Hybrid Trucks, Who Are They Good For ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid Trucks, Who Are They Good For

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hybrid Trucks, Who Are They Good For

It's a bias I have. I don't see any real use for hybrid trucks and SUVs like the Silverado, Yukon, Sierra or Tahoe. I do get the appeal of the Escalade Hybrid, an upscale SUV built for the show-stoppers made 'greener' to help project an image the buyer wants. Yes, he or she is driving a monster SUV with all the 'bling' but he or she still cares for the environment.

Verizon buys 576 Hybrid Silverados: USA Today, Nitrobahn, GM Press Release.

But I never understood who GM could market the Silverado to. In my mind, the person buying a large truck built for construction sites or towing isn't all that interested in how fuel efficient the car is. At least, not if it's going to make the truck even more expensive. In fact, so expensive the initial cost outweighs the fuel savings. Small business owners have a small profit margin they need to keep a very careful eye on short term savings. If they could take the long view (5-10 years), they could count on the fuel savings adding up. And sure, if gas went up to $6 or $7 a gallon, you could make the argument. But until then?

So I wasn't surprised when Chrysler gave up on the Aspen and Durango Hybrids built with the same two-mode hybrid system used in the hybrid SUV and trucks built by GM. I was shocked by how quickly they gave up on them. Two months was not enough time to give to any product they had spent years developing. But as we entered the recession, I'm sure Chrysler executives looked at it as the smartest move. Not throwing more money into what may have been good for the image, but bad for the bottom line.

But GM may have changed my mind about all of this. With the Verizon deal in place, GM may have found the perfect place to sell their hybrid trucks and SUVs. Large fleet customers, who are interested both in long term fuel savings and the image it presents. They can afford to own their trucks for 10 or more years, have a dedicated team to maintain it, and are sure to see the long term cost benefits. And in the short term, they can let everyone know how they are making a difference today to reduce their oil and gas usage by buying hybrids even though they're more expensive to purchase.

So, look for more deals like this in the future from GM. This is the way for them to go forward.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

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