• Jun 3, 2008
As much as General Motors would like to sell more hybrids, we'd imagine it would be pretty tough to do so without having the batteries on hand. It turns out that since December of last year, GM has had to recall some nine-thousand battery packs produced by its supplier, Cobasys, which were due for installation in mild hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Vue and Saturn Aura. The culprit was reportedly an internal leak in the pack which caused the entire unit to be inoperable. This setback hurts even more in the face of record gasoline prices and the resultant record sales of hybrid vehicles.

Chevrolet plans to begin production of the 2009 Malibu hybrid on June 23. Cobasys says that it has resolved the leaky battery problem and that current units are shipping without defects. Unfortunately, some damage has already been done, especially for the Saturn brand, as sales of the hybrid version of the Vue have gone down from 2,683 units by this time last year to just 326 units thus far this year to go along with just 69 retail sales of the Aura hybrid.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is typical GM. Bring a new vehicle, new idea, new product to market only half-ass finished and let buyers be the companies R & D ginny pigs. Then over the following few years production, the 'kinks' will be eventually ironed-out. Remember: NEVER buy a brand-new car platform from GM. Wait a few model years until its flaws are corrected.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These are fake "pully" hybrids. Thats why sales went down, not because of this recall.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For those that didn't bother to read the article, this bit of news is about Cobasys, a battery supplier, providing a bad batch of batteries to GM for use with their hybrid vehicles, and the actions/consequences as a result of correcting this supplier part defect.

        Now please, feel free to ramble off-topic at your leisure.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm just giving my opinion, you can disagree but I dont care
        • 6 Years Ago
        Excellent American 'opinion'. The 'me first, I don't care about you' attitude. Welcome to the degradation of this country.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The irony, so thick, could cut with a knife...

      GM spends years fueling battery-related fears to try and discredit competitors' hybrids, gets dragged kicking and screaming into the high-mileage game, pitches the half-ass BAS system as a simple, brass-tacks alternative to those fancy, effete foreign systems... and then their supplier ships them defective batteries.

      That's gotta hurt.
      • 6 Years Ago
      See this is why I will continue crusade to buy foreign. If the educational systems in elementary, middle school, and high school can't churn out some passionate and knowledgeable students that actually won't feel totally lost when going to some of our country's finest colleges then I will stick with foreign products.

      The US needs MORE talented and smart engineers who can actually beat the foreign competition, not just trying to measure up. It's not enough to measure up anymore because you have ooopsies like these that can cost companies like GM a lot of headaches.

      By the way before any of you think I am flaming GM I am actually flaming the Cobasys manufacturing company located in Springboro, Ohio and the corporate office located in Orion, Michigan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes! Why bother "crusade" for human rights or end poverty when you can crusade for others to buy cars manufactured at a specific origin based on your sociological analysis.

        Stupid me just buy cars that I like instead of trying to make a social statement. When will people learn to be smart like you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        every company outside the US has never made a mistake. in fact, i bet you have never made a mistake at your job.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nobody said that everyone else was perfect. The perfection comes from learning from the mistakes instead of being a repeat offender. If you known some of the other unadvertised boo boos Cobasys had made in the past prior to this big blunder you will understand why it's crucial to correct actions like these before they become public instead of making the public the beta testers.

        Think about it this way you won't change the rules in baseball for a batter to swing again after the third strike would you? You won't pat a repeat DUI offender on the back and tell them to not to do it again. If Cobasys wants to be a big player in the hybrid industry then they need to straighten up their acts, quit sweeping blunders under the rug, and hire better engineers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "The Toyota Prius gets only around 35mpg in real world use."

      Nonsense. You won't be able to find a single reputable citation for that piece of FUD. It's very, very hard to get under 40 mpg in a Prius.

      "I think sales of the Vue are hurt more by it being and SUV in a time of rising gas prices than by being a mediocre hybrid."

      Then explain why sales of the Higlander are up 15% over the last month and 8% over the previous year:
      http://www.hybridcars.com/market-dashboard/april-2008-hybrids-defy-recession.html

      "I'm beginning to believe in order to successfully sell a hybrid it has to look completely different instead of just a trim option."
      See the same link as above and look at the sales for Altima, Civic, Camry, Highlander, and RX400h.

      Basically, if you build a good car at a good price, it will sell. If you hastily throw together junk just to hop on a bandwagon that you don't even believe in or have any corporate commitment to, that's going to show up in your sales figures too, eventually.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bear in mind that all-electric vehicles have a higher C02 output than even conventional gasoline cars. If you lived in
      Switzerland, where most of the electricity is hydroelectric, EVs would be very clean. But here in the US, our power grid is mostly coal and nuclear fired. I don't really consider upping electric consumption (and hence fuel consumption) to be very enviro-friendly.

      And if you put more strain on our power grid without making vast improvements, its going to cost more to buy electricity. Guaranteed. So while it'll be cheaper for the few that own EVs, it'll cost everyone more to turn on the lights. Thats as bad for the economy as the current oil crisis.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, poor logic.

        Which is easier to control? CO2 emissions from million of cars or from a few hundred power plants?

        On the other hand, crude oil can only be "produced" at very few place, while electricity generation can come from many sources; anything from tidal wave power to methane from trash.

        US will forever be dependent on oil exports from other nations. We can invest our resources into our electrical infrastructure and come out ahead instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think sales of the Vue are hurt more by it being and SUV in a time of rising gas prices than by being a mediocre hybrid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Exactly

        I'd be interested to see the % of hybrid sales compared to total sales of the Vue, Aura, Civic, Camry etc. I'm beginning to believe in order to successfully sell a hybrid it has to look completely different instead of just a trim option.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Vue sells poorly because it's a _heavy_ compact SUV with correspondingly poor mileage, hybrid or no. The CRV (and to a lesser degree, the RAV) has no such problems.

        The Prius sells as well as it does because it's a practical hybrid. The Civic et al don't sell as well because, well, they're basically a sedan with no trunk space and marginally better mileage. Compared to, say, the Aura/Malibu, Camry or Altima, the Prius offers about as much or more passenger space, significantly more cargo space and better mileage. Oh, and it doesn't cost much more. Compared to the Civic's tiny trunk and meagre powertrain, the Prius is a no-brainer.

        About the only hybrid with practicality advantages over the Prius is the Escape (which actually sells very well, especially next to the Vue), and even there the advantages are slim. Given that SUVs have a hard time getting their foot in the door with green-leaning people.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hybrid cars are for pussy-ass sissy's, and hippies.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Down with haters!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't feed the trolls.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...and computers are for people over 18 years old so get out of daddy's office.

        Did a Prius beat your Civic again?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well . . . I'm neither. My budget is getting to the point where I can't afford to drive a 400hp V8 engined car. And a hybrid is starting to look pretty good, especially if performance remains reasonable along with high mileage.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think hybrids are generally a joke, especially American hybrids. The Toyota Prius gets only around 35mpg in real world use. Very good, but it certainly does not live up to the hybrid hype. American hybrids get only a few miles more per gallon, which tells me that it's nothing more than a marketing scam to cash in on the "green" trend.

      Forget all this hybrid nonsense. If you want really efficient cars, you have to lower the weight. Until Americans suck it up and start living with smaller, lighter cars, we aren't going to make any kind of impact on oil consumption or pollution.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most people get about EPA or slightly better in the Prius (~45mpg). Many people get more and--this is important--they get it on both city and highway: most midsizers and compacts can't come close to the Prius' highway mileage without resorting to a complex turbodiesel powerplant, and none can approach it's city mileage. The crying about not making EPA or "real-world" was when EPA was ~60mpg, which many people do get.

        Again, this is important: considering that it's a _midsize_ car, it gets very good mileage. Not even a Fit or Yaris can get what it manages in the city.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well this should come as no surprise to anyone. Everything about GM is leaking or bleeding so why not their hybrid batteries. As a company Clueless Motors couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery. It should be interesting today to see how Wagoner dresses up this pig!
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