Lutz Hints at Price Points for Both the Two-Mode and Plug-In Hybrid Vues

To date Saturn's hybrid vehicles have been of the "mild" variety, but that's going to change in the next few months as the automaker prepares to launch a second Green Line Vue model with a hybrid system designed to leapfrog its competition.

While technologically advanced and effective, the current belt alternator starter (BAS) hybrid system found in the 2008 Saturn Vue and Aura Green Line has been a relatively inexpensive option for customers interested in going green without going broke. Saturn's low-cost system yielded respectable, but incremental gains in efficiency. Critics often point out that those gains pale in comparison to vehicles from Toyota and Honda with more expensive full hybrid systems. However, the true benefit of BAS hybrid powered Saturns only really becomes evident after looking at their quick return on investment compared to the competition.

Future Saturn hybrids will offer increased miles per gallon ratings, but at an increased price. Saturn will offer two new hybrid Vue Green Lines (bringing the total number to three) over the next couple of years, giving eco-minded customers an unprecedented number of options in the compact SUV class (or any vehicle class for that matter). Other Saturns – and General Motors vehicles – are rumored to follow suit shortly thereafter.

This coming fall, Saturn will begin to offer GM's two-mode hybrid system in its Vue sport-utility. A year or two later the brand will offer a plug-in version that will boost the Vue's fuel economy even higher. Up until now, specific cost figures for the new Vue hybrids have never been discussed by company executives, but last week LeftlaneNews.com talked with GM vice chairman Bob Lutz at the New York International Auto Show about their upcoming hybrid systems. During that conversation, Mr. Lutz offered some rough figures describing how much the company plans to charge for its all-new, state-of-the-art hybrid technology.

Leftlane reports that Lutz said, "the two-mode hybrid system will add about $8,000 to $9,000 to the price of the Vue, with the plug-in technology adding another $8,000 to $9,000 on top of the cost of the hybrid system." He told the online auto blog that the plug-in Saturn Vue will have a sticker price of "about $48,000."

That's a significant jump over the price of today's BAS hybrid Vue, but the five-passenger sport-utility will be able to travel 40 miles on electric power alone and deliver an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of about 60 mpg. If gas prices surpass the $4 per gallon mark that Americans are predicted to see this summer, $48k might not actually be that expensive after all.

Source: LeftlaneNews.com

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