Buick raises forecasts for Regal TourX wagon

Buick now says the TourX could make up 50 percent of Regal sales.

SEDONA, Ariz. — In a marketplace that’s tiring of “old-man sedans,” can a station wagon really be the answer?

That’s what Buick is hoping with the 2018 Regal TourX, its first wagon in more than 20 years. Buick now expects that the TourX could account for as much as 50 percent of Regal sales in the normally wagon-averse U.S., up from earlier expectations of 30 percent, now the projected low end of the range.

“We’re pretty realistic about where the car market’s at, but we’re getting some pretty good feedback on it,” Phil Brook, U.S. vice president of marketing for Buick and GMC, told Automotive News during a media drive here last week. “We’re flexible enough that we can flex things up and down. That’s not a problem.”

Brook: “Pretty good feedback”

Brook’s optimism follows Buick’s repositioning of the Regal from a sedan to sportback and wagon models for the 2018 model year. The shift is an attempt to make Buick stand out in the crowded, yet declining, midsize car segment, where Japan’s big three automakers set the pace, and the Regal brings up the rear. Regal sales fell 42 percent in 2017 to 11,559 vehicles, while the midsize car segment shrank 16 percent, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Buick expects the TourX to attract buyers from the likes of Subaru, Audi and Volvo. Brook also sees owners of discontinued wagons such as Saabs considering the TourX. In early cross-shopping results, Edmunds reports consumers are considering the TourX alongside vehicles such as the Subaru Outback, Mazda CX-5 and the Regal’s own Sportback counterpart.

“It really is a head-turner,” Brook said. “We’re not an old-man sedan brand anymore. We’re very much a cutting-edge SUV brand with some really good sedans to back that up.”

Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis, said Buick faces a difficult challenge, noting the dismal record of wagonlike variants in the U.S., which have included such bombs as the Chevy Malibu Maxx and Ford Taurus X.

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