BuickGMC General Manager -- and newly-minted head of GM's overall sales operations -- Susan Docherty, has confirmed that Buick's next U.S.
sedan model will resurrect the Regal nameplate. The automaker claims Regal still retains exceptional cache with buyers, even though it has not appeared on any vehicle here since 2003. Although Docherty's announcement contained no launch-date specifics, the impressively appointed mid-size four-door is expected to go on sale sometime in late 2010 or early 2011. Like its Chinese-spec cousin pictured here, the American-spec Regal would almost certainly be a rebadged and re-grilled version of the new Opel Insignia and offered in a front-drive configuration with the choice of four-cylinder and V6 power. However, the top-line European Insignia OPC variant does boast all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 285-horsepower/3.6-liter six, so that step-up also seems possible, even if not part of the initial lineup. The new Insignia, which is based on GM's Epsilon II global mid-size platform, was originally slated to make its U.S. appearance as the next-generation Saturn Aura. But when that division got scuttled, it made perfect sense to share this sophisticated Opel-derived package with Buick, which already uses a variation of the Epsilon II architecture to underpin its redesigned-for-2010 LaCrosse, a model that's slightly larger and certain to be somewhat pricier than the Regal-to-be. The return of the Regal also begs the question whether history might be inclined to repeat itself in the form of an ultra-performance GNX model. According to a recent statement by GM's CEO Fritz Henderson, while we can expect to see some interesting products in the division's future lineup, that particular variation on a Buick theme won't be part of the mix.