Saturn Vue Two-Mode hybrid – click above for high-res gallery
When word came in the last few days that General Motors had reached a tentative deal to sell the Saturn brand to Roger Penske, the obvious question then became, "What about product?" The Penske deal apparently includes an agreement to continue supplying some current Saturn products on an interim basis until Penske lines up a new supplier and Penske has said that EVs are a priority. One of the most anticipated products that was scheduled to come from Saturn soon was the first front-wheel drive application of the two mode hybrid system in the Vue. GM had completed development of the two-mode Vue in mid-2008 and production was originally scheduled to start in November of last year. However, when GM's finances went from bad to worse, the hybrid launch was delayed first until spring 2009 and then summer.
GM hybrid spokesman Brian Corbett spoke with ABG at the opening of the company's new battery lab and gave us the bad news. The Vue two mode hybrid will never be, despite the Penske deal. While the two mode system will be installed in other as yet un-named vehicles (likely including the Chevrolet Equinox), those models won't appear until at least calender year 2011. The delay is likely due to an engine change. The Vue was to use the 3.6-liter V6, and that engine is not currently used in the new Equinox or the new Cadillac SRX, the other rumored recipient. Most likely, GM is switching over to using the new 3.0-liter direct-injected V6 or perhaps even the new 2.2-liter DI four cylinder.