Once ubiquitous, the mainstream sedan is inches away from death.
Sedan lovers in the United Kingdom were devastated this week when Vauxhall announced the Insignia sedan is no more. According to a company spokesperson, the traditional three-box design has no place in the company's future lineup: "In line with UK market trends, and a focus on our move to electrification, Vauxhall has decided to close customer ordering for the Insignia model with immediate effect."
This follows the discontinuation of the Buick Regal in the USA. The now-defunct Regal was, essentially, a rebadged Insignia and was culled not long after General Motors sold Opel/Vauxhall to the PSA Groupe. Vauxhall currently resides under the newly-formed Stellantis umbrella. Interestingly, the Opel-badged Insignia will live on in continental Europe. While the statement concedes that there's now a gap in the lineup, Vauxhall has said there are no plans to fill it.
Sadly, it's not the only midsize sedan to face the ax in recent years. The much-loved Mondeo was sent to its death in March last year, after nearly three decades of dominating the European sales charts. Like the Insignia, the Mondeo faced internal threats from SUVs like the Kuga (Escape to you and me) and other similar vehicles.
This trend rages rampant in the United States, where the Volkswagen Passat was also relegated to the automotive retirement village (the same happened in Europe). Aside from escalating demand for crossovers and SUVs, Vauxhall has big plans for the electrified future. With plans to have a fully-electric derivative of all models, it's very possible that the aging Insignia had to be cut for the British brand to achieve said goal.
Even though the Insignia-based Regal was discontinued quite some time back, it's still a lamentable state of affairs when a handsome, well-priced sedan is discontinued. Not everybody wants to drive SUVs or crossovers but, it seems that may be the only choice we have shortly, save for the luxury sedan segment. Still, there's a small chance the Insignia nameplate could return in the future as a fully-electric vehicle; Vauxhall will switch over to electric-only by 2028.
Whether it returns as a sedan remains to be seen, but we doubt it. Even the iconic Manta nameplate is returning as an electric SUV, so the Insignia is unlikely to retain its traditional body style. For those in the USA, a new Regal is expected in 2023. Not much is known about the newcomer, but we hope it captures the European style and driving dynamics of the previous model. If not, consumers might as well follow suit and purchase an Enclave.