The Holden Commodore and Opel/Vauxhall Insignia are dead, but the Chinese triplet that survives them is getting another update.
The Chinese-market Buick Regal – a sedan version of the defunct ZB Commodore and Insignia that’s produced by the SAIC-GM joint venture – is getting a dramatic new front end design.
The updated Regal will reach Chinese showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year.
Buick has been rolling out this bold new chrome grille design across all its vehicles, seemingly harkening back to some of the American brand’s dramatic maws from the 1950s.
As with mid-life updates for models like the Encore GX and Envision, the Regal has received much more extensive changes up front than at the rear – other than minor tweaks to the tail lights, the updated Regal appears unchanged down back.
Buick hasn’t released any images of the interior, though we’re not expecting major changes here.
Under the skin, there are no changes. The Regal will continue to be powered by a choice of two engines: a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 124kW of power and 250Nm of torque, and a turbo 2.0-litre with 174kW and 350Nm.
Both are mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
General Motors axed the Australian-market ZB Commodore in December 2019, just months before it shuttered the Holden brand entirely. It also discontinued the North American-market Buick Regal around the same time.
The Opel Insignia entered production in 2017, the same year GM sold Opel to Groupe PSA which later became Stellantis. The German-built model therefore was destined to have a short life in GM’s line-up; it was the last Opel developed under GM ownership.
Opel ended production of the Insignia hatchback and wagon in 2022.
An earlier report in Auto Express indicated the Insignia would be replaced in 2024 by an EV with an Outback-style raised wagon body as part of Opel’s plans to be an all-electric brand in Europe by 2028.
While the axing of the Opel leaves the brand without a passenger car larger than the Astra, Buick in China will still offer the Regal plus the larger LaCrosse sedan.
The latter is another example of a vehicle living on in China but being discontinued elsewhere. China is Buick’s largest market by far, having overtaken the brand’s home market of the US back in 2006.