By on November 13, 2009

how well has this timeline worked out?

Crank up production of the big green Hybrid stickers, ’cause the Regal is going to sport some serious hybrid regalia. No less then two of GM’s raft of hybrid systems may find their way into the Opel/Buick. gm-volt.com cites a report in Ward’s Auto [subscription] that GM will start production of an updated version of their not-even mildly successful mild-hybrid belt/alternator/starter BAS system in late 2011. The current version of that hybrid in name only system was available on the Malibu, but its economics compared to the four cylinder/six speed automatic made it irrelevant, as in canceled. But this new version has a plus symbol attached, so its going to really fly this time:

The new BAS+ has a 120 V li-ion pack, so it takes up less space and has 33% more belt yanking ability. But that’s not all: The Regal’s line director, Jim Frederico, told Ward’s that the Regal is just the right size to also host the upcoming 2-mode transverse plug-in drivetrain as well. You haven’t forgotten about that one yet, have you. It’s the one that was intended for the Saturn VUE. After the VUE’s demise, GM said it would have its second coming in a similar-sized small Buick SUV.  Negative public feedback killed that plan stat, and GM has been mum about where the drivetrain would re-appear. Since  Buick is going to take on Lexus and California, it’s going to bring its HS 250 killer to the hybrid shootout.

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25 Comments on “Buick Regal To Get Doubly Hybridized...”


  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    Pointless. If Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all failed to move hybrid versions of their volume sellers, what makes GM think the Regal will be any different? You’d think they would’ve learned after their parade of flops with the Green Line Saturns and hybrid GMT900s. What was that quote about insanity being repetition of the same choices?

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    Hey GM, here is an idea: Why don’t you develop a full hybrid system like Toyota’s or Ford’s? Maybe then, people will start buying your “hybrids”.
     

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    “Since  Buick is going to take on Lexus and California, it’s going to bring its HS 250 killer to the hybrid shootout.”

    Worse than bringing a knife to a gun fight…..maybe akin to bringing a water pistol to a gun fight.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    I thought Buick was only interested in the China market. Now they’re going to take on Lexus, and California with a "pick your favorite tpye of hybrid system"? 

    I think what they still have too much of at GM is dual-mode hubris.

    Wish I could buy some of that stuff they’re smoking for my Friday night fun. Or not. It seems to kill brain cells.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The current version of that hybrid in name only system was available on the Malibu, but its economics compared to the four cylinder/six speed automatic made it irrelevant, as in canceled. But this new version has a plus symbol attached, so its going to really fly this time:
     
    To be fair to BAS, it, like Honda’s IMA and Mercedes’ whatever-they-call-the-S400′s-system, are decent, simple, low-cost ways to boost the mileage of any car.  The problem is that both Honda and GM have pitched them (and charged for them) as Prius-equivalents, which they’re not.
     
    I’d certainly be interested in a car that’s nicely appointed and not too expensive, and packs a hybrid drivetrain.  I don’t know if I’d buy a GM car (because I don’t trust that GM will be around) but the concept is reasonable.
     
    But that’s not all: The Regal’s line director, Jim Frederico, told Ward’s that the Regal is just the right size to also host the upcoming 2-mode transverse plug-in drivetrain as well. You haven’t forgotten about that one yet, have you. It’s the one that was intended for the Saturn VUE.
     
    It’s also the system from the GMT900s.  It’s not a bad system, either.  It’s easy to integrate and handles high-torque applications quite well.  It’s also very efficient.  It’s problem is that it’s very hard to package, what with starting life as a bus transmission, and I’m surprised to see that it’s finally able to be installed in a passenger car.
     
    Since  Buick is going to take on Lexus and California, it’s going to bring its HS 250 killer to the hybrid shootout.
     
    Not with a BAS-equipped Buick, they’re not.
     
    This is where it all falls apart.  It will take five years for people to consider Buick as a viable competitor to Lexus (heck, some people don’t consider Lexus a viable competitor to Mercedes yet). The hubris inherent in the very idea is astounding, but it’s also typical of GM: no matter how addle-brained a concept, as soon as GM executives make a pronouncement, somehow they think their word is law.  They really haven’t gotten the memo that they’re not kings of the world anymore, nor have they been since 1990.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      psarhjinian, the BAS is NOT like Honda’s IMA or MB’s system, by a long shot. The BAS is a motor/generator that replaces the alternator on the serpentine drive that gives very mild assist; Honda and MB have a substantial motor integrated into the driveline, which can supply substantial assist and complete (but limited) EV mode. Big difference. The Malibu BAS simply didn’t deliver any meaningful mileage difference to the regular four cylinder with the six speed; which is why they ditched it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Ok, I’ll give that there’s a difference in where the motor is placed, but the end result and design intent for both is the same: they assist the gas engine and garner a bit more efficiency by mildly managing the powertrain and (mostly) by recapturing energy lost to braking or coasting.
       
      I think you’re overstating how capable to Honda system is.  Not even the Insight can be run on electric power except in circumstances that are hard to reach.   It’s theoretically possible for Honda to put a bigger motor in there, but the whole point of IMA (and BAS) is to have something small, inexpensive and easy to adapt to existing powertrains.

    • 0 avatar
      SkiD666

      Well going from 10 – 15% fuel economy improvement with BAS to 20 – 25% improvement with BAS+ has to help with CAFE numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I think you’re overstating how capable to Honda system is.  Not even the Insight can be run on electric power except in circumstances that are hard to reach. 

      You are underestimating the Honda system. The design is such that it is integrated into the driveline so that it cannot be decoupled. This does not allow “electric only” operation like the Prius. If you have driven a Prius, “electric only” is of very limited especially if you don’t have the button like EU and JDM spec Priuses. You are judging it all on that one feature.

      An electric motor integrated into the flywheel is of far more use than one driving an accessory serpentine belt on the other side of the crank.

      However I believe every car should have a stop/start system so the GM BAS system is pretty much it.  They should just put that in every new car they make and not pass it off as Hybrid.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Maybe they should focus on building cars people want to buy, not what the government says they want to buy.  What will a hybrid Regal cost, $30k, at least?
    At least Chrysler had the good sense to kill their hybrids.
    I’m becoming convinced GM has a death wish.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      Just now becoming convinced? It’s still the same old GM mentality up there in Detroit, and until that changes, they are hell bent on running this ship into the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Just up there in Detroit? Man, it’s all the way up there in the White House.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      @wsn; So very true. The White House had the chance to correct it and failed. Even under the (not so) watchful eye of the U.S. Government, the same mistakes are being made and are then sold to the public as innovation. Note to GM, the buying public is smarter than you think they are.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “GM will start production of an updated version of their not-even mildly successful mild-hybrid belt/alternator/starter BAS system”

    More like a “hype-brid”, runs on gasoline and marketing bullsh*t.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Many here seem to forget that what doesn’t make sense today may make a lot more sense as the CAFE standards change.  The auto makers will end up scratching for every mpg improvement that they can find. ie. hybrid Buicks, diesel BMWs, smaller everythings…

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    re: sitting@home, +1 for “hype-brid”!

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Buick taking on Lexus? Hah. I can’t believe TTAC isn’t calling GM on this one more often. They’re talking the same game they’ve always talked, and playing the same game they’ve always played. The LaCrosse is marketed against the ES350 at introduction, but within a year the volume seller will be a four cylinder model with cloth seats and steel wheels that’s really competing with the Camry – or worse, relegated to rental duty. If they actually wanted to compete with Lexus, they would actually be making focused near-luxury cars, not fleet queen specials.
    They’re talking a good game again with the Regal, but no details have been announced on the lower trim levels that will be available when production shifts to the US. I’m guessing that it will really be competing with the Corolla, or at best the Jetta. The hybrid systems could be an interesting differentiator for upper-level trims, but they won’t get anywhere as long as they’re trying to sell them as luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Brain, agreed. The “LaCrosse vs ES350″ stuff is just like a high school boy claiming to have dated Megan Fox, while in fact he couldn’t even find a GF in his own school.
      I suppose that GM did that to save face. If they simply compared the LaCrosse to the Camry and lost, it would be embarrassing. But if they take on the ES, it’s predictable and becomes OK.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Perhaps one should go see the vehicle and the reviews it is getting.  The LaCrosse is very good and competes very well to the ES.
      You also seemed to uninformed about the Regal, but I guess that is because you only read TTAC.  It won’t compete with the Corolla or Jetta.  They haven’t announced the details b/c production for the lower level trim is over a year away.  Why should they talk about stuff that is likely to change in a year?
      Oh, and TTAC calls out GM at least 3 times a day.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      Steven02, It’s the same trick that GM has played multiple times in the past. The press fleet models are top trim levels. I can’t find one review of a base, four cylinder, cloth seat, steel wheel CX model. Once again, if this is really an ES competitor, what are they doing making a model that competes with the Camry? Or which is destined for rental duty in massive quantities? It’s the only reason I can think of for the existence of the CX model at all.
      They’re doing it again with the Regal. It comes with a high level of standard content now – because they want to limit the number of trim levels they’re exporting from Germany, and they need to maximize selling price in order not to be a complete loss on the exchange rate. But this is the top trim level, CXL. What will the Regal CX look like?
      I think this fairly clearly demonstrates why the talk of Buick competing with Lexus is just BS. GM obviously knows better with Cadillac: you can’t get a CTS in a fleet-queen special configuration; even the base model is very well equipped. They know that offering a stripped base model would just dilute the brand, and Cadillac can’t take much more dilution. Obviously they’re not serious about making Buick into a near-luxury competitor. If they were, they would match or beat the level of standard content trim-for-trim with the competition. Instead, they’re playing the lowest-price game, which is the same game that Hyundai played when they talked up the Veracruz as a RX350 competitor. Nobody who wasn’t paid to (*cough* Motor Trend) took that seriously.

  • avatar

    Since Buick sells only a 150,000 vehicles a year in the states most of what they do here is irrelevant. It is only a matter of time before they fade away in the North American market. Even Oldsmobile in 2000 managed to sell  300,000 cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      With the new models, GM will be increasing sales in Buick.  Remember, the luxury market isn’t that big.  Lexus last year only sold about 260,000 units.  While that is significantly more than Buick, is it less than what Oldsmobile sold in 2000, if your 300k number is correct.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    if  ( percentChinesePartsContent >= 0 ) {
    return “no thanks”;
    } else {
    return “I may think about it”;
    }


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