By on July 30, 2010

Noticed that things have been a little slower around here this week? Yes, well, it’s summer and I’m much harder to motivate in the summer. Also, I’ve been working on this op-ed on the Chevy Volt for the New York Times. My conclusion on the Volt?

In the end, making the bailout work — whatever the cost — is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.

If G.M. were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of cross-branding that will make the Volt a runaway success.

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82 Comments on “TTAC In The NY Times: “GM’s Electric Lemon”...”


  • avatar

    You deserve a good golf clap for that write up. clap clap clap Short, but surely to the point. I totally agree with you as well, even though I don’t often say that. Tread carefully though on this subject Mr. Neidermeyer. Let’s keep this one strictly automotive.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    That cartoon is awesome! Made my day.

  • avatar

    IMHO, that was needlessly contrary.

    Criticizing GM for offering a 12k mile/yr lease is silly – people aren’t going to buy these things for 3 hour commutes.

    Of course, nobody will read this comment because it won’t be approved by the moderators until next Friday.

    • 0 avatar
      Adamatari

      Funny thing, I read that criticism as a complaint about going the hybrid route – as he points out, the Leaf is $8,000 cheaper at least partly because it forgoes the gas engine.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      12,000 miles per year is only 32 miles a day if you assume that the car gets equal driving on all 365 days of the year.

      With 250 work days in a normal year, that leaves 40 miles per day, with 2,000 miles left over.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    As I read the piece, I began to wonder whatever happened to Christy Garwood of GM who used to ring-in and add a bit of GM-biased, but seemingly fair, rebuttal here… Haven’t seen anything from her in a long time… Anybody know?

    Regarding the graphic, I didn’t go back to look, but I was also left wondering if the figures represent GM’s share of the pie, or if they are the total figures that D.C. pumped out to all parties (if so, it doesn’t seem fair to hang that on the Volt.)

  • avatar

    I think GM and FORD (maybe even Chrysler ) are gonna come out of this recession stronger than ever.

    I am so glad Obama didn’t allow them to go under and had them restructure. There is no way I’d have wanted America to lose its car companies – virtually the only thing we produce – under his watch.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      It’d be terrible if they closed up shop the way the airlines did after their bankruptcies…oh, wait…

      Bankruptcy != going out of business. No matter how much the politicians and Peter DiLorenzo try to convince you otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The airlines are a very different business, and they can go in and out of bankruptcy without significant disruption. They’re a service industry with few suppliers, worthwhile and easily-disposed assets and drop-in labour; about as far as you can get from automobilia.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      I think the MRO shops and private ground service companies would disagree…

      Regardless, they’re similar in that bankruptcy doesn’t directly imply that they cease operations and put their employees and their entire supply chain out of work. I don’t think the OP appreciates that a pre-bailout “bankruptcy” is functionally the same thing as a post-bailout “restructuring”.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      I disagree. The airlines are much like the carmakers. As we have seen, bankruptcy was not the death for GM and Chrysler that many predicted. They sailed through it.

    • 0 avatar
      mythicalprogrammer

      “As we have seen, bankruptcy was not the death for GM and Chrysler that many predicted.”

      Err.. there are different type of bankruptcies. The one GM chose was to help them restructured.
      ———-
      I seriously think that if they fail they would never get up. I don’t even like domestic but seriously there is no way do I want them to fail, it’ll be suicide for USA when we’re already in a recession. They’ve built so many crappy cars that I truly freaking believe that they will die and croak while taking down dealerships and tier suppliers. At least they got the Cruze down now sheesh.

  • avatar
    aspade

    Doesn’t touch on the most important reasons the Volt is a failure.

    Which is that when GM started it oil prices had just doubled, were in the process of doubling again, and there was every speculation that they would double again on top of that.

    Meanwhile anyone with a pulse could get near unlimited credit by merit of breathing and the HELOC ATM was wide open.

    In that environment a half assed $40,000 Prius competitor made a solid business case for itself.

    Of course that environment went out the window in 2008 leaving the Volt unsaleable. But GM had no choice but to throw good money after bad and finish it anyway to please their tree hugging new owners.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Congratulations Edward. I read it this morning over breakfast. I thought it was well written and brought honor and glory to TTAC.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I can’t help but worry that a few automotive laymen reading this in the NYT may go to their Chevy dealership looking for a “non-electric version of the Volt” and discover that the Cruze is not even in showrooms yet, and when it is, it will look absolutely nothing like the Volt. Then again, perhaps I’ve overstating the average NYT reader’s automotive ignorance…after all, I’m a reader.

    By simply stating some of the woeful facts about the Volt (“a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car”…”By taking a loss on the first several years of Prius production, Toyota was able to hold its price steady”) you effectively lay out the folly of launching such an impractical, redundant product not simply as a halo car, but as a cynical an calculated embodiment of the success of the GM bailout, and by extension all government interventions into industry.

    The Volt may turn out to be a great car, but it cannot be everything GM and the president want and hope for it to be. And if you factor in all the taxpayer legs-up, it will NEVER truly be profitable.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Don’t forget, the auto bailouts were initiated under the Bush administration. Gee – what was “Saving American Industries” (and jobs/automotive manufacturing capacity/national security) turned into “Socialism” as of Jan 20th, 2009.

    Big surprise.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Would have been interesting what the take from right leaning politicians and pundits would have been re: the auto bailouts had McCain won in 2008, given that they were initiated by the Bush administration and would have most likely been continued by a McCain administration.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Only the most ardent Bush supporters (10%?) supported this ignorant action. I run in primarily conservative circles and about the same percentage of conservatives supported his Medicare plan as well.

      Don’t mistake Republican for Conservative. The two haven’t been the same for 3 decades.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      The conservative Canadian federal government bought into the GM bailout, too, as did the liberal Ontario provincial government.

      This was simply a pragmatic choice of the lesser of two evils in an urgent situation – nothing much to do with how you think an economy should work in an ideal world.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Conservatives were extremely frustrated with the TARP bailout madness. The problem is the bailouts focused on cash infusion and not restructuring. Might have been more support if normal, established chapter 11 bankruptcy law had been followed with the government guaranteeing the loans. Instead, every taxpayer gets to pay off extra debt on bailed out but not fully restructured firms almost certain to need help again in the future. Same deal with the “too big to fail” financial institutions.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      @George B: What conservatives do is create messes and wait for someone else to clean them up – berating them while they do so. Whatever you think of the republican party – it made its own bed and enjoyed the electoral results. – Go to bed with a dog – wake up with fleas.

      Before it cultivated the religious right – prior to that (nixon) the southern rascists – and now the teaparty and the unhinged white power right – . Take responsibility for the results.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Probert, I bet you get all your news from Rachel, Keith, and Chris on MSNBC, with a little sprinkling of Jon Stewart thrown in.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think you’re right, and I say this as someone who likes the Volt quite a bit.

    Just as the Prius was, it’s a product that changes the automobile-transport paradigm, and does so without significant compromise to the driver. This is different than the Leaf** which still requires a compromise in the way most people drive. And you’re right that GM should pitch it differently in order to further this shift towards sustainable personal transport.

    GM has a problem with this: it’s addicted to thinking of itself as a boutique manufacturer but it’s structured as a mass-market producer. Anything they make that’s remotely interesting has be glamorous; it can’t be mundane and mass-market and just work.

    What I’m not sure of is how transportable the Volt’s technology is to other vehicles. It would be good to see if there are plans to make it available to the rest of the lineup, but I think GM will have problems (psychological ones, that is) doing so.

    ** at least until swappable batteries become viable and/or it stores four times the amount of power and/or they can charge it reasonably quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “GM has a problem with this: it’s addicted to thinking of itself as a boutique manufacturer”

      Bob Lutz’s enduring legacy?

      As for carrying the tech beyond the Volt, search ‘voltec’. I don’t think they can do it effectively, either.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Ed,

    I like it. My favorite part says it all…

    “If GM were honest…”

  • avatar
    carguy

    Edward, there is nothing wrong with your op-ed piece except a crucial lack of perspective on the rest of the energy industry. Oil and gas, even though very profitable, enjoy billions (as much $15-35B depending on how you do the accounting) in government subsidies yet I have never hear TTAC or conservatives complain about it. It seem that deficits only matter when there is a Democratic president in the White House and there is only outrage when the subsidies go to groups not politically well connected.

    I’m all for eliminating corporate welfare but just not selectively and, while your piece is good, it misses the greater perspective on the energy industries addiction to public funds.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      One can argue about some of the tax breaks or good deals on leases that energy companies get, but in the end they are net paying significant dollar amounts into the US treasury. Net flow from energy companies to the government. GM, in contrast, received money from the federal government where there is a net flow of dollars from the government to GM.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      GeorgeB: That makes no sense. All companies should pay the standard corporate taxes and stand on their own two feet. Giving billions of those tax dollars back to oil and gas is just as much of a market distortion and subsidy as giving money to GM. I’m not for either but I’m surprised at the selective outrage here as, for example, Joe Barton’s $50B per year “technical research” earmark for oil drilling in the 2005 Energy Policy Act didn’t even rate a mention but the same magnitude of GM assistance seems to signal “radical socialism”.

      People’s memories are too short. Only a few years ago Dick Cheney proclamation of “Deficits don’t matter” was the GOP spending mantra but now conservatives want us to believe that they care out the budget?

  • avatar

    Do we really know that this thing is breaking even or turning a profit at $41,000? I’m not 100% convinced of that.

    The early adopters would have paid $50,000 for this thing (and, quite likely, still will with dealer markups.) So I’m OK with setting the price high then dropping it later once production capacity increases, because they’ll sell 10,000 in 2011 at $41,000 and they’d sell 10,000 at $30,000 or $50,000.

    Once demand catches up to supply, though, they are going to either have to cut the price, beg for more subsidies, or cut production.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      Yeah, I don’t get the problem with the price point. I’ll eat my hat if they don’t sell out all 10,000 before the calendar says 2011.

      (Assuming they actually get the thing out in November. This is still GM, after all. Don’t misunderestimate their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • 0 avatar
      pak668

      I’m pretty sure that GM won’t be making a profit selling them at $40k, and certainly not on the lease deal.

      I really don’t get the argument that the Leaf is a better deal / better solution than the Volt. There’s no way that I could live with an EV with no range extender.

      The article would appear to be a bit biased!

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Well Ed, I have really bad news for you. Many of your loyal readers are going to be even angrier at you than usual. Many of your friends are going to stop talking to you. You will no longer be allowed to hobnob with the better people and get invited to the correct kind of charitable events. The reason? Rush Limbaugh is quoting from your op-ed at this very moment. (Yes, I am doing my internet thing while listening to Rush – ooh, I see throbbing neck veins breaking out all over the place.) Sorry to be the bringer of bad news. Perhaps a donation to the Sierra Club and/or Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Rush is trying very hard to not look like a patsy for being grossly factually incorrect in his discussion of the Volt.

      Rush is also no longer the benefactor of GM’s marketing largess.

      On a related note, I’m always surprised to see how the conservative public and media, as well as GM’s fanbase, has handled the bailout. The cognitive dissonance must be difficult to handle, but they’ve managed to cope. Usually the two go hand-in-hand, but they’ve split very neatly. It does make me wonder, though, how much of this is due to GM not shovelling piles of money at people like Rush.

    • 0 avatar
      1996MEdition

      As I tuned in to get my weekend conservative talking points and gooses-stepping instructions over greasy cheeseburger, I was shocked to hear EN being quoted by the MahaRushi. Your credibility is now probably shot. Great article…..job well done.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      What’s even more amusing is Rush quoting something that appeared in the pages of the Great Satan Daily. You would think that if it appeared in the Times, it must be subject to Liberal Bias and should thusly be written off.

  • avatar
    NN

    Ed, your cynicism of GM and their business practices is usually spot-on and well deserved, in my opinion. The illustration of the costs going into the Volt is perfect. However, I think you are dismissing the product itself, especially with the implication that a Leaf priced at $8k less is a better value. Personally, I cannot fathom the stress of driving a car to and from work, with a supposed 80 mile range, and turning the A/C or heat on, and fearing whether I’ll make it home or not. Range anxiety is still the big problem with EV’s, and I think GM’s lease offer will be taken up quite well. $350 per month, right? Well, 1000 miles/month in a 25mpg car at $3/gallon is $120 in gas, so to many people the Volt’s net monthly lease cost will be more like $250 or so. Now that’s not half bad.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      As someone else mentioned in another Volt article, GM may only really want customers to lease rather than buy. That way, GM can get the used first generation Volts back, analyze them for bugs, defects, etc. and get them off the road before the batteries die, Volts break, lawsuits start, etc. And one could always buy a Volt for 41k, so no one can complain that the Volt is lease only.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I think the only reason they are offering this first round of Volts for sale at all is to address one of the issues that haunted the EV-1. GM gave themselves a big black eye when they took back their lease-only EV-1s and crushed them. The people would could afford to buy a Volt outright are the same type of people who signed up for the EV-1 back in the early 90′s.

  • avatar
    wGraves

    I concur with your analysis. Unfortunately, real life is really complicated. The obvious theory that low acceleration produces better mileage is also not obvious, and deserves the same type of investigation, if you have any free time

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Instalanche:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/103871/

  • avatar
    mcs

    The other problem that the Volt has is that it won’t be alone in the plug-in hybrid market for long. Both Toyota and Hyundai have plug-ins on the way. The Hyundai plug-in may even have the same EV range as the Volt. I just don’t see the Volt surviving against Toyota and Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      jmatt

      >>> I just don’t see the Volt surviving against Toyota and Hyundai.

      Especially if it comes with all the reliability the UAW usually delivers.

      The UAW can’t build a good car with technology they’ve been working with for 80 years. What makes anyone believe they can build a car with a technology they’ve never seen before?

      I’m willing to bet that once you factor in all of the bailout money, bondscrewings, etc that the driveaway cost to manufacture is more like $100,000 per vehicle. Only the government, working hand in glove with the unions, could design and build a hundred thousand dollar sub-compact that nobody will drive.

      So. Who’s ready to snap up these valuable IPO shares?

  • avatar
    jj99

    Will never be a Volt on my driveway. However, I would consider the 4 cylinder LaCrosse. High gas mileage. Good looks. Simplicity. A Toyota killer, but if and only if it is reliable. Cross your fingers.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    Ed, you forgot one big bulletpoint in that sales diagram:

    $27 billion dollar bondholder screwing

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No, and I think we’ve vetted the bond-holder issue a few times. Had GM been allowed a “normal” bankruptcy, the bondholders (who were not secured, no matter what the blogs have claimed) would have gotten, functionally, nothing when GM was gutted. Chrysler was somewhat different, but the same would have applied

      With government intervention they at least got something back. But the bondholders got greedy and tried to proxy the government giving them less than face value (but more than market value) into a kind of “poor little guy” whinging.

      This played wonderfully with a certain slice of the media and blogosphere, but wasn’t at all true.

  • avatar
    probert

    I was pondering this recent right wing outburst on ttac – I thought the bad old days had passed. Then it occurred to me: GM is showing a profit, approximately 4 million jobs have been saved, and a bold new technology is coming to fruition.

    It really must hurt – it must be commie plot – it might be a rational policy decision (sorry about that).

    With all the shouts about socialism and crying about how great our non-existent health care SYSTEM is – I find irony that the lead story is about a luxury AUdi, made with union labor in a socialist state that provides health care and education to its citizens. Where every worker has 5 weeks paid vacation and a pension.

    The horror – the humanity…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This is why it’s important not to generalize. Socialism or capitalism, trade unions, regulators, bankers and so forth are aspects of economic toolsets, not absolute policies, and their effectiveness varies greatly on the appropriateness of their use and the competency of the user.

      I don’t think TTAC so much leans to the right as the recent changes in automobilia have shaken the comfort level of a lot of it’s followers.. Take the GM, for example: you have hybrids, which are a left-wing thing, but being promoted by GM, who appealed far more heavily to the right before they whipped out the begging bowl, which is going to offend both sides, though for very different reasons. There’s a lot cognitive dissonance, there, and it tends to stimulate discussion.

      The bail-outs on the whole do the same. They make leftists uncomfortable because they’re wealth redistribution in the wrong direction; they make the right uncomfortable because they’re government involvement in business. The result is a lot of people talking past each other because they’re not able to appreciate the other side’s point of view, nor come to terms with their own discomfort.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The problem with this whole Op-Ed piece is the Volt is not for sale… its available for RENT (lease) at $350 a month. Who in their right mind would buy this car when you can lease it for SO little? I’m trying to make business sense out of GMs thinking here, can someone help me?

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Well the Volt IS for sale, if you want to pay 41k for it. I think GM intentionally made leasing more attractive so that they can recollect the used 1st generation Volts after leases expire. That way they can get them off the road and analyze them for defects, etc. before any major long term problems have time and/or high mileage to develop and further ruin GM’s reputation. But I think that GM made the Volt for sale at an unrealistic price if only to prove that they’re not going to repeat their mistake with the EV-1 of the early 90s – of only leasing them out. Who would actually buy one? Perhaps the rich tree huggers and the green poseurs, where social statements take precedence over something as inconsequential and crude as mere money. Dunno.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think there were only a few mistakes in the article. The Leaf doesn’t cost 8k less because it doesn’t have an ICE. It also doesn’t have all of the battery conditioning equipment that the Volt does, which will very likely make the Volt battery a longer lifetime than the Leaf. Also, you mention the $350 a month lease part of the article, but fail to mention the cost of a Leaf lease which is $349 a month, a difference in $36 dollars in the lease. (I don’t know that the difference in down payments and taxes are for each).

    I am also concerned with the assumption of making the Prius a cost losing vehicle was the right idea. I can only imagine if the Volt came out with a cost of 20k but cost 40k to make that there wouldn’t be an uproar into how much GM was losing on each one. Besides, GM doesn’t need to sell that many to learn from it, make a 2nd and 3rd generation that would be better, cheaper, and then become more main stream. Which bring me to the next point…

    Why do you think GM doesn’t have a plan for making it more main stream when it is already planning a 2nd generation of the vehicle? Where is the data that says GM has no plan? In fact, data suggest quite the opposite. GM said today that it plans on increasing Volt production by 50%.
    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100730/GREEN/100739989

    Also, saying how the Volt looks like the Prius is a very interesting comment. The Insight looks the same. It just so happens to be the shape that is best for drag coefficient. The Prius wasn’t the first to use this shape, and won’t be the last. The article implies that this was a copy of the Prius, but that isn’t the case.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kammback

    The IPO argument for how the Volt is priced doesn’t make sense either because GM is likely to go IPO before any single Volt is sold.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “It also doesn’t have all of the battery conditioning equipment that the Volt does, which will very likely make the Volt battery a longer lifetime than the Leaf.”

      I’m pretty sure the Leaf has some sort of charging and temperature management for the pack; it’s all but mandatory for OEM-suitable usage.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      bumpy,
      The Leaf is air cooled. Read more here.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/nissan-leaf-has-no-active-thermal-management/

  • avatar
    jmatt

    >>> Had GM been allowed a “normal” bankruptcy,

    Yeah, poor GM, they couldn’t even get a “normal” bankruptcy. They got one where the union, with no financial input whatsoever, was awarded a huge chunk of the company. Just cuz they’re such swell guys.

    >>> the bondholders (who were not secured, no matter what the blogs have claimed) would have gotten, functionally, nothing when GM was gutted

    What does that have to do with my comment? Did GM walk away from $27 billion dollars in debt from people who trusted them with their money, or did they not? Screwing those people out of that astronomical sum certainly does affect GM’s bottom line, yes?

    So, with $60 billion in taxpayer welfare and wiping $27 billion in debt from the balance sheet: Let the best car win! I bet *every* company wishes it could compete on those terms, eh? LOL

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The union got a stake because they were, in a way, a creditor. Recall GM’s underfunded pension obligations or VEBA? It’s not like anyone else was going to step up the plate, which would have left the company to be picked apart, which (and this is arguable) not something we might have wanted to happen to a major employer (and customer of subsidiary employers) in the maw of a recession.

      As for what my comment had to do with yours: you had mentioned the bondholders getting screwed. The bondholders were not screwed, not even close. They did quite well out of the bankruptcy process, far better than they would have under an unassisted bankruptcy. But they god greedy, or grossly misunderstood how their investments worked.

      But the more reactionary members of the right-wing bought bondholders’ story about being “screwed” because it meshed so very neatly with their ideological bent. It certainly made good ammunition. The problem is that it wasn’t true.

      I don’t happen to like bail-outs, though for very different reasons, but I didn’t want to see the mis-truth about poor little bondholders repeated. Again.

    • 0 avatar

      These pensions are the same pensions they shaked off. It’s like calling the mafia a creditor because their victims did not cough up enough.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    >>> The bondholders were not screwed, not even close.

    How do I debate a guy who won’t admit that skating away on a $27 BILLION DOLLAR loan is not screwing them?

    Okay, let’s do this. You loan me 27 billion, I come back next week and tell you I’ve decided not to repay you. Now, screwed or no?

    • 0 avatar
      michaeljeep

      +1

      “They did quite well out of the bankruptcy process”

      As of today my 1000 investment in gm bonds is worthless. I fail to see how I did quite well. Please enlighten.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      jmatt,
      If you loan someone essentially without collateral, that very well might happen to you. That is known as unsecured debt. What do you think happens during bankruptcy?

  • avatar
    jmatt

    And GM, everytime you say “May the best car win” America laughs so hard it wets its pants.

    The best car *did* win; it was called a Camry, you may have heard of it. It’s the car that landed you in bankrupcy court and put you on the corporate welfare rolls.

    But now that you’ve recieved more financial benefit granted by any government on planet earth in all of recorded human history, and your competitors did not, suddenly it’s time to compete! LOL

  • avatar
    benders

    Hey, did someone finally post a picture of the Booth Babe?

    I don’t know who the intended market for the Volt is. Most commuters need cars that are cheap and frugal. I’m afraid GM needs to convince the drivers who are already in $35-40k cars that Volts are worth it and I can’t see that happening. Sure, you’ll get the electric car fanbois but who will trade in their 250h, 3 series, or TL for one?

    I’d like to see a $35k hybrid comparo. 250h vs. Volt.

  • avatar
    Revver

    Well I for one, read the whole damned Op-Ed (thinking, my this is pretty astute for the NYT) before realizing it was written by TTAC’s own.

    The market has not spoken, so we’re all guessing about the Volt’s impact on GM’s reputation, and fortunes, but IMHO it’s a case of GM: Missed Again, missed big, maybe they’ll get it right “next time”.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    You got a complement on the 6:00 news on Fox:

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report/index.html

    The transcript wont be up for a couple of days.

  • avatar
    misha

    Do you really believe the Japanese government did not subsidize development, and provided a tax write-off, of the Prius?

    Those early Prius models were sold at a loss. Who do you think helped?

    Same thing, sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      jmatt

      Ya got some facts to back that up or is this just something you “think” happened?

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      I lived in Japan during that time, working as a lawyer. No, the Japanese government did not have anything to do with Toyota’s development of the Prius. Financially or otherwise.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife is an accountant, from Taiwan. She said selling a product for less than it costs to make is dumping, and illegal. She told me when products are sold for less than cost, the maker’s government makes up the difference. And she said R&D in Japan is a 100% write off.

      She worked for Indian motorcycles, before coming to the States.

    • 0 avatar

      One more thing: you went to college with government subsidized loans at a government subsidized college, take the mortgage interest deduction, use the library, use public transportation, drive on government built and maintained roads, use government built and maintained airports, have 529 accounts for your children and whose tax dollars go to a variety of subsidies, like the food you eat.

      Also, your government led a coup in 1953 in Iran, so you could have cheap oil, and did the same in Iraq.

      http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2009/10/electric-cars-are-dangerous.html

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      “My wife is an accountant, from Taiwan. She said selling a product for less than it costs to make is dumping, and illegal. She told me when products are sold for less than cost, the maker’s government makes up the difference. And she said R&D in Japan is a 100% write off.”

      No offense to your wife, but she doesn’t know what she is talking about.

    • 0 avatar

      “No offense to your wife, but she doesn’t know what she is talking about.”

      She’s an accountant with a defense contractor.

  • avatar
    snafu

    As long as Leno buys one, and stuffs a tweaked big block in there, all will be right with the world. :)

  • avatar
    mythicalprogrammer

    Whatever, they gotta start somewhere with green technology. They can’t be behind all the time, their hybrid was behind so their image on hybrid ain’t that great, this is a perception changing product for them. Think about hybrid for a second, and most people would first think of the Prius. The prius made a name for Toyota. Lots of people knows what a Prius is and what it convey, GREEN, and who made it Toyota, and therefore Toyota get green cred and every benefits that goes along with it. I think this is a decent move for GM. Nissan is going to try the same with the Leaf and I, in my bias opinion, believe Nissan’s Leaf will be that Toyota Prius product of perception for electric car. It’s just like how Coco cola market itself all psychology stuff.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    ………..says the man who went through a state school with Pell grants and subsidized loans, takes the primary interest deduction, lives in a house financed with FHA backing, has probably collected unemployment and decries the oppressive government. I love it.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    >>> She told me when products are sold for less than cost, the maker’s government makes up the difference

    Oh, well if your *wife* says so, it must be true. lol Feel free to interrupt me with facts at any time.

    >>> One more thing: you went to college with government subsidized loans at a government subsidized college…

    Viva la revolucion!

    I didn’t make this system, I just have to live in it.

    If I were to invent a system, it would have complex ideas like when people earn money, they get to keep it. Or even this radical concept: that people wouldn’t be able to use the government to steal other people’s money. I know, not very advanced by a socialists standards… I am sure the UAW would not approve, since they are so fond of corporate welfare.

    • 0 avatar

      “Or even this radical concept: that people wouldn’t be able to use the government to steal other people’s money.”

      Social Security is pure socialism. Roosevelt got the idea from von Bismarck, who got it from Karl Marx. If you are that unhappy, move to Costa Rica. They allow immigration.

      I had an aneurysm and major hemmorage at 49, and had to take SSD. Glad people like you are not in charge.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    So let’s see, your wife soaks up tax dollars at a defense contractor and you soak them up on disability. Not hard to see where your coming from.

    So, you can sit at a computer at home and argue on the internet. You just can’t sit at a computer in an office and work a spreadsheet. Do I have that right?

  • avatar
    Prometheus

    I’m amazed that so many people cannot see the place of en electric vehicle. Phrases like “An electric car won’t succeed, it won’t work for my 3 hour commute.” – You’re right, it won’t work for you. But then no one car or truck does work for EVERYONE. It would be crazy to think that an electric car can work for everyone… when no gas car or truck can do that. If one could, we’d all be driving a Yaris, or an Expedition. (examples only).

    The Leaf, for example, can get 100 miles to the charge. For a number of people… that’s plenty for a day. And if you get 30 minutes of a booster charge, say during a lunch hour, you can get another 15 miles.

    Just get an all-electric car onto the market, and the after-market will exploit them. In no time, there will be extended batteries you can buy or add on, mods that you can do. It will take on a life of it’s own. Anyone that has witnessed the cellphone age knows this. That 100 mile battery will quickly be modified.

    Plus, an electric car will last so much longer and cost less to maintain. Look at all of the things you don’t have to worry about: No radiator, no pumps, no alternator, no belts, no ignition, no muffler, no exhaust system, no catalytic converter, no transmission, no timing chains, no clutches, no head gaskets, no spark plugs, no valves, no injectors, no fuel lines, no filters, … we can go on and on… and it generates far less heat to wear adjacent parts out. Auto parts stores and service centers won’t welcome electric cars being on the road.

    I completely agree with the original story… the GM Volt is a flop, and it’s not even out yet. It still has an engine. It missed the target while it was still on the design table. GM did a 100-mile per charge all electric car in 1991, and it was successful in their test market. Tesla far exceeds that now with a high-end sports car, and it’s successful. Nissan (if they ever get their @ss in gear!) will do it with the Leaf. I don’t understand what GM’s excuse is?

  • avatar
    jmatt

    Yeah, I didn’t think so. That whole “everybody is living off of the government” schtick was way too practiced, like you say it to yourself every morning when you look in the mirror.

    When your kids or relatives visit, do you think they talk about how you should just get a job instead of living off their taxes as they drive home? I’m betting they do.


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