Just two weeks after GM announced that Buick will roll out a plug-in hybrid in 2011, the giant automaker has changed its mind. In the GM Fastlane Blog, company vice chairman Tom Stephens wrote last week that the proposed Buick crossover vehicle “received consistent feedback from large parts of all audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.”
Stephens’ blog went on to explain that plans for the forthcoming Buick were quickly canceled at a GM Executive Committee meeting that he attended along with CEO Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz, and others. Stephens wrote that “it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong.”
The proposed vehicle was supposed to be a plug-in hybrid that would allow owners to charge the battery when the vehicle was not in use. It would have differed from the Chevy Volt, however, in is use of both electricity and gasoline to drive the wheels.
Numerous Internet sites have credited “Twitterers” for killing off the vehicle with overwhelmingly negative tweets aimed its “ugly” styling. The disparaging name “Vue-ick” – reportedly invented by the Twitterers as a takeoff on the Saturn Vue – quickly took on a life of its own on automotive Internet sites. GM executives are said to have taken the criticism to heart.
“We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover,” Stephens wrote in his blog.