— Low sales are forcing General Motors Corp. to put the brakes on Quadrasteer, its innovative but expensive four-wheel steering system, according to the Detroit News
on February 18. After this year, it will disappear from the automaker's optional equipment list.Developed by Delphi Corp. and launched to critical acclaim in 2002, Quadrasteer links a vehicle's rear wheels to its front-wheel steering system. So when a vehicle's front wheels are turned, its rear wheels turn automatically at angles that make handling more precise. At high speeds, Quadrasteer affords greater stability. At low speeds, it makes towing easier by reducing turning radius. But in the showroom, it has failed to pull its weight, even with its current $2,000 price tag, which is below GM's cost, said spokeswoman Sharon Basel. "We've thrown everything at this to make this successful from a sales standpoint," Basel said. "It just isn't a viable option anymore." Though available on four GM vehicles -- the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups, and the GMC Yukon XL and Chevy Suburban sport utility vehicles -- demand for Quadrasteer has never exceeded 2.1 percent. This despite rates of 16.1 percent and 17.8 percent among Yukon XL buyers in 2003 and 2004, respectively.Quadrasteer was originally made available as part of a package worth about $5,500. But even now, as a stand-alone option, demand is unchanged. Meanwhile, Delphi is hoping to remarket the technology. GM was its only customer for Quadrasteer, so the supplier is angling for another contract. "We've put a Quadrasteer system on a passenger vehicle, a prototype, and there is some interest in Europe," said Delphi spokeswoman Carrie Wright.