Tag Archives: hybrid cars

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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Our brand-new Saturn Vue!

Seeing as Saturn’s greedy, ass-backwards parent company, GM, is filing for bankruptcy this morning, I figured now would be the perfect time to blog about our new car. Yep, even though their future is uncertain at best, we decided to stick with the car company that we’ve known and loved for the past thirteen years and bought ourselves another Saturn.

Our new car #1

Our new Saturn Vue #2

Only this time, we’ve upsized a bit and gone totally green! The 2009 Green Line Saturn Vue isn’t just one of the highest-rated hybrid SUV’s on the road, but it also sexy as all get-out. Heated leather seats, sunroof, OnStar, XM Radio, you name it, and this baby’s got it. And did I mention that it’s a hybrid?

Our salesman at Galpin told us that he has several customers who average 500 miles on a single 18 gallon tank of gas. And while that might not sound impressive for a smaller car like our 2004 Saturn Ion, for a mid-sized SUV, that is downright amazing!

Cooler still is the little green “Eco” light that turns on every time you’re driving on hybrid power. I swear to God, it’s like a freaking video game: “Keep it in the green, keep it in the green!” Awesome! And best of all, the thing rides like a dream and is so roomy and comfortable that even my tall-ass brother swims in the backseat…and that’s with Greta’s carseat taking up the middle seat!

Our new Saturn Vue #3

Our new Saturn Vue #4

I’m sure some folks think we’re crazy for buying a new car from a company on the skids, but Christine and I both really love everything that Saturn used to stand for. In their free-donuts-in-every-waiting-room glory days, Saturn was like this cool little cult…all about hip, smartly-appointed, American-built small cars that got great gas mileage and didn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy.

So, even though the clowns at GM have done everything they can to destroy all that was great and forward-thinking about the company over the last few years, we decided to support the dream that began when that first Saturn rolled off the assembly line in Spring Hill, Tennessee in 1990, by buying what just might be the last Vue running.

And no matter what eventually becomes of the Saturn brand, our little girl will grow up in the backseat of a rocking hybrid with a bullet-proof warrantee for parts and services for at least seven years…so, que viva los Saturns!

Our new Saturn Vue #5

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