GM Pulls Plug on Buick Plug-in Hybrid

General Motors announced today that it has canceled plans for a Buick plug-in hybrid crossover. The company cited poor feedback from media, dealers, and consumers to the proposed model, which was unveiled only two weeks ago. Both the conventional and plug-in hybrid versions of the Buick crossover have been canceled.

General Motors vice chairman Tom Stephens, wrote on GM’s FastLane Blog: “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.” He added, “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.”

GM says it will use the plug-in hybrid powertrain for another vehicle that will debut in 2011. The plug-in hybrid system was originally intended for the Saturn Vue crossover, but those plans were canceled when GM discontinued the Saturn brand.


  • Barry

    Good move by GM. I hope they are finally learning that the word “hybrid” is synonymous with “economy”, and the use of hybrid tech to boost performance is an oxymoron.

    Now…I will further encourage them to refine the 2 mode system to make use of smaller engines, and then use them in utility vehicles (mini vans first, then maybe SUVs).

    Another interesting move may be to reduce the performance of the voltec and reduce the energy storage capacity and then use it in a hybrid-like compact or sub compact. I am imagining about 75% of the HP capability of the Volt, and at max 5 to 10 miles of electric only range. Target it for city commute. I imagine such a vehicle can sell for about 25K, which would put it in the range of current popular hybrid offerings, with comparable MPG. They may consider offering a plug-in version, but a lot of city folks don’t have easy access to an electrical outlet because cars are parked in garage complexes or street.

  • John Gartner

    Wow, at least GM is being decisive. I can only imagine how bad the feedback was. But if plug-in hybrids are a success, wouldn’t they eventually transfer the technology to larger sedans?

  • TD

    Decisive? Didn’t they first introduce the idea of a Buick crossover hybrid about 2 to 3 weeks ago? And the hybrid option was only on the version with the largest engine. Sounds like chaos as usual at GM.

  • Tdi

    I expect a documentary in a few years called “Who Killed the Plug In Car” Gm did.

    they already killed it twice as of today

  • Mr.Bear

    Remember Buicks sell better in China than the US. I’m guessing that market research really showed that the Chinese aren’t interested in hybrids.

  • Skeptic

    How long until the Volt is finally killed? Of course, you can’t kill something that doesn’t exist, can you?

  • Dom

    Well, at least they are listening to their customers and what the market wants. Interesting that their customers don’t want a plug-in hybrid… which is what the media and government are proclaiming as the savior of our future… or maybe they just hated the car regardless of the powertrain…

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Barry,
    There’s no reason not to use the “hybrid’ drive train to boost performance as long as it is done intelligently, using the electric part for the performance, not the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). Remember that with an electric motor, as one increases efficiency, one also increases the motor’s ability to produce torque. It is torque that is generally most associated with performance since that is what gives a car the fast acceleration. You also would only save a little on the cost of the electric motor by reducing its efficiency/torque.
    Of course, when you are accelerating fast, the car isn’t operating as efficiently as in normal sane acceleration.
    Reducing the battery size, while it will reduce the initial cost, may not reduce the overall cost much since that will put more cycles on the battery, thus meaning one will have to replace the battery sooner.
    Folks without access to an electrical outlet can certainly drive with gasoline only, until they find access to an electric outlet. Note that city dwellers generally don’t drive as many miles as single-family home dwellers so they aren’t such a big part of our energy consumption problem anyway.

  • James Butt

    I have been driving Buicks since 1947. Buick’s failure to build a hybrid will force me to shop elsewhere. Sorry,you have lost me-sounds like Lutz is spoiling things again.