Before the financial crisis hit, General Motors had some major plans for its Saturn brand including the launch of a two-mode hybrid Vue and eventually a plug-in hybrid version. Development and engineering for both vehicles had been completed and production of the two-mode hybrid Vue was originally scheduled to start last November.
Rapidly declining sales and an inevitable bankruptcy, however, has caused GM to readjust its plans. The biggest change is the sale of the Saturn brand to the Penske Automotive Group. As for the hybrid vehicles, GM has already confirmed that the technology for the Vue plug-in hybrid will be retained and used in other brands, and now the automaker has revealed to AutoblogGreen that the Vue two-mode hybrid has been cancelled.
Instead, GM will use the FWD two-mode system for its Chevrolet Equinox crossover, which should arrive on the market in in petrol-electric form in 2011. The system in the Vue was to use a 3.6L V6 engine mated to the two-mode hybrid drive system. Since the Equinox uses a different 3.0L V6 engine, GM will need additional time to redesign the system.
The two-mode system utilizes an Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) that GM developed together with Mercedes-Benz and BMW and currently uses in the Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado, as well as the GMC Sierra and Denali, and Cadillac Escalade hybrid vehicles.