GM CEO Fritz Henderson May Not Like Badge Engineering, but, Well . . . Plug-in Hybrid Buick Crossover

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

“General Motors’ plug-in hybrid technology will be introduced in a new Buick crossover vehicle in 2011, Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman of product development, announced here today during the Management Briefing Seminars.” Did someone get paid to write that sentence? I prefer this “free” one from TTAC commentator MR42HH: “Slapping a Buick badge on a Korean engineered CUV with faux Opel styling is a good idea? To my eyes, this is pure ‘Old GM’ badge engineering mania. It’s the ‘Buick Opel by Isuzu’ all over again.” Did someone say Saturn Vue to a kill? No? So what’s the official explanation for adding another crossover—albeit one with a cord (so not a Cord)—to Buick’s moribund lineup?

The new five-passenger crossover will build on the success of the Buick Enclave, offering the brand’s finely crafted execution and premium driving experience in a fuel-efficient package.

“Some customers who have been drawn to the Enclave were looking for something a little smaller, but they didn’t want to give up craftsmanship or a quiet ride to get there,” said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “We believe this new Buick will excite those customers, and will continue to broaden the appeal of the brand.”

So the Enclave is too BIG, not too expensive? Which movie contained the ironic tag-line “I’ll buy that for a dollar”? Like that.

Oh, by the way. Not a Volt.

The Buick plug-in hybrid will use the same manganese-spinel based chemistry and polymer battery cells as the Volt. The 8 kWh battery—containing half the energy of the Volt battery pack—will be packaged in a rectangular-shaped box under the cargo floor.

On the road, GM’s 2-Mode plug-in hybrid system can use any combination of electric or gasoline engine power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions. This differs from GM’s Voltec technology, which provides the Volt with up to 40 miles of emissions- and petroleum-free electric-only propulsion, and an overall range of more than 300 miles with its flex-fuel engine-generator.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Dwford Dwford on Aug 06, 2009

    Buick get this because most Buicks in China are just re-badged Opels and Korean cars anyway, so this fits right in. Where does this fit in with the spy photos of the small Buick crossover we saw a while back? Are they the same, or will they be sold together? And isn't GM still going to produce the Vue for Saturn for a couple more years? If so, why take the design back only to slap a new grill on it? And why do I keep asking these stupid question?! This is GM we are talking about.

  • Njoneer Njoneer on Aug 07, 2009

    Buick DejaVUE