MEXICO CITY -- General Motors said today it started production of a hybrid version of the Saturn Vue crossover at its assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe in northeastern Mexico.
The vehicle will be exported to the United States and Canada, GM said.
Kevin Williams, managing director of General Motors de Mexico, said the hybrid line is part of a $500 million investment in Ramos Arizpe.
Vue production started in Ramos Arizpe in July, he said. Through Saturday, Nov. 24, GM had produced 58,836 Vues there. Williams said the plant has capacity to make 6,500 hybrid Vues annually.
Williams and Mexico President Felipe Calderon announced the hybrid program early today at the Los Pinos presidential residence here.
Calderon said the Vue was the first hybrid vehicle to be produced in Mexico.
According to GM, the vehicle works with an electric motor, powered by a 10-kilowatt battery; and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a four-speed automatic transmission.
GM de Mexico spokesman Antonio Sanchez said the Saturn Vue hybrid will go on sale in the U.S. and Canada in the first weeks of 2008.
Sanchez also said GM plans to evaluate the vehicle in Mexico before deciding whether to sell it in Mexico. If sold in Mexico, its name would be the Chevrolet Captiva, he said.
During a speech at Los Pinos, Calderon said his administration was promoting the idea that all hybrid vehicles should be exempt from road tax.
I celebrate the concurrence of so many good things at this event, Calderon said, noting the economic and environmental benefits of producing hybrid vehicles in Mexico.