Buick Regal Refresh on the Way, With an Asterisk

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
buick regal refresh on the way with an asterisk

It’s just the news you needed to perk up a boring Monday. Buick’s Regal, which carries a variety of badges overseas, could see a facelift in the near future, leaked images reveal. Dutch website Autoweek.nl (via Motor Authority) has the pictures, with the decidedly brown model depicted therein bound for the Chinese market.

China, as you well know, loves Buicks like the NBA loves revenue.

While the China-bound Regal’s design alterations will no doubt carry over, in some form, to vehicles found in other markets, just how long buyers in America will have access to the model remains an open question.

As before, the Regal’s origins lie in the German-built Opel Insignia, with the current generation going on sale for the 2018 model year. Arriving as a five-door liftback and off-road-themed TourX wagon, the Regal is not accumulating sales in the same manner as Buick’s crossover lineup.

As you can see here, one crossover, the China-built Envision, seems to have had the biggest influence on the Regal’s design refresh. It’s seen in the revised headlight shape and front fascia. Out back, the bumper gets a redo, with slim, elongated exhaust ports. Here’s a U.S.-market 2019 Regal Avenir model for comparison:

While Chinese customers get a bonafide sedan version with trunklid and all, American customers receive the Regal Sportback for hatchback versatility and the marketing opportunities that come with.

North American buyers can thank a production contract for their ability to continue to get their hands on a Buick-badged Opel, despite the company being sold off by General Motors a couple of years ago. France’s PSA Groupe now holds the reins.

Still, the model’s future beyond 2020 remains uncertain, with Automotive News‘ Product Pipeline listing shrinking domestic sales and a production cut at the Insignia/Regal plant as reasons why Buick could ditch “the nameplate sooner rather than later.”

Regal sales in the U.S. are down 19.6 percent through the end of September, a marked trajectory change compared to other models in the brand’s lineup. Overall, Buick sales have risen 1.4 percent since the start of the year. The nameplate was already in trouble when the previous-gen model was on sale. The market’s distaste for traditional sedans became increasingly obvious as time wore on, with 2017 returning the model’s worst full-year volume in decades (barring those recession-era years where the Regal was nonexistent).

Over 74,000 American buyers took a Regal home in 1999, but in the first three quarters of 2019, Regal volume stands at just 8,849. That’s not far off the volume of the LaCrosse, a full-size sedan Buick pulled the plug on earlier this year.

[Image: General Motors, via Autoweek.nl]

Join the conversation
3 of 58 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Oct 22, 2019

    If I was a GM dealer, I would refuse to floor plan anything other than SUVs. It looks like that's what many Buick dealers are doing. There are so few Regal GS' available that even if you wanted to check it out, it's a 50-100 mile drive to do so. Assuming the car is good compared to the others like it - Stinger and Arteon - it would have a chance at selling. Maybe it's just the usual GM clap.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Oct 22, 2019

      If I was a GM dealer, I would refuse to floor plan anything other than SUVs... Local GMC/Buick Dealer runs about 60% GMC 30% Buick on his inventory at any given time. Rarely does he have more than one Regal in stock at a time (or Lacrosse when it was in production.)

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 22, 2019

    The same with the GMC Buick dealership near me. They have 1 Regal Tour x, a couple of Lacrosses but mostly Encores, Enclaves, and lots of GMCs especially Sierras.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).