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GM Kills Plans for Buick CUV; PHEV Version Also Dead

The plug-in technology will change direction a second time, as GM originally planned to feature it in the Saturn Vue next year.

General Motors Co. says it will not build a 5-passenger cross/utility vehicle it planned for Buick, including a plug-in hybrid-electric version announced less than two weeks ago.

Tom Stephens, GM’s product development czar, says the auto maker arrived at the decision after showing the CUV to consumers, journalists and analysts over a 2-day product preview in suburban Detroit last week.

Stephens says reaction to an even smaller CUV, which GM marketers at the event called a “baby Enclave,” was more positive. That vehicle, drawing heavily from the luxurious Enclave large CUV, “did very well” and remains on track.

But the 5-passenger model, which was expected to ride on a version of the auto maker’s Theta Epsilon platform, gets the axe. So does the PHEV iteration, with Stephens saying GM will move the technology to another vehicle without delay.

That means the PHEV technology will change direction a second time, as GM originally planned it for the Saturn Vue next year.

Stephens calls the decision to kill the small Buick proof GM is listening and moving quickly. But dealers are shocked and disappointed.

Russ Shelton, president of Shelton Pontiac Buick GMC in Rochester Hills, MI, learned of the news in an email.

“I had to read it three times,” Shelton tells Ward's. “I couldn't believe it.”

Meanwhile, the sudden turnaround worries him. “We need a very clear-cut direction of where we’re going with Buick-GMC, because that's all we're going to have left to sell," Shelton says.

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TAGS: Vehicles
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