Regal Rebadge

November 12th, 2009

2011 Buick Regal, frontWe are not going to nitpick Buick here for rebadging and remarketing its award-winning Opel Insignia as the Regal. Some have gone out of their way to make fun of the international provenance of this car, which is like being critical of good imported cheese. We all know that cars are now mostly made for international markets, and one as good as the Insignia deserves to be replicated.

2011 Buick Regal, rearThe car is really better than imported cheese—at least in looks (though the rear end seems out of proportion, and that chrome badge bar is a cheap afterthought). The proportions are right for a midsize sporty sedan, and the styling beats all the other Buick offerings. Carscoop notes that the Regal

shares the same Epsilon 2 platform with the new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, the Regal is 7-inches shorter than the latter measuring 190-in. (4,830mm) in length meaning that when it goes on sale in the U.S. sometime towards the end of 2010 or early 2011, it will fit right under the LaCrosse in Buick’s car range both size- and price-wise.

The LaCrosse starts around $28,000, so that is good news. The Regal will be initially available with a 2.4-liter, 182-hp four-cylinder with six-speed automatic. Buick says it will add a 2.0-liter turbo with 220 hp late next summer. Mileage for both will be in the 29-30 (highway) mpg range. Performance, especially with the turbo, should be adequate. Something called Interactive Drive Control (IDC) will permit you to select suspension, steering, and transmission settings. The problem is you’ll be hauling 3,600 pounds of car around, so I wonder about its sporting pretensions.

Buick sold 64,000 Regals in China this year. How many do you think it will sell in the U.S.? Is GM on the right track with this car?

—jgoods

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