By on November 12, 2009

Born and bred in Deutschland

The single trim level is what tipped us off, and if we’d looked closer at its spec sheet, we’d have seen that its manufacturing location is listed as “Rüsselsheim, Germany.” Automotive News [sub] reports that Regal will be built in Germany for 15 months before production shifts to Oshawa. Which makes the Regal even more of an odd duck. In addition to being stuck into GM’s bursting lineup of Epsi-II midsize sedans, it’s also losing whatever profit it might have made on the dismal foreign exchange rate and the boat ride over from Europe. Or it will be just plain overpriced. Think of it as the love child between a Saturn Astra and a Pontiac G8. And another sign that some things never change.

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34 Comments on “Regal: More Than Just Bred On the Autobahn...”


  • avatar
    Porsche986

    At least it’s not  a “Made in China” version.

  • avatar
    FishTank

    Saw one of these on the highway (north Toronto, Canada) on the way in to work this morning. Caught my attention as it’s new, but still underwhelming. The chrom-ey back end is overworked, and the front/side view is just too bland. As I was sizing it up, an Infiniti g37 drove by, reaffirming that car companies CAN design nice cars.

  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    Nobody is going to shell out that kinda $$$ for a 4 banger that weighs 3400 lbs. Without a V6 option this thing is DOA.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    @FishTank… are you sure it was not a prototype or more likely a LaCrosse (or whatever they call it in Canada)?  This car is not yet on sale, as it was just announced.

    • 0 avatar
      FishTank

      Thoughts… !. 1. You might be right. 2. Could be a protoype, as I’ve seen the Camaro on the road here  before it was released state-side (could be that the Oshawa plant is down the road) 3. If I can’t ID it right away, it’s embarrassing to me as I can name 90% of the cars on the road at night just by their headlights 4. Back to #1 – if it was a LaCrosse (it wasn’t a Lucerne, and had a bigger grille like the Regal), then GM is in a state of severe retardation (like you didn’t know) since all 3 nameplates look so damn alike (point #3).

  • avatar
    Lemmy-powered

    Sorry GM, I just can’t get past that front end. It’s good that it shares front-end design language with your other products, but you should NEVER have chosen the Aveo/G3 to be the first to receive that language.

    Trickle good stuff DOWN to the lower cars — don’t push cheap stuff UP to the higher models.

  • avatar
    carve

    The entire front end looks like an afterthought.  It looks like some kind of cartoon animal with beady eyes, a big schnoz, and mouth breathing.  Looks like Buick hasn’t lost its touch.  Agreed: DOA

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    If they make it in Germany at Opel plants, why did they put all-new drivetrains into it that you can’t get in the Opel version?

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      my assumption for this is that the engines their using for the US market are already in cars here so people will be less concerned about finding parts.

      Of coarse Ford already did this in the 80′s when they put the 2.3 turbo in the XR4ti which also like the insignia had an AWD version that was cut for the American market. The XR4ti still failled, those who ingnore history are doomed to repeat it

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Most likely the 2.4L drivetrain had already been federalized — that would save a lot of time and cost.

  • avatar
    ott

    I find it ironic that Buick, whose target market is primarily 60-plus, who all remember WWII, announced a German-built new model meant for Americans on Remembrance day…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Uh, most Honda Accords are “4-bangers” that weigh ~3400lbs. As are most Camrys. It’s all a matter of what they price it at. Looks reasonably appealing to me. The alleged 2.0l turbo-4 (which I assume is the same motor as a Saab 9-3) will make for a nice drive. The base 4 will be just fine for Grandma.

    Get used to smaller engines and less horsepower, the fuel economy regs are going to REQUIRE it. There is no need of sub 7 second 0-60 times in family sedans.

    GM is finally selling some decent cars and folks still piss and moan. Make me a wagon version with a manual transmission and I’d give it a look.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      Even Audi does this now. All current Audi A4 models are 4cyl turbo. No more V6 option for the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      I never understood why Audi would need 6-cylinders. They didn’t have any until the 1990s, for crying out loud, and they were all 90 degree ones, which is kind of wrong anyway.
      What they should have done is improving the 5-cylinders. Now that was an engine you couldn’t mistake for anything else.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’ll wait till I see pricing before I laugh my ass off, but I’m just curious as to why GM does product launches piece meal. I’m sure they’re not the first or only to do this; however, wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until Oshawa is ready to go and all the powertrains are available BEFORE you sell?

    I remember driving a new 4-cyl Malibu before the 6-speed was available and the 4-speed really turned me off.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    +1 krhodes1. The folks who once swore they wouldn’t buy anything without a V-8 have fallen back to defending the V-6. Meanwhile, the venerable four cylinder engine continues to gain market share.  Hopefully this one is better engineered than the infamous “Quad-4″ cement mixer.
    It is a good sign that Buick is using one of its venerable names instead of plucking a name out of the Safeway food aisles.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    CXL is a more expensive trim.  It should be profitable year 1.  A V6 will be offered later and the turbo 4 is no slouch.  Heck, the 2.4L DI is pretty good too.  4cyls are in most Accords and Camrys, why do people think it won’t sell here?
     
    Fuel economy is a very important factor in purchasing cars.  You might start to see them in more Luxury brands soon because of this and new CAFE rules going into effect in the next 5 years.

  • avatar
    discoholic

    Edward,
    The Regal/Insignia has been on the market here in Europe for quite a while now, and it certainly is an excellent vehicle. Even if GM doesn’t make huge profits on it during the first 15 months before production is shifted to NA, GM needs good, competitive products NOW. If the alternative to manufacturing them in Germany is selling none of them in the next fifteen months (and letting another few thousand clients walk away and buy from different brands), I’d go for importing Regals any day.
    The 2.4 litre four-cylinder is more than enough for a vehicle that size – how many people go for the six-cylinder option in Camrys, Accords or Sonatas? (I don’t have the figures at hand, but my guess would be around 10%) The Insignia is a bit smaller than midsizers sold in the US, so no one really needs a 280-hp V6 that shoots the fuel economy to hell. (Here in Germany, a turbo V6 is available, but you’d have to be truly insane to buy one with fuel at roughly $7.50 a gallon.)
    Besides, since when is the Buick target demographic renowned for accelerating like their hair is on fire?

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Big engines don’t have to totally kill fuel economy.  The V6 Rav4 only burns 10% more fuel than the 4cyl, depite having 100hp more.  The 335i is rated to only burn 5% more fuel than the 325i, despite being rated at 85 hp more (and probably closer to 100 in reality).  Plus, they give a car a halo affect of being something potentially fun to drive, which is important for Buicks image-improvement goals.

  • avatar

    “… losing whatever profit it might have made on the dismal foreign exchange rate and the boat ride over from Europe…”
    Configuring an Opel Insignia (on which the Buick is based on) brings me to a price of about 35,000 Euro (4-cylinder engine, no big extras, no leather etc. ). Try to sell that in the US with the current exchange rate.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Subtract 19% VAT from that price and the fact that German car buyers never pay full sticker or close to it. The Insignia is significantly cheaper than a Passat. Add a few options to both and the gap widens. What does a Passat cost in the US?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    What is the target market for this car? I know GM doesn’t bother with that minor detail sometimes but I thought I would ask.

    I still see no logic or rational to their marketing line-up. I get Chevrolet (mostly) & Cadillac (less mostly) but the rest of it is in the, “search me fish” category.

  • avatar
    iceracer

     Buick has to go downmarket from the LaCrosse otherwise it gets into Cadillac’s turf. Who is going to buy this car?  I guess GM is hoping that Pontiac and Olds owners will move to the Regal.

  • avatar
    threeer

    While I generally like things Opel (it’s all my father drove), I can’t see the rationale behind this car here in the US.   The new ‘Bu is too close for comfort when compared to the incoming Regal, so why would anybody seriously shop the Regal to begin with?

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I realize I’m in the minority, but without a manual transmission option, it will never see a spot on my shopping list. Given how few drivers feel the way I do, I think it’s reached a point where they should start offering the manual transmission as an extra cost option. Those of us who want one would be willing to pay extra for it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Do I have this right? The new Regal is basically an Opel Insignia, which is the vehicle Opel replaced the Opel Vectra with. The disappointing Saturn L-series was essentially an Opel Vectra assembled in Delaware. Does the merry go round ever stop?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Does the merry go round ever stop?
       
      Not as long as GM is bent on playing the accounting shell-game of “soak up excess capacity and amortize platforms where possible”.

  • avatar
    Bigsby

    +1 krhodes1
    I drove a Bonneville back in the 90s with a 3800II engine that rated at about 170 hp. Big car and the power for the time was considered good. I can’t say much about torque curves but that car seemed very adequately powered. I drove until last year a BMW 325 E46 with a six that made for about 180 hp as well. Very nimble machine. The Saab 9-3 also used a 2.0 L turbocharged motor to good effect.
    There was a time not long ago that it was considered a hard truth that front drivers hit a practical horsepower wall at 200 hp.
    As for the design it is basic generic for these days. The last thing GM needs these days is to go with an “original” design that many in the target market will shun for being too outlandish. We can guess how many sales BMW lost recently because of Chris Bangles theories and run flat tires.
    The proof is in the driving but the car looks good for the future. GM has based its plans on $130 per bbl. oil.

  • avatar

    Re. Mirko Reinhardt’s comment:
    That’s right. But that’s why I even left out the metallic paint in the option list. Try to configure it yourself (c.f.  http://www.opel.de/configuratoroverview/content.act ). You can have it cheaper, btw., although without an auto-box (not the typical US-configuration, I presume).

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    From this picture I like the styling. There’s a lot more styling differentiation between the Regal and Malibu then the Fusion and Milan as an example. Hard to say if there’s a market for this car or not. With the G6 and Saturn gone maybe there is, soon we’ll find out.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Maybe all this criticism of the new Regal is a bit premature. Buick desperately needed new product and they are bridging the gap for a few months with European production. As for the “Buickness” of the car – why not wait until you’ve had a chance to drive it? Just sayin’ – a couple of months back TTAC wrote off the new Taurus and it seems to be doing OK.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    I think it’s very attractive. To the haters who say it’s just like a Malibu, I would reply that it’s no more similar to a Malibu than an Accord is to an Acura TSX — which is to say, similar in many ways, but sized differently and with a different target market.  Malibu is more of a family sedan. This Regal is smaller and more intimate, and more like today’s version of a personal luxury car. I do think the Regal name is a misstep. I love heritage when properly used, but the Regal name conjures up 1970s excess at best and at worst, bland 1990s models. I think Century or even Gran Sport would have been better names if they wanted to draw from the past.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “… an Opel Insignia … a price of about 35,000 Euro (4-cylinder engine, no big extras, no leather etc. ).”

    Or $52,000 ooowwww that hurts.

    I am loosing the thread here. I can no longer tell the difference among midsized GM cars. What if anything other than Badges is the difference between the Regal, the LaCross, the Malibu and the late lamented Saturn Aura, and Pontiac G6?
     
     


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