Saturn Hybrid Update

General Motors Hybrid Vehicle Logo

The availability of Saturn's 2008 hybrid vehicles – or lack thereof – has been a frequently talked about topic in the forum of this website. There's been a wide range of speculation as to when the vehicles would arrive at Saturn stores and in what quantity. Earlier today SaturnFans.com learned that Saturn is in the process of providing information to retailers to be shared with customers regarding the brand's hybrid production and availability plans.

In a document distributed to retailers and obtained by SaturnFans.com, Saturn provides the most detailed information to date on the status of the Aura and Vue Green Line hybrid programs. The purpose of the bulletin was to not only address questions about the delays in getting vehicles to market, but to also set expectations going forward. Supplier issues were cited for the slower than anticipated build-out this year of both hybrid vehicles. Based on the information provided, those issues seem to have been resolved.

Aura Green Line Hybrid

Due to low production volume in the 2008 model year, the Aura Green Line hybrid will be strategically distributed to the top 10 markets for hybrid vehicles. According to Saturn, these markets cover 46% of hybrid sales. They include:

1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
3. New York
4. Washington D.C.
5. Boston
6. Seattle
7. Chicago
8. Philadelphia
9. Phoenix
10. Sacramento

Each facility in these hybrid markets will receive one Visual Display Unit (VDU) to be used for display and demonstration. After the Aura VDUs are distributed, a limited number of additional vehicles will be strategically placed within the top 10 markets. For the 2008 model year vehicles, the Aura Green Line will not be available outside of those 10 markets.

Production of the Aura Green Line hybrid began in January. Saturn reportedly plans to begin production of the VDUs in March that are built according to specific pattern orders. The bulletin goes on to say that each VDU will be randomly assigned and shipped directly to eligible retail facilities. All VDUs will be built and shipped beginning in March through May. For the 2009 model year, the Aura Green Line is expected to begin with normal planned production volumes. As a result, the '09 Aura Green Line vehicles will be nationally distributed similar to the VUE Green Line.

Vue Green Line Hybrid

All retailers will receive a 2008 model year Vue Green Line hybrid VDU for display and demonstration purposes. Additional Vue hybrids will be distributed nationally according to a formula that incorporates factors such as a retailer's Vue sales for the past 12 months, their 2007 Vue hybrid sales, and the total number of overall hybrid registrations in their market area.

Production of the 2008 Vue Green Line reportedly began in January, and production of the VDUs will begin later this month. All Vue Green Line hybrids will be built following specific pattern orders. Each VDU will be randomly assigned and shipped directly to each facility. All VDUs will be built and shipped in March and April. Availability of the VUE Green Line hybrid is expected to improve in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of this year.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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