Autos

GM axes Buick Regal as consumer demand continues shift to SUVs, crossovers

Key Points
  • GM will discontinue the Buick Regal in the U.S. and Canada, leaving the brand with nothing but SUVs in its domestic lineup.
  • The move marks a major shift for Buick, which has been known for its passenger cars for more than a century.
  • U.S. sales of the Regal through the third quarter were 11,008 vehicles, down 19.6% from a year earlier.
2019 Buick Regal GS
Mack Hogan/CNBC

DETROIT – General Motors will discontinue the Buick Regal in the U.S. and Canada, leaving the brand with nothing but SUVs in its domestic lineup.

The move marks a major shift for Buick, which has been known for its passenger cars for more than a century. It's the latest example of how much consumer demand in the U.S. has moved away from passenger cars to crossovers and SUVs in recent years.

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GM confirmed on Wednesday it will stop importing all models of the Regal, including a new wagon version, however it declined to give a specific time frame. Once gone, it will mark the second time since the Regal debuted as a model of the Buick Century in 1973 that the company has axed the nameplate in the U.S.

U.S. sales of the Regal through the third quarter totaled 11,008 vehicles, down 19.6% from a year earlier.

Shares of GM were up roughly 1% Wednesday. The stock, which has a market value of about $51 billion, has gained 7.5% this year.

Buick Regal Tour X
Source: Buick

"Buick continues to be ahead of the consumer shift toward SUVs," the company said Wednesday. It added, nearly 90% of Buick sales to date this year have been SUVs.

GM said it will continue to sell the Regal, which was redesigned for the 2018 model-year, in China "where demand for sedans remains significant."

The current-generation Regals for the U.S. and Canada are being imported from Germany and produced by GM's former European operations, which the company sold to French automaker PSA Group in 2017.

(L-R) Carlos Tavares CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroen, Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann CEO of Opel Group and President of General Motors Dan Ammann, shake hands during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 7, 2017.
Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters

The Regal is the third car nameplate that Buick has cut from its lineup in the past year. It also discontinued the Buick LaCrosse sedan and the short-lived Cascada convertible.

To assist in filling Buick's lineup, the company previously announced it is adding another SUV called the Encore GX, which is expected to go on sale next spring.