Civilized hybrid SUVs find hot niche

Walker, Howard
April 2000
Advertising Age;4/17/2000, Vol. 71 Issue 17, ps10
Trade Publication
This article focuses on the marketing of hybrid sport-utility vehicles (SUV) designed to appeal to the young and active. The Buick and other hybrid SUV take the macho bodywork of a go-anywhere sport utility and mate it with the smooth-riding platform of a family sedan. The hybrid SUV category, which some experts say was first sparked by the introduction of the 1996 Subaru Outback, caught fire after the introduction of the 1998 Lexus RX300. "Will this hybrid segment continue to grow? Yes. Lexus RX300-type vehicles provide a nice alternative not only to a sport utility, but to a minivan, wagon or family sedan," says Greg Kitzens, corporate marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sale USA's Lexus brand. "There are a lot of similar products on the horizon and competition is certainly going to heat up." Some of that competition may come from the Buick Rendezvous from General Motors (GM) Corp. Rendezvous shares its platform with Pontiac's funky-styled Aztek hybrid. The Aztek breaks new ground for GM styling. The five-door Aztek is being marketed to fun-loving Generation X car buyers.


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