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.