It’s easy to look back on General Motors a decade ago and point to numerous areas where “good enough” served well. As of recent, that mantra has consistently sunk away into the depths of “Old GM,” as “New GM” puts out competitive products and notches up quality and customer care.
It’s why a report from The Detroit Free Press had us wide-eyed over Buick’s reported shortcutting of the Regal TourX’s tires. So the story goes, per the report, the all-wheel-drive versions of the 2018 Buick Regal Sportback and 2018 Regal TourX do not feature the Continental ProContact tires with the “ContiSilent” feature, while less-expensive front-wheel-drive cars fit them as standard. The assumption was “good enough” came back to haunt GM and Buick for its more expensive cars.
This feature helps give the Regal an ultra-hushed driving experience, thanks to a layer of foam glued to the inside of the tire. The simple solution reduces noise levels by 2 decibels, which can make or break Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” claim.
We reached out to Buick to gain insight into this decision and search for an explanation. Behold, there’s a story.
A Buick spokesperson told GM Authority that during final testing of the AWD Regal Sportback and Regal TourX—which arrives with standard AWD—engineers made the last-minute decision to fit the ContiSilent tires to the AWD models after noting their impressive performance to amplify an already-hushed ride.
Regals fitted with AWD house a 5-link rear suspension, while FWD cars feature a 4-link rear suspension. The latter is inherently louder, which meant engineers sought the ContiSilent tires to remedy the situation for FWD cars. With the tires, FWD Regals met Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” threshold, while the 5-link suspension on AWD models had already passed engineers’ targets for quietness.
What Buick is really doing is being proactive, not shortchanging consumers.
The last-minute decision to add the ContiSilent tires to the TourX and AWD Sportback models means the very first cars at dealerships will not feature them, but not for foul reasons. The Regal TourX’s tires also measure in at a different size with a taller sidewall, which in turn, caused Buick to actually relocate tire production to a facility that can handle the increased output.
The Buick spokesperson told us all hands are on deck to get the quiet tires fitted to cars as soon as possible. Buick isn’t waiting for the 2019 model year, either, the spokesperson told GM Authority. AWD Regals with added foam for quietness will ship in just a few weeks.
If anything, the decision shows no one has pried a nail from “Old GM’s” coffin. Instead, it’s further proof that a proactive GM is alive and well.