Pontiac officially unveiled the 2009 edition of the Vibe hatchback yesterday, and a question has been raised by several commentors about the powertrain lineup. As we all know, the Vibe shares a platform with the Toyota Corolla and all of its derivatives. The question of why the Vibe uses the Toyota engines rather than GM's own Ecotec lineup was raised during the press conference. After all the 2.4L EcoTec as used in the Cobalt is rated at 173hp and yields EPA numbers of 22/32 mpg according to the 2008 EPA tests. That's 15 hp more, and it bests the 21/27 mpg of the Toyota 2.4 in the Vibe GT.
According to a Pontiac spokesman, the deal with Toyota allows GM to provide product performance requirements, and do the styling, final calibration and tuning. The base engineering responsibility falls to Toyota, and they select the major component suppliers and subsystems, including engines. So, as long as GM maintains this relationship with Toyota, they will have limited control over whatever vehicles are produced. When you consider GM's recent products, it may be time for the General to create the next generation Vibe from its own Delta platform instead. Dropping the 260 hp turbo DI 2.0 Ecotec from the HHR SS (and Cobalt SS, and Solstice GXP, and Sky Red Line) into the AWD Vibe might make a pretty sweet alternative to the new Caliber SRT-4 from Dodge.
[Source: General Motors]