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When Better Buicks Are Built We Don’t Get Them In The US

GM is trying to transform the Buick division in the US as its SUV brand. Curious since every US manufacturer is doing a similar song and dance. Except for Dodge and Chrysler. They’re just plugging along with Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers. Meanwhile, the Japanese, Korean, and European brands all seem to be doing fine with their car lines. And why not? There is still a lot of demand for cars. If there wasn’t then none of the manufacturers would make them. But new car models are being introduced by all of these brands. Even Buick is doing it, but not in the US. When better Buicks are built we don’t get them. Take their updated Regal GS for instance.

Buick just revealed an updated 2021 Buick GS in China

The 2021 cars of Buick in China | GM
The 2021 cars of Buick in China | GM

Buick just revealed an updated 2021 Regal GS with new features and new, bolder fascia. There are new LED lights flanking the grille, too. The aggressive black wheels contrast the red brake calipers nicely. An eConnect 2.5 infotainment system with Baidu AI voice assistant is new, as is Apple CarPlay support. It’s an improved version of the 2020 Regal.

Buick decided that 2020 would be the last year the US gets the Regal GS. So all of these new and improved goodies won’t make it here. When you look at Regal G sales over the years it’s a chart of ups and downs. The previous Regal was smaller and not too distinctive which watered down the already watered-down brand. The cool GS version of the Regal with the more aggressive fascia was over $40,000. C’mon, 40-grand for a Regal that looked like a compact Chevy?

When the all-new Buick GS came out in 2018 sales jumped to 14,000

When the all-new 2018 model came out sales jumped back up to 14,000 but we’re sure that wasn’t enough for GM bean counters. Then, last year it dipped down to a bit over 10,000 units. With both a fastback sedan and a way cool wagon it was a much better-looking lineup. With most sedans going to the fastback style Buick was right there. We suppose the problem is mostly all of those decades of bland Buicks leaves a reputation. Maybe it was poor marketing, or marketing in the wrong places. 

There has to be a reason for a car company to exist and Buick for decades has not made that case. Loyal customers sooner or later die off, then what do you do if you’re not building exciting vehicles? Buick became known as the tarted-up Chevy or the lower-tier Cadillac. It has never been anything distinctive. 

2021 Buick Regal GS | GM
2021 Buick Regal GS | GM

Buick is valiantly trying to reimagine itself as GMs SUV brand

That has hurt Buick sales and so it is valiantly trying to reimagine itself as the SUV brand in the US. It may be working. The Encore hit over 100,000 in sales last year. That’s 10-times what the Regal GS has been able to perform. 

The Enclave is doing half that amount but that’s still better by far than Regal. So while we bemoan the fate of the Regal in the US we must accept the numbers. Whether Buick is building better SUVs, doing a better job of marketing them, or they’re just getting caught up in the SUV wake, it’s slowly working for them. 

Buick will live to see another day.