More Regalia: Buick Plans to Bring Us More Options
Although the impressive Opel Insignia/Buick Regal is offered around the world in no fewer than three body styles (sedan, five-door hatch, and wagon), with nine engines (four gas four-cylinder, three 1.8-liter diesel fours, and naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of its 2.8-liter V-6), with front- or all-wheel drive, and a choice of three transmissions, here in Buick’s home market, just how many of those permutations we’ll get remains a mystery.
In the States, of course, we’re used to being denied most of the choices offered in “world cars” such as the Regal; At this point, the only way we can get our Regal on is with the sedan body and front-wheel drive, with the 2.4-liter four available first, the 2.0-liter turbo later, and, in 2011, the GS with a 255-hp version of the 2.0-liter turbo four mated to all-wheel drive. Manual gearboxes will also be part of the mix eventually.
Happily, according to GM’s Regal guru, Jim Federico, we are pretty well assured to get even more. First, in terms of additional body styles, it sounds like we’re going to get at least one, if not both, of the other Regal shapes, with the hatchback being the easiest to bring over from an engineering standpoint and the wagon being slightly more complex to federalize due to its Audi Q5–esque wraparound tailgate, but it’s hardly impossible. We’ve recently spied Buick-badged Insignia Tourers in Michigan, something Federico willingly acknowledges. “I’ve got a bunch of ‘em,” he said. Should either additional body make it stateside, the cars would come from GM’s German plant due to the low volumes they’d expect to build. (North American Regal sedan production is shifting from Germany to a plant in Ontario soon.) “We designed flexibility into the [Russelsheim] plant specifically for that,” he said.
Federico also suggested that, since wagons sell particularly well in the Snowbelt, that version would pretty much have to come with all-wheel drive. And since many wagon buyers also love diesel engines—Americans order a predominate number of their Jetta SportWagens with the TDI engine—Federico says one of the Insignia’s diesel fours would definitely be offered, though not until the motor is engineered to meet the strict new Euro 6 emissions regulations in 2012 or 2013. The required changes, which could include an exhaust-scrubbing urea-injection system, would in turn allow the motor to meet emissions standards in all 50 U.S. states.
As for something more, uh, stirring? Federico suggested that we shouldn’t be at all surprised to see the hallowed Grand National nameplate make a comeback sometime in the future, although he wouldn’t provide any more specifics. Don’t expect it soon, however. Buick has a lot on its plate, with an upcoming compact SUV and a Cruze-based sedan also in the works. “We’ve got a plan to move fast,” said Federico, “but carefully.”
By Steve Siler