Slowly but surely, Buick has been transformed. It all started in 2008 with the Enclave crossover, and it has continued with the LaCrosse, Regal, Verano and upcoming Encore. Buick has been one of the fastest growing brands at General Motors.
That is despite having just three competitive models during that time – Enclave, LaCrosse and Regal. Strong sales are thanks to the strength of the brand’s products. Years into its model-cycle, the Enclave remains a strong seller, as well as the LaCrosse, which has proven to be more capable versus the Lexus ES than anyone thought. A groundbreaking move with the LaCrosse for the 2012 model year was the standardization of eAssist technology.
Buick’s eAssist is a mild hybrid technology, and it boosts mileage by a significant amount. So far it is remained as a Buick-only option. The addition of the technology is powerful for advertising, and it enables customers to choose from two options at the dealer: fuel-efficient four-cylinder or V-6 power. They are both at the same price point.
Now for 2013, the Regal is adopting this same strategy. Up until now, eAssist has been available on the Ecotec 2.4-liter as a $2,000 option. For 2013, it will be standard equipment, with the V-6 being optional. It is a way to gain traction in the segment thanks to fuel economy, leapfrogging the competition. It also puts further space between Regal and the Chevrolet Malibu. The eAssist Regal will get 25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway. It isn’t clear how pricing will be impacted – GM hasn’t released figures for the 2013 model yet.
Also new is that the performance Regal GS will be available with a six-speed automatic as a no-cost option. These changes show a responsiveness to the market and a penchant for continuous improvement. Up next for Buick is the refreshed 2013 Buick Enclave at the New York International Auto Show in April.