Three-and-a-half weeks in a Chevy Malibu…

This past summer the brainiacs at GM announced a massive hybrid battery recall on their entire fleet of Saturn Green Line Hybrid vehicles and a few of their other branded hybrids as well. Now, that seems like an easy enough fix, right? Make some new batteries (22,500 to be exact) plop them into the hybrids in question and you’re good to go.

Well, GM being the bloated, gas-guzzling dinosaur-of-a-car company that they are, it was anything but easy. We put our names on a replacement battery waiting list at our old Saturn dealer back in August — we had to switch to a new GM-certified repair shop when our beloved Galpin Saturn closed — and just now had the issue repaired. Yep, I said, August, as in, four months ago!

Initially, the wait was fine, I mean, the car ran great and we didn’t have any problems to speak of, so, we were cool sitting on the waiting list at Galpin. But when the “check engine light” began to flash every time we started the car, we began to worry. And when the “service hybrid system” light came on and the entire hybrid system stopped working while driving to the mall one day, well, we knew it was time to take the Chenbot to the doctor.

What we didn’t know was that it would take three-and-a-half weeks to get our car back. The guy at the new dealership told me to remove: “everything of value out of the car”, so, I guess I shoulda known we were in for a long haul, but, almost a month without our car? Come on!

Sure, we had a rental car (the dreaded, oldie-magnet Malibu mentioned above) and it was totally paid for, but, seriously GM, how long does it take to whip up a new batch of 22,500 hybrid batteries?

The answer of course, is, FOREVER. According to what I’ve read online, we are actually one of the lucky ones as some people have been waiting even longer for a battery. And many drivers of older Saturn hybrids (the recall dates back to any 2007 models) don’t even get a rental car, so, they’re like, doubly screwed!

And the worse thing is that there has been virtually no news coverage of this latest GM blunder-fest anywhere…not even a local news blurb. I’m sure nobody cares about Saturns anymore, but, wow, where’s crazy old Ralph Nader when you really need him, man?

Anyway, we are finally back in our beautiful Vue and it seems to be running fine, but, before I go, I just wanted to run some numbers by you. Between the cost of our rental car ($950) and the replacement battery ($1050) GM paid out over $2000 last month, just for us. Multiply that figure by every car involved in the recall and GM will have spent a staggering $45 million dollars on this mess.

Now, if they were just another lame, backwards-thinking car company with one foot in the grave, that would be one thing, but, GM, with its long, rich history of incompetence and mismanagement, received over $52 billion of tax-payer funded dollars in the recent bailout. That’s right, amigos, we paid $52 billion for GM’s mistakes, and, hot on the heels of that epic failure, they screw up again with this costly hybrid battery recall? Insanity!

So, hang in their fellow Saturn hybrid owners, your day (and battery) will come…you know, eventually. And as for you, GM, well, you can suck it. Big time! Seriously, I kinda hate you guys…

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