The demise of the Malibu Hybrid is not surprising considering its mileage was only slightly better than the cheaper standard modelEnlarge Photo
While most automakers are scrambling to add hybrids and other alternatively-fueled models to their lineups, General Motors is getting rid of a couple of struggling hybrids currently residing in its range of cars - the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and the Saturn Vue Hybrid.
The move comes as a greater push to trim down its range of products and focus on models that can achieve growth for the company. With the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid's poor sales, GM has decided to stop production of the car for the 2010 model year, and will instead be relying on the backlog of 2009 models currently sitting on dealer forecourts to fill any remain demand, reports the Wall Street Journal
The demise of the Malibu Hybrid is not the most surprising occurrence, especially considering how weak its selling points were. The fact that it was a hybrid model, which many consumers may see as an instant ticket to environmental responsibility, did not hide the issue that its mileage figures were only marginally better than the significantly cheaper petrol versions of the car.
For example, the four-cylinder Malibu was capable of achieving a combined cycle of almost 28mpg, while the hybrid only offered combined fuel consumption of 30mpg. Considering the higher price tag for the hybrid variant, it's easy to see why the model failed to strike a chord with consumers, especially up against much better hybrids such as the new Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.
Also officially dead for the time being is the Saturn Vue Hybrid, which will reportedly not be a part of the sale of the Saturn brand
to its buyer, Penske Automotive Group. Unlike the Malibu Hybrid, which stands an extremely slim chance of returning to production, the Vue will likely never make it to an assembly line as a hybrid.
All is not lost for GM’s hybrids, however, as the automaker is expected to launch a new Chevrolet Equinox Two-Mode Hybrid in 2011
. Furthermore, more advanced plug-in hybrid technology developed for the Saturn Vue will be retained and used in other GM brands.