Circling the Wagons: Buick Bullish on TourX
For 2018, Buick split its new Regal into two body styles: a liftback and a wagon dubbed the TourX. SUVs and crossovers make up a large chunk of the Tri-Shield’s sales, but these two machines will arguably swallow as much or more cargo than some of their high-riding showroom brethren.
Upon the Regal’s rollout for 2018, the marque estimated the TourX take rate would be around 30 percent. Now, thanks to either a rethink of market demands or someone’s innate love of wagons, Buick has revised that number upwards.
According to the company, the first Buick wagon in more than 20 years could account for nearly 50 percent of Regal sales.
“We’re pretty realistic about where the car market’s at, but we’re getting some pretty good feedback on it,” Phil Brook, U.S. veep of marketing for Buick and GMC, told industry outlet Automotive News during a media drive in Arizona. “We’re flexible enough that we can flex things up and down. That’s not a problem.”
By being flexible with “things,” we assume Brook is talking about differences in the production line between the liftback and wagon versions of the Regal. Having the ability to quickly respond to consumer demand and ramp up one particular bodystyle would indeed be an advantage for Buick.
The midsize sedan market is shrinking like a freshman’s bank account, so moving the Regal into a niche market may prove to be a sensible shift. Buick expects to harvest shoppers from Subaru and Volvo showrooms, no mean feat when those two brands enjoy healthy buyer loyalty. As a bodystyle, liftbacks and wagons have generally been shunned by Americans like fetid cheese, making the marque’s foray into these markets an interesting one to track.
As a brand, Buick has been hovering around a quarter-million annual sales in America since 2014. That’s a healthy hike from the dark days of 2009 when the tri-shield barely cracked 100,000 units. To be fair, all hands were parked in death’s nursery at that time. Globally, Buick now sells over a million vehicles per year.
The all-wheel drive Regal TourX makes an opening bid of $29,070 compared to the Regal Sportback’s base price of $24,995. It’s a handsome wagon to this author’s jaundiced eye, particularly in the $395 color of Rioja Red.
Sadly, I’ll have to get my wagon fix elsewhere, as the TourX is – for now – not available in Canada.
[Images: General Motors]
Sportyaccordy on Jan 31, 2018
Norm has been putting overtime in. Norm, your claim about "being ahead of the depreciation curve" is false- when a car is being sold new with 5 figures off the MSRP that dings resale value all the way down the line. And historically GM has been garbage at supporting one off models like this... crash a GTO or G8 and see how long it takes to get those body panels in.
Ernest on Feb 02, 2018
I guess everyone missed the comment about the Ascent. Subaru showed off their new 3 seat CUV at the Auto Show. It looks like an Outback, but a tape measure shows it's a lot closer to an Explorer in size (and price). My contention is Subaru isn't chasing the Birkenstock crowd so much as the same demographic Volvo targeted so successfully in the 70's and 80's. And looking at the numbers, they're catching them too.
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