How many full-size GMC hybrids is one too many?
In orthodox marketing theory, companies are supposed to make fewer vehicles than demand warrants. That way profits are optimized. Since loss-making General Motors needs cash flow of any kind, adding a third full-size hybrid to the battered GMC truck bypasses that sound business strategy, whether or not low volumes compared to program and marketing costs means slim to non-existent margins. GMC now has the dubious distinction of being the first brand to offer three, count ‘em three, full-size truck hybrids in a market and at a place — the New York Auto show in NYC, where such offerings are out of fashion.
The 2009 Yukon Denali hybrid is essentially an expensive trim upgrade of the Yukon introduced last year. It offers seating for eight, towing capacity up to 5,800 pounds and provides an estimated 21 mpg in city driving (2wd) by using GM’s two-mode hybrid system.
“The eight-passenger GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid goes just as far on a gallon of gas in the city as a much smaller, V-6 Toyota Camry sedan,” said Susan Docherty, vice president, Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “And in terms of fuel savings, the GMC Yukon Denali saves about 250 gallons of fuel a year over the Lexus GX 470.”
Let’s see at $3 for a gallon of regular that’s $750 savings a year for a truck that weighs almost four tons empty with a sticker price that starts at $59,185 (2WD) and $62,030 (4WD), including the destination charge of $950. Of course that’s before generous rebates and other incentives, but nonetheless this is an expensive vehicle. (more…)