buick (century) regal

 

The Regal first arrived for the 1973 model year, and was initially part of the Century line and called ‘Buick Century Regal’, though the car lacked a Century badge.  Next to the less distinctive Century Luxus (called Custom by 1975), it was a 2-door ‘Colonnade Hardtop Coupe’ (without open space behind the front door window), outselling the Luxus Coupe, both with a formal roof.  By 1974, a 4-door ‘Colonnade Hardtop Sedan’, also with frameless windows, was added in the Regal series.  Two years later, it was called ‘Buick Regal’ and the Coupe received less swooping sheet metal, doubling its sales and with some 175,000 (Coupe) sales in the United States representing over half of the Century/Regal line by 1977, before the downsizing for the 1978 model year.

As the Regal sedan comprised only 5% of the Century/Regal line, the sedan was confined to the Century when the downsized models arrived in autumn 1977,  but only as a slow selling fastback, making the wagon the most popular body style in the Century line, with the Regal Coupes selling almost three times better than all Centurys.  A year later over half of the Centurys was a wagon, and Regal Coupes now outsold the Centurys on a basis of nearly five to one.  When Buick changed its sedan into a decent notchback, the Century/Regal line production rose with 20%, with now one out of every three Century/Regal a sedan, the remaining being Regal Coupes, except for 5% wagons, and a handful of Century Coupes.

These Regal models remained in 1982, with the sedan deleted by 1985, after the release of the fwd A-body Century that lasted until late 1996 with the roof line altered for 1989 sedans and coupes.  The Regal became a cheeky front-wheel-drive model by 1988, with a sedan added again for 1990.  These models stood on the W-body platform, longer and wider than the Century.  The ‘Regal’ sedan had continued in Japan, which actually was a rebadged Century, as Toyota used that name for their top model.  A  Regal Estate Wagon was offered as well.  Japan wouldn’t get the next Century/Regal after 1996, when import of Buicks stopped.

Then, in spring 1997, after 15 years, the Buick Century and (the more luxurious) Regal again would use the same body shape, a tasteful sedan, now with four-link coil independent rear suspension, built in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.  It was this sedate model that was chosen by the Chinese to be manufactured by SGM since late 1998, as Buick (Sedan) GL, GLX, with the top model named ‘New Century’, all with a 3-litre engine (a destroked 3.1), supplemented in 2000 by a sporty GS, and a 2.5-litre for the Buick G.  The Buick GLX and New Century exited in 2001.  By early 2003, the front was redesigned by PATAC and the series became known as Buick Regal (JunWei for the Chinese), adopting a hood ornament, except for the Regal without a suffix which had an Opel 2-litre DOHC engine coupled to a Saab F25 5-speed transmission.  Production soared that year with 90,000 built, mostly 2.5 models, to which a GL was added.  The 6-cylinder models lost their ornament at the arrival of the Holden-built Buick Royaum in 2005.  Whereas the American models were replaced by the larger LaCrosse in autumn 2004 (with the Regal deleted earlier in the year), the Chinese 2.0/2.5 models lasted until 2008, after the 3-litre Regal was succeeded by the Chinese-designed LaCrosse in 2006, using its engine, accompanied by the alloy 4-cylinder 2.4 Ecotec.

China built almost 400,000 Buicks of this generation, and Canada nearly 1.5 million Century and Regal, with one out of every three a Regal.  These cars were not exported to Europe, where Buicks were no longer sold.

In Taiwan, the Buick Regal was imported from Canada with the 3.1-litre engine of the Century, rather than the 3.8.  The smaller Skylark and larger Park Avenue were also available here.  The Buick Regal was also sold in South Korea, before KIA introduced the (Optima) Regal in 2002.  Neither of these countries would get the next Regal.

Buick Regal China (E10/15) December 2008, USA February 2010 (Opel/Vauxhall Insignia A November 2008)

The Insignia had sharp pike looks with both sedan and hatchback models having a fastback profile, seemingly sharing the side windows.  As compared with its Vectra predecessor (Opel Vectra B and C were imported to China in limited quantities), the wheelbase of the sedan/hatchback rose 3.7 cm, but the overall length almost 20 cm more, making it look a bit short-wheeled.  In Europe, less than one out of every ten was a sedan, the remaining equally shared between hatchback and wagon.  Vauxhall decided to delete the sedan after about six years.  Sedans were the only body style for the Buick Regal, for sale in North America and China, where it succeeded on the somewhat larger American models, which in North America had been abandoned already in 2004.  For the Chinese who preferred an American Buick, there was the LaCrosse, with a Chinese designed body, but the American designed successor came in 2009.

Here we have a global GM D-segment car, that only in Europe (and some export markets) could be had with a 6-cylinder engine, up to the end of its career.  The Chevrolet Malibu on the same platform had a 6-cylinder offered only in the Middle East.  The Chinese Regal introduced the naturally aspirated alloy 2-litre engine.

Germany built some 950,000 models, China over 700,000, and Canada over 150,000, total 1.8 million.  Percentual market penetration in Canada was only half of that in the United States.  All-wheel-drive models were not offered in China.  In Germany some 200,000 were sold, of which three-quarter were diesel, and 12% all-wheel-drive and 82% business cars.  The United Kingdom sold over 275,000 Vauxhall Insignia A.  In China, about 80,000 were sold in the first years, with over half the 2-litre engine, and a quarter the much more expensive 2.4-litre, to be deleted in 2014, while the 1.6 turbo, priced in between, got its momentum by 2013, when the manual gearbox was replaced by an automatic, even overtaking the entry-level 2.0 in 2015.  A facelift lifted the annual sales in China to over 100,000 in 2014.  In 2016, three quarter were the more expensive 1.6 turbo models.  The share of the top 2-litre turbo Regal GS dwindled from 10% in 2009 to 1% in 2016, in despite of a power boost by 2014.  

platform:

Epsilon II

Insignia A

 

rear suspension:

4-link independent, coil springs

Opel

Opel

Opel

Opel

Opel

GM

GM

GM

GM

GM

Opel

Opel

awd:

5-link independent, coil springs

Family 0

Family I

Family I

MGE

Family I

L850

L850

L850

L850

HF6

MDE

ex Fiat

curb weight from:

1503

kg

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

V6

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

wheelbase (cm):

273.7

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

sedan/hatch:

length from (cm):

483

cc:

1364

1598

1598

1598

1796

1998

1998

2384

2384

2792

1598

1956

cc

wagon:

length from (cm):

490.8

injection

injection

injection

dir. inj.

injection

injection

dir. inj.

injection

dir. inj.

injection

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

width (cm):

185.6

turbo

turbo

turbo

turbo

turbo

turbo

(bi)turbo

diesel

diesel

market:

Europe

Opel/Vauxhall Insignia

11-17

08-12

08-13

13-17

08-17

08-17

08-17

15-17

08-17

sedan '

08-17

fwd

fwd

fwd

fwd

fwd

fwd/awd

awd

fwd

fwd/awd

hatchback

08-17

6M

6M

6M

6M/6A

6M

6M/6A

6M/6A

6M/6A

6M/6A

wagon

09-17

kW

103

85

132

125

103

162-184

191-239

88'-120

81'~143

kW

export to selected markets worldwide

hp

140

115

180

170

140

220-250

260-352

100'-136

110'~195

hp

' Vauxhall sedan 08-14 (VXR 2.8: 09-17)

not Vxhll

Ger: -13

' not Vxhll

' not Vxhll

USA/CDN

Buick Regal

10-17

10-17

sedan

curb weight from:

1660

kg

fwd/awd

fwd

export to Mexico

6M/6A

6A

kW

164~201

136+11

kW

hp

220~270

182+15

hp

13- awd 6A

11- eAssist

China

Buick Regal

09-17

08-17

08-17

08-11

11-14

sedan

curb weight from:

1555

kg

fwd

fwd

fwd

fwd

fwd

6M/6A

6A

6A

6A

6A

kW

132

108

162-184

125

134

kW

hp

180

147

220-250

170

182

hp

13: 6M > 6A

GS

AUS/NZ

Holden Insignia

15-17

sedan

awd

6A

kW

239

kW

hp

352

hp

 

Buick Regal  China (E2SB) July 2017, USA: November 2017, (Opel/Vauxhall Insignia B June 2017)

Then came the much awaited successor, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017 by Opel CEO Dr. Neumann in front of Dan Ammann, president of General Motors, and PSA boss Carlos Tavares who promised that when replaced, all Vauxhall/Opel models will switch to PSA chassis platforms. The car stood on the new light-weight E2 platform, that had the wheelbase extended with some 9 cm, and as the length was a bit reduced, the car looked more solid. The fastback appearance remained with the side panelling a bit more elaborated.  The rather high convex roof of the previous sedan/hatchback was equalized and reduced with a hefty 43 mm.  The extended side windows further gave the car a less bent appearance.  The wagon now had a length of almost 5 meters, the higher-on-the-wheels Country Tourer exceeded it slightly.  China opted for continuing the sedan without a hatch, with a slightly steeper back window, and a small rear deck, while beneath the hatch/deck lid deflector the vehicles were equal, as before.

As in Europe the sedan share of the previous model was low, and the Oshawa production was not to be continued with the PSA take-over in sight, North America was forced to get the hatchback instead of the sedan, resulting in 37% lower sales in its first full year 2018 vs 2014, the first full year since the update of the previous model, in despite of an additional wagon.  Import from China was presumably not considered.  In Europe as well, there was a dip of 27%, mainly at Vauxhall as, apart from the Brexit turmoil, PSA didn’t like fleet sales, where profits are marginal.  In Germany sales were 10% higher, notwithstanding the deletion of the sedan.  In China, sales were 10% lower with probably in-house competition of the Verano at the lower side, and the LaCrosse at the upper side of the range.

In Europe, the entry-level model’s 1.4-litre turbo engine grew to 1.5-litre, keeping the 140 hp output.  In China, the entry-level naturally aspirated 2-litre engine of the previous model was replaced by the 1.5 turbo and was labeled 20T, while the 2-litre turbo was called 28T, selling about 10% of the range in 2018, next to less than 1% hybrids.  There was now also a regular Regal 2-litre turbo, next to the GS, with the top version priced equally to the “entry-level” GS model.

Market penetration in 2018 was 7‰ in Germany, 4‰ in China, 9‰ in Australia, while in the USA the figure now fell under 1‰, in despite of the availability of a GS with V6 3.6 engine and all-wheel-drive.  In Germany, nearly three-quarter were diesel, and almost one out of every five had all-wheel-drive.  In Australia the model choice is very comprehensive with gasoline 4- and 6-cylinder engines, a diesel engine, front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, hatch, wagon, wagon with raised ride height, though the economical 1.5-litre is denied here, as it is for Americans.

platform:

E2XX

Insignia B

rear suspension:

4-link independent, coil springs

Opel/SAIC

Opel

Opel

GM

GM

Opel

Opel

awd:

5-link independent, coil springs

SGE

MGE

MGE

L850

HF6

MDE

ex Fiat

curb weight from:

1440

kg

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

V6

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

wheelbase (cm):

282.9

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

DOHC

hatch:

length from (cm):

489.7

cc:

1490

1598

1796

1998

3649

1598

1956

cc

wagon:

length from (cm):

498.6

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

dir. inj.

width (cm):

186.3

turbo

turbo

hybrid

turbo

turbo

(bi)turbo

diesel

diesel

market:

Europe

Opel/Vauxhall Insignia

17-

18-

17-18

17-

17-

export to selected

Grand Sport

hatch

June 2017

fwd

fwd

awd

fwd

fwd/awd

markets worldwide

Sports Tourer

wagon

June 2017

6M/6A

6M/6A

8A

6M/6A

6M/8A

Country Tourer

wagon'

October 2017    kW

103-121

147

191

81-100

125-154

kW

hp

140-165

200

260

110-136

170-210

hp

USA/CDN

Buick Regal

GS:

Sportback

hatch

November 2017

17-

18-

USA

TourX (awd)

wagon'

February 2018

fwd/awd

awd

9A/8A

9A

kW

186

231

kW

hp

250

310

hp

    not wagon

China

Buick Regal

sedan

July 2017

20T

30H

28T

length from (cm):

490.2

17-

17-

17-

fwd

fwd

fwd

9A

EVT

9A

kW

120

91+114

187

kW

hp

163

124+155

254

hp

AUS/NZ

Holden Commodore

February 2018

18-

18-

18-

Liftback

hatch

fwd

awd

fwd

Sportwagon

wagon

9A

9A

8A

Tourer (awd)

wagon'

kW

191

235

125

kW

hp

260

315

170

hp

' awd: raised ride height

 

Output data are approximate.

                                                        

                                                         with thanks to carsalesbase.com and wikipedia.org

 

For recent specifications on Buick cars built in China, see:
On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International                                                         

 

Malibu vs Regal vs LaCrosse

 

Far East Auto Literature

19 September, 2019