Doh! Battery leakage hurts GM hybrid production

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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