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Buick Continues to Embrace Weird Cars

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Think of an automaker that offers a sportback, a wagon, and a hardtop convertible. We’d wager that your first guess wasn’t Buick, but that’s exactly what the brand has on its showroom floors and it’s not changing anytime soon.

“We want to fit into white spaces,” said Chris Hay, director of product and pricing at Buick. “We see uncrowded market segments and want to offer our own unique product.

The recently tested Regal Sportback features a body style that isn’t found anywhere else in GM’s North American brands. The same can be said about the Regal TourX wagon and Cascada convertible.

The TourX is an interesting car that’s kind of rare in North America. A premium wagon with raised suspension and all-wheel drive, it’s Buick’s attempt to step into Subaru territory. In fact, at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Buick’s booth was positioned right across from Subaru’s, and the Regal TourX strategically placed close to the Japanese automaker’s flagship offering.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback Review

The Buick Regal TourX goes head-to-head against the Subaru Outback, a car that’s virtually unchallenged in the marketplace. “With our car, buyers can expect a step up into something premium,” Hay said about how Buick’s car compares to the Outback.

Subaru sold more than 180,000 Outbacks in each of the past two years. It’s the brand’s best selling car, but Buick thinks that offering an attractive, premium alternative to the Outback is a winning solution. “Frankly speaking, we want a piece of that pie,” said Hay. 

He’s well aware that it’s a risky move and that the TourX serves a market that’s noticeably slim, but seems to be comfortable with that fact. “We’re now getting used to doing things that aren’t common in the industry,” he said.

He points out that other Buicks were unique ideas that flourished. He referenced the original Encore, which was an early option in the world of premium subcompact crossovers. The success of the Encore actually caught Buick off guard, and it’s one of the brand’s best selling cars every year.

Seeing trends across the world helps Hay figure out what can be successful in North America. Buick is one of the best selling premium brands in China, so the country has a wide variety of products in that we don’t get. Hay highlights things like a premium minivan and more hybrid options as interesting things that China has but America doesn’t. “If we get the sense of any demand in these segments, we can bring over something that has been offered in other segments,” he said.

As it stands now, Buick has one of the freshest lineups in the industry, with the oldest car they sell being the two-year young Cascada. Every other car the brand offers is either brand new or recently refreshed, showing just how nimble the brand has been when it comes to offering new cars.

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11 Comments

earl says:

Buick’s mistake is to only bring the Sportback to Canada…TourX please…

NormT says:

With Canada being more Euro-centric and Europe loving their wagons, I’m surprised that TourX would be there and not the Sportback. Too costly?

Bug S Bunny says:

Buick is desperately trying to shed the Buick stigma by selling “weird” cars. They would do much better to shed the Buick name altogether…the stigma goes with the name regardless of the cars.

John Thomson says:

“Granny” cars. But there must be a lot of happy grannies, so they’re either building solid cars, or the grannies are just stuck in a rut of brand loyalty.

NormT says:

Buick outsells most of the other luxury nameplates like Acura, Infiniti Jaguar, and Audi. Audi finally passed them in North American sales in 2017.

With the platform sharing from Chevy below and Cadillac above in the hierarchy, I’d say that GM has one hell of a cash cow and can do just about whatever they want.

Bug S Bunny says:

That might be news if Buick was a luxury brand.

Perry F. Bruns says:

As a wagon nut, I’ll seriously consider the TourX…and I’ve never seen Buicks as more than just badge-engineered Chevrolets, Vauxhalls, or Opels.

NormT says:

With turbo-4 in the Encore, Cascada, Verano, Envision, and Regals, you can definitely say that some of us that owned multiple Saab’s in the 2000’s are hooked on Buick. But Buick offers a very smooth and quiet ride. Something not all Saab’s offered.

AppleBerrySandwich says:

Wagons don’t sell – very niche product for sure.

Looks good though.

NormT says:

Do not tell that to Subaru.

Benjamin Hunting says:

Subaru doesn’t currently sell a single wagon, sadly. And I say that as the owner of two Subaru wagons. I think Volvo is the one keeping the wagon flame alive these days.