Warren Brown on Escalade Hybrid: "I Am Questioning Their Sanity — and Mine"
Washington Post columnist Warren Brown shares his thoughts on last week's Escalade Hybrid (EH) press conference. Not suprisingly, Warren's aware that now my not be THE best time to be launching a $79k SUV– even if is less thirsty than its less expensive gas-only variant. Still, in the end, Warren joins GM in their luxury barge as it drifts down denial. "Big tricked-out SUVs… retain considerable market pull, even in a market where monthly fuel bills are beginning to rival monthly amounts due on vehicle finance notes. There appears to be a cadre of hard-core fans, influenced by needs real and imagined and guided by a passion for motorized might and luxury, who are keeping the big rides on the road and in the showrooms." Warren is happy to parrot GM's sales projections for the EH (say it like you mean it). "With 60,000 Escalade sales last year, Cadillac was the undisputed leader of the luxury SUV market. But even with its new Platinum and hybrid models, Cadillac will be lucky to sell 40,000 this year, GM officials conceded. But 40,000 is still good business." This from the same company that overestimated '08 U.S. new vehicle sales by some two million units– so far. And just in case you'd think that Warren would call GM on this turkey, no. "The 'hybrid' tag comes with a hefty price premium — $5,000 to $8,000 more, depending on the model. Will hard-core SUV buyers go for that? Maybe they will." For sure, they won't.
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