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The idea of producing large, luxury-vehicle hybrids is turning into a "what were they thinking?" exercise in futility, USA Today reports. General Motors is discontinuing hybrid versions of the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs, while Mercedes-Benz and Toyota's Lexus division are doing the same with their S-Class hybrid and LS hybrid sedans, respectively. The culprit? Big price increases for fuel economy improvements that border on the unimpressive.

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Not all so-called Memorandum of Understanding pacts end in actual collaborations. For instance, after a two-year "feasibility study," Toyota and Ford have just announced that they will not be developing hybrid systems for use in light trucks and SUVs as previously planned, and the two automakers will instead continue to develop their own hybrid technology independently.

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At $89,725, the BMW X6 Active Hybrid was certainly no bargain. The 480-horsepower, 575 pound-feet-of-torque mid-size luxury crossover was a powerful beast, but the CUV's lack of added of efficiency could well be the reason that buyers did not opt for the hybrid X6 over the more conventional inline six- and V8-powered versions.

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Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you'll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a new partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The "equal partners" deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready "later this decade" – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. just announced.

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Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you'll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The "equal partners" deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready "later this decade" – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. government just announced.

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2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Imagine a police chase in Manhattan where a Ford Fusion Hybrid pulls up behind the criminal followed by a few Priuses, an Escape Hybrid and a couple of Altima hybrids. Now, think of the scenario where the criminal, driving his gas-guzzling Hummer, takes off out of the city limits on a long-distance chase. A hundred miles later, the criminal creeps to the side of the road running on nothing but fumes while the NYPD hybrid crew has consumed less than three gallons per vehicle. While this scenario

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Mugen Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Mugen Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Buick PHEV 2-Mode Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Click for a high res gallery of the Aspen and Durango hybrids

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Aspen Hybrid

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digg_url = 'http://digg.com/autos/GM_Hybrid_Sales_Slowly_Picking_Up_Some_Steam'; General Motors is finally starting to regularly break out the sales figures for its hybrid vehicles and while the numbers are improving, they still look very weak compared to the competition. August was the company's best month yet for hybrids with a whopping 1,629 units delivered of the six available models. Buyers took home a combined 797 examples of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon plus a single Escalade hybrid.

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Click above to watch the video

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