DETROIT-- General Motors is considering a crossover vehicle for its Saab brand. GM would base the vehicle on a Cadillac concept and build it on a new, mid-sized crossover architecture.
GM will not say when it plans to unveil its concept model of a Cadillac crossover. But the company is thinking of designing a "highly differentiated" version of the Cadillac vehicle for Saab, says Robert Lutz, GM's vice chairman of global product development.
The company is examining a business case for the Saab crossover, Lutz said at a press event here this week, by weighing GM's investment against the vehicle's potential worldwide sales volume.
GM seeks to boost its U.S. market share in the crossover segment from 14.4 to 20 percent by 2010. The company plans to launch three crossovers in the next 18 months, Lutz says. Buick, GMC and Saturn each will get one of the vehicles.
GM offers seven crossover vehicles and plans to double that number by 2009. All new crossovers will be compatible with GM's hybrid technology, Lutz says. GM will offer most crossovers with V-6 engines and a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
"We won't offer a broad menu of engines," Lutz says. "We'll offer the engine that is the most optimal for each particular vehicle's size and weight."
If instability in fuel prices persists, Lutz adds, GM will offer more four-cylinder versions of the crossovers.
The V-6 crossovers will be more fuel-efficient than GM's current mid-sized SUVs, Ron Pniewski, GM's vice president of global portfolio planning, said at the press event.
GM's mid-sized SUVs get about 15 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on highways, a company spokesman told Automotive News.
Lutz says GM will build its crossover lineup on three architectures. The three newest crossovers -- the Saturn Outlook, the GMC Acadia and an unnamed Buick -- will be built on GM's Lambda architecture.
GM defines "architecture" to include a common set of components, performance characteristics, a common manufacturing process, a range of dimensions and connecting points for key component systems.
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