GM Plug-In SUV Still in Play for 2011

General Motors is still on track to release a plug-in sport utility vehicle in 2011, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said in an interview, despite the Saturn brand going under the ownership of Penske Group. GM's product chief confirmed the company remains confident the product will arrive on the market just as he initially planned, with no delay to affect the official market launch.

"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," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Tom Stephens said there's still enough room in the market for an electric car, revealing that General Motors plans to roll out in the next years an all-electric small car based on a technology first developed in 2003.

"I think there's pent-up demand for the technology," he said. "My job is to get it out there and get it right the first time but then get it cost-effective so that we can do a huge number."

As for Chevrolet Volt, Stephens said the first generation won't give the American manufacturer the volume it needs to cut costs because new technology is usually expensive to develop. "If I had to go with my first generation, we couldn't really pencil a business case," he said. "Any new technology is expensive, but if you get to the second or third generation you find that the cost goes way down."

"We've got a strategy that says there are no silver bullets," he said. "We need all of this."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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