GM Kills Plug-in Buick Crossover
Two weeks after announcing that it would be using the plug-in technology originally intended for the Saturn Vue in a new compact crossover that would wear a Buick badge (pictured at left), General Motors abruptly pulled the plug on both the conventional version of this vehicle slated for 2010 and the plug-in hybrid variant that was due for 2011. Official word on this surprise demise came down from GM's Vice Chairman Tom Stephens writing on GM's FastLane blog.
"The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn't fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick," said Stephens. "We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover."
Some of this negative feedback consisted of tweets -- short messages posted on the social networking/micro-blogging website Twitter -- that called out the crossover's barely-disguised Vue origins. One of our own KBB editors that saw the vehicle first-hand tweeted that it should be called the "Vue-ick" since it "still looks like [the] Vue, with a touch of Buick." And they didn't mean that in a good way. In fact, the public and press' dislike of the crossover was so universal that GM management discussed its future right away.
"And what we decided to do in response is a good example of the essence of the new General Motors... acting quickly, and boldly, and listening to feedback from customers, employees, dealers, media and just about anyone else with an opinion," said Stephens. "Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn't belong, it didn't belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we'll discuss in the very near future."
Stephens did indicate that the second small Buick crossover internally dubbed "the baby Enclave" will remain in the division's future lineup.