General Motors' team in attendance: Docherty, Welburn, Lutz to name a few, are a promising bunch. While it is uncertain how much longer Lutz will stay un-retired, he is always at the center of the media's attention. Docherty and Welburn are both very bright and personable people to interview. Ms. Docherty and I spoke about the Regal event, and she stressed how important it was for the event to be about GM's customers. Post bankruptcy GM has made a big effort to connect with buyers, whether at experiential marketing events, "Tweet Ups," blogger-only affairs and parties like the one held in Hollywood. The company's future plans are no longer the privileged information of media elites and financial analysts, but with the people who are actually going to buy the cars being shown.
In summary, how does the 2011 Buick Regal measure up? Since we have not been allowed to get behind the wheel, there is only so much we can surmise. However, the Regal's nearly twin sister the Opel Insignia has scooped up a nice chunk of automotive awards in Europe, so that is a good sign. As I had stated in the first part of this series, the Regal doesn't quite have the visual pizazz of the LaCrosse, but I happen to think the LaCrosse is the best looking sedan in its category, bar none. The turbo motor and adaptive suspension are promising and an even higher performance model is quite mouth watering. All of these new Buick's will cause buyers to at least consider the brand and as evidenced by the LaCrosse, conquest rates will rise as a result. Rome wasn't built in a day and Buick won't transform overnight but it now possesses a fighting chance and will no longer have to compete with Saturn for all the choice hardware. I could sense some of the ice thawing when I spoke to a BMW owner at the event. While the young buyer was not willing to give up his BMW 3 Series, he said he could see the Regal catching on with younger buyers. With China providing the greater chunk of sales, Buick will be allowed greater freedoms than US sales volume alone could ever support. That is nothing but good news for Americans who have a fond place in their hearts for the tri-shield brand. Now how about that Chinese Park Avenue?
This YouTube clip taken at the event shows off the 2011 Buick Regal.
General Motors covered my expenses to attend this event.