GM Crossovers: Hybrids, Consolidation Off the Table For Now

Traverse1

With Chevrolet receiving the fourth of GM’s large crossovers — it’s called the Traverse, and it joins the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave in the lineup — GM has some options on the table. Is there room in the market for all four models? Could a version of the company’s two-mode hybrid system make its way over? With Toyota and Dodge now offering four-cylinder drivetrains in their competing crossovers, will GM follow suit?

We spoke with Sue Wilson, vehicle line director for all four crossovers, at a Chicago-area media event for the Traverse yesterday. Wilson said she’s unaware of any plans for a hybrid version of any of these crossovers, echoing reports last January and more recently that GM is still a ways off from a two-mode hybrid crossover of this size.

What about smaller engines?

Toyota recently announced plans to boost mileage with a four-cylinder option in the 2009 Highlander, and Dodge already offers a base four-cylinder in the three-row Journey, though both of those vehicles are smaller than GM’s four crossovers. Wilson demurred, pointing to the efficiency of the Traverse’s direct-injection V-6 — it gets 19 mpg in combined city/highway driving — and said she’ll be interested to see how the four-cylinder Highlander performs. (Toyota promises it delivers “strong response at all engine speeds.” We’re just as interested to find out for ourselves.)

There’s been some speculation — most recently in Automotive News — about the future of the Traverse’s siblings. The Saturn Outlook has come under particular scrutiny: While its GMC and Buick siblings are selling well, the Outlook’s year-to-date sales are down 20%.

Wilson, however, is adamant about its future: “There is room for all four,” she said. “If you’re a Saturn customer and you’ve grown in that Saturn family, [the Outlook] is a good vehicle for you. It’s a growing segment. We now have four entries; we have the best four entries.”

By Kelsey Mays | September 12, 2008 | Comments (9)

Comments 

Al

Asides from the Enclave, I think the Outlook has a much nicer interior than the Acadia and Traverse.
The problem with Saturn is their no-haggle policy. I think this is now working against Saturn.

segfault

What are they smoking? Too many dealers, too many brands... Four crossovers with the same footprint and powertrains on the same platform is too many. They're competing with each other!

YOING

Four identical vehicles, way to go GM. So much for Lutz promise to get away from badge engineering.

- 4 Lambdas (eight if you include the now defunct Uplander junk minivans that these are based on)

- Malibu/G6/Aura/9-3

- 7 different Trailblazer clones (3 of them with EXT versions)

And soon there will be 5 Thetas - Vue/Equinox/Torrent/SRX/9-4x (not forgetting the Suzuki XL-7)

Yup, rebadging is alive and well at the General. Just like old times huh?

It becomes just plain laughable sometimes when you look at just how clueless this company has become and the downward spiral of death just keeps getting faster and narrower

JM

badge engineering is different than platform sharing. the vehicles based upon the Vue are not just simply rebadged versions.

Check your facts before posting misinformation.

J

Well, well, well...
Guess GM didn't learn a damn thing from their sextuplets of mid-size SUV.
The TrailBlazer, Bravada, Envoy, Rainier, Ascender and the 9-7X
Also the Uplander, Relay, Terraza and Montana SV6 quadruplets.

Now they have to repeat their own stupidity again?

Passer-by

Saturn just needs to be put out of its misery. The Astra is not selling. The VUE is extremely inefficient both in fuel mileage and interior space. The Aura was dated, and made redundant, as soon as the superior Malibu was released. Now that the Traverse has been released, the Outlook will see a further drop in sales. The Sky (and the Solstice for that matter) are niche vehicles. GM could make the Sky an entry level Cadillac and probably sell more than they do selling it as a Saturn.

Platform sharing is common across all manufacturers, not just GM. Ford has the Taurus/Sable/Taurus X/Flex, Fusion/Milan/MKZ, Edge/MKX, Escape/Mariner, Explorer/Mountaineer, etc. Chrysler has the Durango/Dakota/Aspen, 300/Charger/Challenger, Liberty/Nitro, Caliber/Compass/Patriot, Caravan/Town&Country

It's done by many automakers. GM is not doing anything wrong...GM's problem is they are maintaining too many brands. They need to get down to 3 brands and concentrate on marketing those 3 brands and making the products even better. The CTS, Malibu, and G8 demonstrate that GM can make class-leading products. They need to continue to do so instead of trying to keep slow selling brands on life support.

JM

its not that GM has too many brands, its just they they have made them too similar.

Chevrolet is good as-is. its a good place for "middle ground" between the other brands. they could get rid of the SS trim on some vehicles like the Trailblazer, Impala, and the Sport trim on the Equinox.

GMC should stay, and provide more upscale versions of SUVs and trucks (like it does), but with unique features not available on Chevrolets (Envoy XUV comes to mind, its just an example). It should also have some of its own models not shared with Chevy.

Cadillac is also good as-is. the new SRX that is shared with the 9-4X is ok, for both could appeal to different audiences. the Escalade seems to stick out like a sore thumb, but mostly because of its name...all of the other vehicles have gone to 3 letter names (like most luxury brands...).

Buick is also good as-is, but to really bring in more cusomers they really need to get some more efficient engines. Buick is trying to shake its image as a boat-brand, but these slow and inefficient engines (3.8l V6) are not helping. they could really use a nice big coupe though.

Pontiac should focus on performance, like its original intent. it can share platforms with Chevy's, but everything needs to be sport oriented. the Torrent is OK in GXP trim, but the regular trim is still to much like the Equinox.

Saturn should be the bargain brand again. like Kia is to Hyundai. it should sell lower-priced platform mates of Chevy's. that is not to say, that it needs to be the econobox brand of the bunch. the vehicles can still be decent, but they should be for those looking for a new car bargain or who could not afford a new car otherwise.

Saab should be allowed to design its own vehicles. the 9-3 and 9-5 are good vehicles, but they desperately need to be redesigned to make them competative with Volvos.

HUMMER doesnt really seem to have a place anymore. it kindof competes with Land Rover, but Land Rover is a much more competent brand. the H3 needs to be redesigned to become lighter, roomier, and more efficient if it wants to compete with the LR2.

also, it is alright if one or two brands share a similar product, but not the six or four that GM has going on now. If the SRX and the 9-4X are very similar, thets fine, as long as they offer different features that appeal to different buyers. if Pontiac wants a version of the Malibu, thats great, but it better be performance-oriented instead of the family-oriented Malibu.

cxv

Why not put in the 4 turbo from Saab?

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