It looks like the theory behind the creation of full-size hybrid SUVs may not hold water, at least from a marketing perspective. Certainly adding a hybrid drivetrain to a big truck will save more gas for a given number of miles driven than doing the same to a smaller more efficient car. At the same time these vehicles will still use more fuel than a smaller vehicle even at the higher mileage levels they achieve. The pitch from automakers like GM and Chrysler was that some people still need the capabilities that are offered by these vehicles such as the people towing boats on a regular basis.

However, the reality is that a combination of factors ranging from high fuel prices (at least they were high through most of the summer of 2008), increasingly restrictive credit and leasing terms and collapsing real estate values have made buyers re-evaluate their real needs in a vehicle. For those that are still able to afford new vehicles, "needs" increasingly means a smaller, more-efficient vehicle rather than a hybrid SUV. GM and Chrysler have seen the writing on the wall and the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen received their execution orders last week. We heard earlier this year that GM had put the development of the next generation full-size trucks on hold for at least a year. Now Inside Line is reporting that, as far back as last May, the SUVs may have been killed entirely. It's unclear what this means for the current vehicles, but if sales don't start to at least stabilize soon, they may face the same fate as the Chryslers and die before reaching the end of their planned life cycle in 2011. Whether they live on or die sooner, they will likely be effectively replaced by the Lambda crossovers, the Acadia, Outlook, Traverse and Enclave.

[Source: Inside Line]


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