 5,000 units by the end of June. Buick presently has 600 units on the ground in the U.S. but some 2,050 dealers to feed.

The cars are arriving in batches of 500 to 1,000, depending upon the vessel, to Newark, NJ; Brunswick, GA; and Port of Hueneme, CA.

GM decided to initially build the Opel Insignia-based Regal in Russelsheim, Germany, before starting production next year in Oshawa, ON, Canada. The move allows the auto maker to launch the car quickly, given the Regal’s future was on-again, off-again as GM went through bankruptcy last year.

The first batches from Germany will be restricted to models with GM’s 182-hp 2.4L 4-cyl. engine with gasoline direct-injection, a 2010 Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner in the Chevy Equinox cross/utility vehicle.

Shipments of models with a more spirited 220-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. GDI motor are expected to arrive in the third quarter. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, although the turbo gets a 6-speed manual in the fourth quarter.

McCormack expects the naturally aspirated engine to command 60% of Regal sales.

The Regal GS, which Buick revealed at the Detroit auto show earlier this year with a 2.0L, 225-hp turbo engine making a whopping 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque, arrives next year.

The Regal marks an important addition to Buick’s portfolio. The LaCrosse, Lucerne and Enclave large CUV cover just 11% of the market for Buick, Ward’s data shows, but the Regal will push the brand to a 40% footprint.

The addition of a small CUV and compact car in the coming years will give Buick more than 50% coverage.

The Regal also provides the brand its first legitimate shot at building a “Buick garage,” McCormack says.

“An owner could have an Enclave as the vehicle he uses for the family and a Regal for commuting to work or taking his wife to dinner,” McCormack offers.

In a promising sign for the Regal, the first unit sold earlier this month was snapped up by a 44-year-old male manufacturing executive in suburban Chicago who also shopped a Toyota Camry and Audi A4 – exactly the customer Buick seeks for the car.

Even better, sources tell Ward’s the buyer paid $1,500 over sticker to get his hands on the Regal.

link:

http://wardsauto.com/ar/buick_regal_inventory_105028/

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General Motors Co. builds the Lucerne outside of Detroit at its Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant, alongside the Cadillac DTS, which is expected to transition from a shared H-platform to a stretched version of Cadillac's Sigma architecture.

Is it really that hard to do a Wikipedia lookup?

1. The DTS and Lucerne are on G-body.

2. If the author is referring to the XTS, that's on Epsilon II, not Sigma.

edit: I take that back... partially. Wiki says that Lucerne is on H-body and DTS is on K... but I don't think that is correct. The Lesabre and Bonneville moved to the Aurora G-body platform in 2000. Previously they were on the H-body which dated back to 1987. When the Lucerne was introduced it was still Aurora based. DTS is just a slightly extended wheelbase of that.

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Is it really that hard to do a Wikipedia lookup?

1. The DTS and Lucerne are on G-body.

Wikipedia lists the Lucerne as an H-body (on the H-body page) and the DTS as a K-body... Anyway, the H/G/K body FWD platforms are all closely related, aren't they? Going back to the '85 C-body. Some differences in wheelbase, but all pretty similar. It's a moot point anyway.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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All this quibble about the old-man-cars' platforms, and yet you missed how they say that the Regal GS will only have 225 HP... :P

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All this quibble about the old-man-cars' platforms, and yet you missed how they say that the Regal GS will only have 225 HP... :P

I think that had been hashed over in the GS thread...interesting they are keeping the power low relative to the competition, like the Fusion Sport which has 263hp.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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I think that had been hashed over in the GS thread...interesting they are keeping the power low relative to the competition, like the Fusion Sport which has 263hp.

No, I mean that the article is the first one I've seen not to quote 255 hp, as every other publication has to date.

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i was driving by the local Buick dealer this morning. They had a brand spanking new Regal sitting outside. HAD to pull over!

The door was unlocked so i opened it and looked inside a bit.

Back up, the exterior is just a bit short of stunning. it' slightly generic in that GM way but also got enough of a unique look so that with the right paint and big wheels it looks special.

Definitely not a Chevy. And much nicer than say, a TSX. It even is more handsome than a Passat. It can be parked in the company of a CC and be an equal, even if its not as dramatic.

OK, interior. didn't SIT in it, the leather felt good....its the german dry leather. decent grain, felt nice. Not uber lux leather, not chevy leather.

Gauges and center stack are really nice. understated, not at all gaudy. Metal accent trim had a nice sheen and looked nice. Armrest and stuff looked nice.

Front seat looked nicely spacious. Rear seats are contoured a bit and look comfy but leg room looked tight. Either the seat was back too far or its really tight back there. I would worry if GM still is putting the new malibu on this SWB chassis. Where are they gonna get the leg room from?

Rear window dash was cheaply trimmed. I know a lot of cars are going on the cheap here but in the black it looked cheap.

The balck interior was not overly dour but i could immediately tell that I probably would want this interior in tan. Even if it comes with plood. The dark toned trim that is where the plood is with the tan trim looked nice. Not quite piano black, not at all cheap looking.

Biggest offence is some of the door and a lot of the lower dash plastic is the cheap GM spec stuff. I am sure they thought because there is so much nice stuff everywhere else that no one would notice, but I do. The upper dash is not all that bad. But i think they could have made that a little nicer as well.

Overall, despite that its interior is very well done I think. It's perfect for this class of car in the US and is distinctly different than the LaCrosse in design, size, and trim. I used to think the CC interior was the cat's meow for a 30k stylin sedan but the CC's interior is cold and austere in comparison. The CC's interior might be overall better in execution. But the Regal's is so much warmer and a more handsome design. Perfect interior for this segment for the car Buick is trying to sell here. No complaints. A well to do single person would believe this is luxury.

I would even prefer this interior over an A4, I know the A4 is better but is also too cold to me. The Regal's interior has a warmth and level of detail that makes it a good competitor in the segment and that has been lacking in almost all of GM's recent products to date. I would probably even prefer this interior to the CTS.

I was not the only one waiting to get in this car. Soon as a left, another dude my age was in the car checking it out.

This car really makes the TSX look silly. And I even like the TSX. The Regal is so much more handsome.

The Regal is the perfect complement to the LaCrosse. NO ONE will confuse the two in any way, and both are compelling in their own ways.

The article says a 60% take on the Regal for the non turbo. that should be reversed. Most folks who look at this car will want the turbo I would guess. Maybe the percentage is such only because they are simply not putting the turbos in them right away.

Edited by regfootball

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No, I mean that the article is the first one I've seen not to quote 255 hp, as every other publication has to date.

probably a typo.

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Rear seats are contoured a bit and look comfy but leg room looked tight. Either the seat was back too far or its really tight back there.

I sat in one at a car show. With the driver's seat close to a position I (6'3") would have it, the back seat was roomy. Not as roomy as a LaCrosse I sat it, but roomy. One difference in rear seat comfort I noticed between LaCrosse and Regal was that the Regal had a shorter (not as deep) bottom cushion.

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yes the shorter cushion in the rear came to my attention.

i think they had the seats back in front to far.

all the opels have good rear footspace designed in under the front seats.

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G bodies! Stupid Wiki.....

Lucerne is an Aurora platform, and one wheel is already in the grave, it will be dead in a year.

Maybe. Gm was planning to, but it may hold out until the new Buick compact gets here....

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