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GM Cancels Plans For Luxury Plug-In Hybrid

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On: Sat, May 28, 2011 at 10:25AM | By: Tim Healey

GM Cancels Plans For Luxury Plug-In Hybrid

Sources are telling Automotive News that General Motors will drop plans to build a luxury plug-in hybrid using the Cadillac SRX crossover's platform. Apparently, the reason for the decision is that the company felt that the project was not financially viable.

The plan could be restarted using another platform, but sources told Automotive News that the engineers have been reassigned to other projects.

If the project had gone through, it would've shared a lot of its technology with that of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

Expanding the Volt's technology to other platforms within the company makes sense, and there are plenty of luxury hybrids on the market, so GM probably would've found buyers. For example, one of the SRX's competitors, the Lexus RX crossover, offers a hybrid model.

On the other hand, it's possible that the cost of the technology is still too high for the automaker, either in general or in relation to that specific platform. If GM couldn't find enough future buyers while surveying potential customers, it might have decided that the cost wasn't worth it. Indeed, it appears that the automaker knew that by the time the project was ready for production, the platform would be closing in on the end of its life cycle, thus adding to internal production costs.

Still, the company seems focused on electric vehicles, and the technology seems to work well in the Volt. We'd expect to see the idea come back to light at some point, perhaps on a different platform.

This is especially true if the federal government continues to raise fleet fuel-economy standards. High gas prices might also force consumers to drift towards alternative fuel technologies.

Much might depend on the initial success of the Volt itself. If the car does well, and if the technology is well received over time, there's a better chance of GM expanding its use in the short term.

Again, there is a chance that GM could resurrect the project. But if that happens, it might not be on the SRX platform.

Only time will tell.


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