Aural Leakage: Battery Problems Short-Circuit Saturn Hybrid Sales

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In the midst of a $4/gallon-inspired run on every ride that gets more than 12 MPG, we were more than a little surprised to hear that the 2008 Saturn Aura Green Line has racked up a measly 69 sales through the end of April. Wot's the deal? Turns out that leaky batteries, courtesy of supplier Cobasys, have sent the Saturn hybrids into the realm of vaporware at the same time GM's marketers are touting the company's green credentials to any buyer who will listen. The same issue has plagued the Saturn Vue Green Line, which saw sales numbers fall to 326 through April, vs. 2,683 in the first four months of 2007. Cobasys claims to have solved the problem and is now shipping defect-free battery packs. Knowing GM's luck with timing the market, a betting man might expect fuel prices to drop back below a buck a gallon at about the same time as production ramps back up.