Friday, November 13, 2009

Buick Regal, Sports Sedan

I'm having a hard time saying Buick Regal and sports sedan in the same sentence with a straight face. It's an oxymoron, but that's what GM is positioning the Regal as for its relaunch next year.

To be fair the new Regal will be based on the Opel Insignia, which has won accolades in Europe. Buick is also undertaking a huge effort to remake itself, much like Cadillac did ten years ago. And the new LaCrosse makes me think they're on to something.

Still, to position the car to compete with Acura, BMW and Infiniti, and use a stodgy nameplate like the Regal, is like Country musician Taylor Swift changing her name to Blanche or Patsy. Yes, there's a history there, but the connotation is not attractive. Buick has better names for a sports sedan like the Wildcat or Gran Sport. The Regal hasn't been cool since the Grand National came out 25 years ago, and people who own those cars don't call them Regals.

I hope Buick is successful. But to be successful, I think they need an attitude car, or halo car as it's known in the industry. Something like the Grand National that will draw Acura customers into the showroom and leave with a new Regal or LaCrosse.

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