GM's Blames Slow-Selling Hybrid SUVs on Low Profile

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

You may recall that GM recently blamed Saturn's rapidly sinking sales on the brand's " awareness problem." The spin that started there has spiraled over to GM's two-mode hybrids. Automotive News [AN, sub] earnestly reports that "so far, the word isn't getting out… Marketing to build awareness, and move the metal, has to be kicked up." Ah, that MUST be it! 'Cause… GM says so! "There's very little awareness that we even have these products," GM marketing maven Mark LaNeve tells an entirely credulous Jamie Lareau. "We're going to be constrained by battery availability, but we still think that we could work it up to 5 to 10 percent of our full-sized SUV sales." Constrained? As in "we can't get them?" To be fair (hey, it's Monday), AN points out that the mondo-expensive hybrid SUVs are a gigantic flop: they've sold just 1,540 Tahoe and Yukon hybrids compared to their 8k to 12k annual sales target. This may have a little something to do with it: "The top-end, four-wheel-drive Tahoe LT starts at $40,460. The hybrid starts at $50,490. The Yukon starts at $36,245 and the top-end, all-wheel-drive Yukon Denali at $50,380. The hybrid starts at $50,945. All prices include shipping." Ouch.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • KixStart KixStart on Jun 09, 2008

    Perkins: "Now, a tourque rich diesel would have fit these monsters much better (from a marketing and demographis standpoint)." That's Toyota's plan. ZoomZoom: "I’m curious, does LSD in this context stand for “Long, Slow Death?”" Why not?

  • SupaMan SupaMan on Jun 10, 2008

    Something tells me diesels were the way to go if GM wanted to market SUVs in the same sentence as efficiency. GM salesman: "So what if the top of the line Yukon only has 280hp? It has over 500lb-ft of torque to pull that boat ya got there!" Customer: "Where do I sign?"

  • Plat2095 Plat2095 on Jun 10, 2008

    Yes, it was a much better decision to put a true two mode hybrid system in a monster like the Yukahoe. And leave the better designed, and better driving, Malibu with an oversized alternator mild hybrid system.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jun 10, 2008

    Hmmm, Chevron owned Cobasys can't provide enough batteries for GM's piddly effort? Conspiracy, nah! And what is with the marketing guy complaining that nobody knows about his products? He has the biggest marketing budget in the entire automotive industry and is admitting he can't do his job! "You're fired!"