Despite all the speculation, it seems GM is not interested in turning the Equinox into a Vue replacement. After deciding to sell Saturn, it was clear GM would not be following through with their plans to introduce the two-mode hybrid Vue.
There was a lot of speculation that GM would move instead try their full hybrid engine out on the Chevy Equinox, since the two CUVs share the same Theta Epsilon II platform. But that is not to be.
According to a Ward's Auto story,
"There are no plans for a hybrid at this point," Ed Peper, GM North America vice president-Chevrolet, tells journalists at a preview of the new Equinox here.Which is pretty clear cut. But there's a little more detail on why the Equinox has been taken out of the loop.
But Peper (Ed Peper, GM North America vice president-Chevrolet) pours water on the Equinox-hybrid speculation, saying fuel economy from the ’10 model’s new 4-cyl. surpasses what the auto maker could have achieved with a hybrid.
Front-wheel-drive models deliver 32 mpg (7.4 L/100 km) highway, which GM anticipates to be segment-leading, with a cruising range of more than 550 miles (805 km).
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Consumers aren’t terribly interested in paying the premium for a hybrid, especially if a conventionally powered vehicle delivers comparable fuel economy, Peper says. In the city cycle, the Equinox 4-cyl. delivers 22 mpg (11 L/100 km) with front-wheel drive.
GM is continuing to test the two-mode hybrid system using the Saturn Vue, however. GM wants to build a plug-in hybrid vehicle using the technology.
GM has said the two-mode hybrid system that was due for the Vue will be moved to another product. If the Equinox is out, then the question becomes what's in?
And with the Malibu Hybrid done along with the Saturn hybrids, what does that leave GM with? The oversized SUVs with the two-mode hybrid technology (Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade) along with their hybrid trucks (Sierra and Silverado). Those haven't been big sellers so far (combined sales under 1,000 units last month. In comparison, Ford sold 3,906 hybrids last month, while Honda sold over 4,800 and Toyota moved more than 14,000 hybrids).
I'd say GM had decided to stop competing in the hybrid field, but the Chevy Volt is still coming.