By on October 21, 2019

Images: GM, via Autoweek.nl

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:

Image: General Motors

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.

GM via Autoweek.nl

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]

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58 Comments on “Buick Regal Refresh on the Way, With an Asterisk...”


  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    I think most readers here are interested in the wagon–brown in particular, and if Buick were really smart, they would offer a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      They do but not for U.S. market.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The Subaru Outback with a CVT says, “hi”

    • 0 avatar
      saturnotaku

      If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen an automotive commentariat say a variation of, “if were smart, they’d offer a manual,” I’d be able to retire. You and your ilk never buy those types of vehicles, and you know it. How did the manual versions of the Buick Regal Turbo, GS, and Verano Turbo work out? That’s right – they didn’t. This deluded way of thinking needs to go away. Now.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s correct. The cries for manuals are never backed with dollars when the chance is there. It’s ridiculous grass is greener thinking but without actual follow through.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          That’s because the typical wagon enthusiast wishes the cars came out of the factory used.

          • 0 avatar

            Like the man who was here the other day complaining that Infiniti didn’t make V6 rear-drive NA sedans.

            Uh huh.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            I think it’s fair to complain about some things.

            The limitations on choice because of regulations (no to affordable V8s or natural aspiration, yes to 2.0T, 10 speed automatics, CVTs, and electrification) are to me different than the things that have no real CAFE impact, but have been tried many times and don’t sell: (wagons, manual transmissions, small trucks).

            The former is happening no matter what people do. The latter, they have only themselves to blame.

          • 0 avatar

            Agree. The smaller engines thing was inevitable. And the tech is there to make them just as powerful, just not in the lazy way Americans expect. Got to adapt.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            LOL. Did I use that correctly?

            Just like all the Volvo fans, who think their’s is a valuable collectible, but want to buy your used one as a ‘parts vehicle’ for scrap value.

            I bought a MT vehicle. Had to special order it. Was at the dealer’s until nearly midnight negotiating the deal and ordering it. Yes it does get much better MPG than the identical AT one in our family. Love it when the roads are clear, or out in the country. Not so happy in rush hour/stuck in traffic during construction/an accident investigation or driving into downtown Toronto.

            Now my children the ability to drive stick. They have a better understand the physics of driving. They learned that yes, it will not kill them to put their phones away while driving. So it did its job.

            If I ever purchase another MT, it will be a garage queen like a Miata or older Corvette. For use only when the conditions/destination suits it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            That’s the Secret! Why didn’t Mary Barra think of that?

            BTW, didn’t FCA give dealers a few grand to drive a particlar model around so they could get them off the lots as used? That might be better than cash on the hood.

        • 0 avatar
          slap

          I backed my cries with dollars when I bought my new manual wagon two weeks ago…..

          I’ve backed my cries for more wagons by buying a total of 4 new wagons.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Me thinks Greg was being sarcastic as the brown manual wagon is a joke around here

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        I was making a joke. The popular lament on this website is that no one builds a brown diesel manual transmission wagon (Except maybe Volkswagen, but not anymore.) and if someone did they would make a fortune. Of course we all know that’s not true. I guess I have to use a /sarc tag for people with no sense of humor. It’s all in good fun. I’m glad I got a rise out of some people. I enjoy everyone’s comments. We all like cars and wish we could have a bunch of them so enjoy you day and have fun driving!

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Diesel….gotta be DIESEL!!!!

  • avatar

    A pointless creation produced by a cancelled company(Opel) and selling at a worse rate than the hapless Bolt.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Buick seems to have impressive depreciation numbers (in a negative way) and I’ve considered some excellent buys coming off lease. May yet go for one.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Wow, not just brown but “decidedly” brown. That is truly undoubtedly and undeniably brown.

  • avatar

    The refresh one looks more boring than the outgoing model.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The trajectory is pretty apparent here. Buick is about to become a CUV-only brand. Once they are, there is no longer any reason for them to exist. The existing vehicles can be sold just fine as GMCs. The Encore can occupy a new spot at the bottom of the GMC lineup and the Traverse becomes a stretch version of the Acadia. The Envision is redundant with the Terrain and can go back to China.

    After a few years, “Buick” can become a high-end trim of GMC that is to Denali as old-time Buick was to Cadillac: the quieter and more tasteful version.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, Buick better start making competitive SUVs, because another one of their SUVs finished last in a Car and Driver comparison test. In the Barra era last place seems to be where GM always finish.

      What a disgrace!

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Same exact thing happened just before the Verano was cancelled. Preview of a dull color new version Verano for the Chinese market.

    So this likely means Buick is getting out of “the car business” in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It’s OK with me if GM decides to go Full-Bore in China with Buick production of whatever models sell well there, as long as they keep sending the profits back to America.

      I used to be an Oldsmobile fan, bought two of them brand new and a couple of them used. I’m no Cadillac fan, but if I were to buy a GM car today, it would have to be a Cadillac. Not because Cadillac is all that good, but Cadillac represents the best that GM has to offer, and that is a sight better than Chevrolet can do.

      Buick?

      Redundant. Export fodder. The answer to an automotive question no one has asked.

    • 0 avatar
      MKizzy

      Absolutely. That so-called-refresh makes the Regal appear $10 grand cheaper and shows GM basically doesn’t care about sedans anymore.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    >>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.<<

    From January through August 33.426 Insignias were sold in Europe, down 33% from 2018. 2.136 in August, down 37%. At some point, PSA is going to start asking itself "why bother?" and they and GM will have a "meeting of the minds".

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I saw an uber rare new Regal GS.In the flesh , it’s a pretty good looking car. If the Accord didn’t exist, they probably would sell quite a few more of them.I definitely would take one over a v6 camry, maybe even over a FWD only Mazda 6.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Across the entire country, there are only 48 new examples of the Regal GS for sale on cars.com right now.
      There are 154 new Aston Martin DB11s listed.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Personally I think one of the weirdest decisions GM made with the vehicle is that in Canada you can buy the Regal Sportback and the Regal GS but can’t buy the TourX (with standard AWD).

        What are Hockey Dads supposed to do?

  • avatar
    Acd

    Is there something different about the “refresh”?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Headlight shape and grille texture basically

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      Just a guess, but North America probably won’t get this refresh. The article is about the Chinese market Regal, which is built in China, so likely doesn’t have much of a connection to what’s going on with the German Insignia/Regal anymore. That, and the Chinese Regal has a trunk, so updated Chinese market parts may not translate back to the hatchback versions.

      BTW I’m the happy owner of a 2018 Regal GS. Very good car so far. Too bad people won’t give it a chance just because it says “Buick” on its rump.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    It wouldn’t surprise me if it died prior to the mid-cycle refresh, which probably depends more on the terms of the production agreement with PSA. Definitely will be no next generation.

    I was reading a couple months old edition of the UK magazine CAR with an article about the implications of the EU’s CO2 emission limits. The fines that will be imposed for violation of the CO2 limits will be so punitive as to restrict an automakers ability to sell ICE powered vehicles. For example, VW’s current fleet would face a 1.4 Billion Euro fine. The only means to avoid the penalty is a wholesale shift to electric vehicles.

    The investment required for this would be one likely reason why GM abandoned Opel/Vauxhaul. Likewise, Ford would be saving R&D money not engineering small/mid-size cars for the US (that aren’t as profitable as CUVs/SUVs/truks anyway) to invest in the electric cars needed in Europe and elsewhere long-term.

  • avatar

    insignificant, virtually undesirable. keep it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “Same exact thing happened just before the Verano was cancelled. Preview of a dull color new version Verano for the Chinese market.”

    If this is true then a brown Buick is the kiss of death in the US market. Those wanting a brown Regal with a stick shift would be the ultimate kiss of death. GM wants to get the brown out in the US market.

    Next is the all new brown Cascada.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    I’d bet the average person thinks the Regal’s just another wannabe near-luxury sedan because Buick is barely trying to sell them. Otherwise, it would advertise the Regal sportback’s versatility as its killer app instead of strictly using it and the Tour X as an advertising foil to let consumers know it’s now a CUV manufacturer. It also doesn’t help the Regal’s case that it suffers from GM’s typical stinginess with standard equipment on lower trim levels and its powertrain requiring premium fuel.

  • avatar

    I considered it but there is practically no inventory, no color choice, no leather seats and so on. So I did not even bother to test drive one.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Had a Buick moment last week – a distant friend inherited a 2004 LeSabre from his mom. 17,000 miles, pristine body and interior. I even got to place my hand on the valve cover of the 3800 V6 whilst running. Lovely.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      I think I’m about to inherit a 2004 Regal too, that’s pretty much the only way younger than 50 yr old drive Buick these days: inherit from a too old to drive senior.

  • avatar
    Mackie

    It doesn’t help matters when they actually diss their non SUV models in their own TV ads. I don’t think they really want to sell non SUVs anymore. Instead, they condition consumers to prefer higher margin SUVs.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      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.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.


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