As the 2010s comes to a close, so does Buick’s passenger car offerings. By 2021, General Motor’s near-luxury division will no longer offer any mid-size “sedan” or wagon. Their entire lineup will consist of crossovers. In some ways the song remains the same. Another American brand decided to focus on higher volume vehicles. But the Regal had a slightly different story.
American automakers traditionally set up shop in Europe through their own brands or with some sort of subsidiary. Until recently, General Motors did both and got nowhere with either strategy. But they did have success adapting European platforms for American tastes, at least with some models. Opel was essentially GM’s pillar for passenger car platforms throughout the early 21st century. The Epsilon platform underpinned GM’s cars in America and elsewhere, and the company also adapted the architecture for their three-row crossovers. The Lambda platform, and its successor, the poorly named C1XX, all exist thanks to Opel. Those platforms no doubt helped GM rake in substantial revenue due to the now decade-long popularity of the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia.
As for the Regal, the historic nameplate enjoyed new life as a rebadged version of the Insignia. Unfortunately, Americans never really warmed up to the first or second generation model. Peak sales crested at about 40k in 2011. The latest Regal sold in very small numbers, with just 14,000 finding homes in 2018.
Technically, Buick hasn’t offered a mid-size sedan in over three years. That’s because every second generation Regal offers some type of hatch or wagon variant, even the GS. That being said, the non-TourX Regals likely fool a lot of people into thinking they have a traditional trunk. Your mileage may vary.
The Regal lineup is decently streamlined. There’s the regular Sportback model, which starts just over $25,000 and basically competes with mainstream mid-size sedans like the Accord and Camry. It presents a valid alternative to the Malibu, which sits on the same E2XX platform. At that price it’s actually a pretty great value thanks to the standard 250 horsepower turbocharged four cylinder. The top end is where the Regal’s value proposition diminishes, although buyers can opt for a twin-clutch all-wheel drive system if they spring for the Essence or GS trim, which does add some uniqueness to the car.
The aforementioned GS model continues Buick’s tradition of offering a performance trim with unique equipment. Although it doesn’t come with an available six-speed manual like its predecessor, it does have all-wheel drive, and GM’s 310 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 is standard. That’s all hooked up to the corporate 9 speed automatic transmission. The automotive intelligentsia generally liked how the GS handled but ultimately felt its interior held the car back. As mentioned earlier, the top end of the Regal lineup bumps up against vehicles like the Acura TLX, Kia Stinger, and Volvo S60. That’s a tough crowd to play in, especially since Buick’s cars aren’t exactly coveted by younger car shoppers.
One cannot talk about the Regal lineup without mentioning the TourX. For starters, it probably wasn’t named after the proprietary screwdriver. Nevertheless, the rebadged Opel Insignia Tourer offers buyers the only American alternative to the Subaru Outback, at least until the Fusion wagon arrives several years from now. When the TourX debuted, Buick initially touted their wagon as a valid competitor to the likes of the Volvo V60 Cross Country and the Audi A4 Allroad. That might sound ridiculous, but as of January 2019, Buick’s wealthiest buyers were TourX shoppers. Perhaps they were on to something.
The all-wheel drive wagon sports the same 2.0 turbocharged four cylinder as the regular hatch. Output is a stout 250 horsepower and 295 Ib-ft of torque. No variant of the Regal was very popular. But the TourX garnered a lot of love from internet commenters and enthusiasts alike. And unlike other enthusiast favorites, a number of auto bloggers actually went out and bought one. Curbside Classic hosts two of them. Dan Fruchey, aka “PrincipalDan” and Ed Stembridge are proud TourX owners. Brad Brownell of Jalopnik also owns one.
The death of the Regal marks the official end for Buick’s car lineup. American buyers just want crossovers, and Buick lost its car mojo among non-enthusiasts some time ago. Chinese buyers won’t have to worry though, as they’ll still get the rebadged Opel for the time being. The rest of us can sit and hope that the FCA/PSA merger resurrects the Regal as a Chrysler.
COAL: 2014 Buick Regal GS – An Insignia In Disguise by Carlsberg66
Too bad but not surprising. Besides a complete lack of advertising and Buick mainly still being around only due to its popularity in China the “Regal” name was likely DOA with the very segment that every automaker claims to covet. TourX doesn’t have the name baggage. If Chrysler does bring it back (doubtful) hopefully they won’t name it something equally baggage-ridden such as Cordoba
I’ve owned two Buicks and both were great cars, one was even a Regal. But the amount of questions I got “You bought a what? Why?” was surprising. Brand and name perception matters to lots of people.
Agreed about the name. Sorry, but I’d have a bit of a hard time living with the idea of owning a Buick Regal, even if it was the TourX, which would have been a serious candidate when we bought the TSX wagon in 2013.
I had no idea the name Regal had such a stigma. I figured it was a decent, inoffensive name.
Me too. A bit stodgy perhaps, but it wasn’t as if Chevrolet had resurrected “Vega” or Cadillac “Cimarron.”
Back in the 70’s Regals were solid upscale GM cars with a lot of style. If “Regal” is a problem with the target demo then the very name “Buick” must be too. Buick used to be the car that professionals bought instead of Cadillacs because they didn’t want to be flashy or were more careful with their money.
Stodgy is very much a problem for a lot of people. Hard to change the brand name although brands such as Olds were considering switching theirs to Aurora for exactly that reason. The name Buick is definitely a negative for lots of people, which is not the same as saying they are bad cars or poor choices for anyone in particular.
The question to ask is will using a model name cause people to buy it or avoid it precisely due to the name. Names in the generally positive perception (might not be reality) column might include Accord, 3-series (BMW or Tesla), Explorer. Negative names might include Cobalt, Volare, 5000, Pinto, Vega. Some names are associated with excellent vehicles but also demographics that turn a lot of buyers off. Avalon denotes a Grandma car no matter how excellent it is. Regal, Imperial, even Crown don’t/won’t fly among the young and you won’t see a car marketed to anyone under the age of 50 or more likely 60 in the US bearing those names and being successful.
Thank you for the insight Jim.
Where I grew up Toyota Avalons were usually on their 2nd or 3rd owner and were kind of a beater Japanese Buick. Not so much now that I live in Tualatin, I see new Avalons semi-regularly.
The public sees the brand Buick and immediately pigeon holes it as Grandpas car, regardless of model name or how otherwise desirable it is. Most millennials don’t know the difference between a Tour X and a Roadmaster, nor do they care. Buick has zero desirability in this demographic.
Bunkie Knudsen was right that you could sell an old man a young man’s car, but not vice versa. Buick needs a modern day Bunkie to do what he and John Z did at Pontiac 60 years ago. They took a stodgy old brand and in less than five years turned it into the excitement division. Don’t think that’s possible though at today’s GM.
I don’t think it’s possible today period. Pontiac had the advantage of being stodgy, not an exclusively “old man” brand. Stodgy can be overcome, the latter historically cannot. Even current day old people consider Buick an old people brand at this point.
So would they have done better keeping the Buick brand name exclusively for the Chinese market and calling the cars something else for the North American market? Something like, maybe, Pontiac?
I always felt that should have been the move, Pontiac wasn’t exactly anything special by 2008, minus the non-marketed whatsoever G8, but even with the lineup of Opels I feel they would have fit better under the Pontiac umbrella than Buick. Imagine if the Buick Tour-X was instead called Pontiac Safari!
keeping Buick alive in the US so Chinese buyers would think it’s still a prestigious marque in the home country was the automotive equivalent of Weekend At Bernie’s.
I agree. Its mindblowing to see them pour so much capital into product development to then follwoup with zero marketing and a few basement budget adds that show just snapshots from the whole lineup. We all remember subarus first great outback campaign from the 90s with crocidile dundee…the outback was nothing but a legacy wagon with cladding lifted 2 inches and woulduv failed without that campaign. The regal tourx failure is classic oldschool gm ignoring what they could learn from the competition and failing as a result.
Yep, the success of the Outback (and Subaru, in general) is evidence of what an effective marketing campaign can do for a product. If someone were interested in an AWD station wagon, the Legacy was just fine, and for much less than the Outback version. But no one bought them, and the US Legacy wagon is no more, while the Outback goes merrily along, making buckets of money for Subaru.
It is to bad that this car will disappear. The wagon version was refreshing and handsome.
I too thought ’Regal’ was a poor choice for a name, although it was better than those minivan/SUV/CUV forgettable names GM used in the early 2000’s.
With Opel on the block as soon as this car landed and no obvious source for a replacement, Buick had no real reason to build up a customer base for these. A shame because the car itself deserved much better.
I’m not surprised regal is is not doing so well in my neck of the country. When buicks vehicles were no longer assembled here in usa I think it turned a fiew people off.
A shame but hardly surprising. Good looking cars. The wagon looks intriguing and if I was one that bought new and/or practical vehicles I might consider it. Sadly I am not and the rest of the market seems to CUV crazy so it never had a chance.
I have seen exactly zero of these new Regals in the flesh.
Agreed. The TourX, if not exactly terrific, is still much better than to deserve such a fate. I was actually thinking there might be a future PHEV version (or at least a hybrid), but those hopes have been dashed.
If there was a car that has future Curbside Classic written all over it, it’s the TourX.
When I first heard the name Tour X the first thing it reminded me of was Taurus X.
Is X as in Xover actually ever been used by anyone since 1999 when everything was extreme? I have childhood memories of seeing that in the Pontiac booth showcasing the Aztek.
Gm is cheap and has the worst marketing team.
Indeed… Those Chevy ads currently on TV are cringe-worthy.
Unsurprising but sad. I’ve seen two TourXs in the wild and both looked really good. I love wagons (real wagons, with some honest-to-god rear overhang) but I’m never going to lay out Volvo or Audi or BMW money.
resquiat in pace
I’m loving mine and the AWD system is a darn good ON ROAD system, actually designed to enhance the driving experience not simply a “slip-n-grip” system for poor weather.
Honestly to me it was a way to buy a Volvo V60 with a steep discount or the Legacy GT wagon that I couldn’t have in the early 2000s because I was a broke fresh out of college kid.
Agree. Every time I slip behind the wheel (it’s my wife’s car), I am immediately impressed with how comfortable it is. While you don’t want to vigorously toss it about, it does handle quite competently. I need to get busy and finish installing my Opel badging!
Really? I enjoy carving up a cloverleaf or going 35 through a curve marked 20. Or hitting it hard from a stop, cranking onto a deserted highway and getting a little fishtail slide.
But then I don’t have an SS as another ride. The TourX is a freaking Corvette compared to the Highlander I got rid of or the tipy barstool 2016 Terrain that my wife drives.
Yep, we’re starting from different reference points! (c:
I’ve always liked the TourX a lot, and I’m sorry to see it go. I keep my cars until their wheels fall off, so perhaps I should start shopping for one–I’m sure the price will never be lower.
To add insult to injury the 2018 and 2019 Buicks are the last to have the “good” warranty.
2020 Buicks are going to have the same warranties as Chevys.
GM – so much incompetence.
I laid eyes on this one earlier today. If memory serves, it’s been on the lot for a while, no big surprise. It’s already $9100 off the sticker, making it comparable in price to a modest Ford Escape.
The local Buick dealer has two Regals: a 2017 at $10000 off sticker and a 2018. No 2019s or 2020s at all.
You should be able to negotiate 20-30% off MSRP, maybe more at this point. Ours was right at 27% off, for a loaded Essence trim. We had our eyes on another TourX at 30% off, but it was in Dayton, OH, which would have been a 5+ hour drive. Keep in mind these were 2018 MY cars that had been on the lot for nearly a year, which will now be the case for 2019 MY cars. The one we bought had 34 miles on the odometer, including our test drive.
That one that Jason shows appears to have a ton off AND then if you use GMAC finance at 0% gives you another $2500 on top of that, yes both. Not sure why GM would want the 0% note and pay you $2500 on top of that but they have the MBA that I don’t I guess…perhaps they plan to make it up on volume.
At that price it might have tempted me when I got the CX-9! On the other hand, this has only a 2.0 liter 4 – never mind. . .
Whoops – thought it was a three-row. Never mind; apples and oranges!
You do realize that 2.0 liter turbo 4 gives the hatch 5.7 0-60 times and the Tour X around 6.3 right? Hardly underpowered and radically quicker than your boring average Subaru 2.5 Boxer Outback.
If I’ve ever seen a TourX, I didn’t realize it. Good looking car.
The Tour X was the highlight of the brand, undoubtedly. Still, these things just seemed awkwardly shoehorned in the Buick brand. I wish GM would have just cancelled Buick in the US and replace it with Opel, the rebadging is just so deceptive. I personally didn’t like many “real Buicks” when they still made them but at least there was no dishonesty with it, and in the old days when Opels were sold through Buick dealers they were called…Opels!
I wouldn’t be surprised if Buick is not long for this world in North America.
When the government team was reorganizing GM during the bailout, Buick was on the chopping block. The two main rationales given for keeping Buick were its popularity in China, and access by Buick-GMC dealers to a line of passenger cars.
One half of those reasons is now disappearing.
At this point, I doubt that even GMC-Buick dealers would cry too much if the brand went away. I’ve read that the entry-level Encore accounts for about 60 percent of Buick sales. Turn the next-generation Encore into a GMC model (with appropriate styling cues), give it a new name, and it will probably sell even better, given that the GMC badge doesn’t carry the negative baggage associated with the Buick badge.
What a shame but can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Wild cause here Subaru wagons are literally flying off the lots. I can’t help thinking that with the least bit of marketing the TourX could have shared a piece of that pie, especially with Subaru’s horrible reliably.
Welp, now might be my time to scope out a TourX on a dealer lot and wait for the inevitable DEEP discount.
Regal was the upscale Valiant from Chrysler OZ here so that badge has some traction in this market if PSA/FCA wanted to try it just not as a Buick, though this car already exists with Holden badeges and we get the full PSA lineup as well, I would have thought keeping those Buicks alive as an entry to the US market for PSA products would have made more sense than merging with FCA though culling the less than usefull brands will probably happen anyway.
If anyone really wants a TourX you can probably buy it at around 60% of MSRP, likely less than that if you really haggle. I don’t why Buick couldn’t sell more of them but, at least around here, they stay on the lot for a long time.
Handsome car that deserved better. Looked a hatchback over at the Detroit show last winter. Little to quibble about. Wasn’t impressed with the rubber bubbles in the cup holders, instead of spring loaded fingers, and the non-defeatable start/stop gives me images of the turbocharger spinning from momentum at traffic lights with no oil pressure in the bearings.
There were so many things hinting at an imminent dirt nap. GM put a clause in the sale contract prohibiting PSA selling anything containing GM IP in any market where GM has a presence, giving PSA an incentive to get rid of all the GM platforms in a hurry. Additionally. PSA just brought out a new 508, so the company has an incentive to streamline procurement by replacing the current Insignia with a badge engineered Pug. The “That’s my Buick” TV adverts that showed the entire line, including the now dead LaCrosse and Cascada, was replaced a couple months ago with a new ad, that only shows the 3 SUVs.
Seems most of the Regals are sold into daily rental fleets. There are tons of ex-rentals on offer on Autotrader, and dirt cheap, like some 2018s under $18K. A great buy for someone who drives a bazillion miles so will use up the car and dump it before replacement parts transmute to unobtainium, like many of the parts for the Saturn Astra have.
I saw my first real life Tour-X the other day. From the back it took me a few seconds to identify it. It had New York plates, so just passing through. Probably won’t see another one.
I like the name Regal. But I also like old men’s cars. Always have, even as a young man. What’s wrong with comfort and power? But I can’t blame Buick them for building what sells.
I like the new corporate front ends on Buicks. Even the Encore looks okay, if only from the front. But the fact that I like it probably means it will flop. I have a habit of liking what doesn’t sell as well.
I liked the quad lights and eggcrate grilles on the ’79 Mustang. Sales disagreed.
I liked the ’82 Firebird. They couldn’t gaudy it up fast enough and sold a bazillion.
I liked the square Cavalier. The roundy one was around forever.
I liked the bustleback Seville. It is almost universally hated.
I liked the ’85 Cadillacs. Enough said.
I like Avalon’s. Until recently. Now they are icky looking. But people love them.
Same with Camrys.
Like the ovoid Taurus. Still have one.
I liked the original grilleless Infinitis. Love them still.
So when I saw the Tour X and really liked it, I knew it’s days were numbered.
One of a few successful cars I loved was when I saw the new Challenger prototype in ’06. Was awesome and still is.
I guess I picked okay on that one.
Last minute edit: It has mandatory start/stop function?
As I projected only a week or so ago when the subject was Catera – TourX is dead.
So more bad GM juju. No surprise.
The fine TourX will be available (base model) during 2020 with a warranty for $20K. It is now, if you look hard, out there at $22K+.
I have owned five Buicks; still have one – ’94 Roadie wagon. But screw ’em and Ford too. I’m willing to accept Toyota. Don’t like it; don’t want them. But they’ll do well enough for my purposes.
Word is that orders closed for 2020 MY cars a few weeks ago and whatever cars were built (beyond ordered cars) as of the announcement will be the extent of 2020 Regal / TourX production.
Shame, but not surprising. If I have a confession to make, despite my lukewarm attitude to wagons, I actually have a soft spot for the Regal TourX. Something about it just makes me go, “Wow, what a great looking car.”
Working as a lot porter at a Buick/GMC/Cadillac dealership, I’ve driven one or two Regals that were newer, they’re fine cars but nothing really aspirational or special. I guess that was always the problem with why these weren’t great sellers, granted model name debasement was also an issue, especially the late 90s to mid-2000s models, but the new ones just don’t exude that special something that would make it more desirable over something similar in the same price bracket.
One of my wife’s favorite cars was our 2003 Buick Regal with the mighty GM 3800 V6.
It was one of the LEAST stodgy-looking Regals I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Ours was not a Gran Sport, but it had an option called ‘touring’ suspension on it.
I’d buy another one if I could find one without millions of miles on it in good condition.
I really like the way the TourX looks. AND the latest Regal.
Although I own a crossover vehicle (HHR) now, I still like cars. I think it’s a shame that they seem to be going by the wayside for manufacturers.
TourX (did I spell it right?) is like naming a car Bar B Q. Dumb. Jack it up 2 inches, give it a real Buick grill and name it Wildcat. Market it!!! Sometimes a little salt just makes a recipe. The TourX is in need of a little salt.
I think “TourX” was a lame attempt to ape BMW and “X-Drive” to indicate the standard AWD on the wagon. However the Automotive Supplier that made the AWD system called it “Twinster” or “Twin Clutch AWD”
That made me think of Studebaker’s posi-trac system they called “TWIN TRACTION”.
These are nice cars. After admiring them at the auto show last January, the hatch sedan briefly made our short list for immediate purchase. I love the wagon, but this was to be my wife’s main ride and that was not going to happen.
Used was the only way to go as “cars” depreciate like rocks right now. A year old sedan comes with a 35% discount.
These cars sell so poorly that a 300 mile net thrown over Autotrader only yielded a handful of options. I suddenly had fear of difficult to find replacement parts with so few examples sold. Finding the right options and color was essentially impossible.
We ended up adding a loaded 2018 Fusion AWD Titanium to the fleet. With the Fusion, you can practically custom order a used car to your specifications – hundreds to choose from in a 300 mile radius.
I admit that I’m one of the fooled ones — I never realized the Regal “sedan” was really a hatch.
Like others have mentioned here, I like the TourX, and it would be at the top of my list if I had to buy a new car right now. Since I’ll not likely be in the car market for a couple of years, I suppose when the times comes I may look for a used one — they’ll probably be good used car deals.
Sad. But then Aussies aren’t buying the “Holden Commodore” version either. Makes me wonder whether in five years or so the whole of GM will have gone belly-up. How are the other divisions doing?
But Aussies are barely buying Holdens at all either, Fr Pete, and I am beset by an incongruous feeling of dismay (for the cultural history attached) and schadenfreude (for the damned arrogance of squandering public money in the prelude to this sinking).
Buick’s heyday was a long, long time ago. With a product lineup that will be dedicated solely to ungainly CUVS and whatever else utility vehicles, I bid Buick a fond farewell while images of the beautiful machines they built long, long ago flash in my mind.
A lot of hate here for GM, and rightly so in some cases, but if you folks don’t start buying domestic brands, the US car industry will die and you will end up driving generic Japanese and Korean appliances. A rather boring prospect, if you ask me.
Europeans generally buy European cars. That’s why the top 25 of best selling cars (2018) shows only two Asian models, all others are European.
The US top 25 over 2018 shows 14 Asian models, 4 European models (Jeep/Ram) and 7 domestic trucks and SUV’s. If this buyer attitude does not change iconic American brands like Cadillac, Buick and Chrysler will soon be history.
Diligent editorship has ensured that nothing in the way of hate of any type has got much of a run on this site. Intelligent and thoughtful critiques of market failures have certainly done so though, whether GM or GN or GKN.
And in this case it’s a (former) GM Europe product that has not met market requirements and failed outside of its home ground. The article and commentary is hardly a rallying cry to abandon US carmakers.
Anyway, in the great tradition of the capitalistic and consumerist forces that have (arguably) made the US great, if the indigenous brands do fail, it’s the market that dictated it because the products just weren’t up to snuff.
You mean I might have to buy a thoroughly developed product like a CR-V or Camry instead of something really interesting like a half-baked Malibu?
Hyperbole aside, full size pick ’em up trucks keep the lights on for US Automakers and those are being bought by the million annually. If we’re lamenting the demise of interesting cars due to lack of sales volume, I’m not sure that’s foreign vs domestic issue. The whole industry has been pivoting away from manual transmissions, affordable sports cars, and anything else interesting that isn’t body-on-frame.
Regarding iconic brands like Cadillac, Buick, and Chrysler, they nailed their own coffin as far as I’m concerned. Years of dull, uncompetitive, and/or substandard product isn’t the fault of the American consumer.
Agreed. And if one were to look back a little further, the death of the personal luxury coupes in the late 90’s (Thunderbird, Mark VIII, etc) were pointing to the writing on the wall–that the industry is evolving. Full size cars were becoming extinct since then, too.
In Australia, this replaced the RWD Commodore and was badged the same.
It performed as does a soufflé – a short rise, some attention, then a collapse into unwanted remains. For a badge that had sold perhaps 50K cars (in a small market) as recently as 2014 to less than 10% of that for this tells everything necessary, the tale of a perfectly decent and competent car quite crushed by circumstances.
Not surprising, I *think* I may have seen one of each type in the wild. Maybe.
If Wagon Master VW can’t make them fly here, GM had no chance.
Buick’s image problem in a nutshell. I saw a pair of these on the road the other day. When I got home I told the wife that I was getting old, I saw a car I really liked – and it was a Buick station wagon.
Sometimes you can’t even sell an old man an old man’s car, even if it is a looker.
Ugh. The SUV and crossover apocalypse continues to grow. I heard even Lincoln will eventually be SUV and crossover builder only soon. My worst nightmare is coming true! Soon there will no American cars left with any style or swagger. Don’t even mention the Mustang, the Camaro, or the Challenger. To me those are boy-racer cars for spoiled rich twerps and perpetually immature d-bags with gold chains and too much hair gel. No thank you!
The roads are already awash with these similar looking, me-too, belly-button, vision obstructing blobs. The idea that it’s about to get worse makes a chill run down my spine and my blood go cold.
I need to figure out a financial plan to procure a fleet of Panthers to ride out this mess until well into my retirement!
But you left out the Chrysler 300…
That was a joke, both car and comment.
(You should read my comment on the recent Toyota Avalon AWD article)
A good friend of ours bought a 2018 black Tour X wagon last year and loves it. I got to drive it for an entire day and was very impressed. Never had a problem driving a Buick and from the admiring looks of two younger guys at the gas station this car certainly didn’t let the brand down.
I was so impressed that I was going to replace my 2017 Impala LT with one in a few years with a 2020 or 2021. But Mrs slicer dicer made my mind up for me by killing the entire Regal line after 2020 so now it’s a no go as I do not want a frumpy lawn mower engine equipped CUV and as far as I’m concerned Buick is dead after 2020!