Vue Powered by Honda in 2004

More information continues to surface regarding the Honda engine slated for the 2004 Saturn VUE sport utility. The Detroit Free Press reports today that General Motors has reduced the total number of 3.5L DOHC V-6 engines it plans to purchase from Honda. A 5-year technology and component-sharing contract signed between GM and Honda in December 1999.

GM now plans to buy 50,000 Honda V6 engines and transmissions annually in the next five years. As many as 90,000 engines were initially planned to be part of the agreement, said Saturn spokeswoman Sherrie Childers-Arb. The engines will meet California's "ultra-low emission" standards.

"At the time of the agreement we indicated that 90,000 was a maximum number," Childers-Arb said. "We've firmed up our product plans since this was arranged in 1999."

The VUE will be the only Saturn � and only GM vehicle � to use the Honda V6. Honda will also supply 5-speed automatic transmissions to Saturn. The Honda V6 will replace the 3.0L DOHC Opel-derived V6 engine currently used in the VUE. The GM 2.2L DOHC I-4 will continue to power base VUEs.

Honda manufactures the 3.5L V6 at its Anna, OH, manufacturing facility. That particular plant also supplies V6 engines for Honda and Acura cars and trucks. Last month Honda said it would expand the factory's annual capacity to 1.16 million engines from 1.04 million by next year to meet growing U.S. demand for its cars and light trucks. Its not known at this time whether or not the 3.5L V6's power and torque ratings will differ for Saturn. However, Jill Lajdziak, Saturn vice president-sales, service, and marketing, says that the V6 will be "specifically engineered" for Saturn.

The VUE is also expected to get minor interior and exterior updates for the 2004 model year. The 2004 VUE will go on sale next summer.

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