GM has had trouble launching hybrid versions of the Saturn Vue and Aura and Chevrolet Malibu this year because of problems at its battery supplier, Cobasys.
A battery recall in December forced GM to replace about 9,000 faulty battery packs from Cobasys in 2007 model vehicles. GM used batteries destined for 2008 vehicles to repair the recalled models, causing a battery shortage this year.
GM likely will be short of the Malibu and Saturn hybrids for the rest of the summer, according to a source familiar with GM's hybrid production plans. But GM expects to crank up hybrid production in the fall.
GM's hybrid cars have been in high demand in part because the option costs less than $2,000. They are mild hybrids; that means the electric motor assists propulsion, but the cars can't run on battery power alone.
To fix the problem, GM is probably going to buy Cobasys!