By on September 30, 2011

From the “how did we miss that?” file comes this Automotive News [sub] story, filed at the beginning of the week, which asked GM Europe boss Nick Reilly about plans for Volt-based variants. Reilly replied

We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015. You’d have to wait until after that until you see it.

Which is peculiar, considering GM just announced that it will build a Cadillac Converj-style Volt variant at some point. GM has also shown a near-production-look Volt MPV5 Concept, although that has never been confirmed as a future production model. But Reilly explains that current Volt’s slow ramp-up and “expensive technology” have doomed any possibility of a Volt family of vehicles before the next generation drivetrain launches.

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69 Comments on “GM: No Volt Variations Until 2015...”


  • avatar
    Carzzi

    That’s code for, “We want to see whether the current administration survives the 2012 elections, ‘coz if they don’t, we’ll have to kill the Volt — no more subsidies”.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Is this really a surprising decision. By the time any other variant made it to market (say 2012) there would be only 3 years until the next generation. The Volt is sold in the US and Europe, that should allow development costs to be recouped and improvements made for the second generation (just like Toyota did with the MkI Prius).

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It’s also code for “Luke42 will have bought a C-Max Energi before GM even shows up with up with a product”…

      Assuming that I’m making enough money to afford a new vehicle in 2013, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      If GM is not selling a Volt MPV until 2015, BRING US THE ORLANDO NOW!!!

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I guess they want to sell the current Volt for as long as possible to recoup the development cost, before sinking even more money building new variants off it. Plus they might want to wait until the technology matures further, and gain more acceptance, etc.

  • avatar

    we don’t need a Volt, we need a reVolt. it’s the same old General Motors. watch as the imports come roaring back with production. GM days as the blind cat with dead mouse are drawing to a close.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Is there any demand for a variation of the Volt? They sell, what 8 or 9 a day? If that many? So if there is a variation, that will sell 5? Or will it just take sales from the Volt?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Volt is still in a limited-available roll-out, and it costs $40k. There are reasons other than demand that they’re not selling a lot of them.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        Limited availability?

        Not counting the 2600 or so units on the ground?

        http://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action?stkTyp=N&tracktype=newcc&mkId=20053&AmbMkId=20053&AmbMkNm=Chevrolet&make=Chevrolet&AmbMdNm=Volt&model=Volt&mdId=35025&AmbMdId=35025&rd=100000&zc=02345&enableSeo=1&searchSource=TRAIL_HEAD

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Kind of ridiculous to develope the Voltec drivetrain and then never offer it in more than 1 model don’t you think? If they(GM)work 1/2 as hard at the Gen 2 model as they did at the Gen 1, look out! Especially if gas is at $5 or $6 a gallon in 2015.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    In the General’s defense, Toyota also waited until the Prius was fully accepted and sell in good numbers before coming up with variants of the basic car.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    The Volt should be named the Ohm because (wait for it)

    There’s been a lot of resistance when folks think of buying it.

    Badda-bing.

    GM – Yesterday’s Technology Tomorrow

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      As much as I’ve bashed the Volt in the past, it’s unfair to say that it represents “yesterday’s technology tomorrow”. The Volt is an exceptional science project – great technology that few are interested in buying.

      No other car maker has tried to do what they’ve done here, but maybe it’s because they don’t like losing money.

      • 0 avatar
        Da Coyote

        I reluctantly agree. However, to my defense, GM has managed to be late with radial tires, all wheel disc brakes, fuel injection (Corvette mechanical one doesn’t count, since it was quite unreliable), overhead cams, reclining front bucket seats, keys that went in both ways…and of course…general fit and finish. They actually had some neat stuff (the Corvair Corsa being one car with potential)….but the low SAT marketing and finance hacks managed to successfully sink every good engineering idea.

        Whew….I’m out of breath.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If Volt sales stay in the tank, GM will kill the Converj again and there will be no variants of this technology.

    If a $7500 subsidy can’t move these cars, they’re doomed.

    In car development terms, 2015 is pretty near. Something tells me they’re killing variant projects internally already, and none will start up until Volt sales rebound.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      What’s going to happen to Volt sales when the Prius plug-in goes on sale this spring?

      As far as the subsidy goes, remember it’s in the form of a tax credit which might not show up until the car is almost a year old depending on when you buy the car. So you’re still buying and making payments on a $40k car. I’m assuming you also have to qualify for a $40k loan as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If a $7500 subsidy can’t move these cars, they’re doomed.

      GM has hardly built any Volts to be moved.

      Sales have been low, but production has also been low. That should make the GM watchers ask why production has been as low as it has been. The volumes haven’t yet been sufficient to determine whether there is a market for this or not.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Volt’s sales are constrained by production capacity, not low demand. The originally planned first model year volume of 11,000 can be compared with much simpler Prius’ first year volume of 8,500. Volt is not profitable at current prices, but that is not its purpose. Volt is intended to demonstrate GM’s technological capability, and develop the concept. Agressive cost reduction initiatives should enable profitable EREVs in the next generation.

      The notion that Volt is tied, somehow, to the Obama administration is inaccurate. Volt was conceived years before, along with the tax incentives that were released to promote carmakers developing new technology.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “If Volt sales stay in the tank,”

    How do you come to that conclusion when they’ve sold pretty much everyone they’ve built. In the tank???, that must be why the few dealers that have them where I live are charging 5K over MSRP. I wish sales were in the tank then maybe I could get one for 5K under MSRP……LOL

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      You have a point. But anyone paying $5k over MSRP – or charging that way – is crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Our local Chevy dealer has had a Volt in the showroom for month or three now, the factory sticker is in the $46k range, but they have added on enough dealer markup and extras to have it over $52k. Even with the tax refund, in East TN that’s going to be sitting there a while I suspect.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      “How do you come to that conclusion when they’ve sold pretty much everyone they’ve built. ”

      Lot’s of people waiting to pick up ther cars then?

      http://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action?stkTyp=N&tracktype=newcc&mkId=20053&AmbMkId=20053&AmbMkNm=Chevrolet&make=Chevrolet&AmbMdNm=Volt&model=Volt&mdId=35025&AmbMdId=35025&rd=100000&zc=02345&enableSeo=1&searchSource=TRAIL_HEAD

  • avatar
    Juniper

    OK, up to now they have made 400 a month and sold 400 a month. Last month, august ,they made about 1400, lets see what the sales are next week.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Just like Carlson Fan, you have a point. And the Leaf sells all that are produced as well.

      But the market for a $40k economy car is limited by price. So as production ramps up, we’ll see how limited it really is.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Sold 723 this past month. Not what they made, but much better sales numbers. They made a lot in September too. Will be interesting to see how this goes.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The Volt just isn’t a player when compared to the Prius. The Prius has its following, the Volt not so much. That may change, but I rather doubt that since the Prius is at least a decade ahead of the Volt and has sold at least a million more units than the Volt.

    Many people were under the mistaken impression that the Volt was an EV like the Leaf and that brought on range-anxiety. GM has had to educate the public with its latest commercial on the Volt that basically says that it also uses gasoline if you need to. Not much consolation, so far.

    While many people could easily accept the Hybrid parallel drive train used in the Prius, a lot of people have difficulty grasping the idea of how a Volt uses a gas engine to power the battery which then powers the electric motor.

    The concept of the drive train of an electro-locomotive as used in the Volt is tough to accept for many people. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to have the gas engine power the wheels parallel with the electric motor, like its done in the Prius? Having a serial gas-battery-electric motor drive-train seems self-defeating in case of a battery or electric motor failure.

    GM needs to focus on selling the current Volt before trying to expand the family. At this point the Volt is just not accepted. And because I’m a choice guy, I hope that the Volt will be accepted in the future. The Volt, Prius, Leaf and any and all EVs and Hybrids should be available in the market place for anyone who wants to buy one. But I’ll pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m a Prius driver, and I’d love to own a Volt. Problem is I don’t have $40k and, even if I did, it hasn’t been rolled out to my part of flyover country yet.

      I’ll be test driving one, though, as soon as it shows up at my local Chevy dealer.

      The plug-in Prius doesn’t quite have enough all-electric range to make it through my weekly non-discretionary driving without using gasoline. On the other hand, the well-worn old Prius in my driveway has been a rock-solid AtoB car and is still in great working order at 126k miles. I’d love to be able to avoid gasoline at all during my regular work-week roadtrips — it’s something that I value for reasons that may make sense to a lot of regular car guys, but it matters to me.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The Prius owners I know and play poker with every week are all old dudes. The Prius they own is not their primary ride. In fact, many of them own a pickup truck and a sports car, like an old Mercedes or an old Porsche, even an MG or Triumph.

        Those guys are not as willing to give up their Prius for a Volt, but they may consider a plug-in Prius Hybrid. Obviously these guys are not worried about money, but for those who find money in short supply a Prius just seems a much better fit, both financially and economically.

        Don’t get me wrong. I would like GM to succeed at something so it can pay back the US tax payers, hopefully with interest. But what are the chances? And what are the odds that the Volt is going to be the break-through vehicle that will put GM back on top? My guess would be ‘nil’.

        Yeah, the Volt is a great niche vehicle and I think it should be available for anyone who wants to buy one, but as long as there is the Prius to contend with, and the Leaf, the Volt will have a hard time selling in any large numbers.

        Hopefully that will change, but I’m not optimistic. The Volt is priced out of reach for many people who want to buy one. Offering variations on the same theme is not going to sell more of them. If anything, it will rob Peter to pay Paul.

        The Prius OTOH has already cultivated a devoted following and a new generation of drivers is beginning to take notice. That could be why Toyota decided to expand the Prius family.

      • 0 avatar
        BigFire

        I too drives a Prius. I don’t see much point in getting Volt, even though my car is 6 years old. It still runs just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        BigFire, with a 6-year old Prius are you running on the gas-engine a lot by now. What is your current electric-only range on the 6-year old battery pack? My guess would be around 23-28 miles before the gas engine kicks in.

        The experience here in the desert is that the torque curve remains after all the years and ambient temperature extremes, but the power doesn’t last as long it used to before the gas engine starts.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        The Prius doesn’t use the electric motor that way, so you can’t really talk about electric-only range, unless you have done an aftermarket plug-in conversion. I have an ’05 Prius with around 70k miles on it, no noticeable changes in the state of the hybrid system since new, still average around 56MPG.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        LectroByte, I should have been more clear. The guys who own Prius around where I live put-put around town on battery power at low speeds. Obviously if they enter the highway the gas engine kicks in right away.

        They are the ones who told me that the electric-only range diminishes with age and temperature extremes. I was interested in learning other people’s experiences in relation to Volt possibly widening its variations since we don’t know yet what the life-expectancy of the Volt power pack is.

        Will it be adversely affected by long distance commutes or low-speed all-electric jaunts in town? How about Interstate cruising at a consistent 75mph? Will the gas engine be wide-open throttle all the time to keep the motor going and the battery charging? How is loading the Volt up with passengers going to affect all-electric range? I ask this with an eye on the possibility of a Volt-variation in taxi-van form. I think it might work, if GM is thinking about creating variants on the Volt theme.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The current Prius has a 2-3 mile all electric range when driven in stop and go traffic never getting up to any real speed. Then the battery will be at the minimum SOC and the engine will kick in and continue to run even at a complete stop. If you drive it at just under the all electric threshold you’ll get less than 1 mile before the engine starts up. The coming plug in version is claimed to have a ~ 20 mile all electric range.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Scoutdude, you get an A+! You are right on, and it coincides exactly with the experiences of my friends and neighbors who drive Prius, right down to the gas engine continuing to run.

        When I was a passenger in a Prius, I couldn’t even hear the gas engine run until the owner pointed it out to me.

        They did say that with age the gas engine does come on more often and stays running longer. One of the owners has around 156K on his mostly driving between where we live and El Paso, TX where he works. He doesn’t drive it every day because his wife uses it most to drive to her work at White Sands Missile Range.

        They are very happy with it and don’t look to replace it with a Volt of any variation.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @HighDesertCat- As another “old dude”, Volt looks very appealing to me. I have driven a Volt over 80 MPH in pure EV mode and it is a great drving car.I could go months without a trip to a gas station in my typical routine.

        The big difference is that Prius requires gas essentially all of the time. The plug-in Prius was developed in response to Volt, but still has extremely limited EV capability. Volt can operate as a pure electric vehicle a good share if not all of the time for some driving habits. It would not be the choice for those who drive a lot over 35-50 miles between recharges, but would be far superior to the miniscule EV range and performance capability of the Prius.

        Now, the price is another matter! It will have to come down substantially for me to be a buyer, and I want a hatchback for my golf clubs, too.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Olds, thanks a lot for the comment. I have printed it out on paper to give to my bud later today. I have plenty of time to do that since the wife, grandkids and (former) daughter-in-law are in Albuquerque this weekend for the Balloon Fiesta. I’m batching it.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        As another “old dude” The Volt would be a perfect replacement fo my Impala. I’m burning $80 to a $100 a month of $5.00 a gallon
        gas. Oh yeah, oil sands or not,no such thing as cheap gas in Canada.

        So,by the time I figure all the taxes in,I’m looking at nearly 50K. Then I calculate the hydro.

        I’d be over a 100 years old before I recovered my cash.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @mikey- It is hard to imagine how any new car can compete in cost with your Impala! My uncle told me he was getting 34 MPG with his a few years ago. I don’t think he does drive with a very light foot.

        As a GM retiree, I hate to say the best value transportation is probably a used vehicle. On the other hand, there have to be new cars sold for a used market to exist! I am not sure what to expect with Hybrid, EV & EREV battery life. GM claims their technology should provide life well beyond the 8 year 100,000 mile warranty. I guess only time will tell whether used Volts become good values on the used market.

        Now, an EREV like the crossover in the photo with a price in the $20′s would be very, very appealing!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        After doing my 100-mile-a-day commute for over a month now, I’m averaging 30-33 mpg on my 2004 Impala. 85K miles. In August on a trip to the St. Louis area, our average on the trip to STL was an astounding 35.44 mpg! On the way home it was almost 34 mpg – 33.66 mpg. Not too shabby, I think.

        Now, what I’ll replace this car with is anybody’s guess.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @Zackman & Dr Olds…..I may never part with my 09 LTZ.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Dr Olds thanks for the support!!

        PCH you want Data, I did tell you where to look for data, but apparently you are too lazy to do it all on your own so here is some data supporting the fact that Toyota and other Japanese brands spec low quality parts that are going to have a short life to save themselves a few bucks.

        http://www.tirerack.com/survey/SurveyComments.jsp?additionalComments=Y&commentStatus=P&tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=Rugged+Trail+T%2FA#

        Read through a couple of pages of reviews paying attention to the ones that say they were the OE tires on the vehicle. You’ll see that the ones put on Toyotas and Nissans the owners report that they have a very short tread life, sometimes as little as 20-25K miles. But the reviews from people who got them OE on their Ford, GM, or Dodge truck report them lasting as much as 115K. The reason, Toyota I know for a fact specs out a 8/32″ tread depth, not certain about Nissan, while Ford specs out 13/32″ of tread, again not certain about the ones used by GM and Dodge, but you can be pretty certain they didn’t spec out the 8/32″ version to save the $20 per vehicle. Brakes are another place where GM and Ford give you good parts that will last from the factory while Toyota and Honda, Honda in particular spec out pads that just don’t last. A new Ford or GM vehicle’s brakes will last 60-80 or even 100k while on some Honda’s you get under 15K on the original pads. Here is some data on just how bad the brakes on Hondas are. http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Accord/2009/brakes/premature_brake_wear.shtml be sure to switch years and look at 2008 and 2010 too. The funny stuff is reading some of the comments about the dealers reactions telling the owners things like “it’s because you are a woman and don’t know how to drive”, “you must have driven with the parking brake on” and my far and away favorite “the rear brakes do most of the work so that is why they wear out so fast”

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Wouldn’t it be simpler just to have the gas engine power the wheels parallel with the electric motor, like its done in the Prius? Having a serial gas-battery-electric motor drive-train seems self-defeating in case of a battery or electric motor failure.”

    Lutz didn’t want another parallel hybrid like the Prius. The whole point of the Volt is it can be driven on electricty indefinitely. You couldn’t do that with a Prius until the plug-version came along. And even that has limitations unlike the Volt. Or you can take it from New York to Seattle, which you wouldn’t want to try an do in a pure EV like the Leaf.

    The real beauty of the Volt, which is something that was touched on in the review this week, it that unlike the Prius, it’s not a penalty box to drive. That part of the review was spot-on as far as what I’m reading from actual Volt owners. Many like the way the Volt drives soo much they’ve forgotten why they bought it in the first place. The instant torque provided by the electric motors it soo addictive they’ll never go back to another ICE vehicle. How many Prius owners would buy another one mainly because they like how it drives? I suspect not many if any.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “The whole point of the Volt is it can be driven on electricty indefinitely.”

      Yeah, as long as you don’t exceed the 40 miles (at best) before the low-battery circuit starts the gas engine. Add AC and possibly lights to the power drain and the range diminishes drastically.

      That may be OK if you dive in the inner cities and don’t go far, and you can top off your battery at a charging station, but where I live it is 52 miles roundtrip to and from the nearest town and there are NO charging stations.

      If people want to buy a ‘fun-to-drive’ EV they should buy a Tesla Roadster. I have been a passenger in a Prius on several occasions when accompanying a friend and the Prius was not a penalty box IMO.

      Opinions do differ and I understand that. I am also not a candidate for EV ownership. ICEs works fine for me. Plenty of gas around. I don’t worry about the price of gas. Never have. Prefer to drive.

      I believe in choice and I think that the Volt should be available for those who want to buy one and can afford to do so. I also believe that every other EV manufacturer should be represented in the market place. And until the Volt is as widely accepted as the Prius I remain skeptical of its success.

      Like I said, I want GM to succeed at something so that it can pay back the bail out bucks owed to the tax payers. I do not believe that broadening the family of Volt vehicles at this point will sell any more, or any less, of them. They’re way overpriced for the majority of the demographic they’re hoping to cater to. Maybe if they were made in China? And then imported to the US? That could possibly work.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The initial reports from owners are claiming an average 42 Mile all electric range when using accessories, though of course at this point they haven’t been sold or used where there will be sub-zero temps for the daytime high. Though many (relatively speaking) have been sold where the AC demand could be fairly high.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        In my area the summer temperatures get to be in the three digits and last winter we had a cold snap of 19-below. Since my cars are parked out in the open car port the temps really get to the battery.

        You guessed it, I replaced the battery in my wife’s 2008 Highlander because my load-tester showed it only had 50% capacity at full charge. Ain’t cheap. A Wal-Mart battery cost me $110. But it is better than to have the old gal stranded somewhere with a dead battery.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        If you got ~3 years out of a factory Toyota battery in those conditions you did extremely well. 3 years is average life in a much less harsh environment for the crappy OE batteries Toyota has been supplying for the last decade or 2. That and suppling tires that only have 8/32″ of tread when new instead of the replacement and most other OEM tires 10/32″ standard is one of the many ways Toyota has been cutting costs for some time.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Well, our Highlander was built in Japan and was the last Limited 4X4 available at our El Paso, TX, dealership before the new, built in America Highlanders went on sale. That’s why we got such a great deal on it.

        But you are right, I’ve been told that when Toyota started building them in the US, using the same suppliers as the domestics, their quality tanked as compared to what it was when they were built in Japan and imported to the USA.

        This one retired AF buddy of mine whose wife still drives that ’87 Camry V6 swears by his, but won’t buy another one if it is made in the US. Can’t blame him. Deck is stacked against him.

        And whether or not Ray LaHood fairly or unfairly singled out Toyota for criticism during the SUA debacle, Akio Toyoda himself admitted that Toyota had lost focus and Toyota quality had tanked.

        This is something that the dealers already knew. Besides sawing off chunks of the gas pedals and tying down errant floor mats they also had to contend with reprogramming software and a host of other nit-noy quality items and shortcuts taken by the American suppliers.

        I won’t go there. Suffice it to say that Toyota dealers know all too well about quality problems and did their best to address them as quietly as possible with the minimum of fanfare and bad PR. After all, the customer is king, and always right.

        Quite frankly, I have to admit to being amazed that my 2011 Tundra, made in America, by Americans, for Americans is holding up as well as it has these past 9 months and 18K+ miles. No problems! My last F150 had been back to the dealer TWICE in the same 9-month time period, with fewer miles on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If you got ~3 years out of a factory Toyota battery in those conditions you did extremely well. 3 years is average life in a much less harsh environment for the crappy OE batteries Toyota has been supplying for the last decade or 2.

        Toyota’s batteries for cars sold in North America are made by Johnson Controls. You probably didn’t notice, but Johnson Controls also sells batteries to your friends at Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The battery issue is on the Japanese built versions, not so much the USA built versions that have the Johnson Controls built batteries. The thin tires issue doesn’t matter where it was built.

        PCH yes US built Toyotas use JC supplied batteries but only the US built versions. Even though they are JC supplied they are built to Toyota specs just like the tires.

        For an excelent example go to tire rack and look up reviews for the BFG Rugged Trail T/A. Ford and Toyota trucks and SUVs both used tires carrying that name on the sidewall. The report from Toyota owners usually say they are the worst tire they have ever owned and note they needed replacement in as little as 20K. While Ford owners report that they are amazed at how many miles they can get out of them 80K or more. The difference is that the Toyota spec tires left the factory with tread that was 8/32″ while the Ford spec tires left the factory with the All-Terrain/mud + snow tire standard of 13/32″.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The battery issue is on the Japanese built versions, not so much the USA built versions

        Er, sure. Like all of your other revelations, I assume that this one is based on a whole lot of nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup a whole lot of nothing but working in the industry owning and managing auto repair businesses, and seeing what happens in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        In the past I used Interstate replacement batteries and they seemed to last a good while – better than Diehard anyway, in my experience.

        But I have heard real good things from contractors and Post Office employees about the Wal-Mart batteries. I haven’t been able to find out who makes them or where they are made. They’ve got some cryptic markings on the case but no clear identification of who makes them. It works good in my wife’s Highlander so I have no complaints.

        Which brings us to the Prius battery pack. Does anyone know who makes them or where they are made? On the early models there was a 7-year warranty but I think Toyota nearly went broke replacing them before the 7-years expired.

        Is the battery pack for the Volt still made by LG in South Korea or was that just for the development mule so it could fit into that converted Malibu Lutz paraded around the track for the automotive press?

        This information is actually for a buddy of mine who owns a Prius and IS thinking of trading his old Prius for a plug-in Prius next year. But since the gas engine on his Prius seems to run all the time now, he doesn’t want any pre-existing conditions like a lame battery pack stifle the deal on the trade-in.

        If he is going to get hammered by Toyota for trading a Prius with a lame battery pack he might actually get a better deal from GM because they would like to see Prius owners trade theirs for a Volt. Might be the way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The last time I checked the Wal-Mart batteries at least those sold in my area are made by Johnson Controls who makes the DieHard, Interstate, Costco, Napa as well as Motorcraft, Mopar, and USA built Toyota OE and replacement batteries. In all cases they are made to that customers specs and warranty rating. In the case of the units the sell to Sears and under the Interstate and possbiley other replacement batteries the specific chemistry varies depending on the climate they will be sold in. So a Diehard you purchase in AZ will not be the same as one you purchase in MN.

        In the case of the Prius HV battery pack it is just that a pack of multiple batteries. IIRC, it’s been like 5 years since I took the course on the Prius, the 1st US gen cells were supplied by Panasonic. It has been my experience that unless there is an obvious issue with the HV battery pack it isn’t going to make a difference on the trade in value. It is not normally the practice for most dealer ships to do anything more than a basic visual inspection and test drive unless it is displaying a CEL. But talking to your family would of course tell you what they would do when appraising a Prius for trade in.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Scoutdude, thanks, I thought as much but I wasn’t sure. The last Diehard I used was purchased in Connecticut and lasted all of two years in SouthCentral New Mexico. The replacement Interstate battery was purchased at a local oil-change joint in town owned by a retired AF guy I know and it lasted more than 8 years. Seriously, more than 8 years.

        Been with Interstate ever since until people told me about Wal-Mart’s no-hasle policy of batteries recently. Thought I’d give them a try especially since the wife, grandkids and (former) daughter-in-law are on a road trip in the Highlander this weekend to Albuquerque for the Balloon Festival.

        My brothers sell Prius at their California dealerships, not in Tx or AZ. I did ask what they allow for trade value on an old Prius and they said batteries were no problem and that they give leeway to keep a Prius owner happy if they were happy with their previous Prius. Some owners trade every three to five years with the bulk of them around the three-year mark. But that is California, and the Hybrid Camry and Hybrid Fusion are also relatively good sellers there.

        I know them to be pretty conscientious when taking in trades and they profile both the customer and the vehicle. Over the years they have uncovered such odd things as catalytic converters missing, and junk yard engines in place of the OEM engines, swapped automatic transmissions, badly straightened unibody cars, swapped EEPROMs on the ECU (retired drift cars or modded cars), and on and on and on.

        In over 30 years I have never bought anything from my brothers, not because they wouldn’t cut me an at-cost deal, but because I didn’t want to be beholden to them or get into a pissing contest with them if the vehicle turned out to be a service bay queen.

        The ’88 Silverado I bought locally was the first V8 automatic ExtCab Long Bed truck I ever owned and it enjoyed several warranty trips to the dealership in Alamogordo. They treated me alright but I was without wheels at a time when I was building my house here in the desert 26 miles further south. If my brothers had sold me that POS there would have been hard feelings.

        And the 1992 Towncar bought in El Paso was pretty much the same with several trips to the local Ford dealership during the warranty period. I didn’t buy it there so I had to stand in line and wait my turn. At that time I still had a collection of old cars on my property that I had kept running so my wife always had a way to get to work up the mountain. But she wasn’t happy. And when mama ain’t happy…… Well, you know.

        My 2006 F150 was pretty much the same with several dealer visits during the warranty period. We never abused any of our vehicles but we did use them every day, and much of the time doing double duty commuting and hauling people or supplies and materiel. Like the time my wife hauled home many boxes of ceramic tile in the Towncar. Talk about dragging ass!

        That’s why I’m tickled about the Highlander and Tundra having had no warranty calls so far. Didn’t expect that. Would buy them again in a heartbeat. Good stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        a whole lot of nothing but working in the industry owning and managing auto repair businesses, and seeing what happens in the real world.

        If you want to claim to be an authority, then I’d like to see some data on the subject.

        But in any case, I can see why a mechanic might resent TMC and Honda. More reliable cars require fewer repairs, a situation that is not exactly ideal for a mechanic.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Highdesertcat, I hear you about dealing with family and that it could lead to hard feelings.

        It sounds like your brother’s used car buyers are much more through than the ones I’ve dealt with. Though as you mentioned they may have sized up me and the type of vehicle I was trading in and a guy with a Wife and kids in tow trading in a minivan is less likely than a young single guy trading in a sporty/performance car. For the most part they’ve did a once over looking for body damage, excessive wear or stains in the interior, looked under the hood to make sure there was nothing funky under there and literally just drove it around the block. The last vehicle I traded in they didn’t even drive it, just looked at it for all of 2 minutes.

        PCH I don’t resent Toyota and Honda, they and the outrageous amounts that their dealers charge for “routine” maintenance has brought me many customers over the years that were very profitable even undercutting the dealer heavily. You turn a 30K service the dealer quoted $600 for what basically is just an oil change, filters, tire rotation and an inspection of belts, hoses, brakes, suspension, steering and exhaust into a $300 job, you earn a faithful customer that will bring all their friends.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @pch101- No doubt, data is good. Scoutdude is bringing the word on the street based on his experience in the world. Seems like he might be closer to it than most. It is true that folks in the repair business only see the ones that come in for repair!

        I am curious as to your claim to fame, why you spin his comments as just another mechanic hostile toward TMC and Honda because they are too good to need repairs.

        Are you a TMC employee?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Scoutdude, your word is good enough for me. I’ve read your posts for years and have learned a lot from your comments and the comments of other rational contributors, like Dr Olds (and even Mikey).

        In fact, I have even quoted some of your (scoutdude) comments in the past as the basis of a recommendation I gave with relevance to grass roots opinions. None are better than those of the hands-on guys (and gals). There are a few gals, too.

        There is no better place to get and exchange information than ttac. This is a fact and I personally know who some of the people are that comment on this forum, by their ‘handle’. But I can also tell you that a lot more people read ttac articles and never choose to comment (aka benign neglect to defend their turf).

        These people who read ttac are affiliated with the auto industry not only from the manufacturing and retail side of the game, but bankers, financiers, suppliers and even wholesalers try to get a little reading in on the topics of their interests. The Volt is one such hot topic. It is current and relevant.

        At the last NADA conference I attended one speaker who worked for the largest auto wholesaler on the planet mentioned feedback resources like ttac 7 times in her address, and how valuable they are to the industry. So the word is out there.

        But, of course, open forums like ttac also invite comments from many individuals who fancy themselves as experts, or people who want to advance their own agenda. Free speech and freedom of expression are among the values we hold dearly in America, but there is nothing that forces us to respond to anyone’s comments. Freedom is as freedom does, right?

        I have to admit that I have on occasion posted comments designed to elicit rhetorical feedback from readers to get an idea how people really feel deep down inside when your strip away their convictions and beliefs. But there is nothing that says I have to reply to them. I had already achieved what I set out to do with my comments.

        So, rest assured, many of us who rely on ttac to get us useful info on the US auto industry, mechanics included, will treasure the comments from those who know what they’re talking about and suffer those empowered by freedom of expression to post their self-centered argumentative rhetoric.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t resent Toyota and Honda

        Based upon the comments that you post, I’m pretty sure that isn’t true.

        No doubt, data is good.

        I agree. Which is why I’m asking for it to be provided. Unfortunately, no such data appears to be forthcoming.

        Here is some data supporting the fact that Toyota and other Japanese brands spec low quality parts that are going to have a short life to save themselves a few bucks.

        You might try to provide a relevant link. You claimed that Toyota batteries were inferior, and you’re trying to prove it with a link to a tire dealer.

        Just admit it — you have no proof. You want to be accepted as some sort of authority, even though (a) I have no idea who you are and (b) you generally make comments that are wrong. Sorry, but you’re not a credible source, and until you can support your assertions about Toyota batteries, I’ll just assume that you don’t have a reputable source to back you up.

        Scoutdude is bringing the word on the street based on his experience in the world

        I don’t know who he is, and neither do you.

        As usual, the domestic fans always resort to anecdotes, because the data tends to blow up in your faces.

        In your mind, a survey of hundreds or thousands of people is supposed to be biased or wrong, while an anonymous comment on the internet from a guy who shares your agenda is supposed to be taken at face value. If you want an example of why I don’t take fanboys seriously, this is one of them.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve been driving in Southern Ontario for over 40 years. The climate can range from -40 to +90.

    My experience with batterys has been 3 to 7 years, with the average around the 5 year mark.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Living in Maryland and Virginia, I’ve changed batteries preemptively at 4 1/2 to 5 years and never had one fail before then in 30 years of car ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Most of the batteries sold here are made by Johnson Controls, Delphi or Exide. The various brands that consumers know are almost always slapped onto products manufactured by one of these three companies.

      Their products aren’t that different from each other, as battery technology isn’t particularly complex or cutting edge. So I’d expect them all to perform similarly to each other, all things being equal. 3-7 years sounds about right; I would expect that the rare car that manages to fry a battery in a year or so either got a dud or else has some sort of electrical problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        There are huge differences in the quality of batteries between the different mfgs, and depending on the customers desire. The same basic construction that in one brand carries a 60 month warranty may carry a 72 or even 84 month warranty in another brand. Exide is known for having batteries that up and die with an internal short w/o any warning what so ever. The high warranty rate on Exide batteries is why Napa switched to Johnson controls a year or so ago. The Napa dealer I used to trade with didn’t even stock Napa brand batteries he carried Interstate. My brother who manages a not so local Napa was quite happy when they switched to Johnson controls because he was tired of having unhappy customers when it left their family stranded with a 1 or 2 year old “top of the line” battery, as well has having to deal with the paper work to get credited.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Let’s move the ones they’ve got first?

    http://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action?stkTyp=N&tracktype=newcc&mkId=20053&AmbMkId=20053&AmbMkNm=Chevrolet&make=Chevrolet&AmbMdNm=Volt&model=Volt&mdId=35025&AmbMdId=35025&rd=100000&zc=02345&enableSeo=1&searchSource=TRAIL_HEAD

    They could stop building them now and make it till 2015 with their current inventories.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      I’m curious, do you have, like, an RSS feed set up with a filter to only grab Volt-related stories so that you can post the same cars.com search three or four different times in it?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Not only does he do that, but Volt sales per month are going up. 700 this month compared to 400 last month and likely to be going higher as the nationwide roll out starts. Note also, that of the cars listed in the cars.com link, about 2233 are 2012 models, only 344 are 2011′s. 2012 production only recently started with the nationwide roll out. It is really to early to call it a success or failure. But, don’t let that get in the way of GarbageMotorsCo. opinion.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    For everyone who touts the Prius, I for one can tell you that I can’t stand the way it drives. It is so slow to accelerate, like I am not feeding the hamster enough. My coworker has one, and I have driven it a few times. He keeps telling me how there is this power button that gives it more pep. I laughed and tried it. Insignificant improvement. From what I have read about the Volt, this isn’t a problem. Much more like driving a normal car. For people who have driven both, what do you think?


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