GM: No Delay for Plug-In SUV

Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-In Hybrid

Kevin Krolicki from Reuters: General Motors is on track to launch a plug-in sport-utility vehicle in 2011 despite scrapping its Saturn brand as part of a sweeping reorganization in bankruptcy, according to the automaker's product chief. "I can tell you that I won't lose one day in terms of customers being able to walk into dealerships and actually purchase a plug-in," GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said in an interview. Last year GM also announced plans for a plug-in version of its Saturn Vue SUV that would carry a lithium-ion battery pack rechargeable at a standard outlet, reducing the need for gas consumption from its 3.6-liter engine. The Saturn Vue plug-in was being designed with the ability to be driven 10 miles on electric power alone. But GM's plans to launch the rechargeable SUV were complicated by a decision to drop the Saturn brand this year. Stephens said work on the plug-in technology behind the Saturn Vue remained on track. He said the vehicle that would replace the now-scrapped Saturn would be an SUV from one of GM's four remaining brands: Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.

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Future Models Will Give Saturn a 'Boost'

Saturn says it expects about a 10% increase in U.S. sales next year from the total expected for 2002, thanks to an updated and expanded lineup. Jill Lajdziak, vice president of Saturn Sales, Service, and Marketing, told reporters at a media preview for the new Ion line of small cars that Saturn is on track to set a new sales record this year, with sales of between 285,000 and 300,000 vehicles.