GM brings back the Buick Regal

The new model, which is slated to be unveiled in the U.S. next month, is already a hit in Europe and China.

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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

The 2011 Buick Regal.
Inside the Regal

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NEW YORK ( -- General Motors will bring back the Regal name on a new Buick car set to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

The 2011 Buick Regal will be smaller and sportier than the new Buick LaCrosse that went on sale this year. The new Regal is expected to hit the market in the spring.

"The Regal is the next chapter in Buick's transformation, and will expand the portfolio to include a sport sedan." said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick GMC. Docherty is also in charge of sales for GM.

To attract more fuel-conscious consumers, the Regal will be offered with only four-cylinder engines, either turbocharged or not. The base engine will be a 182-horsepower 2.4. liter engine. A 220-horsepower 2.0-liter engine will become available in late summer. The car is expected to get 20 mpg in city driving and 30 on the highway with the base engine, and 18 and 29 mpg, respectively, with the turbocharged engine.

Turbocharged versions will also have suspension settings that the driver can select, so that ride quality and handling can be tuned for either sportier driving or more comfort. The suspension system will also automatically adapt to driving style.

A proven winner

The Regal will be new to the American market but it's been on sale in Europe and China for more than a year.

In Europe, where most of the engineering work on the car was done, it's sold as the Opel Insignia. The Insignia car was named 2009 European Car of the Year.

In China, where it was introduced at the end of 2008, more than 64,000 have been sold, according to GM.

The Buick brand's enormous popularity in China was a major reason that GM cited when it decided to keep the brand even as it shut down or spun off brands like Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac.

GM recently reversed a decision to sell off a major part of its European Opel division. Instead, GM's board decided to keep Opel as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Regal's success shows why GM's decision to hold on to all of Opel was smart, said Kimberly Rodriquez, an auto industry consultant with Grant Thornton in Detroit.

"I don't think I know anybody in the industry who doesn't think that was a good move," she said.

Besides Opel's European sales -- Opel and it's British twin Vauxhall are GM's biggest selling brands in Europe -- Opel's engineering expertise is increasingly important for GM in markets around the world, as evidenced by the Regal.

The Buick Regals sold in the U.S. will be built in Opel's factory in Russelsheim, Germany. To top of page

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