Buick Regal: Great Car or Marketing Failure?

2011_Buick_Regal

Fellow blogger jgoods recently gave us a rundown of the new Buick Regal. A nice article, for sure, but I’m going to go a step further. I’m going to give General Motors a marketing lesson.

I know, I would think the people at GM should know a thing or two about marketing, but apparently they need some help. I base this assumption on the simple fact that the Buick Regal is back.

In all truth, the car looks like it has the right stuff. According to Autoweek:

The new Regal will arrive in the second quarter of 2010 with its sights set squarely on competitors such as the Acura TSX and the Volvo S60. The Regal was developed in Germany–it is essentially the Opel Insignia, a car we think looks terrific, drives well, and is the European Car of the Year. Buick says the Insignia has won more than 31 awards and is the best-selling midsize sedan in Europe.

So the new Regal really isn’t a Regal at all. It’s an Insignia. It’ll even have an available 220-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Pretty sweet. So why on earth call it a Regal? That’s where I think GM’s marketing folks failed.

I would never, ever, buy a Buick Regal simply because my mother-in-law, my kids’ grandma, owned one. The Regal name isn’t one I want to be associated with as a 30-something dad with a young family.

GM should have treated this as an all-new product and given it an all-new name that could have built an all-new image. Anything other than Regal would have been a good choice. GM wants to move the company forward and make us forget about the hard times of the past, yet it plasters a name that has a whole lot of negative equity associated with it onto a sweet new car. Does that make sense to anyone?

Heck, call it the Buick Insignia, and we’d be thrilled at the European association. Even make up an all-new word and tell us it’s the ancient Greek word for “awesome,” and we’d be all over it, excitedly telling our friends about the hot new Buick.

What GM has done, though, is place a haggard old name on a car that has real potential, possibly eliminating an entire demographic from even taking a test drive.

Would you shop for a Buick Regal instead of something like a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class? Did GM make a major marketing error here, or am I the one who’s fallen off the deep end?

-tgriffith

2 Comments

  1. You obviously know nothing of Buick’s portfolio in China. This car is known as “Regal” to more people than it is as “Insignia.”

    This is ridiculous:

    “I would never, ever, buy a Buick Regal simply because my mother-in-law, my kids’ grandma, owned one. The Regal name isn’t one I want to be associated with as a 30-something dad with a young family.”

    You need to get over yourself.

  2. Now this car is really something.. I think Buick got it right this time.
    This is a beautiful car and not only does it target more mature buyers but i think young consumers will like the new sleek more this generation look.

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