By on March 14, 2017

Opel Insignia

General Motors has plans to swap the American spec Buick Regal sedan with the brand’s first wagon in ages. The replacement Regals are anticipated to be rebadged Opel Insignia Grand Sport hatchbacks and Sports Tourer wagons, both of which were on display at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show this month.

Ditching the sedan is big deal since it’s been Buick’s preferred body style and the only way to get a Regal since 1996. Granted, the five-door should appear sedan-like until it’s time to put away the groceries and the glass raises to offer unprecedented access to that sweet rear end. Those with the most highly evolved automotive palates will — obviously — opt for the unadulterated perfection that is the station wagon. 

Interestingly, 1996 was also the final year consumers had access to Buick-based minivan alternatives like the Roadmaster Wagon. (I promise you, we did not mean to mention the Roadmaster three times in one day. —Mark) The death of the wood-paneled V8 estate would lead to a string of years where the 3800 Series sedans would become the brand’s only option, a trend broken by the introduction of the Rendezvous in 2001.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Regal deliveries dropped like a stone tied to a lead weight since it’s 2011 reintroduction, settling to the bottom at half that year’s annual sales almost immediately and staying there ever since. Considering U.S. sales of midsize sedans have also dwindled over the last couple of years, swapping to a different bodystyle is in the Regal’s best interest. At this point, it’s almost more surprising that GM didn’t just decide to make it into another crossover.

While a sedan version is likely to continue on in China —  where Buick is universally adored —  Automotive News reported LMC Automotive and AutoForecast Solutions claiming the rest of the Regal lineup will be imported from Opel’s Rüsselsheim factory in Germany.

Long-standing production of the Regal for in North America is expected to end at GM’s Oshawa Car Assembly in Ontario this year. The plant is swapping production efforts to full-size trucks in 2018. The next-generation Regal is also likely the final Buick produced by Opel. General Motors agreed to sell the company, along with Vauxhall, to France’s PSA Group for $2.3 billion last week.

Opel’s updated Insignia will have optional all wheel drive with torque vectoring and an eight-speed transmission running gears for a 2.0-liter VVT turbocharged inline-four. While we don’t know what will make it to the Regal, none of that seems unreasonable in addition to a more-affordable FWD model.

The 2018 Buick Regal is slated to make its global debut on April 4th at General Motors’ Warren Technical Center in Metropolitan Detroit, followed by an appearance at the New York International Auto Show alongside the redesigned and better-selling Enclave crossover.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport

[Images: Opel]

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71 Comments on “Buick to Replace Regal Sedan With its First Wagon in Over Two Decades...”


  • avatar
    Ianw33

    Countdown to all the commenters, who claimed they would buy wagons if they were just offered here in the US, to rush down to their dealers when these hit the lots….

    Or it could be like the FR-S/BR-Z, enthusiasts talk a big game, then keep their wallets closed when it comes time to back up their claims

  • avatar
    mike978

    The hatch masquerading as a sedan is an increasing popular approach with BMW (3GT and 5GT) and Honda (Civic hatchback) doing it. Minimise number of build configurations for a model in a segment that is slowly losing sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      Not that slowly.

    • 0 avatar
      gespo04

      It’s more of a fact that most sedans today are masquerading as hatchbacks with their slick aerodynamic angles and raised trunk areas. Honestly most sedans these days should just be hatchbacks. Like, the current Malibu’s trunk opening is pathetic but if you could lift the glass and not affect the shape of the car, it would be so much more practical.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The Mondeo (Fusion) liftback available across the pond is all but indistinguishable from the sedan version.

        What we’ve got now is a modern-day version of the Cutlass/Century aeroback sedan:

        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-d6Pz6Q-cT1U/TdSvdS_zbEI/AAAAAAAAJKU/Rt5uyn9_PHI/s1600/1978%2B78%2BOldsmobile%2BCutlass%2BSalon%2BBrougham%2BSedan%2BAeroback%2BFastback%2BA-Body%2BFifth%2BGeneration%2B1.jpg

        (Note that the rear door windows were fixed, and the rear quarter windows popped out.)

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      VW group’s Skoda do not offer sedans, but rather sedan shaped fastbacks.

      Having moved from a sedan 9-3 to one of these models, the access to the trunk for baby prams etc. is hugely useful, without going full “family guy” wagon/minivan/SUV mode.

      I’ve driven fastback hatches previously – Xantia and Celica – but other than the occasional piece of furniture never really needed the practicality until now.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Well, if it were offered with a manual, I’d consider it – but from what I’ve been able to learn, it won’t be offered with that choice even in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      JRoth

      Yeah, my thinking as well. My first comment was going to be, “Time to start prepping my wife for the idea of a Buick*”, but the reality is that I’m loath to buy anything with an automatic, and that means keeping the B5.5 Passat rolling until the kids are gone and we can step down into something smaller.

      The current Volvo wagons are gorgeous, but no stick and way too much $$$.

      *she’s not a car person at all, yet has strangely strong feelings about brands. For awhile I was talking up the Mazda 5, and she’d just wrinkle her nose like it was a Yugo.

      • 0 avatar
        JRoth

        It occurs to me that an alternate plan—one that doesn’t involve wringing 20+ years and 175k miles out of a B5.5 that lives on the street in Pittsburgh—would be leasing the Regal for 3 years or so and then getting a manual GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      “Well, if it were offered with a manual, I’d consider it – but from what I’ve been able to learn, it won’t be offered with that choice even in Europe.”

      I’m not sure where you got your information, but most European models will come with a 6 speed manual box. Automatic boxes haven’t gained popularity there, due to old slushmatics being poor on fuel and early examples of modern ‘automated manuals’ like DSGs and Powershifts having reliability issues.

      http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/vauxhall/insignia/first-drives/vauxhall-insignia-grand-sport-15-2017-review

      Engine 4cyls, 1490cc, diesel; Power 163bhp at 5600rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 2000-4500pm; Gearbox Six-speed manual

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Meanwhile at the RenCen…

    “Ok so the Regal sucked, let’s try the wagon which should alleviate issues of passenger space”
    “Has anyone measured the amount of legroom for the rear seats?”
    “Ummmmmm…”

  • avatar
    make_light

    I always felt the Regal was underappreciated. It’s stylish, the right size, quiet, and interior feels very solid. It deserved more love than it got.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Me too. I was generally impressed with a 2015 Regal I rented over a weeklong FL trip a couple of years ago, and that one even had the dreaded E-Assist system.

      That said, not once did I seriously entertain the idea of owning one, and those who have taken the plunge seem to regret that decision sooner than others…

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Bold move by GM. I considered a regal last time I bought, and this makes it more likely that I will look again, but I doubt they will still be selling these in 5 years when it’s time to replace my x1. Either no one will buy these or GM will screw it up.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I for one like it.
    I will consider it once I get details on rear seat, cargo and mpgs.

  • avatar
    86er

    Mark, you perhaps didn’t intend to mention the Roadmaster three times in a day, but that increased my traffic to your site by much more than three times…

  • avatar
    ajla

    The joke’s on you GM, I wanted the sedan!

    But whatever. I’ll buy a Hyundai.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Last blitz of Opel.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    -smirking- If your manly-man Siverado 4X4 Extra Testosterone edition is made in Mexico and your sensible, conservative Buick is built in Germany by IG Metalwerk memebers (yeah that includes Turks and Arabs). What is a “True ‘Murican” Trump supporter to do? MAGA!

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    My lease on the 2016 Challenger SXT Plus will end the same day I take delivery of the 2019 Wildcat Wagon.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    That “wagon” should be just as successful as the Venza.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    This makes a lot of sense. The LaCrosse and Insignia are just a few inches apart … even closer than the Impala and Malibu. The hatch and wagon variants are great differentiators. I will be test driving the wagon/TourX, which will be my first trip to a GM dealership in well over a decade. The A4 allroad is too small, and I’m having a difficult time seeing the value in the V90 Cross Country, so I’m hoping the Regal hits the sweet spot. I just hope they offer it here with the V6 and torque-vectoring AWD.

  • avatar
    nvinen

    Interesting that there’s no mention of a V6, when Holden insisted that Opel add the option for a V6 to the Insignia so that they could sell it as a Commodore to replace the Chevy SS (ie, Holden Commodore). Does this mean that Buick are not going to order any V6 copies?

  • avatar

    Buick sales are so small it is really not news when they do something. Even Cadillac has surpassed Buick this month in sales!!!!

    It looks as if PSA will be designing future Buick’s after all.

    GM = POS

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Buick sales have been No. 4 behind BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes for a couple of years now. Definitely not small when Buick has a Cadillac and Chevrolet to contend with.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @NormSV650

        BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes are luxury/premium car manufacturers. Buick is not a luxury car. It competes with Hyundai, Kia, Honda, and Toyota etc. Those are the cars you should be comparing it with.

        • 0 avatar
          JRoth

          Nope. Average sales price for an Accord (per TrueCar) is $23k; average for a Regal is $28k. Acura is $33k, BMW 3-series is $34k. Not sure why the former is a better comp than the latter.

          Oh yeah, Optimas go for $21k. Great comp for the Regal.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Mcs, atp for GM is close to $40K, Honda/Acura is $28K, Toyota/Lexus is $31K. Koreans are low $20’s.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      There really is no Buick w/o Opel and Daewoo.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        More like Acura would be nothing without Honda.

        The Buick Encore, Regal, Verano and Cascade account for about half of 230k recently. The Enclave and LaCrosse are North American made.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I wonder if it will come with a discounted MSRP for being a born orphan. Killing the nameplate is bad enough for resale (see: Verano), but killing the entire brand? This should be as good a buy as a brand new Pontiac G6 circa 2010.

    And yeah, I know Opel as a brand will still exist, but 5 years from now it will be producing facelifted Peugeots.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I have to say I am diggin that wagon in photos I hit on Opel.de

    I really hope GM makes the right move here. But would we be surprised if THIS is the car that suddenly becomes popular, fills Opel’s coffers, and GM gets none of it?

    I kinda doubt it but it will be interesting to see from PSA how profitable Opel ends up for them.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Yeppers: I can’t wait to buy that wagon…from the first owner. New, it’ll probably have ambitious pricing, and as a rare bird, likely be exempt from the usual “cash on the hood, gotta move it out of stock” business.

    Unfortunately that ambitious pricing may continue to the second and third sales transaction. The rarity of wagons gives them, at least in my part of the US, a stubbornly high resale value. Ten years on, the used sedan version of a particular model is depreciated to the hilt, but the used variant of that same model trades for twice as much. I have paid too much for a Passat V6 wagon, encouraged a relative to pay too much for a Focus ZTW wagon, been a hair’s breadth from paying too much for a Volvo wagon several times now…and I look forward to paying too much for a used Buick Regal wagon just as soon as I can find one.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    That’s a good looking car. I for one am excited to see a new wagon for sale, and a decently styled one at that.

    I wish Mazda would have brought the 6 wagon over here. I love my 6 but I’d love it even more as a wagon.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    GM has a history of pissing off customers by abruptly discontinuing products based on perceived “market trends.” The Regal sedan, and the Verano I would add, were fine cars.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    If they lift it 1″ and throw plastic cladding on it via AllTrack / Outback / AllRoad guise, they’ll sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      They actually did this on the last generation Insignia.

      Opel Country Tourer. Quick sniff on the interwebs and there are some spy photos of what appears to be the new gen car in Country Tourer clothes.

      It is possible…

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        Saw a Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer the other day, like an Octavia Scout, Volvo XC70 or Audi A4 Alltrack, a lifted estate with 4×4 and plastic cladding for the occasional drive onto a muddy field.

  • avatar
    john66ny

    Agree that it’s a great looking car in that photo. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s not gutless and that there’s a manual transmission option.

    Also, as somebody who tends to keep my cars longer-than-average, I’m concerned (based on hearsay only, I admit) that GM’s policy on parts availability will work against me pulling the trigger.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I’ve thrown in the towel and have come to accept the fact that about the only thing I’ll be able to get a manual transmission in down the road is maybe a Miata. So if GM really gives us a wagon that looks that good, I’d buy it.

  • avatar
    noneuimport

    I love the way the wagon looks, I still miss my A6 Avant… I would be very interested in a 2-3 year used example with nice extended warranty.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Why aren’t more sedans available as liftbacks? They make a hell of a lot more sense, particularly given modern styling trends that have reduce trunk openings to mail slots.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      In the UK with the Fusion/Mondeo and current Regal/Insignia, along with taxi driver favourite Skoda Rapid/Octavia/Superb they’re a favorite for “mid size sedan” style buyers.

      Previous generations of Mazda 6, Citroen C5 and Toyota Avensis sold well as sedan shaped liftbacks until those were dropped in favour of regular sedans.

  • avatar

    I was fortunate enough to flog a Regal GS with a 6MT. Nice car, but daveincalgary’s horror stories with his Verano Turbo put me off every owning one.

  • avatar
    alfaromeo

    Hope GM replace opel style with current regal style. The opel design doesn’t get my interests.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    What you can’t see from the photos, and the feedback from photos of initial reviews in UK motoring media, is that the ‘sedan style fastback hatch’ has a fake solid plastic 3rd rear window that is really jarring against the shape of the rest of the car.

    A bit like an old Chevy Cruze sedan:

    https://images.cdn.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/images/car-reviews/first-drives/legacy/dsc_7701.jpg?itok=H9YlJU45

    Strangely – given the Peugeot Citroen selloff – this makes the window line look like the UK-discontinued Citroen C5:

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UO6xxUvd_0w/Vz3LN_RGzDI/AAAAAAAAZn4/5JRc321o-eQHA7wWvYwha98lu3cLBemPwCLcB/s1600/2015-Citroen-C5-3.jpg


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