• Jun 9th 2009 at 10:19AM
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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.

[Source: General Motors]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I might be wrong about this, but I have heard that the two-mode hybrid is the most expensive hybrid system to implement, in the vue's case, it would have cost around $9,000 to implement and put the vue into the $30,000 range. I like the view and all, but why would you buy an unproven technology like the Vue two-mode over a tried and true Ford Escape for the same price and likely around the same MPG.

        • 8 Months Ago
        But, I still would have liked to see it hit the market... it is a nice looking vehicle.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Penske Automotive Group is part of a large conglomerate that encapsulates numerous businesses, most of which bear the Penske moniker. Penske Automotive Group comprises a number of companies and auto dealerships, some of the largest in the world, and they now will include Saturn Automotive in its entirety. Penske reached a deal with GM to purchase the automaker, which was due to shut down by 2010, for some cheap loans, and Saturn Penske will continue to receive the GM made vehicles until 2010, and they are looking for a new manufacturer to make the cars. It means expansion for Penske Automotive Group and debt relief for Saturn. Visit http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/06/05/saturn-penske-automotive-group-reach-deal-gm-agrees-sell/ for more info.
      • 8 Months Ago
      So the Ford Escape Hybrid remain "the most fuel efficient SUV on the planet". I was hoping the two-mode Saturn would come out and give it a run for the money.

      Hope this lack of competitive pressure doesn't entice Ford to delay the PHEV version of the Escape.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The technology behind the GM two-mode system has been around for a decade on buses. The technology is just now trickling down to automobiles. It has proven reliable on the full-size SUVs, so why wouldn't it be reliable on the Vue/Equinox/etc? The only hiccup I see is that it is FWD only, while the Escape and Highlander offer their hybrids with AWD. The lack of AWD on an SUV or CUV is an instant sales bust.
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