By on October 13, 2011

In addition to being a representative from Pennsylvania, Republican Mike Kelly is also a Chevrolet dealer whose family has sold Chevys since 1953. But in recent hearings on government fuel economy ratings, he laid into his brand’s green halo car, the Chevy Volt with surprising zeal. Or, not-so-surprising, when you realize that he decided to run for congress in the wake of the bailout-era dealer cull.

I’m a Chevrolet dealer… we have a Chevy Volt on the lot, it’s been there now for four weeks. We’ve had one person come in to look at it, just to see what it actually looks like… Here’s a car that costs $45,763. I can stock that car for probably a year and then have to sell it at some ridiculous price. By the way, I just received some additional information from Chevrolet: in addition to the $7,500 [federal] tax credit, Pennsylvania is going to throw another $3,500 to anybody foolish enough to buy one of these cars, somehow giving them $11,000 of taxpayer money to buy this Volt.

When you look at this, it makes absolutely no sense. I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory… or I can have a Volt, which never turns and creates nothing for me on the lot except interest costs… So a lot of these things that we’re seeing going on have a tremendous economic impact on people who are being asked to stock them and sell them. There is no market for this car. I do have some friends who have sold them, and they’re mostly to people who have an academic interest in it, or municipalities who are asking to buy these cars.

With dealers like that, who needs competitors? Seriously, Kelly even says he fired the guy who ordered a Volt for his dealership… which he then counts against the Volt’s job creation record. Hit the jump for the rest of his quote.

I can tell you… as far as job creation, the guy who ordered that Volt for my store is no longer in that job. So it actually worked against him. I was told that the reason that car is on our lot is that General Motors told him he had to stock it. I said “let me understand. I told you that under no circumstances were you to order a Volt,” and he said “yeah.” “So, why did you order it?” “Because General Motors told me.” “Is this the same General Motors that tried to take my Cadillac franchise from me? These are the guys you’re listening to, but the guy who signs your paycheck doesn’t have as much influence as the guys who tried to take away the franchise?”

So clearly Kelly has his reasons for disliking his business partners at GM, but bashing a car that Chevy managers insist is a brand-building halo is still surprising. In any case, this somewhat rambling but fascinating critique eventually led to question “do you see any market for this car at all?” directed at Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl… who first took the opportunity to defend the Volt.

Well, there’s a little bit of good news. First, you mentioned that it did create some traffic for you, albeit one person. But that is something the car companies tout, that these vehicles do attract some interest, some traffic, not necessarily buyers. And let me also say, the Volt is actually a very nice vehicle. We actually bought one ourselves, it’s in the long-term fleet… people actually enjoy it.

But then came the bad news.

The problem that I think you’ve outlined is really twofold. One of them is that there are all sorts of inducements for people to be buying these vehicles… and yet when you look at whose been buying these vehicles, and there are people buying them, they are at the very high end of the demographic scale… Right now we’re seeing people who would have bought that vehicles anyway, without a tax credit, getting the tax credit at the expense of other taxpayers, and you have to wonder about the wisdom of that.

The second part of the Anwyl’s critique would have to wait, because after getting in one last knock at the Volt, Kelly was out of time. Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA) was next in line, and she jumped on Kelly’s Volt-bashing, telling him

First of all, to Mr Kelly, send that Volt to California! It doesn’t have to stay on your lot, because there is a waiting list in my district, at my Chevrolet dealership, of six months to get a Chevy Volt.

To which Kelly replied,

Give me the name of the dealer, and I’ll send it out there right away. If he’ll pick up the transportation cost, I’d love to do that.

The name was exchanged, and jokes were made about bipartisanship and “working together.” Then the partisan back-and-forth continued. You gotta love Congress.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

139 Comments on “Chevy-Dealing Congressman: “There Is No Market” For The Volt...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    A car dealer and a Republican Congresscritter? Color me unsurprised.

    • 0 avatar
      TomHend

      I can not understand why you liberals are so unhappy? You got everything you wanted in a hyper-liberal President yet you are angry beyong reason.

      Would 20% unemployment and $7 a gallon gas make you happier?

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I don’t understand when “working class” states become swing states for Republican candidates. The right has no interest in the needs of those who are not it the top two percent of “earners”…and that is no more an ignorant statement than yours…

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        “I don’t understand when “working class” states become swing states for Republican candidates.”

        About the time they prioritized social issues over economic issues.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        ‘I don’t understand when “working class” states become swing states for Republican candidates.’

        It’s a puzzle similar to one you can observe the world over. In many countries, cities vote left – tax and spend, and rural areas vote right – tax cuts. At the same time, the taxpayers in those cities wind up subsidizing their hick brethren. Clearly, people are a little deluded with respect to their own best interests.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        They also subsidize a fair number of city residents, too. Every city has large numbers of people dependent on government programs.

      • 0 avatar
        chainyanker

        +1 geeber

        City folks love taxes because they live where most of that money will be spent. Sure, they end up subsidizing their rural counterparts but that’s only fair since the cities couldn’t exist without the food, textiles, building materials and fuel supplied by those ‘hicks’.

      • 0 avatar
        fred schumacher

        Calling President Obama a “hyper liberal” shows a lack of historical knowledge. On a political continuum, Obama is essentially a centrist, what people my age called a “Rockefeller Republican.” Obama and Mitt Romney occupy virtually the same location in that continuum. It’s no accident that Obamacare is based on Romneycare. A hyper liberal would have ensured that single-payer health care would be the law of the land, rather than one based on private insurance companies.

        The Volt was not developed by hyper liberals, nor is even liked by them, but was developed by conservative, capitalist GM. The tax rebate incentives, by definition, will primarily benefit those who do not need it, since it is a rebate for taxes already owed to government. One has to be in an upper middle class tax bracket to benefit fully from the Volt’s rebates.

        The Volt should be seen for what it is: an initial attempt at developing a new automotive morphology for a world where fossil fuels become expensive and in short supply. At the initial stage, morphology will be highly variable, since no one knows what works best. This was the case in the early days of the automobile. It took several decades for morphology to become standardized.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        The stupidity of your comment is blinding.

        I see that TTAC is home to some neo-con boneheads.

      • 0 avatar
        CamaroKid

        Now now Fred, lets not go all factual here, everyone knows that facts have a known liberal bias… Oh and you missed that the $7500 federal tax credit was signed into law by George W Bush in late 2007 (last time I checked he wasn’t reported to be a “hyper liberal”)

        You also missed that the #1 Volt champion within GM was no other than Lutz, a card carrying, gun packing, cigar smoking, scotch swilling, private jet flying, republican.

        And why is a Republican congressman suddenly against tax incentives and loop holes… every time that Obama tries to close one they can’t vote it down fast enough… closing down loopholes is RAISING taxes and they all took a pledge in blood not to EVER do that.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        I don’t understand when “working class” states become swing states for Republican candidates.

        Because you don’t understand that most of the ‘Working Class’ in America don’t want to be ‘Working Class’, they want to be Rich. That is their aspiration in life, and whether it is a realistic aspiration or not is immaterial to the fact that they still very much desire it.

        So, when the political left comes at them like, “Those Rich bastards aren’t paying their fair share so we’re gonna stick it to ‘em for your sake and give you ‘relief’ and ‘easement’ from your woes in these troubled times.”

        What they HEAR is, “Being Rich is Evil and so logically You’re evil for wanting to be Rich, but we forgive you and we’re gonna make the Rich Un-Rich so we can make it easier for you to be a Poor-ass Schlub for the rest of forever and ever.”

        Yes I realize how much this looks like Insane Troll Logic, welcome to the human race. ^_^

      • 0 avatar
        Brunsworks

        “You liberals?” That’s worse than the initial jibe about the fact that a car dealer is Republican.

      • 0 avatar
        Brunsworks

        Also, regarding that “hyper-liberal” President: about whom are you talking? Obama turned out to be just as much Bush’s third term as McCain would have, particularly given his anti-privacy, pro-Draconian-copyright, military-industrial complex, and pro-corporate policies. We haven’t had a “liberal” President by the correct definition of the word since Johnson–and even Nixon was more liberal by that definition than those from Reagan on forward.

        Further and finally, the political spectrum is not a one-dimensional linear spectrum, and I’ll thank you and everyone else to stop pretending it is for the sake of whatever it is you think you’re trying to communicate. It just doesn’t work that way.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Um, no, congress has obstructed what I actually wanted Obama to do. The Republican strategy to obstruct everything and then to blame the Democrats for the impending failure is actually half-working.

        “Would 20% unemployment and $7 a gallon gas make you happier?”

        No; that’s what Republicans say liberals want. What I really want is sane government. I was a Republican, until they kicked me out. I was a Libertarian until I started thinking beyond myself. Now, what I want is sane government and solutions to problems that the private sector isn’t solving. We can start with healthcare and our dependency on foreign oil.

        BTW, when it comes to healthcare, I looked up what my employer actually pays for my services. If you count payroll taxes and healthcare and “taxes” that I pay (which is fair because I have to earn that money whether or not it shows up in my paycheck), I’m already paying a Eurpoean-style 60% tax-rate. However, I’m not getting European-style benefits and safety-net for it. These taxes aren’t going to making or break my economic future, but I would like to see value for my money. What gives?

        I’d love to see private-sector solutions to the problems of healthcare and dependence on foreign oil. But private sector solutions haven’t been forthcoming, but the problems really need to be solved. So, I voted for Obama, and the Republicans have blocked every effort and every possible centrist compromise that would make even the slightest improvement in the situation, and are blaming Obama for it…. Bunch of real winners we’ve elected…. :-(

    • 0 avatar
      Southerner

      Dear Mr. Kix,
      Are you the insufferable ipecac vs. emetic snob?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        @Hildy,

        The rural “working class” are voting on gun rights and limited government intrusion in their lives, while the city “un-working class” are voting to keep their government entitlements. People who vote Republican aren’t worried that other people are rich, because they are hoping to work hard and become rich also. People who vote Democratic think that the rich stole the money they EARNED, and that the rich owe it back to the poor. Nevermind that the Democratic leaders leading this charge are all rich themselves..

      • 0 avatar
        FloridaSteve

        Took a while but dwford finally got it right.

      • 0 avatar
        Brunsworks

        @dwford:

        That’s all rubbish. I thought simply hyper-simplifying “liberal” vs. “conservative” was stupid, but calling those of us in cities the “non-working class” and automatically assuming that all Republicans vote one way and all Democrats vote another is even stupider. By the way, I’m a Republican party member who votes against war, against heavy military contractor spending, strongly pro-environment, pro-labor, pro-employment, pro-small-business, pro-health-care, anti-Draconian-copyright, and probably counter to a lot of other neoconservative platform planks.

        The funny thing is, while I’m to the “right” (as much as that brand of thinking applies) of, say, Dennis Kucinich), I’m also very much in line with the platform of the Republican Party of 1956 that got Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower elected.

        As to the actual topic of discussion: while I certainly agree that Rep. Kelly was right to sack the employee who ordered the car, since he gave that person a direct order not to order the Volt, and as a business owner his word should countermand GM’s, I disagree with his stance on the Volt. Yes, it’s overpriced. ALL cars were overpriced when they started out, and cars with electric motors were no exception. The difference is that internal combustion engines have had 100 years of continuous refinement to bring costs down, and cars like the Chevy Cruze are produced in volume, further driving costs down. So while of course Kelly’s dealership can turn over plenty of the Cruze (and should; from what I’ve heard, they’re a dramatic improvement over the Cobalt, which wasn’t too bad from when I test-drove it), I don’t think he should count the Volt out.

        Besides, if he were any kind of salesman, he’d find a way to sell it instead of pissing and moaning (also not a trait we Republicans are supposed to be known for).

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “The rural ‘working class’ are voting on gun rights and limited government intrusion in their lives”

        How exactly is regulating who I can and can’t marry not government intrusion into my life?!?

        This argument may reflect what rural people say about how they vote (it does reflect what my relatives say), but it doesn’t actually make any sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Silver Bullet

      Why it is good for me to help someone else pay for their choice of transportation?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Having a Republican Congressman who is a Chevy dealer hit on how much taxpayers are being fleeced on every Volt sold is like hearing Nancy Pelosi hit on how much taxpayers are being fleeced on her brother’s green company in Nevada.

      This is rather serious.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The same applies to the Nissan Leaf and the Prius Plug-in. Both of those get the tax credit. Tax credits were also used to support the sales of the Fusion Hybrid and the original Prius. So all companies play this, not just GM.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The tax credit for the Leaf and iMiev was an unavoidable side effect of the tax credit for the Volt; they couldn’t find a way to craft a bill that said, “GM EVs only.” However, you can see GM’s fingerprints on this when you notice the 16KWH cap… the same size as the Volt battery but 8KWH less than the Leaf battery. If EV is good, why not raise the cap towards whatever would make for an EV with inter-city range?

        What’s unusual here is the size and scope of the credit. This is unprecedented, considering the meager effect on overall fuel consumption.

    • 0 avatar
      jkumpire

      To paint Republicans like some of you are is obscene. Leave your biases and incorrect stereotypes somewhere else.

  • avatar
    tced2

    At what price will the Volt sell? The Volt works but apparently the prospective consumers don’t think it’s worth the cost. The only quick “engineering” that can be done is to reduce the cost – the machinery works properly.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      That’s half the question. The other half is ‘when will gasoline prices hit $6 or $7 a gallon?’ Note how I said ‘when,’ not ‘if.’
      GM gambled that Americans would be paying far more than $4 by now. Once (and that perhaps is an ‘if’) the world economy finally rebounds, $40k for a Volt might look pretty cheap when gas prices hit $5 or $6 pretty quick.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        Or conventional cars that get high 40s and cost half as much. Or maybe lifestyles will change. 40K is a lot for a car, and just wait until they start upping the price.
        That’s right folks, if the Volt does manage to catch on count on a price increase, along with the loss of subsidy eventually. The tax boondoggle is not infinite.

      • 0 avatar
        Brunsworks

        Consumer gas prices are a political football. Politicians do everything they can to hold them at a certain level that people are grudgingly willing to pay. Well, everything except open new refineries, because they’re political hot potatoes. They’re Hell on the nearby ecosystem, and nobody wants one in his or her backyard. But refining capacity is a far bigger issue than crude reserves at the present time.

  • avatar
    stuki

    One thing Chevy has against it, is that whatever demand there is for vehicles like the Volt, comes mainly from exactly the parts of the country where the domestics are the weakest. Even if the Prius cost as much as the Volt does, at least Toyota is strong where buyers for that ind of machinery are concentrated.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If you look at the Volt enthusiast groups, though, you see a lot of people saying “The Volt is the first domestic car I’ve considered”.

      I don’t think that the problem is the GM nameplate, I think that the problem is that the domestics haven deliberately avoided fielding fully-developed entries in the small-car markets because they thought they could make money on bigger vehicles. In other words, those legions of office workers who drive boring/responsible/reliable little Hondas and Toyotas to work in the DC area (and in big cities all over the country) are people who went out and bought the fully-engineered cars served their needs. Up until the last couple of years, Honda and Toyota were the only ones making the right product.

      The snarkieness that you hear from these folks does come from having been burned and finding something better, though.

      At least those are my experiences and observations, having been one of those people for a couple of years and having owned and driven a fairly wide variety of imports and domestics. And I have to tell you, my 1989 Ford Tempo was the kind of piece-of-$#!t that would have made me a life-long Honda-driver, if I were still in that situation. My 1998 Ranger has greatly exceeded my expectations, but has required a lot more maintenance to get to 200k-miles than my dad’s 1991 Honda accord. My wife’s Prius has also greatly exceeded my expectations. And I’m quite interested in the diesel Cruze (wagon?) and the new Ford Focus hatchback, since they appear to be serious entries into responsible little car market — but, depending on how quickly kids #2 and #3 arrive, I may need to just bite the bullet and buy a minivan.

      My observation is that many people stick with American nameplates because of ideology, regardless of where the vehicle was actually made. And that people who don’t care about nameplates don’t have an ideology that pertains to cars, even if they’re a bit snarky about the reputation their cars have. But, now that Ford and GM have realized that people’s taste in cars swings wildly with gas prices (which are now swinging wildly), they seem to be putting effort into a wider variety of products. Since SUVs and CUVs aren’t my thing, and since big vehicles don’t make me feel more manly, that means that the domestics are actually competing for my business for a change. Nice!

  • avatar

    I’m familiar with the district Congressman Kelly represents, and the territory covered by his Chevy-Cadillac dealership.

    At least for that part of the country, he is correct. The chances of somebody buying a Volt there are somewhere between none and zero.

    People in that area drive upwards of 30 miles or more one-way to work, doing so in a Volt will mean it ends up running on its gas engine more often than not.

    For people who want to make a particular type of statement and/or whose driving habits lend themselves to this type of car, then by all means have at it. But it’s not for everyone.

    • 0 avatar

      I lived in the Pittsburgh area for six long years, and Pittsburghers in general don’t like modern things or change. What sells the Volt is its novelty and the interesting features it has – Pittsburghers have no interest in that.

      I don’t know where Kelly’s district is, but it’s probably not dissimilar to where I lived. To survive in hardscrabble Pennsylvania you need to have a really close relationship with reality. Luxuries and fripperies and frivolities are just not part of the picture.

      They might sell some down here in Palm Beach County, Florida, where luxuries and frivolities are a way of life. (So are $200,000 Bentleys and $100,000+ Porsche Panameras, which you see regularly on our streets.) But only if it had a Cadillac label. The “Government Motors” decision to make it a Chevy makes it a much harder car to sell, in my opinion.

      I knew a Pennsylvania GM dealer who stayed in business because he wheeled and dealed cars all over the place. I’m not sure if his dealership per se sold even a car a month, and yet he knew how to stay above water. (Of course he lost his franchise in the cull.) The dealer in this story really should have known his Volt would be more popular elsewhere …

      D

      • 0 avatar
        aspade

        This kind of car is conspicuous consumption to show how deeply concerned you are about conspicuous consumption. I don’t think it’d sell as a Cadillac.

        Of course it doesn’t sell as a Chevy either.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Another ex-western PA boy here (40 years in Johnstown, 8 in Erie) and my father was the Chevrolet dealer in Johnstown 1950-65. I understand where the Congressman is coming from – dad used to ship out virtually ever solid-axle Corvette he ever had to take, because that car was way too rich for a shot-and-a-beer steel and coal mining area.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        “To survive in hardscrabble Pennsylvania you need to have a really close relationship with reality. Luxuries and fripperies and frivolities are just not part of the picture.”
        What the hell kind of ignorant, stereotypical statement is that?
        TTAC has jumped the shark. It is official.

      • 0 avatar

        A Spade, that’s right. That kind of conspicuous consumption is not appealing to Pennsylvanians, no matter what brand it is. But luxury loving Floridians would find a Cadillac version easier to take, and plenty of them own Priuses.

        JHott997, I can’t say TTAC has jumped the shark thanks to my opinions. They are, after all, my opinions and not those of the TTAC writers or editors.

        Everyone has a different vision of where they live, I guess. There are some people who love Pittsburgh. It’s good that they do. I hated it, so I moved. And my long-standing impression was hardscrabble, poor communities with substandard services and grumpy people distrusting of outsiders. I hope for your sake that your vision of the place is sunnier than mine – but that doesn’t make mine any less valid, for me.

        Syke’s reply is pretty good support for my beliefs, by the way.

        D

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        I’ve lived in the Pittsburgh area all of my 48 years.

        @David Dennis: I originally took your description of Pittsburgh residents as accurate and complimentary. But since you hated living here, I guess it wasn’t.

        You describe the stereotype of Pittsburgh developed in the 1950s. The regional sense of ‘hardscrabble’ remains, and although this isn’t southern California, you’ll see the occasional Panamera, Bentley, or Ferrari around here.

        I work for a high-tech manufacturer, an increasingly rare species in this area. In fact, Pittsburgh’s renowned steel production is nearly gone, replaced with a variety of health care and high-tech businesses. The City of Pittsburgh is half the size it was 40 years ago, thanks in part to an onerous business climate fostered by 80 years of Democrat control of city politics. I actually live in the suburbs, to which there is a steady flight of ex-Pittsburghers fed up with the stodgy atmosphere there that you describe.

        As for the Volt’s prospects here, I’d say they’re not so good because the Volt is a frightfully expensive economy car. While you’ll see plenty of Priuses around here, the Prius isn’t ultra-hard to justify economically.

        So my point is that it doesn’t take a Pittsburgher to reject the Volt, only a sensible car buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        iantm

        I dunno, I live in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh (Monroeville), and I’ve been seeing more and more Volts on the road each day. As for Mr. Kelly’s inability to sell a Volt – it wouldn’t surprise me, as Butler, PA (about 40-45 minutes north of the city) isn’t exactly a town where you see many Prii. Heck, Butler is in one of the 42 counties in PA where emissions inspections are not required. I’ve found that once you hit about 45 minutes out from the city you start to see more and more of the traditional SUV/truck buyer who complains about gas prices, but never actually utilizes the capabilities of said vehicle that would justify ownership over a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle.

        Heck, go into the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Oakland and Shadyside and these things are even more prevalent than in Monroeville (despite a large Chevy dealer in town).

        The people of Pennsylvania are an interesting bunch – to quote James Carville when describing PA – “You have Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and Alabama in between”. Things like the Volt are selling in the higher population areas – Butler isn’t one of them. In the more rural parts, a $60k jacked up pick up truck is an easier sell than just about any other kind of vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        He’s in Butler. The average income around there is about the price of a Volt. The better paying jobs are at Penn United and PPG, tool and die companies. The odds of the people who can afford one wanting a volt are low but Butler has long been known as a divided county. The rank and file industrial workers vote blue, the rural farmers and wealthy class vote red.

        IF anything this guy is just a rank-and-file republican without any care for the common man or the economy.

        For the record though, Obama is by far a center-leftist only, much like Clinton. Everything he’s tried to do though has been blocked by republicans so what really has he been able to do? Hopefully in 2012 he can end the tea party and move back to advancing society.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        iantm: I’ve found that once you hit about 45 minutes out from the city you start to see more and more of the traditional SUV/truck buyer who complains about gas prices, but never actually utilizes the capabilities of said vehicle that would justify ownership over a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle.

        My wife is from one of those areas. The reason you don’t see people utilizing the capabilities of those trucks and SUVs is probably because you haven’t visited those areas in the winter and driven on the back roads. I have – a Volt, or even a Camry, isn’t going to get you where you want to go.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        xeranar: For the record though, Obama is by far a center-leftist only, much like Clinton.

        Sorry, but no. He’s much more to the left than Clinton was. Might help to examine Clinton’s record, starting with the welfare reform effort and the repeal of the national 65 mph speed limit.

        xeranar: Everything he’s tried to do though has been blocked by republicans so what really has he been able to do?

        Really? Was I just dreaming when his stimulus package and health care program were enacted into law? Were those evil Tea Party types able to stop those two initiatives, which were his main goals? Last time I checked, they weren’t.

        He got his way on the big initiatives, so blaming the outcome on the Tea Party, which wasn’t able to effect the legislative process until after the 2010 elections, is more than a little rich.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @iantm: “to quote James Carville when describing PA – “You have Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and Alabama in between”.”

        My father in law is from Homer City (or thereabouts), Pa.

        There’s a good reason why he refers to that area as “Pennsyltucky”.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        @Geeber

        Are we arguing universal healthcare that involves insurance companies rather than the government itself is more left than Clinton? The Bailout programs were started under Bush which he openly supported as did most of the republicans. The stimulus package has paid for itself and while arguably Keynesian it is without a doubt NOT socialist so where are you finding Obama to be further left? Clinton was stuck with a hard-core right-wing congress that tried to impeach him over whether or not he had an affair with an intern. He reformed welfare because they forced his hand, just like he made do with NAFTA because the Republican answer was much worse.

        I fail to see where your argument holds water unless you’re just a bitter right-winger who hates Obama for merely existing or a sad left-winger like myself that he hasn’t been more successful and has had much of his economic attempts crippled by asinine fools who don’t understand the economy and seriously think belt tightening works in a consumer-driven economy. Supply side economics do not work in the modern economic system and the sooner right-wingers understand that we’ll be better off.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        xeranar: Are we arguing universal healthcare that involves insurance companies rather than the government itself is more left than Clinton?

        President Clinton quickly gave up his push for nationalized health care rather quickly. The centerpiece of his first term was welfare reform. He also signed legislation that repealed the 65-mph national speed limit. The first initiative was opposed by virtually everyone on the left and the second was opposed by many (but not all) on the left. I’m having a hard time imaging President Obama pushing for either initiative.

        The bottom line is that requiring everyone to buy health insurance is hardly a conservative or even centrist policy, even if that idea originated under Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.

        xeranar: The stimulus package has paid for itself and while arguably Keynesian it is without a doubt NOT socialist so where are you finding Obama to be further left?

        The stimulus package has paid for itself? You mean, just as GM has “paid back” all of the money it received in the bailout?

        xeranar: Clinton was stuck with a hard-core right-wing congress that tried to impeach him over whether or not he had an affair with an intern. He reformed welfare because they forced his hand, just like he made do with NAFTA because the Republican answer was much worse.

        Really…which is why he ran on welfare reform during the 1996 campaign, and hardly hid the fact that he had signed NAFTA.

        But – it was those awful Republicans who really made him do both things.

        Somehow, I don’t recall that being one of the themes of his (successful) campaign during the 1996 election.

        xeranar: I fail to see where your argument holds water unless you’re just a bitter right-winger who hates Obama for merely existing or a sad left-winger like myself that he hasn’t been more successful and has had much of his economic attempts crippled by asinine fools who don’t understand the economy and seriously think belt tightening works in a consumer-driven economy.

        Nothing you have posted supports your claim that President Obama’s main initiatives have been thwarted by those awful Tea Party types.

        He got what he wanted in regards to his stimulus package and the health care legislation. He did revise his original stimulus package in response to complaints that it targeted men in traditional industries too much. Who voiced that complaint? Hint – it wasn’t Tea Party members or Republicans in general.

        If the first initiative isn’t working too well, it isn’t the fault of Tea Party members, unless they are somehow going from business to business, telling them not to hire anybody (or lay off more people). He got what he wanted.

        xeranar: Supply side economics do not work in the modern economic system and the sooner right-wingers understand that we’ll be better off.

        Judging by recent figures, the current plan isn’t working too well. Meanwhile, I seem to remember things getting a whole lot better after 1982 in regards to the economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @Budda-Boom:
      +1, thank you for an insightful comment.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    Hes right there at the bottom of the pond

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    there is one single answer: the Prius is a much better deal, and cheaper. the end.

  • avatar

    Well, on the one hand, its not surprising Kelly’s dealership can’t sell the thing unless he’s in the Philly metro area, and that dosn’t mean it wouldn’t sell in San Fran, Palo Alto, Cambridge, or Bethesda, to name a few of the not very many places I’d expect to see Volts charging around.

    On the other hand, $7500 would have a much bigger bang for the buck reducing oil use if it were put into insulating the many oil-heated homes in New England (including mine, which was built in 1957, and has no wall insulation, and only has roof insulation because I had it installed when I had to get a new roof). $7500 would probably be enough to get my walls well-insulated, or to get windows that would slow the heat loss. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/roses-are-red-hybrids-are-green-except-when-theyre-tuned-for-power-not-efficiency/

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I’m not surprised it won’t sell; I think he’d rather complain about it than sell it.

      I certainly agree with you about the misplaced incentive spend. I lived in the Northeast and know people who get multiple oil fillups in a single heating season.

      A Volt used optimally (i.e., exactly 40 miles per day, every day of the year) saves about 300 gallons of gas in a year but is currently not likely to reduce CO2 emissions by much (coal and gas generation is maybe 60% of our supply). This annual savings lasts the life of the Volt… could that be 15 years? So, maybe 4500 gallons of gas saved.

      Cutting the oil consumption of a New England oil-heated home in half would likely save 300 gallons of oil per year for the life of the house. Our New England house was built in 1880 and it’s still standing. So… figure a century of savings? We could be looking at 30,000 gallons of oil saved. There would be further cash and energy savings for those homes which are also air-conditioned.

      Although we hear a lot about the evils of the second mortgage or refinancing to get cash out, rates are low right now and taking a loan (for those of us who have equity) and taking advantage of a tax break to reduce your overall housing cost while creating some jobs in an industry that probably has relatively low barriers to entry sure looks like a plan to me.

      But we’re not doing that.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        So the rest of us are supposed to choose between subsidizing a non-competitive car vs. paying to insulate your house?

        Just a thought: how about you use your own money to buy your own car and pay to insulate your own house? If it makes economic/environmental sense to you spend the money and do it.

        By the way, nobody ordered you to buy an uninsulated house heated by oil located in New England (you really did that?). YOU chose to incur exorbitant heating costs, spew out pollution, and utilize the most inefficient heating fuel possible; why is that anybody else’s problem? If anything we should raise the tax on your heating oil to punish your bad choices.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Actually, there is a subsidy. I don’t know about insulation, but there is a subsidy for updating HVAC systems. I’m in New England and updated my system a couple of years ago.

        I replaced an oil furnace (it was an ancient General Motors Furnace) with a new high efficiency oil furnace and a cold climate heat pump. The oil furnace is only used on the coldest nights and the heat pump is used for heating and cooling the rest of the time. Oil consumption is about a third of what it used to be. My house is fairly large so the savings was pretty substantial. Oil delivery is about once a year for a standard size tank (I can’t remember the size). Electric is higher, but not by much. Can’t remember the subsidy – I think it was about $5k for a $12k system.

    • 0 avatar
      numa

      Now hold on a second… you live in an uninsulated home. What is so difficult about insulating a home? seriously, I don’t understand. cut some holes in your walls (likely lath and plaster, easy to repair (well, it is, there are lots of youtube videos about how to do it, I’ve done vastly harder things and I’m just a homeowner), rent an attic cat (free if you buy 20 or 10 bags of insulation, whatever the promo is it is this month) and blow some insulation in. after moving all the furniture, and cutting the holes, you could blow the insulation in a day, then spend the next few weeks slowly patching your plaster, and backstuffing as you go. No big deal, 3 weeks tops, total cost, like $500. would probably pay for itself in a year. Sure you could hire it out, and it would cost a fortune, but why not DIY? makes more sense than ever buying a new car, of any kind.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      As a former resident of Bethesda and as a resident of northwest DC, which abuts Bethesda, I can report seeing exactly two Volts thus far “on the loose.” I saw one driving on Connecticut Ave. near the Zoo and another (or maybe the same one) parked on a street adjacent to the street where I live. Priuses are everywhere, of course. There are 4 within a 1/4 mile radius of my house.

      I have no idea what the supply situation for Volts is in metro DC. One of the marketing problems with the Volt — and a big one — is the people who have even $35,000 in their pocket (the post-subsidy price of the Volt) rarely walk into Chevy dealers . . . unless they’re interested in a Corvette. The Volt is priced like a luxury car . . . which, IMHO, is how GM should have sold it. Political considerations probably dictated otherwise.

  • avatar
    4-off-the-floor

    I live in CA, plenty of Pius, err sorry, Prius cars around here. I have not seen one Volt.

    But then again, this is the SF Bay Area and Chevrolet doesn’t sell here.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    BS. Shift George Bush’s admin 4 years, so that he’s in charge right now and I guarantee you this Republican dealer would be singing the praises of this car and GM in general. It’s only because badmouthing this car furthers his party’s political fortune that he’s spouting off like this. Also proves he values his political career more than he does his dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      The VOLT will be dropped within two years.

      Buy one, and you are stuck.

      Mark My Word.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Makes sense. His dealership was free, he inherited it like most wealth. He actually has to work a little bit to keep his political job.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        If he inherited the dealership, he had to pay state inheritance taxes. Pennsylvania levies a 4.5 percent tax on property passed from parents to children. So he didn’t receive it for “free.”

        Plus, most people who own this type of business SELL it to their children, as they need the money for retirement purposes. They generally don’t just hand it over to their children at no cost. That usually happens on soap operas and movies.

        So I seriously doubt that he received anything for free.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        Yeah, free from the sky. Just like a government entitlement, right>?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Nope.
      He is a new GOP Congressman.
      He was opposed to it before he voted to oppose it.
      Your cynical analogy would only work if he was a Bush-Era Congressman. He isn’t. He is an anti-Bush Republican.

      Next excuse please!

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        If he’s new, then my argument still stands. Most Republicans were distancing themselves from Bush in the recent elections. Nobody wanted to be seen as continuing the Bush legacy even if they voted in lock-step. Bottom line, bad mouthing GM (i.e. the bailout) is the current R policy. It goes against “free market” policy. Strangely, oil corp “incentives” are still ok.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Forget the politics.

    He’s a real businessman, who must make a (wait for it) profit in order to survive.

    The fact is that the Volt is an interesting science experiment, but it’s just not ready for prime time.

    Add to that GM’s reputation of screwing the customer after the sale, and I wouldn’t get anywhere near that thing.

    GM has competition…and they’re just simply better.

    • 0 avatar
      RedStapler

      GM has a proud track record of hosing their customers with half-assed implementations of unfamilar technology. Just be thankful that Toyota and Honda proved hybrids before GM could build them en masse. The Oldsmobile Diesels of the malaise era made compression ignition persona non grata in the USDM for a generation.

      • 0 avatar
        owlafaye

        The Oldsmobile diesels were another example of GM shooting itself in the foot. Mis sized Cadillacs (Cimarrons) was another.

        Oldsmobile down-sized ther cars into oblivion and Chevrolet had the Vega and that little dinky piece of trash whose name we have all forgotten.

        GM might hire a bright CEO but the board doesn’t let him do anything intelligent. The Lee Ioccoca’s of this world haven’t sat in charge at GM for many decades now.

        GM will be bankrupt in this decade 2010-2020…MARK MY WORD !

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @DaCoyote: I’ve worked with a number of “real businessmen” who screwed the people who worked for them, and their vendors and customers.

      If business was as bad as this congressman says it is, then get out. Sell the dealership while there’s still value in it.

      I get real tired of ‘running government as a business’ meme.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Carly Fiorina ran for Senate on that particular meme. I got a good laugh out of that. I’m sure she wanted to run the government just like she ran Hewlett Packard: straight into the fucking ground.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Good point, on the “running government as a business” nonsense.

        Who would want to see a balanced budget? Economic prosperity? Advances in science and technology?

        Eff that, where’s my damn welfare check?

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry, but I’ve never been treated nearly as rudely by businesspeople as I have been treated by politicians and public employees.

        I get real tired of people running the government who wouldn’t know how to run a lemonade stand. At least when a business fails to serve its customers it takes a hit in the market and may even go out of business. When was the last time a government agency was shuttered for poor service? Simply put, the public sector has no accountability.

        If a business harms me, I can sue both the business and its employees. If a public employee harms me, they and their agency typically have legal immunity from lawsuits.

        I recently had a problem with a 7-11 franchisee. When I complained to 7-11 corporate, they apologized and sent me vouchers for free merchandise. Where is there any kind of customer service in the public sector?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I’m curious about the passive/aggressive-ness that all government is the problem until there’s something that only gov’t can do or people want them to do, then it’s OK. But when a businessperson becomes part of government, do they then instantly become part of the problem? They’re in a new ‘business’ now, and the ‘business’ conditions have changed. And how would the profit motive work with the public service needs?

        @Ronnie: Sorry to hear about your travails.
        I’ve had the distinct dis-pleasure of working for and occasionally with some morally suspect businessmen. These people are so slimy that nothing sticks to them. But if they’re even remotely representative of what a “business” man will bring to government, then we are hosed.

        I recently had an awful stay with a large motel chain and to say the least, the people I dealt with at the motel were less than interested about my issue. However the survey I filled out got an immediate but less than satisfactory response from corporate.

        I hate these attempts to look like they’re trying to resolve the problem, when in fact, they’re not. How is this any different than say an abusive clerk at the DMV? If you’re being treated like dirt, it doesn’t matter (to me) who’s treating me like dirt, I’m still being treated like dirt.

        And either way, I have little chance of making an immediate change to either organization. And that’s what seems to be most people’s problems with business or government, there’s little chance to make an immediate change.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Forget the politics. He’s a real businessman, who must make a (wait for it) profit in order to survive.”

      Except that he’s a politician…. So you can’t forget the politics. Also, the Republicans are very good at keeping their members in lockstep, so the chances are that he’s parroting the party line.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    It doesn’t help the chances of the $45K car that a $31K Prius plug-in will come out soon. It also doesn’t help that a $19K Insight gets better mileage than a non-plugged-in Volt, or that the $17K Cruze Eco gets damn close.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    This guy is just playing martyr. If he weren’t interested in using his dealership and the Volt as a whipping boy, a nice normal dealer trade would have taken place long ago.

    Just a politician doing what a politician does.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      Ever consider the possibility that there are NO dealers interested in a trade?
      I think the propaganda the idea the Volt is in “high demand” has been shown to be just that, propaganda.
      Why such distrust for a Congressman? Are we all that jaded?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        He’s adjacent to (probably part of) the Pittsburgh market. I can’t believe that if he truly wanted to be rid of the car, someone wouldn’t trade him. He wouldn’t have to go very far. Monroeville, Plum Township, Moon Township, all have some very nice demographics.

        The Pittsburgh market will absorb another Volt. It’s not like this guy HAS to dealer trade with someone in California. He’s an hour away from Heinz field! Someone in metro Pittsburgh would probably buy it. If he had to, he could probably sell it to someone in Northeast Ohio (Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown) or Northern West Virginia (Wheeling, Weirton), two markets that are locked out of the original roll out right now…

        He has plenty of options to offload this car if he really doesn’t want it. Why hasn’t he so far? If it’s that big of a drain on his floor plan, eat the loss and get rid of it. Sometimes businesses do that, too.

        He can make it up on other cars that adverse-to-modernity Western Pennsylvanians want, right?

        Ya know, I really wish this blog had a preview post function…

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I think there is a fuzzy line between the reality of the situation and the political grandstanding. Did the Congressman not support the auto bailout and not want a Volt in his floor plan? Obviously. Is there much of a market for a car like that where this dealer is? I don’t know so I’ll take the guy’s word for it. Did this guy actually fire the guy who ordered it? Possibly. Does the unsold Volt sitting on his showroom floor provide value to him to support his greater political stance? Hmm…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Why such distrust for a Congressman?

        He’s a politician and a car dealer. You have to be quite naive to take either profession at face value.

      • 0 avatar

        He’s a politician and a car dealer. You have to be quite naive to take either profession at face value.

        So I can assume that President Obama lies as he breathes, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I’m sure GM had it trucked off his lot and paid his dealership MSRP or more for it before the General Manager had his coffee break the next morning.

      • 0 avatar
        dvp cars

        ……..if he’s hired a new manager, that is. Being in management around that place sounds like a stressful gig…….unless, of course, you’re a relative. Remember, despite his new found duties in the public service, he still found time in his busy schedule to deep six the last guy. Daring to act independently at dealerships like that seems to provoke an instant career adjustment. You can meet and exceed sales targets month after month, year after year, have the best Customer Satisfaction scores in the area, etc,…………..but just order 1 (one) Volt and see what happens. Even having that coffee break is probably a no-no.

      • 0 avatar

        dvp, do you have poor reading comprehension? He fired the guy for being insubordinate. The guy was specifically told NOT to order a Volt and he did so against his boss’ explicit directions.

        Have you ever had employees? When you hire someone, can they do things contrary to your direction?

        Just exactly what does the word “employer” mean?

  • avatar
    boost135

    Businessman or whatever he is; he’s using his authority to pass on lies and half-truths. I feel sorry for anyone, including GM field staff but especially his employees, that have to work for and with him.

    Anyone knows that a dealer doesn’t buy inventory. All GM asks his manager to do was to take in one lousy car, the guy does and gets fired for it. Now his employees are all scared for their livelyhoods and have to lie to him about only one person coming to “just see what it looks like.” He does not know this information first hand. Any maker of a product of new technology wants that product demonstrated by their franchises, not just sitting in the showroom. But this.. businessman – apparently created such a rotten relationship that he probably would fire another employee for plugging a demonstrator in and taking his electricity.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the real story comes out that this Volt was for the purpose of demonstrating and he didn’t even have to finance it against his books at all. Even if he did, the person he fired would have done his job and found another store to purchase it from him before interest would even build for him.

    The correct way of thinking for a branded dealer should be 1) I am the face of the corporation to the consumer, the one and only. Therefore I will insist that all people who take the time to visit have the vehicle demonstrated on the road to them 2) Then profit. One unit wasn’t going to hurt him, and neither would two or three.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Clearly all of the Volts are being sold here in NJ. I’ve seen at least 10 of them in my area in the last few months.

    I’ve asked every single owner that I could get to these questions:

    How do you like the car?

    What don’t you like about the car?

    In every case, each owner was thrilled with the car. Also, every owner thought the price was too high and said that GM needed to work on getting the cost down into the high 20′s.

    The Volt is like EVERY bit of cutting-edge new technology. The early adopters pay handsomely to be the first on the block with one. These buyers are the reason the subsequent versions of the car become cheaper and more accessible to the rest of us.

    No different than the guy that HAS to have the latest CPU in his computer.

    -ted

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Exactly. This morning’s news features the lines of people who’ve waited in line for DAYS to be the first ones to get the privelege of paying full price for the latest iPhone, despite the fact that the price will drop within 90 days. Early Volt buyers are subject to the same mentality that the rest of us find baffling. If Volt sales surge I would fully expect Kelly to be whining loudly about how he’s being punished by GM when he can’t get any.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      LOL – too true. I paid $7k for my 1987 IBM PS2 Model 30, with 14″ color (CRT!!) monitor and dot matrix B&W printer! A 20 MB (megabyte – remember those?) hard drive, but it had a 3.5″ floppy!
      Seven thousand dollars. Ouch. I think my Dodge Shadow only cost a couple grand more than that.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    Eleven thousand dollars ($11,000) worth of incentives and the Volt still sits in the showroom. Can there be any doubt that the Volt only suits an extremely limited demographic? “It doesn’t have to stay on your lot, because there is a waiting list in my district, at my Chevrolet dealership, of six months to get a Chevy Volt.” If this demand exists, then why haven’t Chevy dealers in this CA district sought out this PA Chevy dealer’s Volt? More GM incompetence?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Is it possible that the Congressman is deliberately keeping it around so that he can use it as a political talking point, despite it costing his dealership money? No, of course not, a member of the U. S. Congress would never stoop to those kind of levels, what was I thinking…

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The dealership has been in business since 1953 under the same ownership. That type of family-owned business isn’t the type to stomach a continual loss of money to make a political point. You don’t stay in business long by doing that sort of thing.

        Living in Pennsylvania, and having several in-laws who live in the Pittsburgh area, I can tell you that the Volt will be a tough sale in that region, given its price in relation to size, features and performance. (The entire Government Motors meme isn’t really a part of it.)

        The entire region still hasn’t entirely recovered psychologically from the collapse of the steel industry. (And many of the surrounding towns and cities have not recovered in the economic sense, either.) People truly interested in saving gas will simply buy a Cruze or even a Sonic (and save on the purchase price as well); while people willing to spend $30,000+ on a vehicle aren’t going to purchase a Volt. This car is simply not going to be overly popular in the Pittsburgh region. He should try to ship it to a dealer in the Philadelphia region. I would imagine there will be more sales of the Volt in that area.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      There’s all kinds of cars that suit very limited demographics, so that’s not a valid condemnation of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        Yes it is. And that’s because it cost too much and gives to little in return. And it cost way too much to develop and bring to market, especially for a company in the financial straights that GM was in (and some say are still in). Niche or limited demographics isn’t the problem. The Dodge Viper was a niche car for a limited demographic. But they made a profit on every one. The business case for the car was much better and the development costs were much lower.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Because, for one, it will cost about a thousand bucks to ship it to California – and you’d better hope it doesn’t get scratched in the process.
      ‘Dealer trading’ within a city is complex enough, out of State brings a whole new set of variables.
      But I am sure he can unload it if he wants.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    They’re still asking and getting 5K over MSRP where I live. If you don’t think it’s important that the US gets off imported oil then you can’t appreciate a car like the Volt. And remember the Volt isn’t too expensive, gas is too cheap.

    It’s also comforting to see such a forward thinking person in our government. The people from PA must be soo proud…LOL

    • 0 avatar
      mechimike

      If they’re getting 5K over MSRP, and the government’s giving an 11K incentive…who’s really benefitting there?

      I agree with previous sentiments that the incentive was wholly unnecessary- only a wealthy individual could consider or justify a purchase like this, government subsidy or no. I make a mid-high 5 figure salary, I consider myself fairly environmentally concerned, and this car is nowhere near my radar.

      All this political talk about ending tax breaks for the rich, taxing the rich, millionaire taxes, etc, and then they turn around and subsidize..who is it that’s buying these cars again? Oh, yeah.

      There’s two types of so-called ‘environmentalists’- those who try to make do with what they have, or less, and those who are the “conspicuous consumption” types, that feel by buying the latest and greatest eco-fads they can show off how “green” they are. Guess which group this car appeals to?

    • 0 avatar
      jkumpire

      Please explain how you can say “gas is too cheap”. Thank You.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    My theory is that the reason dealers keep these around and aren’t in a big hurry to do a dealer trade is that it helps get traffic into the showroom. I probably wouldn’t have test driven an Equinox had I not wanted to look at the Volt, although at the stickered $52k (the Volt, not the Equinox), no way would I consider it.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    On further reflection, Congressman Billy-Bob, there, should probably sell the dealership.

    “I’m a Chevrolet dealer… we have a Chevy Volt on the lot, it’s been there now for four weeks.”

    “When you look at this, it makes absolutely no sense. I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory…”

    I’m no expert on these things but 4 weeks = 28 days. If it sells in another week, it matches the stockturn on that Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If a car is on the lot for four weeks, and only one person has come to look at it, I’d say there is a pretty serious problem with selling that vehicle.

      I’ll also bet that his dealership stocks a lot more than one Cruze at a time, so the turnaround times are not quite an apples-to-apples comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        I doubt only one person came to look at it. Unless this guy has a Nazi for a new car manager, salespeople are notorious for dismissing prospects. “Oh, he was a service customer.” “Oh, the guy dropped his wife off next door and was killing time..”
        I doubt only one person sat in the Volt in the past 4 weeks – did he interview every single person who sat in the vehicle?

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……..it’s amazing that this character survived the GM “cull”……surely he must have given some hints of his loose cannon tendencies in the past, or maybe his political connections seemed handy at the time. “With dealers like that, who needs competitors?”, indeed. The ranks of dealer principals are rife with second and third generation operators who love to affect the hard working entrepreneur image. Their folksy tales like “I started out washing cars and sweeping the shop” conveniently ignore the fact that they had the place handed to them on a Cimmaron Silver ($475 option) platter. This guy seems to suggest, and in fact brags, that he threw a trusted manager under the bus for getting ONE car order wrong……so much for the loving “family” environment portrayed in that dealership’s Christmas card. Well heeled, colorful wild-men inhabit showrooms and politics, sometimes both. Any way you cut it, a Federal hearing seems to be an inappropriate place to air dirty laundry, and continue an unseemly vendetta with the hand that feeds you. But he has been duly elected, so I suppose he can’t be all bad.

    • 0 avatar
      spinjack

      Read it again. The guy was canned because he was specifically told NOT to order a Volt but did it anyway.

      It sounds like Mike has good grasp of the market he serves.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Catch 22. The fella got fired for ordering the car against dealership management’s wishes, sure did. He’d have had a hard time ordering cars after GM pulled their franchise for violating company policy, too.

        In a situation like this, I’d follow company policy. It’s better to get fired and to remind your butthead boss there’s someone above him than to continue supporting entitled, brain-dead know-it-alls.

        I got $5 that says he doesn’t sign a damned one of the dealerships paychecks. He’s a fuggin dealership manager, and he’s got b1tc435 and whipping boys. As many as he needs to make himself look legit. Pity, really– we’re paying all their bills because they got in the way of him proving his point.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        iNeon:

        >I got $5 that says he doesn’t sign a damned one of the dealerships paychecks. He’s a fuggin dealership manager, and he’s got b1tc435 and whipping boys.

        Dealership manager???

        What part of “Mike Kelly is also a Chevrolet DEALER whose family has sold Chevys since 1953.” Did you not understand?

        Expect a visit from the IRS to collect the $5 plus 2000% interest…

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      I’d be curious to know if this guy ‘owns’ any other dealerships, particularly import stores. One of the big reasons GM went down is because their (dis)loyal band of dealers were making too much money selling Toyotas and Hondas elsewhere to give a damn about their GM store, even though their profits gave them the $$$ to buy the import franchise in the first place.
      I should know: I was out of a job after 10 years at a GM store because the ‘dealer’ was too busy counting his money at his import stores.

  • avatar
    owlafaye

    The VOLT is mechanically and electronically quite complicated. There will be many many problems down the road. It is not very efficientr EXCEPT when used in electric mode ONLY and for very short trips.

    Electric usage only is far more expensive than a straight electric like the LEAF

    Gasoline usage only gives mileage far below a large number of new gas only cars on the road today.

    The initial cost of the VOLT, even with incentives, is almost twice as much as a comparable sized car that will give better gas mileage.

    The maintenance and repairs down the road will be many, expensive and recurring.

    I have been saying this for close to 4 years now…Chevrolet just doesn’t study automotive history and the lessons to be learned.

    Don’t buy this car !

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Where’s Silvy when you need him eh?

  • avatar
    eldard

    @ Amendment: Freudian wannabe, much? That gets so old. lolz

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    “…a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”- wikipedia

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    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=00001&enableSeo=1&searchSource=TRAIL_HEAD

    Only 3150 of them left to buy!

    The car is so hawt nobody wants to go near it for fear of being burned by yet another GM product.

    • 0 avatar
      mtwzzyzx

      As of the end of September, they’ve sold a whopping 3,895 units, a quarter of which were here in Southern California. I’ve yet to see one on the road, but I haven’t driven in Santa Monica much in recent weeks.

      They sold 1.5 times more Buick Lucernes in September than Dolts, er I mean Volts. Buick Lucernes!

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    .

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Here’s a car that costs $45,763

    That’s about $6,000 above sticker, isn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      dvp cars

      ….pch…$45,763 does sound high…..let’s just hope that he didn’t publicly whine and bemoan the price of a car that he’s packed an additional few thousand dollars of profit onto. That would be the height of something or other…..arrogance, greed, misinformation, take your pick. If, and I emphasize “if”, your hunch is correct, this puts a whole new light on the story.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        let’s just hope that he didn’t publicly whine and bemoan the price of a car that he’s packed an additional few thousand dollars of profit onto

        Given the option packages available, I can’t see how $45,763 isn’t several thousand dollars above sticker.

        Mike Kelly’s website lists the car by VIN number, including how it is equipped. There is only one model of Volt, with just a few options packages available. This car does not seem to be equipped with those high cost options.

        There are some colors that are extra cost options. But this car is “Silver Ice Metallic”, which requires no additional charge.

        There is a Bose system available. But that is a seven-speaker system, while Kelly’s car has six speakers, so this car doesn’t have that option, either.

        There are some optional Premium Trim packages. But those include a leather steering wheel, which Kelly’s car does not have (a plastic steering wheel is listed), so this car doesn’t have that package, either.

        There is an optional NAV/ stereo package, but again, Kelly’s car doesn’t have that, either.

        There is an optional wheel package for $595. It’s not clear whether Kelly’s car has those or not.

        That leaves me with this:

        Base model – $39,145
        Delivery – $850
        Total – $39,995

        If it has the polished wheels, then it would be $40,590. A cargo net and front window shade would add about another $150.

        That math would make it appear that Mike Kelly is trying to sell his Volt for more than $5,000 over MSRP. That adds a bit of context to the story, now doesn’t it?

        Perhaps TTAC could contact Mr. Kelly and ask him why the good congressman is trying to sell the car at above sticker if it is so unpopular. It doesn’t make much sense to peddle a car at such a steep premium if nobody wants it. (I suppose that firing Mr. Kelly from his own dealership isn’t an idea that he would welcome.)

      • 0 avatar
        mtwzzyzx

        Things just must match what you already believe, or there’s something nefarious afoot, eh?

        Try clicking on the link provided by GarbageMotors directly above- it’s a search for volts at dealerships- almost all of which are listed at around $47k. How could that be, you did the math, right? Sure, but you forgot a few things- fees and taxes…

        You know, if you put in the area code for Butler, PA, and search by distance, you’ll see the very car he’s talking about, and by golly, listings for lots of other dealers- and it turns out that his price is in line with, if not a little better than most others.

        Nice try. Cars a flop.

      • 0 avatar
        Hognose

        He may be including the sales tax, as the customer must think of that money. It says here that PA has a 6% sales tax, with an additional 1% kicker in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh). I don’t know if Kelly’s dealership is within that county or not.

        That still doesn’t add up to $45k from pch’s numbers, but it’s a lot closer. I suspect there’s something in there we’re missing. I doubt that a dealer who can’t sell the car is charging the sort of premiums that dealers in San Francisco or other wealthy places can get, You see similar dynamics with new and trendy cars, briefly. It happened with the Mazda Miata originally, and the first Vipers, and the first two-seat 2000′s Thunderbirds, all of which were discounted again once the pent-up demand dissipated.

        I think pch101 is missing this: pent-up demand for expensive Chevy economy cars is minimal. Badging it as a Cadillac, as some suggested, wouldn’t help. Sales would be even worse. (Think of Cadillac’s history with badge-engineered Chevies and Opels: Cimmaron, Catera. Ewwww).

        Whether the number is the list price or the $6k higher doesn’t matter, by the time you’ve taxed and registered it, it’s still roughly double the price of a Prius, which is a better car if you define a car as a a machine for transportation. I know that the industry rags talk about GMs new commitment to quality, just like they’ve been doing for forty years as quality has bubbled along below the level of third-world market entrants, let along Japanese quality leaders. But I drive GM cars regularly (sometimes can’t avoid getting stuck with a Malibu or Impala or the Buick equivalents as a rental) and their build quality and reliability still trails the industry.

        Sixty years ago, GM led the world, and Koreans were racked by war and on the brink of starvation. In 2011, every Hyundai beats its GM competitor, and GM is only safe where the Koreans and Japanese don’t go, competitively speaking. That the Japanese build better cars in their transplant factories shows that it’s not some oriental racial superiority, (Not that I ever thought it was). It’s just better organization and leadership. Something that GM is entirely lacking.

        A subsidized shitbox — the Volt — is still a shitbox. I notice the one comment I haven’t seen here, is, “I bought one.” Let alone “I bought one and love it.” QED. If you love the Volt, buy the Volt, don’t waste your breath telling us about the emperor’s grand raiment. We ain’t buying. Literally.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        Put your (left tilting) foil hats away, please…
        So he was off 12 percent. $45K may have been the cost to the customer, with tax, title registration.

        The Volt would be a fine vehicle with an MSRP of $20-25K – or maybe $25-30K if it was a Toyota… Plug in technology just is not and will not be competitive (for many years, if ever) with the ICE.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Put your (left tilting) foil hats away

        That’s a remarkably clueless comment on your part.

        There’s no tinfoil hat — I did the math. Based upon the description of the car on the dealership’s website and the options listed on Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, it is hard not to see that the good congressman has marked up the car at over five grand over sticker.

        Now, even an intellectual midget on the right should know that it makes absolutely no sense to complain about a lack of demand for the car, while trying to sell that same car for $5000+ over sticker. That dog don’t hunt.

        It was quite sloppy to simply regurgitate the car dealer’s claims, while failing to fact check them. But I suppose that some of you prefer regurgitation when it suits your political whims.

        (And I say this as someone who has low expectations for the Volt. But this story doesn’t prove anything, other than the fact that car dealers often lie.)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        but you forgot a few things- fees and taxes

        There was nothing to forget. Fees and taxes aren’t quoted in these prices.

        Dealers don’t quote taxes and fees in their advertising because they can’t predict what they’ll be. An out-of-state customer won’t pay them to the dealer; for an in-state customer, they may vary by county or locality.

        Sorry, but you blew it. The dealer is simultaneously price gouging, while claiming that the car is overpriced. I can see how that might make sense to folks who aren’t very smart, but this is a fairly obvious contradiction that the author of this piece should have asked about.

      • 0 avatar
        mtwzzyzx

        PCH101, It’s fairly obvious you insist on seeing things your way, evidence be damned. Did you look at the listings for available Volts, as I suggested earlier? Apparently not, or you’d see that his price is in-line with every dealer within quite a distance of his location, if not on the low side. You can go ahead and reject reality and replace it with your own fantasy, but facts are facts, and they’re hard things, as it’s been said.

        As for ‘they can’t predict’ fees and taxes? Are you serious? Anyone with a knowledge of basic math can predict tax on a new car purchase- it’s the sales tax in Pennsylvania plus any licensing taxes/fees the state adds (which are calculated with a known basis). Keep trying, maybe you’ll find some way to defend your ideas.

        Here’s a link to an image of a Volt window sticker from Edmunds.com- showing a $45k-ish price. http://media.il.edmunds-media.com/chevrolet/ns/chevrolet_det_ns_317112_815.jpg Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        As for ‘they can’t predict’ fees and taxes? Are you serious?

        I can see that you really don’t know anything about this topic.

        No, they can’t predict them, because the taxes and fees that are due are based upon the location of the residence of the buyer. Not every buyer will owe the same amount.

        If you live in the United States, then you should know this. In any case, virtually no products that are sold in the US have their taxes included in the quoted price. Cars are no exception to this practice.

        Did you look at the listings for available Volts, as I suggested earlier?

        I have. Many dealers are posting above-MSRP prices for their Volts. There is no law that requires that a seller offers his wares at sticker price.

        As I noted, I reviewed the equipment level of the car advertised on the dealer’s website. It is not equipped with options that would push the MSRP to the price claimed by the dealer. (I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was able to get his website information right.)

        I need to spell it out for you — you don’t know what you’re talking about. The numbers tell us that this dealer is simultaneously marketing this car above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, while simultaneously complaining that the price is too high to sell it. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • avatar
    jsal56

    Gibson Guitar
    Government Health Insurance
    Fast and Furious
    Solyndra
    Libya
    Boeing
    Arizona
    GM/Chrysler
    No way he is a hyper-liberal President.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    @GSlippy

    “the Volt is a frightfully expensive economy car”

    That quote sums it up quite nicely. An oxymoronic contradiction of purpose.

    Or is a halo car for the environment now?

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ..pch…..unless this “list” price is validated soon, someone has a lot of explaining to do. It becomes no longer an EV story, but opens up issues such as;
    …..a case of deliberate deceit in the interest of proving a point.
    …..a dealer with such a sense of entitlement that bloating factory
    suggested prices is just a natural, but very arrogant, miscue.
    …..giving him the benefit of a doubt, is it possible the ill-fated
    manager misquoted him on the figure (which could also factor
    in his sudden career move).
    …..the wisdom of manufacturers tolerating add-on price gouging

    On the other hand, maybe this unit has had the $3500 rustproofing/tire-shine/air freshener package pre-installed at the dealership……a not so subtle way of saying “mandatory additional profit”

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      unless this “list” price is validated soon, someone has a lot of explaining to do.

      This is the sort of thing that happens when folks begin with their personal ideological agendas, instead of just starting with the numbers and figuring out the facts.

  • avatar
    TaurusGT500

    …hadn’t been on TTAC in a while and am shocked at the childish name-calling I’m seeing. Thought I stumbled onto one of the low-rent forums by mistake. …where are the adults in charge? …Paging Farago. Paging Dr. Farago.

    • 0 avatar
      TomHend

      are you a sissy boy? read history little boy, name calling goes back to the American Revolution. by asking that childish question you exposed yourself as a liberal elitest.

      • 0 avatar

        Tom, assuming that you weren’t being sarcastic…

        While name calling has a long and glorious history in American politics, this site has never tolerated insulting name calling. That hasn’t prevented intense debate – in fact, the no flaming rule promotes better debate because it keeps things from degenerating.

        By asking that question Taurus shows that he has a pretty good handle on the culture in these here parts. Your response shows that you don’t. He’s not being an elitist, he’s just one of the Best & Brightest, the autoblogosphere’s best commenting crew.

        Most would consider me one of TTAC’s resident right-wingers and see nothing in Taurus’ post that indicates any kind of political tilt, either liberal or conservative.

        Oh, and you misspelled elitist.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……Ronnie….4 questions in 6 lines, and it’s getting late, but, I’ll summarize, although I think the thread has moved in other directions. In the ideal successful dealership, the relationship between dealer principal and GM is a contest of wills, where each wins the odd battle, but the war is profitable for everybody. Times change, and owners aren’t always right…….the smart ones understand that, and hire professionals to make winning decisions. But for a dealer/elected lawmaker to brag about summarily dismissing a previously valuable “guy” for the crime of ordering one insignificant unit is laughable. The fact that this hapless employee was made sport of in a public forum is no laughing matter.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I have to side with car dealer here. Maybe its just because of their great reputation.

    Seriously – was the Volt a coincidence? GM knows they are going bankrupt, they need taxpayer to give a few ten billion or so. Congress and President are Democratic, they got the cash (well they got *our cash*, not make that they got Chinese cash we are co-signing for. The Dems think employers, er big-business is evil but they love green sounding stuff.

    If you were GM what would you do? Your only chance to stay in business was to make a politically correct (that is un-competitive, money losing) car.

    Before you tell me to take off my tin-foil hat, two things. First, I like my tin-foil hat. Secondly I like fuel efficient cars and live only eight miles from work, I would consider an EV or hybrid.

    The problem? I am also a cheapskate. I don’t want to spend 40k+ to save a small amount of gas, and I sure was heck don’t want the US going 11k farther into debt for someone else to buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      dvp cars

      …..”only chance to stay in business” turned out to be a fighting chance……..regardless of political considerations, and the questionable car that resulted, I have to agree with your concise historical analysis……..they lived to fight another day……whether they learned anything is another question.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    2 things I take from this;

    1. As the election draws closer, there will be less and less reason to read TTAC.

    2. Is there a list that tells which dealers are Republicans and which are Democrats?

  • avatar
    Max Entropy

    Xeranar: “Clinton was stuck with a hard-core right-wing congress that tried to impeach him over whether or not he had an affair with an intern. He reformed welfare because they forced his hand, just like he made do with NAFTA because the Republican answer was much worse.”

    Is that what they’re teaching you kids now? LOL.
    Here’s what happened. Clinton was sued for sexual harrassment by a former Arkansas state employee. During his testimony before the grand jury, Clinton was asked about other sexual affairs with employees, i.e. Lewinsky. He LIED. The lies were eventually proven with DNA evidence. Congress impeached him for committing perjury before the grand Jury. The Arkansas Bar disbarred him. He settled with Jones for $850,000.
    He was impeached for committing perjury, NOT for having an affair.

    BTW, Clinton had a Democrat congress for two years, during which he tried to nationalize healthcare (Hillarycare). He couldn’t even get his Democrat congress to pass it. The electorate was so enraged about the Democrats pushing Hillarycare that they threw the D congess out in ’94 and installed a Republican congress. Being a political strategist, he went along with the Republican initiatives of reforming welfare and NAFTA to save his political hide.

  • avatar
    effinayright

    Sorry, but Obama signed the $7500 for the Volt. Bush signed a $7500 credit for new homebuyers.

    Both were idiotic moves, in my book.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India