The complex saga of GM’s 2-mode plug-in SUV continues to take new turns.
The program was initially announced in 2006, six months before the Volt, and was supposed to beat it to market as a plug-in Saturn VUE. When Saturn was sold off to Penske, another host vehicle was needed.
GM then announced it would be reborn in the body of an upcoming unnamed compact Buick crossover and a teaser image was revealed to the public.
At the GM 230 event, members of the media and public, including myself were given a preview of full scale models of many of GM’s upcoming vehicles. Included among them was this Buick compact crossover.
I didn’t mind the look of it. It seemed a conservative if somewhat uninspired rebadging of the VUE with the addition of the classic Buick waterfall grille.
Apparently GM’s plan for the event was to take our actual feedback to make some decisions.
According to GM vice chairman Tom Stephens, “The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.”
As a result of this, he went on to write:
Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we’ll discuss in the very near future.
So there you have it, the plug-in Buick has died before it was born, and once again we are left wondering which SUV will get the plug.
The basic engineering architecture is a 3.6 L DI engine, two 55 KW electric motors, and an 8kwh lithium pack which orchestrated together via complex transmission and software controls should allow double the fuel economy of a standard gas version compact SUV.
The car is still slated for production in late 2011, regardless of its host.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Buick, PHEV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.