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Shanghai GM launches new Buick Regal in China

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SHANGHAI, China - 4 December, 2008: Shanghai GM launched a new model of its self-developed brand the Buick Regal today. Along with the Buick LaCross released earlier this year, the new Regal, basically a badge-engineered Opel Insignia, is expected to capture the lion’s share of China's medium-grade auto market.

The launch of the Buick Regal in 2002 is seen as a landmark event on Shanghai GM's auto-making road. As a model specially designed for the Chinese market, the elegant, comfortable, luxury Regal has been well received by Chinese customers as a best-seller of the joint venture. It has been a model of Shanghai GM to rival Accord, Passat and often topped the sales list in the medium-grade car market in China.

But in early 2008, its rival models had new-generation products on sale and this likely rendered the Buick Regal obsolescent. In order to maintain its leadership in the market of this model, Shanghai GM planned to make a new product of this brand, in addition to rolling out the Buick LaCrosse in mid-July this year. The Buick LaCrosse is the first mainstream eco-hybrid model for China's mid-grade vehicle segment.

The Buick Regal's new version, derived from or the European Opel Insignia, shares the Epsilon II platform with LaCrosse, but has slightly higher market orientation than the latter. GM simply popped out the Opel grille, got rid of the lightning logo and retrofitted Buick badging for Buick-loving Chinese.

The new Regal comes with a choice of two power-trains: a 164-hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine and 211-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, both with a six-speed manual transmission. The naturally aspirated four-banger has a leisurely 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds, while the turbo motor scoots to 60 in 7.8 seconds.

As a Chinese version of the renowned Opel Insignia, the new Regal of larger build, higher configurations, stronger power and more Chinese elements will remain to be a hot-selling model in the China market.

The new Buick Regal offers four editions with three different prices: 2.0L comfort at 179,900 yuan ($26,340), 2.0L elite at 199,900 yuan, 2.4L comfort at 199,900 yuan and 2.4L flagship at 245,900 yuan.