Buick announced the end of production for the Regal Sportback and Regal TourX models in North America, making it an all-SUV brand beginning the 2021 model year.
Officials from General Motors first confirmed their plans to transition the Buick brand away from passenger cars in December last year. Back then, the company said that 2020 will be the last model year for the Regal models in both the USA and Canada.
A spokesperson for GM has also confirmed the discontinuation of the two models in Russelsheim, Germany, but clarified that there is enough supply of five-door hatchbacks and lifted wagons to pull the brand through for the rest of the year.
Although the Regal cars received generally positive reviews on its new design (released as the model’s sixth-generation in 2018), there are quite a few reasons that explain their exit.
The Regal nameplate has been dormant for Buick for quite a while before being revived in 2005. Its sales peaked in 2011 and sold as many as 40,000 vehicles in a year. But last year, way before the coronavirus pandemic hit the automotive industry, it plummeted to just 10,000 units.
Moreover, Regal’s production in North America was mainly handled by the PSA Groupe, the French conglomerate known as the company that bought GM’s Opel brand in 2017. Thus, production for the nameplate was done in Germany where it is more expensive and less cost-effective for GM considering the low sales numbers.
With the Regal leaving Buick’s lineup, the automaker shifts its focus on crossovers which may be new for the public. However, this follows brand and industry trends, especially in the United States where passenger cars and sedans are losing popularity. It’s also worth noting that over the past few years, Buick’s sales were led by car-like SUV models such as the Encore and Enclave.
Following its exit in the U.S., the Buick Regal will continue production in China, where it has been built since 1999 and enjoys more popularity.