Buick Plans TO Use GM's Plug-In Hybrid Two Mode On New Crossover
June 15, 2009
The folks at GM-Volt.com, who obsessively follow the comings and goings of all things related to GM's alternative powertrain efforts, are reporting today that Buick will be the brand to receive the first application of the automaker's much-anticipated two-mode plug-in hybrid powertrain. Until recently, the technology has been showcased in the Saturn VUE, a concept version of which debuted at the 2008 Detroit auto show.
A variation of the two-mode hybrid system that is presently an option on several of GM's large SUVs, the plug-in version has been in the development stages since 2006. But with the impending sale of Saturn to Roger Penske's automotive empire, it is unlikely that GM would move ahead with its previously announced plans, which also included offering a version of the Vue with the base two-mode (pictured at left).
GM is insisting that it will forge ahead with its two-mode plug-in plans despite its precarious financial situation and the impending sale of Saturn to Penske. Speculation about which vehicle it would port the technology over to has centered on the new line of smaller utes including the new Chevrolet Equinox, Cadillac SRX and GMC Terrain.
But now, an as-yet-unnamed Buick crossover (pictured) -- teased recently in a CBS news report by GM design director Ed Welburn -- has reportedly emerged as the front runner, according to GM-Volt's sources.
The new Buick is said to be based on the same platform as the present-gen Vue, which means that it would essentially be a re-skinned Opel Antara. The move would make sense in that the underpinnings of the vehicle would not have to be altered. With an anticipated debut sometime in 2011, the report would suggest that GM is still planning to have plenty of synergy with its Opel operations, which are in the process of being sold. GM is angling to own some 35 percent of Opel after any sale.
So far, there has been no official word from GM. We'll have more on the future of this new baby Buick ute and its potential powertrains as it develops.
If true, is this a smart move by GM? Will it help Buick's fortunes?