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Old 11-06-2003, 11:56 AM   #1
100KSW2
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Default G.M. Puts Off Its Hybrids, changes VUE plans

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http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/06/bu...06auto.html?th

Quote:

By DANNY HAKIM

Published: November 6, 2003


DETROIT, Nov. 5 - General Motors has delayed plans to sell a hybrid vehicle similar to the Toyota Prius by two years, until 2007, according to people close to the company's product development strategy.

That means that Ford, which plans to sell a hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle next year, will put a light-duty, Prius-style hybrid on the road about three years before its American rival.

G.M. has previously laid out plans to offer fuel-saving electric technologies as options on as many as a dozen models this decade, if the demand for such vehicles materializes. Most of the vehicles would reduce gasoline consumption 10 percent to 15 percent.
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The new plan for the Saturn Vue is to equip it with a small electric starter system that allows the engine to shut off at stops, as well as advanced transmission technology for overall fuel savings of 12 percent to 15 percent.
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:19 PM   #2
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Boooo! I was looking forward to it. I think they estimated it getting 40 miles per gallon! Saturn is getting left behind again. I hate not being the favorite child.

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Old 11-06-2003, 02:43 PM   #3
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looooosers. the 04 prius is 2nd-gen now. there was one at the toyota dealer the other day and they said they have a 6 month waiting list for them. at least the EV1 was a 'first'. but wait... it's gone now.

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Old 11-06-2003, 03:01 PM   #4
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The '04 Prius is 2nd-gen, but some parts are already 3rd gen. Similar over at the Honda camp. GM is getting way behind the ball if they keep pushing off their first generation. And as we all know they can do all the testing they want, but real-world (read: general public) testing is the best.

In the VUE forum discussion of this topic I pondered if GM is focussing too much on fuel cell and "easy" goals (displacement on demand, etc). Maybe what happened is that GM heard all the complaints about the VTi in the VUE and people upset for being test subjects that they wanted to avoid similar complaints. I hope not because 1.) I would love to be their test subject (to a limit of course) and 2.) makes you wonder if they doubt their technology that much.

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Old 11-06-2003, 03:22 PM   #5
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Let the other guys spend $ developing and educating the market. It took Microsoft Windows until 1995 to do what the Mac was doing in 1989. Which are you using to view this thread?

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Old 11-06-2003, 04:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Buck
Let the other guys spend $ developing and educating the market. It took Microsoft Windows until 1995 to do what the Mac was doing in 1989. Which are you using to view this thread?
This is a really bad analogy.

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Old 11-06-2003, 04:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Buck
Let the other guys spend $ developing and educating the market. It took Microsoft Windows until 1995 to do what the Mac was doing in 1989. Which are you using to view this thread?
It took Apple until 2002 to do what Unix was doing in 1969 (a shell)

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Old 11-06-2003, 05:22 PM   #8
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As I understand, they are going to convert the big SUV's in to hybrids instead of the Vue. Assuming they have a limited budget dedicated to hybrids, and I wasn't going to buy a hybrid Vue anyway, I agree with them on this one.
I think it is the best way to conserve fuel. Say a typical Vue sells for about $20,000 and a big SUV sells for about $35,000. If the hybrid adds $3000 to the sticker, somebody spending $35,000 would be willing to pay extra $3000 than somebody paying $20,000. Keep in mind that you have to spend at least $16,000 to get a midsize car. So the Vue is really playing in the low price range where an extra $3000 is a lot.
Assuming ultimately we want to use less gas, a 2.2L Vue with a manual will 30mpg at best (ours did) and lets say the big SUV gets only 15mpg. To drive 3000 miles the Vue would need 100 gallons and the big guy would need 200 gallons. If the Hybrid option lets you use use 20% less fuel, then you will save 20 gallons in the Vue and 40 gallons in the big SUV. In my mind the better choice is to improve the fuel efficiency of the high volume gas guzzlers than niche vehicles like the EV1, Prius, Insight etc.
Having said that, our 97sc2 gets 30/35 and the Vue does about 25/29. We bought the most fuel efficient we can to meet our needs. For us that is being environmentally friendly.

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Old 11-07-2003, 12:31 AM   #9
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So I guess the Saturn "Green-Line" has already been "flat-lined" by GM

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Old 11-07-2003, 05:59 AM   #10
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I love how the American car manufacturers refuse to invest in the future, then whine and cry when the Japanese beat their pants off. This decade they are complaining that they have to spend too much money of health care for retired workers because they didn't put any away while those employees were working. Next decade they'll be complaining about having to play catch up to the Japanese in hybrid cars, because they aren't investing now. You'll have to excuse me if I won't take their bittching and moaning too seriously.

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Old 11-07-2003, 08:18 AM   #11
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The pay back in dollars and cents.

***Warning! Boring math problems ahead***

Assume the hybrid or whatever gets double the gas mileage of the standard car, vue, whatever.

$3000 mark up
$1.50 /gal gas
Assume 30 mpg (big hybrid suv)
$3000 / $1.50 = 2000 gal of gas used
2000 gallons of gas X 30 MPG = 60,000 miles

You would have to drive 60K miles to get a total cost savings for operating the big SUV.

Now for the littler VUE,

$3000 / $1.50 /gal =2000 gallons of gas
2000 gallons X 60 MPG (small SUV, or car) = 120,000 miles!

***math prob's over, read on***

All that to get the pay back for higher fuel efficiency. See you in ten years. Oh there is one thing. The increased cost of ownership is “More moving parts = more Maintenance Money”, and that is typical.

But you can feel good about driving your "efficient" car. GM knows that, but the introductorary cost is too high yet. It needs to half of that amount, or at the 3-year payoff point.

Try the numbers. Or have I really missed something here? (I am ignoring the political, environmental, or religious considerations.) Money talks.

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Old 11-07-2003, 10:02 AM   #12
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It is not accurate to say GM is not investing in hybrid technology. In fact, GM is already making hybrid buses for the Seattle and is working with a number of other cities to do similar projects.

As stated above, GM will use the same technology it is developing for the buses in its larger SUVs.

The problem with the VUE is that whatever GM developed for the VUE could be used only on the VUE. Investing money to tool for a vechicle that may sell only in the area of 20k units per year is a waste.

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Old 11-07-2003, 12:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Buck
Let the other guys spend $ developing and educating the market. It took Microsoft Windows until 1995 to do what the Mac was doing in 1989. Which are you using to view this thread?
You mean crashing? I don't remember Macs being so unstable.

Anyway, I'm doing research on fuel cells. It seems that GM is investing more money and time into alternative power sources and new concept designs (Hywire is one such concept). As far as I'm concerned, let the competition waste resources on hybrids while Detroit looks into alternative fuel sources as substitutes. As far as I'm concerned, gasoline will be gone in our future. It's too early to tell how long it will take, but GM estimates that they will have these products out within 10 years.

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Old 11-07-2003, 01:27 PM   #14
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Please go to the VUE board and read my 4 replies to this topic.

It makes perfecrt sense what GM is doing.

For more info on Hybrids from GM go to ai-online.com, back issues Feb 2003.

Remeber that GM and Ford have tons of E85 hybrids running around and nobody cares. I have only on station that sells E85 in a 70 mile radius.

Roger D

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Old 11-07-2003, 01:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Buck
Let the other guys spend $ developing and educating the market. It took Microsoft Windows until 1995 to do what the Mac was doing in 1989. Which are you using to view this thread?
huh. my classic mac doesn't crash nearly as much as my ibm pc with windows 95 does.

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Old 11-07-2003, 02:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xanatos
It took Apple until 2002 to do what Unix was doing in 1969 (a shell)
And they're still have problem getting that totally correct. Especially with the latest version of their OS. In all honesty though,I've recently been thinking of swtiching to Apples. Just the latest snafu give me one more reason to stick with my windows pc.

But this is a Saturn board,so here's the blurb that C&D ran on this whole deal:

Saturn Delays Hybrid Intro

The Daily Auto Insider
Friday, November 7, 2003
November 2003


General Motors is planning to delay its introduction of a Saturn Vue SUV with a gasoline-electric hybrid engine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

GM had planned to launch the Saturn Vue hybrid in late 2005. Now, GM will introduce it sometime in early 2006, but only with a "mild-hybrid" engine that would generate fuel efficiencies of about 10 perecent instead of the 40 miles per gallon performance of a more robust hybrid system.

GM also wants to focus more intently on a plan to introduce gas-electric hybrid engines in its large Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicles in the 2007 model year, the WSJ said.

Here's another article that give a little more insight to their decision.

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Old 11-08-2003, 07:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by rossao1
All that to get the pay back for higher fuel efficiency. See you in ten years. Oh there is one thing. The increased cost of ownership is “More moving parts = more Maintenance Money”, and that is typical.

But you can feel good about driving your "efficient" car. GM knows that, but the introductorary cost is too high yet. It needs to half of that amount, or at the 3-year payoff point.
If only I could get gas at $1.50! Your point is well taken though, but I think there are a couple of things you aren't considering:

1. tax credits for hybrids
2. ability to use carpool lane without carpoolers
3. gas price is increasing
4. hybrid technology will get cheaper (economies of scale)

While a hybrid may not make sense to most people (including me) right now, it will at some point due to increasing gas prices. Even if we go hydrogen at some point, hybrid technology will still be useful. At that point, the Japanese will be ready with 6th generation hybrids while the Americans are demanding subsidies from the tax payers.

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Old 11-08-2003, 07:42 AM   #18
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The Vue was a late entry into the small SUV market and when Saturn finally did produce it after months of delays sales had already been lost to other brands. Now with a delay into the alternative fuel/power segment this could further damage Saturn's standings in the market.
GM is not backing SATURN/VUE as it should and the Redline and other performance attempts are for a similiar small segment of the market are a couple of years late also.
It seems to me that GM is further distancing itself from the brand by treating it more and more like a liability that doesn't "FIT" the GM family

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Old 11-08-2003, 07:46 AM   #19
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Hey I forgot something !! The only reason GM and others are investing in the bus technology and diesel replacement technology is that FEDEARL law is seriously mandating change so in order to even sell buses and big trucks they have to reduce diesel fuel emmisions even further etc. OR get out of the big truck/diesel bus game.

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Old 11-08-2003, 09:51 AM   #20
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I think the Hybrid would be my next Saturn purchase. I wish my ION was a hybrid.

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