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Buick introduces cheaper base models for Regal, Verano

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co.’s Buick brand is cutting the starting price on its 2015 Regal and Verano sedans by more than $2,000 each, by introducing two new 1SV base models. The automaker said the move helps it better compete and attract customers looking for bargains and value.

The move, reported by CarsDirect, a California-based online car-buying service, and confirmed by Buick, follows other base price cuts of up to $2,600 earlier this year by GM. The company previously added new L base models for the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox, a 1SV base model on the Buick LaCrosse and SL trim for the GMC Terrain.

“These new trim levels offer an opportunity to increase awareness and consideration of Buick vehicles,” Buick spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said in an email Friday.

The new Verano 1SV starts at $21,990 including destination fee, down $2,315 from the previous entry model starting price. CarsDirect says the 1SV trim on the Verano lacks satellite radio. It also lacks remote start, backup camera and Bluetooth that the next highest trim has.

A Regal 1SV will start at $27,990, which is down $2,925 from the Regal Turbo and is $830 cheaper than the starting price on the Acura ILX, according to CarsDirect. The Regal 1SV doesn’t have a turbocharged engine and instead gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec engine generating 182 horsepower, according to CarsDirect.

“The prospect of getting a well-equipped luxury car at a better value is attractive,” wrote Alex Bernstein, senior pricing analyst for CarsDirect.com, in a posting Tuesday on the website. “The Regal 1SV and Verano 1SV start thousands less than before, but each have their own trade-offs as a result.”

Bernstein said some shoppers might not like the less powerful engine in the Regal and dealers may not keep many Verano 1SVs in stock. He wrote that base models may not be eligible for incentives and said the lower sticker prices may cut into dealer profits.

Buick’s website shows the 1SV trim for the Verano, but does not for the Regal. Cusinato said the website is in the process of being updated to reflect the change.

Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm says the 2016 Malibu also will get a new entry level model, called the L. Production on the 2016 Malibu is expected to begin this fall.

Verano sales through April this year are down 15.8 percent and Regal sales are down 26.2 percent. Many buyers have bypassed cars amid lower gas prices and are buying SUVs and trucks.

Supply of the Verano at the beginning of May was 59 days and 73 days for the Regal, according to data supplied from LMC Automotive. Both are down from April 1, 2014, when GM had 140 days’ supply of the Verano and 82 for the Regal.

GM in March shut down production for a week at its Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, where the Verano is built, and in April idled production for a week at the Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario for the line that builds the Regal, among other cars.

A Cadillac spokesman said the luxury brand has not added and has no plans to add any new base models.