Another year, another brand killing off its entire passenger car lineup. This time it’s Buick, which just announced it will drop the Buick Regal lineup in the U.S. market after the 2020 model year. That means after next year the brand will exist solely on crossovers, from the diminutive Encore on up to the three-row Enclave.
It’s a sad moment as the Buick Regal GS and the TourX wagon, while not perfect, are still good cars. But people don’t want sedans or wagons, on the whole, and Buick cited that as the reason for discontinuing both models. Company spokesperson Stuart Fowle said that, “Buick continues to be ahead of the consumer shift toward SUVs.” It’s been slowly killing off its slow-selling passenger car models, with both the Cascada and LaCrosse meeting their demise this year. Neither of those models will be replaced, and at this point it’s unlikely the Regal will come back from the dead in the near future. People want crossovers, and Buick’s messaging is pivoting toward offering a solution to a market ravenous for new models.
To that end, while it’s dropping its passenger cars, Buick is expanding their crossover offering by way of the Encore GX, a model meant to bridge the gap between the entry-level Encore and the current Envision, which may itself be replaced by the Enspire, at least if that’s where Buick goes with the test mules we’ve seen in Colorado over the past few months.
Regal will technically live on, just not here
The Buick Regal is based on the European Opel Insignia, and is built in Germany. With GM selling the Opel brand to Peugeot Group in 2017, it’s been relying on an agreement between the companies to keep the Regal in production. With the model driving off into the sunset, it no longer has that reliance, which will allow Buick to more effectively pivot toward new in-house developed models. Despite its demise in the U.S., the Regal will live on in the Chinese market, and its Insignia cousin will remain on sale, for now, in Europe.
We’ll have to wait and see whether Buick’s move to drop its passenger car lineup works in the long-term. While GM and Ford have largely achieved their goals, recent studies show some buyers defecting from the American brands, as they either don’t want or can’t necessarily afford more expensive crossovers. As the American brands exit the sedan and wagon markets, brands like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia look more appealing as they still actually sell lower-priced models.