GM's Dual Mode Hybrid SUVs Are a Flop

Richard Chen
by Richard Chen

MSNBC reports on dismal sales of the overhyped Dual Mode Yukotahoe Hybrid, currently running hundreds of units per month. Given its $50k+ price tag and complete lack of wiggle room on price (especially compared to its non-hybrid counterparts), this comes as little surprise in the extremely price-sensitive US market. Unfortunately GM and their hybrid transmission factory, projected sales were 10-15k units this year. That's not quite as bad as TTAC's whipping boy (the Cadillac BLS), but underutilized capacity is a Very Bad Thing in this economic climate. What does this mean for the upcoming Saturn Vue Dual Mode Hybrid? It's estimated $30k price tag just might be the sweet spot. Or not. GM's losing ground in the hybrid SUV race on a daily basis. In the Yukotahoe Hybrid's price range, Toyota's already sold 5,553 Lexus RX 400h's this year. And in the Vue's venue, they've sold 8,889 Highland Hybrids. Even Ford is leaving them in the dust, with 7,132 Escape and Mariner Hybrids out the door since January 1.

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  • Gawdodirt Gawdodirt on May 21, 2008

    "The Allison unit is impressive, but GM hasn’t been able to scale it down to a small car (the smallest implementation that you can buy is the GMT900s). That should tell you something." Not true. I hear they have a very nice FWD unit ready to sell. And this article mentioned a Saturn Vue Dual Mode. So where did you get your info "The Prius is in its’ 11th year of production and I’d venture to guess there are many more of them on the road than the hybrid buses with no glaring faults." 8 yrs of "production" for the buses. And more people hauled than the sum total of Pious's, since they were used in Urban Transit detail. 12 years total for development and prototyping. I seached and found many Prius falts. Google it! "Prius Failures." Dumb question: Do you blow dry your hair in the shower?

  • Serpico Serpico on May 21, 2008

    Ah ya, price. No surprise here. If it was affordable, I would be interested. But this is just another dumb move by GM to overprice and show everyone we need to depend on oil. That it can't be done. Same thing with diesel. Whatever.

  • Galaxygreymx5 Galaxygreymx5 on May 21, 2008
    8 yrs of “production” for the buses. And more people hauled than the sum total of Pious’s, since they were used in Urban Transit detail. 12 years total for development and prototyping. I seached and found many Prius falts. Google it! “Prius Failures.” OK, I googled exactly that. What I came up with was a navi failure (same system used across the Toyota/Lexus lineup), a brake failure, and some quibbling about potential software failures. The end of the first page of hits culminated with some hypotheses of what "makes a project a success or failure," wherein the Prius seems to have been marked in the "success" column. That google term couldn't even come up with an entire page of Prius problems, which is impressive given that there's 1,000,000 people piloting these things. If there were problems to bitch about, I presume we'd see a lot of bitching on the intertubes. C'mon. The truth of the matter is that whether you love it or loathe it, the Prius and Toyota's hybrid setup in general have an exemplary record for initial and long-term quality, both from JD Power and Consumer Reports. The Prius has a high repurchase rate and a strong "would recommend to friends" rate, although I can't remember the source at the moment, but the study was used heavily in advertising. The car's been on the road since 1997 and I'd be willing to bet that there's been a lot more miles piled on Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicles since 1997 than have been accrued on the GM/Allison system (not to say that the GM system is bad). If I were putting my money on which manufacturer has the most experience with private hybrid vehicles and which system has more research behind it as it applies to my day-to-day driving routine, it sure as hell wouldn't be General Motors.
  • Jet1 Jet1 on Mar 29, 2009

    Anyone who takes comments like these negatives in to play when shopping new cars is foolish. I spent 3 months researching the hybrids and came to the conclusion that the GMC Yukon/Tahoe is the best bang for the buck out there. To that end i recently bought one, as so far (4k miles) it has been one of the very best cars I have had. I typically only drive foreign cars but decided that we ALL need to start backing AMERICAN products. I typically keep a car up to 10 years and this will probably be my last gas powered car as I think the future is hydrogen, but the infrastructure for that fuel is some years out so this is my way of preserving things. So far my new found faith in the American auto industry is pleasantly being renewed daily. Instead of going out and driving to work in your korean car, with your chinese suit on after eating on your vietnamese dining room table, you might want to re-think the whole game or soon you might just be carrying a chairman mao book around and being told what you can and can't do with every aspect of your life