The Regal TourX is a very nice wagon that Buick doesn’t want to call a wagon. But semantics aside, the automaker and its sales staff are pretty much clueless as to how to actually get new customers into these things.
With a starting price of just under $30,000, the TourX is supposed to be GM’s crack at stealing even a little bit of market share away from the Subaru Outback that pretty much dominates the rugged-lifted-wagon segment.
Now Buick may tell you that the Regal longroof actually competes against the Volvo V60, BMW 3 Series Sportwagen, and Audi Allroad, but that’s not quite accurate. Even though the TourX offers some luxury appointments, folks looking for an Audi, BMW, or Volvo are probably not cross-shopping Buick. However, buyers in the market for a Subaru may give it a look.
Other than auto journos and weirdos that like wagons, the general public barely even knows this car exists. I found one TV spot from two months ago, that includes a “handsome car buying man” and smaller versions of “handsome car buying man” talking about the stars.
I don’t know much about marketing, but that doesn’t seem terribly effective.
More importantly, GM is making zero effort when it comes to rebates and incentives. Here are the current offers via Buick’s website:
You can have up to $5,000 the tiny Buick Encore crossover, but if you want the TourX you are out of luck. According to one of my dealer contacts, the lease programs on the Buick aren’t great with a 45 percent residual, and that kind of depreciation drop will mean higher payments. Since the entire Regal lineup is designed to get folks from other brands to consider Buick, the fact that GM isn’t offering some kind of conquest or competitor incentive seems foolish.
It’s not just Buick corporate that is dropping the ball here—even on the dealer level things are pretty sad. I had a few recent clients looking for nice wagons and I made sure I put the new TourX on their radar. Most of them were pretty impressed after a test drive, but when it came down to actually get a deal, things fell apart.
A lot of Buick dealers were not cooperative when it came to actually give pricing and the numbers I did receive were pretty pathetic. Discounts were maybe a grand or so off the MSRP. In one instance I had a client who wanted to order a TourX, when they sat down with the dealer to do the paperwork, he said to them “I don’t know why you want to order this. No one is buying these cars.” Then he demanded a $1,000 non-refundable deposit and told them they must do a credit check at the time of order.
I’ve done dozens of luxury car orders and rarely do they require credit checks before the order is placed and the deposits are almost always refundable.
The Buick sales manager did an excellent job of not selling a car that day, and these folks ended up with a new Outback 3.6 at a substantial discount. While the TourX may offer a better “value” from an equipment perspective, Subaru corporate and its dealers seem to be much better at this whole selling cars thing.