By on January 11, 2012

 GM is ready to reduce output of the Volt plug-in hybrid. Wait, that’s putting it a bit harshly. GM is ready to  “match supply and demand,” as GM vice chairman Steve Girsky told Reuters yesterday. GM wants to monitor sales for a few more months until the matching begins.

“I think it will be May or June before we really know if this thing has legs,” Girsky told Reuters. “We are prepared for it if it does.”

Last year, GM sold about 8,000 Volts, a little more than half of its annual target. This time, Girsky wisely excused himself from making forecasts.

As Reuters put it, “slow sales of the Volt would hardly make a dent in GM’s overall U.S. sales, which rose 13 percent to 2.5 million last year.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, GM now is “targeting 45,000 U.S. Volt sales in 2012. It also plans to export 15,000 of the Detroit-built cars to Europe.” Also according to the WSJ, the recent battery woes did not affect sales:

“General Motors Co. sold 1,529 battery-powered Chevrolet Volt cars last month, a 34% increase from November, amid a U.S. investigation into whether the car’s battery poses a fire risk.

More than one-third of those sales were to corporate fleets; a larger proportion than in previous months when about 10% of Volts were bought by corporate and other fleet customers.“

This tidbit had attracted accusations (see above) by people who claimed that GM is goosing the numbers with fleet sales. Not true, the WSJ says, the Volt’s fleet sales were so high because for the first time there are enough Volts to supply the fleets, and they are paying the same as a regular car buyers.

Sure.

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93 Comments on “GM Ready To Reduce Volt Output...”


  • avatar
    replica

    I can see these cars being quite appealing to cavemen, on the account of starting fires.

    • 0 avatar
      raven1462

      Of course so could the half a million Ford vehicles currently being recalled for fire risk http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120111/AUTO01/201110392/1361/Ford-recalls-525-000-vehicles-for-fire–power-loss-problems but yeah, not as fun to pick on established vehicles that catch on fire or companies that have wheels that might fall off your vehicle while you are driving http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/12/ford-recalls-fusion-mercury-milan-wheels-could-fall-off/1 , something that could actually cause some real issues if I understand car driving dynamics…

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      So very funny. Because Volts, like, catch fire, right?

      Oh wait, I’ve got one. They should sell Volts with a bottle of BBQ sauce. Guess why. hahahaha!

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      I understand they are going to utilize the magical power of pyramids…all VOLTS made after June 2012 will have a large pyramid on the roof.

      Lets take a conventional automobile as an example:

      The engine drives the wheels.

      Now take a Priius as an example:

      An engine drives the wheels……………or
      A battery drives the wheels.

      Now the VOLT:

      An engine drives the generator that drives the motor that drives the wheels………………..or
      A battery drives the wheels

      Its simple, to reduce gas consumption you have to reduce the size of that engine…doing so will reduce overall performance drastically…they have pared that technology down to the bone. As to increasing the size of the battery? Yes, that will work for electric only and cost another $15,000

      This is DEAD END technology folks…a showpiece, nothing more. It ISN’T going to get better.

    • 0 avatar
      asdfghjkl

      What has made it hard for the Volt is the media being a circus run by the clowns who are more interested in entertaining, than imparting factual news to the audience.

      The totally perverse attitude of the American media to denigrate anything developed, designed and built in the USA shows stupidity and ignorance, all of which gets heaps of praise, publicity and cheerleaders.

      I know of no other nation so inclined.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Boy, didn’t see this coming -smirk-

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Since we live in cynical times, and since they are living off the wages taken from us as taxes, GM should be better aware that an atmosphere exists questioning their basic organizational intelligence. GM needs to be more honest to offset the numerous conspiracies that will arise to explain what they don’t wish to explain.

    The Volt is full of lies. We don’t know how many of these vehicles would sell without all the tax dollars spent to entice buyers. We don’t know why this vehicle went from being an electric vehicle, similar to the Nissan Leaf, to a vehicle similar to a first generation hybrid Prius. (Now selling for 20% of the cost of a new Volt, btw.) We don’t know how we could expect an organization with the success rate of GM, could produce a successful Volt launch.

    The Volt is a car. An old one. While GM wishes to compare it to vehicles with a future, the Volt is still just a set of wheels. All the touchy-feelie PR schlock about the Volt being some kind of GM savior, or a future vehicle awaiting tomorrow, or whatever – we’ve seen these acts before. If hype was true, we would all be flying in atomic-powered Mercury Turnpike Cruisers.

    That is what the Volt seems to be at this point.

    Will this change? Does that matter? You can’t expect a future car to sit unchanged until it’s time arrives. Life comes with a clock, and time is fast running out. GM has spent a billion dollars it never had on a car few have an interest in owning. Compared to the Volt, the 1990 GM dust buster minivans were a glorious sales success.

    Times up folks. This car’s future was 2002, not 2012. You got your bailout, so you don’t have to pretend to care about this anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      … would you have spent half as much time fretting about where Toyota got the money for the Synergy Drive, or all the subsidies/incentives/discounted financing/devalued currency that Japan Inc has benefited from for, like, forever.

      Okay, I think we get that you HATE the Volt specifically, and General Motors in general (oops, no pun intended.) And maybe Washington (along with Ottawa and the Ontario government, BTW) won’t recover all of its financial assistance GM got in 2009, but the U.S. has to decide whether it wants to remain a 1st tier nation, or whether it will be happy taking a back seat to China, Germany, Japan and (don’t laugh) Brazil.
      Is it a coincidence that every single one of the top 4 or 5 economies has its own domestic auto industry? (Okay, China is playing catch up and is, ironically, using GM, VW and other’s 100 years of technology to do it.) The rest of the G20 have managed to facilitate their own piece of the auto industry by coercing the likes of Germany, Japan and the U.S. (I am sure Korea and China will join the bandwagon soon enough) to ‘share’ their manufacturing plants.
      Nothing, except perhaps the aerospace industry, even comes close to the auto industry for the level of technology, R&D, systems development, value-added jobs, etc. Simply put, no country can expect to be a big player without their own, domestic auto industry. Japan figured that out 50 years ago. Germany, the same. Canada figured it out in 1965. Korea figured it out a couple decades ago. Russia – well, let’s just say they have greater issues just now than where there cars are built.
      So, I ask those of you who pop a blood vessel every time an article gets written about GM – what would you have? ALL manufacturing surrendered to China, Korea and Japan, or do you think it might be kinda worth having around a home-grown automotive industry; whose patents and intellectual property, along with engineering and design jobs, plus all the other hundreds of thousands of spin-off jobs in other industries from plastics to synthetic fabrics, will stay in North America as well?
      As a friendly neighbor, it concerns me that many Americans don’t realize how dire things are for your nation and its future. It’s all business as usual and ‘globalization is great,’ but Japan, Korea and probably other nations as well, have taken a swipe at the American Dream, wiping out entire industries, from ship building to electronics and small manufacturing. Thanks to the economic meltdown in 2008, the American auto industry was nearly made extinct, too.
      Underneath your anger and frustration at the ‘bail out,’ do you seriously think the United States would be better off without GM and Chrysler? How long would Ford have stayed around with 3/4 of the industry vaporized over night? (Let’s not forget that Ford’s current sterling status is only due to the fact that they were virtually bankrupt 2 years before the meltdown and hocked the family jewels to stay afloat. Mulally may be a visionary manager, but it was just plain luck that Ford went to the bank in 2006 when the banks still were giving out money.)
      Undoubtedly, historians and economists will be picking at the 2008 near Depression for decades to come, but I think the world stood on a precipice that nightmares are made of.
      Or do you think it normal that the outgoing President and the President-Elect not only had a meeting about Detroit and what was going on, but that they actually AGREED on something?

      Back to the Volt: give it a rest. Marketing people will hype a product and it is up to the consumer to wade through the nonsense. The Volt is a game changer, and whether plug in hybrids save the day, or hydrogen or rainbow power, the U.S. MUST get off its oil addiction.
      One errant missle from North Korea or that wingnut in Iran and the only people on your street getting to work the next week might be Volt and Leaf owners.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        1) ‘Too big to fail’ is a load of shit. If there is a market for a product, people will buy it. If not, that business model fails and goes away.

        2) I know people that work for electric producers. You know what they drive? Good ol’ ICE cars and light trucks, not Volt/Leaf/Prius. What happens when the power grid collapses due to the guys WHO FIX the power lines/relays/plants can’t get to work?

        Personally, I think hydrogen is the answer. But until it can be contained in a fuel tank in a car that is smaller than the entire trunk, or is safe enough to be on the road without causing an entire city block to explode if in a rear-end collision, gasoline/diesel is the answer. It is the safest, cheapest, most accessible energy available, period.

        If we simply drilled for out own oil anymore instead of our King (and I write that VERY sarcastically) tying our collective (a word he likes very much) hands behind our backs, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Gas would be about $2-$2.50/gal (even with the dollar being worth about 40% less than it was just a decade ago), the economy would take off, everyone who wanted a job would have one.

        THIS MALAISE IS BEING DONE ON PURPOSE!

        As you were, gentlemen. :)

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        acuraandy: “2) I know people that work for electric producers. You know what they drive? Good ol’ ICE cars and light trucks, not Volt/Leaf/Prius. What happens when the power grid collapses due to the guys WHO FIX the power lines/relays/plants can’t get to work?”

        Really? I used to work for an electric producer and we were extremely interested in EVs. And we were concerned about dependence on foreign oil and the many of the engineers were concerned about GHGs. Thirty years ago.

        acuraandy: “Personally, I think hydrogen is the answer. But until it can be contained in a fuel tank in a car that is smaller than the entire trunk, or is safe enough to be on the road without causing an entire city block to explode if in a rear-end collision, gasoline/diesel is the answer.”

        Where did you get this strange notion? Listening to Limpballs a little too often, I’d say. H2 doesn’t have the nearly the pop that gas/diesel does, which is H2′s real problem. The Hindenburg was a delightful fire but most of the energy release came from burning things other than the H2.

        acuraandy: “If we simply drilled for out own oil anymore…”

        Blah, blah, blah. Natural resources are our nation’s collective wealth. What gives you the right to burn it in THIS generation?

        Besides, the Administration could rubber-stamp every permit that came across their desks and it would make very lttle difference. We’re going to drink up the Bakken in a few years and then drilling offshore will be a slow, tedious process. Life in the camps in the Bakken isn’t any fun, either. Ir we did push the price of oil down to $2/gallon, it would just encourage people to buy more and more up-armored SUVs and, eventually, we’ll find we’re running on empty again.

        Let’s run out of oil as fast as we can.

        Great plan, there, acuraandy.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        No no no.

        He doesn’t hate General Motors. He hates GOVERNMENT MOTORS. Duh!

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        The Volt is a fraud.
        It got GM it’s bailout.
        I don’t hate anyone for doing that.

        Kill the Volt off and move on. Waiting for electric cars to show up to save the day is ridiculous. When electric cars are viable and show value to the Market, they will sell without any additional gimmicks glue upon them.

        Just tell us it was all a con job and get back to business making cars that will really sell.

      • 0 avatar
        asdfghjkl

        Great write carbiz,

        Here’s a link that shows how Japan got so strong economically. If you want to get angry at something, get angry at this…and is all factual.

        http://www.uwsa.com/issues/trade/japanyes.html

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Does GM not think President Obama will get a second term to prop up his reduction in foreign oil?

  • avatar
    replica

    Is there such a thing as foreign oil? It’s traded as a global commodity right?

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      When we produce nowhere near enough of it to satisfy our own demand, yes, it’s “foreign” oil.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        … and let’s not forget that if the U.N and U.S. sanctions go through for Iran, they will effectively be setting up a second level of oil market. You don’t think China will buy Iran’s oil – for a discount?
        The U.S. has to wake up. China is outflanking America on so many levels. The battleground of the future is not just going to be oil (although it could be argued that between Alaska, Canada and Mexico, the U.S. could be self-sufficient in oil for many lifetimes) – it will be over rare metals, too. All these wonderful electric cars, laptop computers and iPads require a lot of lithium and only 3 countries have a lot of that!
        China is cozying up to Latin America, and especially Brazil, which is only too happy to show its independence from American influence by trading westward, rather than northward.
        Canada – well, Canada has already sold half of Vancouver and Toronto to China, so it comes as no surprise that our Prime Minister has decided to turn his jaundiced eye to the West, too. However, other than winning a few brownie points with the chattering classes, who believe America is the Source of All Evil in the Universe, I think Canada is ill-advised to cozy up to China. For one, we will need America’s support as China becomes more aggressive in the Arctic.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Did you know US produced oil CAN NOT be exported?.. so much for the free enterprise, free trade and the fungibility of oil.

  • avatar
    mcs

    More competition won’t make things easier. First the Prius plug-in, now Volt is going to be going up against the Fusion plug-in that’s claiming better MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent). Honda has a plug-in Accord that will be joining the party in 2013. The tiny plug-in market is going to get really crowded very fast. GM needs to get moving as fast as they can to get the Cruze plug-in out the door to replace the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      No one knows (or cares) about MPGe.. its the most useless stat ever made for a car.

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      The difference between VOLT technology and others is that VOLT technology can’t go anywhere…it is a maxed out concept…A smaller ICE for a generator and go power is not feasible…more batteries just costs more and gives you a little more electric range. The concept is DEAD END street from the get go. It is a frivolous toy that was tried out in 1920 by Owen Magnetic Autos.

      VOLT:

      ICE (engine) to Generator to motor to wheels…4 elements engaged to move the vehicle.

      Whereas a modern all gas car is:

      ICE (engine) to wheels.

      Which one is more economical?

      This aspect drags down the gas mileage considerably and you will NEVER attain much over 40 mpg with this VOLT setup. The electric range hardly factors in…so yes, it is a great cheap commuter in electric mode ONLY.

      Toyota will fill both aspects shortly…watch for their 300 mile range ALL electric vehicle in the coming 10 years. In the meantime you can buy a “Prius c” for $19,000 and get 53 mpg (50 combined)
      in a quality package.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    They need to reduce the price instead, which would eliminate the need to lower production.

    Didn’t anybody at GM take economic class? I did, at GM’s former engineering school in Flint (now called Kettering). I still remember buying colored pencils to take notes – the professor liked to use 3-4 different colors of chalk on all of his blackboard plots, and we furiously scrambled to copy them down before he erased one without warning and went onto the next. I learned a lot in that class, such as where the supply, demand, and price curves intersected!

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      The loaded version of the Prius plug-in (PIP) is more expensive than a stripped Volt.. do you think they will have any trouble selling them even with the measly 10 miles of EV range?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        The loaded version of the Prius plug-in (PIP) is more expensive than a stripped Volt
        Yes, by only $380. But the stripped version of the plug-in Prius is about $7k cheaper than the stripped volt. For many people, 10 miles range is fine. Another factor will be the 4 seat capacity of the Volt which will be a deal killer in many cases.

        The Ford will be an even bigger problem for the Volt. Ford is already bragging about it being more efficient than the Volt. You can bet they’ll be pushing those numbers and you’ll hear the phrase “more efficient than Volt” in their ads. A lot of potential Volt buyers will probably opt to wait for the Fusion for that reason.

        On the positive side, I think GM understands the issues and we’ll see a Cruze plug-in that will compete with the other plug-ins. However, the biggest problem is that a small market is going to get very crowded very quickly and the Volt isn’t the only game in town anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        The Ford Fusion Plug-In (FFPI.. pronounced fffpie) is very nice with its 21 miles of range.. but dont forget thats limited to 62mph before the engine kicks in.. it would be fine for me but I bet lots of ignorant people scoff at that.. plus we have no idea what Ford will charge for it.

      • 0 avatar
        owlafaye

        Thats not true Herm…work for GM or just gullible?

  • avatar
    BoredOOMM

    Right when we get a car everyone wants, they take it from us.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Like it not the Volt has had more of an impact on the car market than anything else in 2011 sans the Leaf. Anything else in the past 10 years actually. Pretty amazing considering it sold less than 8K units last year. Of course when you look at the last quarter of 2011, it would have easily surpassed 10K units for the year if it was actually availble throughout the US like every other car. To call the Volt a sales failure at this point is stupidity. Another 2-3 years will be more appropriate, maybe.

    Let’s see what happens once the economy comes back, people have money again, or at least think they do, and gas surges past $4 towards $5 a gallon. Anyone who thinks that it’s going to stay at three something a gallon forever or go down in price is kidding themselves. A paradighm shift needs to happen as far as what most Amercicans think the family truckster should be. That will take time and is not unique to the Volt. EV’s are not the end all “smoking gun” solution mind you to our dependance on foreign oil and pollution. But they may be a big piece of the solution. Time will tell, but it is definitely too early to pull the plug.

    @acuraandy – They are avaiable in the Twin Cities, so I challenge you to at least drive one before making your usual less than intelligent Volt comments.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      You’re right, it’s not a “sales failure,” it’s selling somewhat better than we would expect a $40K compact car to sell.

      What it is, is a MARKETING failure. Who would expect a $40K compact car with less cargo room than a Corolla, only 4 seats, and mediocre DBFE (Dead Battery Fuel Economy) to sell well enough to justify forecasting 60K in sales next year?

      Dig back a bit and on Jan 23rd, the press carried an article about GM doubling 2012 production to 120K units. That article is good for a laugh.

      Yes, they are here in the Twin Cities. I drove one. It was OK. However, although the car was warm (kept in a heated garage) and fully charged, the engine came on within a minute or two of heading out. It seems that the Volt will run the motor when it’s cold. So, this “EV” is going to be using gas pretty frequently, at least in Minnesota winters. Why bother?

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        @CarlsonFan, I attempted to drive a Volt just for grins when I tried to offload my Malibu at a Chev dealer a few months back. They wouldn’t let me; it was the only one in stock and on the showfloor (they claimed they didn’t want to have to re-clean it, even though I acted as though I was genuinely interested).

        As i’ve stated before, I’M STILL PISSED ABOUT THE TAXPAYER BAILOUT, and resulting hit on residual value of my Epsilon Malibu, bought a few short months before the bailout. As a result, until my dying breath, i’ll rip on GM whenever I can.

        P.S. EVs/hybrids make no sense in a climate such as Minnesota’s. Hot summers and cold winters kill these batteries. I’ve heard in some cases hybrid (Priuii, Insight, Civic Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid) owners having to replace them after a mere 2-3 years. Time will tell if Volt batteries last longer, but i’m not holding my breath.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      $5 gas won’t help Volt sales except temporarily.

      Just witness how many F150 trucks are sold year after year, as the price has risen from sub $1 to $3 and $4. In part this is due to the fact that – adjusted for inflation – gas costs the same as it did in 1980. But the other reason is that Americans will pay anything for a gallon of gas (illogical), and buying choices for vehicles are similarly illogical.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Carlson Fan: Like it not the Volt has had more of an impact on the car market than anything else in 2011 sans the Leaf. Anything else in the past 10 years actually.

      That’s your opinion, and you are entitled to it, but it’s not borne out by the facts. Sorry, but strip away the hype, and the car is basically a Prius competitor that isn’t selling all that well, primarily because it is overpriced for what it offers.

      Carlson Fan: Let’s see what happens once the economy comes back, people have money again, or at least think they do, and gas surges past $4 towards $5 a gallon.

      If gas surges back to $4-5 a gallon, a $40,000 compact that only seats four doesn’t make much sense. It makes more sense to keep the old bus – even The New York Times has done the math on that one and come to the same conclustion.

      If a new vehicle is needed, trade the old one for an Accord or Fusion or Cruze, all of which can be bought for under $26,000.

      Even if gas does hit $5 a gallon, that $14,000 or so price difference can buy a lot of it.

      Carlson Fan: A paradighm shift needs to happen as far as what most Amercicans think the family truckster should be.

      First, telling people what they should buy has never been the path to success in the American automobile market.

      Second, most people are simply going to shift to smaller, conventional cars, such as the Focus, Cruze, Civic or updated Fusion, Accord or Malibu. All of them offer decent fuel economy, more room and a much lower purchase price. As I said above, $14,000 buys a lot of gasoline, even if it hits $5 a gallon.

      For the record, I rode in the Volt about two months ago, when Chevrolet had a ride-and-drive demonstration in Harrisburg. It was remarkably unremarkable, which is a good thing, although it was rather noisy, considering that the gasoline engine was not running.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Oh, please! The public has been being told what to think for generations! Do you think the SUV boom from ’95 to ’05 was an accident? Even as minivans got better and better, they went from being the darlings of the ’80s to the pariahs of the late ’90s – all because subtle ads and pressures were brought upon the public that a 4,500 lb body-on-frame tank with a trailer hitch and that only seats 5 people is what you must have. Well, that AND a $80,000 Porsche.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        carbiz: Oh, please! The public has been being told what to think for generations!

        Oh, please! The usual reply of those who get upset over the fact that the public isn’t doing what they think it should. So, the usual, vague conspiracy-themed nonsense is trotted out as a substitute for facts and a source of comfort. Much like the nonsense that people were “brainwashed” into preferring Toyotas and Hondas over Chevrolets and Dodges. Here’s a hint as to what really happened – Toyota and Honda clearly built superior vehicles.

        carbiz: Do you think the SUV boom from ’95 to ’05 was an accident?

        No, it was caused by child restraint laws and the death of the traditional wagon.

        carbiz: Even as minivans got better and better, they went from being the darlings of the ’80s to the pariahs of the late ’90s – all because subtle ads and pressures were brought upon the public that a 4,500 lb body-on-frame tank with a trailer hitch and that only seats 5 people is what you must have. Well, that AND a $80,000 Porsche.

        When you can show me where people were forced to buy SUVs at gunpoint, or threatened with jail for preferring a Caravan over a Suburban, we’ll talk.

        Incidentally, last time I checked, Toyota, Honda and Chrysler sell lots of minivans. GM and Ford don’t – probably because they made crappy ones.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Cap and Trade utopia won’t save the Volt. People of moderate means will be thin on the ground when energy is a luxury good. There will be people for whom money is no object and people who get nostalgic about when they had food. Mass market goods will be irrelevant.

  • avatar
    tikki50

    Id do believe the volt is a nice car and I want to like it, I just seem to fall back to what I know, a simple gasoline engine that I have a chance of fixing myself. I understand it, I get it. Most of all there are 10′s of thousands of places I can fill up!

    Personally, I always thought the Volt was a production concept. Meaning low numbers, see how it goes and distribute the technology across the brands once its flushed, kill the car itself. The volt itself really isnt a true car like a Cruze or Malibu. Its a car based purely around a specific technology. The Prius seems to have broken that model, in that it has matured to an actual vehicle. The leaf sits in the same boat as the Volt. Your buying technology not a car, even if said car has 4 wheels and a steering wheel.

    As for the price point, I do recall Lt. Dan tasking the company with reducing costs particularly the volt, around a 10K drop. If you drop 10K off that car it should sell much better. We just have to see if they can actually do it.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      If you look at articles about Volt cost reduction, that $10K cost cut is part of a nine-year plan. And if they’re selling it at zero-margin or maybe even a loss, they’ll not be dropping the price by a corresponding $10K.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        My IBM PS Model 30, with IBM color monitor, CiToh dot matrix printer, 20 MEGAYTE hard drive (not a mis-print!) and 3.5″ disc drive cost me $7,500 in 1987. Two years later, I bought a clone with a 40 Meg hard drive and much faster processor for $2,400 – oh, it only came with a monochrome monitor.
        My Sony Vaio notebook, now almost 2 years old, has a 300 Gig hard drive, flat screen, and other technologies not even dreamt of in 1987: all for $650.
        I bought a calculator in 1974 for $200. All it did was add, subtract, multiply, divide and I think it had square root on it.

        See a pattern? GM could have waited for the next generation of batteries that will be half the price and last twice as long, but instead it decided to step up and create a technology where none existed. A gamble? Sure. If it works, GM will be a hero. If it doesn’t, GM will be sitting on a pile more data and can try a different plan next time.
        But oil is not getting cheaper. The Volt may be too soon, but wouldn’t it be nice if the 2nd generation drives, batteries and control systems come out BEFORE oil hits $200 a barrel?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        See a pattern?

        No, I don’t. Computers don’t make for good comparisons.

        A lot of the cost of a lithium ion battery is in the materials. Those costs don’t decrease with scale. If anything, those costs may increase with scale, since those materials are scarce.

        And larger batteries cost more than do smaller batteries. By opting to use a larger battery, GM raised the production costs of the car above what they could have otherwise been. If the added range doesn’t result in a higher sales price, then GM will necessarily have to eat that cost.

        instead it decided to step up and create a technology where none existed.

        You need to stop reciting GM brochures and actually learn about the car. Toyota has been working on a plug-in lithium ion hybrid for years. It delayed its release by several years, because it wasn’t yet ready for production.

        Forgive me for doubting that GM was ahead of the curve on this one. Toyota delayed it for a reason. Lithium ion batteries have some noted weaknesses, and TMC presumably didn’t want that to compromise the reliability of their product.

        The fact that GM brought its version out earlier, even Toyota had been developing it for longer, would suggest to me that GM probably cut some corners in the development. Instead of being best, GM probably elected to be first. It wouldn’t be the first time that GM compromised reliability based upon other priorities.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        There is nothing rare about lithium batteries, everything is plentiful.

        The raw materials used to make batteries are cheap and plentiful.. so cheap in fact that recycling is an iffy economical proposition for lithium batteries. The copper in the battery is probably worth more.

        The finished battery components made from those raw materials are expensive.. the cathode, anode and separator foils and films.. the liquid electrolyte is also expensive. This expense is very amenable to reductions by mass production and we are seeing this. Supposedly quoted batteries for 2012 are around $450 per kwh (Volt uses 16kwh, Leaf 24) and initially GM was paying LG about $700.. The chinese sell Thundersky batteries at around $300 and laptop batteries (as used by Tesla) are probably lower. There are a lot of laptop batteries made every year.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      If you drop 10K off that car it should sell much better. We just have to see if they can actually do it.

      The Fusion Energi surpasses it in efficiency and it’s now facing competition from Toyota and Honda. I don’t think a $10k cut will be enough.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Reciting GM sales brochures? LOL

        Considering the difference between the Volt and the EV-1 is 20 years of computer and battery technology, I stand by my comparison to the costs and limitations of the current Volt. The Volt will succeed where the EV-1 failed for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is that the touch-screen technology, PCM’s, telemetricss, etc. that have gone into the Volt were either unheard of 20 years ago, or prohibitively unreliable. Everything about computers and electric cars today is because of advances made in so many fields over the past couple decades.
        It’s interesting that people will spend $10k more for a BMW or Audi just to have the LED cool lights and the logo on the hood, but if someone suggested spending $10k more for a Volt over a family sedan, they’re what – nuts?
        So Toyota missed the boat on ‘extended range’ hybrids. So what? They also missed the boat on in-vehicle telemetrics by over a decade, too. You can now get OnStar in many other manufacturer’s vehicles.

        No, this is more about the ‘glass-half-empty’ crowd piling on at GM’s party. Knock yourselves out. Your opinion and mine do not matter. Both the automotive market and the oil market will decide the real fate of the Volt.
        But considering it outsold the Prius by nearly 3:1 as compared to Prius’ first year, I’d say that is a good start!

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      Yes…bide your time…you will be able to buy a new VOLT for $25,000 by the end of this year…they plan on painting the last 100 pink with polka dots in hopes of selling them to clowns.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    In spite of my critical comments, I don’t believe the Volt is a bad idea. However, it’s not an implementation of that idea that we can expect to see sell well.

    What puzzles me is that the car is this:

    Basically, the Volt is a Prius. It has similar components (the electric motors are bigger), different programming and a much bigger battery.

    Strong rumors have it that the battery, the part that costs much more than the corresponding Prius part, costs $10K (you can get cells for much less than that).

    So why isn’t the Volt a $33K vehicle (price of a Prius plus a $10K battery)? Even $33K would still be expensive for a compact car but with a $7.5K credit, it gets down much closer to Everyman territory.

    After that, of course, is the pure GM obtuseness of the car. Premium gas? Just 4 seats in a family car? I can see where the size of the battery made anything other than a 4-seater impractical but there must have been a way to avoid the stigma of “premium fuel required.”

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      So why isn’t the Volt a $33K vehicle (price of a Prius plus a $10K battery)?

      With the tax credit, the net cost to the consumer should be less than that (minus whatever price gouging may be occurring at the dealerships).

      But as for why it doesn’t cost as much as does a regular Prius, it’s most likely a combination of the cost of the battery (which will not scale) and a need to recoup the R&D and tooling costs.

      The Prius’ core R&D is over a decade old. TMC’s cost of developing its hybrid drivetrain was recouped a long time ago, amortized across more than one million units sold. (Anyone who thinks that Toyota is losing money on these things needs to take a math class.)

      But Toyota, too, will be charging higher prices for the plug-in version, and I would imagine that the battery almost certainly has something to do with that. The batteries are produced by third parties, and they aren’t cheap; at best, GM can try to pass that cost on to the customer, but the profit on the battery is going to the vendor.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        the Volt was well under development when the vultures started circling the RenCen

        By “vultures”, I presume that you are referring to those outsiders who actually prevented the company from being liquidated via Chapter 7.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      As has been noted, the Volt was well under development when the vultures started circling the RenCen, but the old GM board found the money to keep the project going – it was believed to be that important. Naturally, compromises had to be made. Engine choices and other considerations had to be made based on parts bin availability. And who would dare seat a 3rd person (that you liked!) in the back seat of a Civic or Sentra?
      The Volt is but one iteration of what will likely be several models using similar technology. In short, the Volt is the launch pad from which future technologies will leap. (Do you think Niel Armstrong just showed up on the moon? No, the Mercury program led to the Apollo, etc.) Everyone and every company must start somewhere.
      For a nation so eager to embrace the iPad du jour and whose populace eagerly delves into every new phone plan brochure with great zeal, it disappoints me that a great many people (well, vocal people, anyway) are so eager to shoot down (literally) a vehicle that not only shows that America really does have some good ideas and ingenuity left.
      Does it ‘offend’ you that GM received government money to survive the dark days of 2009? Why are you not then offended at all the handouts other car manufacturers have received from their home countries over the years? Is it laziness, or is it just personal?
      Apparently, you don’t ‘get’ the Volt. That’s fantastic. Then don’t buy it. I know plenty of people who can’t wait to be the first on the block to own something. I remember driving the Tahoe hybrid a few years back, and it blew me away how quiet that thing was pulling away on electric only! To some, that alone is worth the price of admission! (Or who do YOU think bought those $15,000 flat screen TVs back in ’99? Those groundbreaking TVs were so crappy, that most of them ‘burned in’ or literally died within a few years. I don’t see crusades of angry people at the state legislator piloring Phillips, Panasonic and the rest over that!)
      My understanding from people I’ve spoken with is that the revolutionary aspect of the Volt is in the programming. Batteries need to be massaged or they will die out prematurely. For sure GM knows they cannot rely on the consumer to embark upon a complicated maintenance program, so GM engineers sweated the details with the programming to lengthen the life of the batteries, make the transition between electric and gasoline power seamless, to make the driving experience pleasantly surprising, not shocking.
      That is a tall order, in of itself, given the apathy of folks today for basic vehicle maintenance.
      GM chose premium gas? So what? How many hapless Acura, Lexus and other owners out there got stuck with premium gas when everyone else made to with regular? Besides, there are likely good reasons for premium: I suspect one reason might have to do with the additives in Premium stabilizing the fuel longer. Gasoline does go stale!
      Newsflash: I’d wager that the vast majority of early purchasers of the Volt will be folks just like me: my work commute is less than 12 miles round trip. I could drive 2 or 3 times to work before having to recharge. Other than a trip to NYC last July, I doubt I would have used the gasoline engine once in 2011. My sister’s is 30 miles one way, and in the typical winter (not this one, which we’ve seen neither snow or cold temperatures as yet!), I suppose I’d have to grab an extension cord out of her garage and flip her a toonie for the electricity I’d use so the engine would not have to start at some point on my return trip.
      The Volt presents possibilities, not doom. Good grief. When did America give up on itself?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        carbiz: “my work commute is less than 12 miles round trip.”

        Get an electric bike. It will cost you comparatively little to purchase, twenty cents a day to operate, nothing to insure or register, get you there almost as fast as a car and give you the option to get some exercise. You’ll be able to park closer to the building.

        carbiz: “GM chose premium gas? So what? How many hapless Acura, Lexus and other owners out there got stuck with premium gas when everyone else made to with regular? Besides, there are likely good reasons for premium: I suspect one reason might have to do with the additives in Premium stabilizing the fuel longer. Gasoline does go stale!”

        Premium fuel required by a car that’s supposed to reduce gas expense is an idiotic move. Toyota was bright enough and determined enough to build their car with an Atkinson that ran on regular gas. What’s GM’s problem? When did we become a nation of second-raters? When did we start to embrace second-rate solutions?

        There’s no difference in gas lifespan between regular and premium. The engine runs often enough that this isn’t a problem, anyway.

        carbiz: “Apparently, you don’t ‘get’ the Volt. That’s fantastic. Then don’t buy it. I know plenty of people who can’t wait to be the first on the block to own something. I remember driving the Tahoe hybrid a few years back, and it blew me away how quiet that thing was pulling away on electric only! To some, that alone is worth the price of admission! (Or who do YOU think bought those $15,000 flat screen TVs back in ’99? Those groundbreaking TVs were so crappy, that most of them ‘burned in’ or literally died within a few years. I don’t see crusades of angry people at the state legislator piloring Phillips, Panasonic and the rest over that!)”

        Different situation… No tax credit for those crappy flat-screen TVs.

        The Volt is a legitimate subject of interest for people that don’t buy one because of the massive tax credit. It’s GM’s bad planning that they spent more time arm-twisting Congress than figuring out how to make an excellent car at a reasonable price.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Boy, I’m sure glad GM went through that bankruptcy and cleaned house. Oh wait….

  • avatar
    thornmark

    They should pull the plug on the Volt.

    But that would take leadership.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      If GM had been serious about returning to profitability, it would have canned the Volt during bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        If you look back the current admin used the Volt as a major reason for “saving” GM from bankruptcy.

        We weren’t allowed to know the Volt was a hybrid then. Or that “saving” GM was really about saving the UAW, i.e., a consequential source of campaign cash flow.

  • avatar
    ixim

    It’s halo car, that GM is trying to sell in pretty large numbers. Not likely to succeed, but the halo effect remains. I saw an all black one on the road today; it looked great; kind of upscale [black will do that]. Any financial loss will be overshadowed by the PR debacle shaping up now. BTW, didn’t GM spend their own $billion developing the Volt pre-bailout? This vehicle will neither make or break GM.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The Volt was half-done when the bankruptcy happened. Since it was the most high-tech, ‘green’ thing GM had going on at the time, the Volt became the poster child for saving GM so it could build ‘cars Americans want’.

      Trouble is, Americans don’t want it, and every one of them sold reduces GM’s profitability.

      The real halo effect of the Volt is to generate Cruze buyers, so maybe that’s a good thing.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Nobody wanted the Prius when it came out, either. My, how soon people forget!

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        Yah, they probably meant, “Cars Americans are supposed to want”. I think GM was just trying to make a plug-in EV with the same capabilities of an ICE vehicle. Too bad it wound up kind of small and costing $40K. And, don’t forget the possibility of driving all year on solar power!

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      True, halo effects are important in marketing circles. It also gives government agencies, who are literally tripping over themselves to appear ‘green’ while not actually having to take transit (God Forbid!), an American option. It really grates my nerves to see Priuses tarted up with city decals.
      But the Volt is more than just appearances and ‘haloes.’ With the mountain of data GM had from the EV-1 program, plus their digital leadership that they enjoy, it was time for GM to dip its toe into the forefront of technology once again. Too many folks think Toyota and Honda invented the wheel.
      Even in the darkest days of Chapter 11, the powers that be understood the importance of the Volt. I understand many of you gear heads (said with the greatest love and affection, mind!) will have your ICE’s removed from your cold, dead hands, but like it or not, between environmental concerns (real and imagined) and geo-politics of energy resources, the fire-breathing personal transportation vehicle’s days are numbered.
      Forget about American and Canadian domestic policies. Take a look at China. What will happen when their vehicle ownership doubles, as it probably will over the next decade. They certainly will feel they have the right to parity with the West for modern conveniences. Even if Mother Earth survives 1.3 Billion people attaining 50 or even 60% parity with the West in standard of living, where will all those additional oil resources come from?
      It takes 10 years to design and build a new nuclear plant. GM designed and built the Volt in less than that. Both could have profound effects on our future society.
      Or do you think the price of oil will drop back to $30 a barrel one day soon?

      To those who don’t like the ‘subsidies’ various States and agencies are offering to those who buy a Leaf or Volt, I might suggest the U.S. match its gasoline tax to the level of the rest of the world. Not only would the extra one or two dollars a gallon on top of current prices make the Volt and Leaf look that much more desirable, the extra billions that the States and Washington would rake in would put a nice dent in the debt, no?
      [Ducks under desk.}

      • 0 avatar
        gearspuppy

        +1

        I saw a Volt on the way to work today. I like it (except it had “Volt” in huge letters on the side–I would feel like a dink). Anyway, it’s just too expensive for me to consider. I’m not a fan of the subsidies, but finding smarter ways to make cars work is a sensible way to spend tax money.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        carbiz: “Even in the darkest days of Chapter 11, the powers that be understood the importance of the Volt.”

        You mean, they deluded themselves into thinking it would sell.

        carbiz: “It really grates my nerves to see Priuses tarted up with city decals.”

        And your nerves get quite a grating because you see a lot of them, don’t you? No city decals on them, here, but there’s more Priuses in the parking lot than Malibus. The Prius is relevant because it excels in fuel economy, is reasonably roomy and quiet and is affordable.

        carbiz: “With the mountain of data GM had from the EV-1 program, plus their digital leadership that they enjoy, it was time for GM to dip its toe into the forefront of technology once again. Too many folks think Toyota and Honda invented the wheel.”

        Well, golly, if GM had that mountain of data and that digital leadership… and their share of $1.25 billion from PNGV… why weren’t they already in the lead in 2000?

        While people were lined up around the block, waiting for Priuses to arrive at dealers, Fearless Leader El Lutzbo was proclaiming that “people don’t want hybrids” and then making this prediction come true by developing hybrids that people didn’t want.

        And then, suddenly, he’s The Volt Champion! And then GM’s Top Car Guy developed another unsaleable vehicle. It is to laugh.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Toyota should really make the Prius in the US, and then drop the price a bit.. Ford, Honda and Toyota will offer plug-in hybrids this year.. funny thing that they will cost about the same as a Volt and offer less range.

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    I finally saw one of these horrid contraptions on the roads around ABQ last week. The engine must have been running, thanks to the cold temperatures. (Or else that wasn’t exhaust vapor, but smoke from its remedially-engineered battery pack.)

    In all seriousness, I can’t recall ever wanting more to smack a fellow motorist upside the head, just on general principle.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    Wow, the comments section of auto blogs is always such a predictable place. I’ve haunted many blog sites over the years, recently washing my hands of one prominent Canadian newspaper site because a handful of import humpers had decided the blog site was THEIR turf and simply attacked ANYTHING Detroit did, and anyone who dared support Detroit manufacturers. Ah, well, most of my fellow Canucks are crazy anyway. It must be the cold.

    I honestly don’t understand the nature of some people who sit in the sidelines actually rooting for GM (and perhaps Chrysler, too) to fail. How sick and F’d up is that? Yeah, let’s throw another quarter million people out on their ears so we can rush out and by another Hyundai. Brilliant long term planning!
    Unless your a 5th columnist, sent here by the motherland to await orders to blow up bridges, power lines and communications, just what can be gained by Detroit failing once and for all?
    Sheesh!

    Let’s put this Volt thing in perspective, shall we?

    The Prius was introduced in 1997, as a Japan-only vehicle. In fact, for 3 solid years, Toyota let the captive Japanese consumers (who really have no choice of what they get to buy) be the test mules for the new hybrid system. (Appropriate, really, considering they also paid for it!)

    Prius Sales

    1997 3k
    1998 18k
    1999 15k (oops, I guess the Japanese consumer wasn’t fooled)
    2000 19k worldwide
    2001 30k worldwide

    Hmm, was Toyota wrong to bring out the Prius at all? It took a decade for it to actually start selling in volumes. Who knows if Toyota is making money on them even today? It’s not like they’ll ever tell! (Oooooh, conspiracy theories: a major manufacturer that won’t air all its secrets and plans on a billboard!) Perhaps Toyota regretted the Prius, which is why it went after the truck market in 2006 with a new truck plant, just in time for the truck market to implode! Oops, again!
    Already, with 8,000 sales in its first full year, the Volt is ahead of the Prius, which sold nearly two thirds less in its first year. If GM sells 60k units in 2012 world-wide, that would be quite the accomplishment, indeed: the Prius managed only 19k in world-wide sales after 4 years of production. That’s a pretty easy target to beat, I’d say.
    And notice how in year 3 the Prius’ sales dipped? Could it be (like the Smart Car and the rest) that the greenies and the ‘I gotta have it first’ crowd were pretty much used up in 3 model years?

    Ultimately, it does not matter whether the Volt itself is a sales smash or not. Lutz and the rest knew the money spent at a time when gasoline was $4 and less a gallon would be a crap shoot. D-Day depended on the weather, and the paradigm shift that is coming in the auto industry is at the mercy of the oil markets.
    GM knew it had to get into the game and although pride undoubtedly had some influence on decisions, there really didn’t seem to be any point in re-inventing the hybrid system because Toyota already occupied that niche. Perhaps Ford and others didn’t mind groveling at Toyota’s feet to ‘license’ their hybrid system, but eventually other options needed to be explored and GM chose extended range hybrids – or whatever.

    I mean, what would be the point if the United States traded risking its sovereignty over oil shortages, to that of a technology shortage as all future electrics, hybrids, and the patents/intellectual properties associated therein are owned and controlled by Japan, and eventually Korea and China?

    Does that make any sense whatsoever? Already half the auto factories in North America are foreign owned and controlled. Just how would a future Secretary of State go about requisitioning Japanese, Korean and German factories to build tanks, armored cars and bombs for a war effort?

    And just to mix things up a bit, as the American military winds down in preparation for the Day of Reckoning coming in financial markets that many industrialized nations are about to face, isn’t it just delicious that NASA and the rest of the aerospace industry (with the possible exception of Boeing) will now also be at risk to being over run by your so-called allies. The aerospace industry is perhaps the only industry left that the U.S. still dominates, thanks to continued support from the Pentagon.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      +1!

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Well, when we rolled out for Route Clearance patrols in Baghdad, most of our vehicles were designed by another country. My Husky was a BAE design (powered by a Mercedes motor), the and RG-31s were South African. The Buffalo was built from Mack stuff though. The iconic American HMMWV??? They stayed on the FOB due to there inability to take a blast worth a $H!@.

      So to answer your concern about how would we get other countries to build our stuff? I don’t know but someone does because we’ve been doing it for the past decade or so.

      Additionally, if it were all about reducing dependance on foreign oil we’d invest in a distribution network for a proven technology that is here today and domestically abundant…Natural Gas

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      carbiz: “a handful of import humpers”

      Predictable? Grab a mirror.

      carbiz: “Who knows if Toyota is making money on them even today”

      Well, I suppose if they weren’t, they’d give up after 10 years, rather than expanding capacity to build over 400K of them per year.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        “Well, I suppose if they weren’t, they’d give up after 10 years, rather than expanding capacity to build over 400K of them per year.”

        Carbiz is right. Its no secret that Toyota needs the yen at 82 or higher vs the dollar to profitably export to the US. The break even point is at 80 I think. Last I checked, the dollar has consistently stayed at or below 78 yen for the last 9 Months, and Prii are still imported from Japan. Just cause they are losing money, a company like Toyota with a long term outlook is not going to abandon market share. In today’s highly competitive environment, its not easy to regain lost market share. Case in point is the Yaris, which is probably the biggest loss maker. Toyota could have waited it out, instead they do a redesign and ramp up production and advertising, seeing a threat from Fiesta and Sonic.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        BTW our Gumment, which had merrily devalued the dollar over the last three years has warned Japan against further currency interventions. The Yen has rallied since then and seems to have permanently plateaued at the 78 and change level.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        alluster: “Carbiz is right. Its no secret that Toyota needs the yen at 82 or higher vs the dollar to profitably export to the US. The break even point is at 80 I think. Last I checked, the dollar has consistently stayed at or below 78 yen for the last 9 Months, and Prii are still imported from Japan.”

        Japan’s yen problem affects all their products. It says nothing about whether or not a particular vehicle type can be profitable.

        Toyota’s still making a heck of a lot of them.

        alluster: “BTW our Gumment, which had merrily devalued the dollar over the last three years has warned Japan against further currency interventions.”

        Is this a slap at Obama? If it is, you should do some research. The dollar has lost a lot of its value against the euro and the yen over the past 11 years and most of that occurred during the Bush administration.

      • 0 avatar
        owlafaye

        Now now KixStart…don’t cofuse them with facts.

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      carbiz…Interesting point of view…the Prius sales then and the VOLTs now? are two different things I would think…I know, it SEEMS the same. The difference is that the Prius technology had and still has, a long way and lots of room to develop. Not so the VOLT. VOLT is dead end tech.

      The rest is history and I enjoy your ideas.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Thank the continuous, misinforming negative propaganda by Faux News and Co. I remember one of the commentators saying “it needs to be plugged in every 20 minutes”. TTAC linking Fox videos on their site comes as no surprise. Both only tell what their core audience want to hear. Garbage in Garbage out, i guess.

    This Volt thing is such a flop, tho in December it outsold more than 1/3rd of all the Toyota-Lexus models sold in the US. xD, xB, TC, iQ, HS, LS, GS, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, GX and LX. That’s 12 models out of 30 Toyota+Lexus sells in the US. Never mind that it also handily outsold hybrids half its price like the Honda Civic, Insight and CRZ. Not to mention the Leaf, Ridgeline, Crosstour, ZDX, RL, and RDX.

    For the 8 or so Volt related articles in the last month, there hasn’t ever been one mentioning how well the Theta’s have been doing all year, being the fastest selling with the highest msrp and atp in their segment, on how GM can’t keep up with demand 20 months after release despite increasing production 5 times so far, how the Sonic has done a 180 for Chevy since release, outselling the Fit and Yaris while commanding a $1000 premium in price, no mention of the Lacrosse selling out in 14 days despite a $3000 dollar increase in base msrp, no mention of GM increasing sales in the US by almost 300,000 units, in a year where they killed of perennial fleet queens like the HHR, Lucerne, DTS and STS.

    Lets spend a few months in Japan and cover their auto industry, show them in positive light, prop them up at every possible opportunity and lets not mention our home team, Chevy, tearing across South East Asia with a 60% increase in sales for 2011, on pace to increase market share to 10% from the 1.3% held in 2010, mostly at the expense of market leader Toyota! Lets talk about the woes at Opel and not mention how Opel has more than halved its losses (-680 Mil) compared to 2010 (-1.5B) or how Toyota is losing $5 Billion a year(even prior to the quake) on their domestic operations.

    GM is far from perfect and deserves a lot of criticism, but its just sick how much hate people have for this company that could nothing right in their eyes. I feel for GM and impressed by how well it has done so far despite the sea of negative criticism unfairly leveled against it. I would appreciate it if you guys call them out when they really deserve it, and praise them when they do stuff right.

    Its true they couldn’t match their sales targets for the Volt, but give it some time, 2011 was a pretty turbulent year, and offer them ideas if you have any. There is a difference between criticizing, hoping the company would correct themselves and succeed vs criticizing, hoping the company would fail.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    alluster: “This Volt thing is such a flop, tho in December it outsold more than 1/3rd of all the Toyota-Lexus models sold in the US. xD, xB, TC, iQ, HS, LS, GS, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, GX and LX.”

    Compare it to the one car that matters in that segment. Go ahead, do it.

    alluster: “I would appreciate it if you guys call them out when they really deserve it, and praise them when they do stuff right.”

    GM had to know that this car would not sell and they built it, anyway. The job at GM is to make a profit, not let the whims of an egotistical old goat drive product development off a cliff. Even with $7500 in federal rebates (and even more in certain states), the thing gathers dust across the US.

    If TTAC is to call them out when they really deserve it, rest assured, this is one of those cases.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      @Kix: “Compare it to the one car that matters in that segment. Go ahead, do it.”

      I did. The Volt outsold the leaf by 50%, its direct competitor, the only other plugin from a major automaker. Don’t take my word for it, here is the list from hybridcars.com.

      Plug-in cars sold in the U.S. (December 2011):2,741
      Plug-in Take-Rate:0.22%

      Model Units vs. last month vs. November 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
      Chevrolet Volt 1,529 34.2% 369.0% 7,671 2,253.1%
      Nissan LEAF 954 42.0% 4,921.1% 9,674 50,815.8%
      Smart ED 182 80.2% 5,966.7% 388 12,833.3%
      Mitsubishi i 76 1,800.0% n/a 80 n/a
      All plug-in cars 2,741 56.0% n/a 17,813 n/a

      You want to include hybrids? The only car Toyota sells in this price range is the Lexus HS (still a thousand dollars cheaper). Anyway, the Volt outsold the HS by 6 to 1.

      “GM had to know that this car would not sell and they built it, anyway.”

      It’s true that GM overestimated consumer demand for the Volt, so now they want to adjust production based on the demand like any smart company would do. Didn’t we use to give GM a hard time when they would no do this in the past? All companies have made sales predictions that can’t keep, either due to their own faults or forces beyond their control. Remember yearly sales targets of 200,000 Tundras 40,000 Sequoia’s and 24,000 Lexus HS’s?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Bzzzzt.

        Do you work for GM? The Volt competes with the PRIUS. That is the Volt’s problem and, just like GM, you don’t appear to have figured that out. And the Volt competes with fewer seats, less cargo room and crappy DBFE. Not to mention at twice the price.

        Sure, there are EV fanatics out there who will have an EV, no matter what, if they can afford it or trade it for a testicle but for the market in general, the Volt competes against the Prius and loses.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Well, we can stand around and whip out stats all day long – isn’t this fun? None of this matters. Do any of you pay attention to the World section of the newspaper, or do you just read the comics section?
        There are two nutjobs, one in Asia and another in Iran. Either one of them could send oil to $200 a barrel in 5 minutes. The U.S. is bankrupt (or did you not see that silly pi$$ing match over the debt ceiling last year?) and cannot afford another war. Period. Europe is also circling the drain. China and Germany are holding all the I.O.U.s, unfortunately. China also has most of North America’s jobs.
        With all of this going on in the world, you still want to risk your future, your very sovereignty on external forces? Any rational being would be writing their Congress, demanding more funding for alternate fuels/modes of transport.
        Manufacturing is the very backbone of an industrialized nation. To the cheerleaders of Detroit doom, one must ask what your agenda is. Can you so hate government intervention that you’d let your own country be overtaken by foreign interests? It is absolutely pathetic what is happening in the West today. Most legislators can’t agree on what to order for lunch. Our so-called Eastern allies are not so disorganized.
        And look at Japan Inc. An earthquake has destroyed the taxpayers of Japan’s ability to pay for anymore subsidies to Japanese multinationals, so now Sony, Toyota and the gang are threatening (or already have moved) to move their plants out of Japan. There’s gratitude for ya!
        There is no End of Oil, but the oil markets are increasingly being dominated by forces that America will not be able to control. I suspect many on these pages are not old enough to remember the line ups in 1974.
        Just a dress rehearsal, dear. Just a dress rehearsal.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      From http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+reports+december+2011+year-end+sales.htm

      The Prius family posted December sales of 17,004 units, up 8.7 percent compared to the year-ago month. For the year, Prius family recorded sales of 136,463 units.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        … and it’s only taken them 15 years to get there. Funny, after barely a year of sales, the Volt is already being declared a loser. How about we wait at least 2 more years (the length of time it took the Prius to go international) before we have a funeral for the Volt? That would be reasonable, fair even?

  • avatar
    asdfghjkl

    I used to watch Fox News and I have to say I was brain washed at one time, believing everything they said. Finally I woke up and found Fox News to be very bias by putting a spin on the truth.

    The Volt is one of them. Cavuto is in the pockets of the big oil and could never say anything good of the Volt.
    Yes, the Volt is expensive and so were LCD TV’s when they first came out. We have to get off big oil and the Volt is a start. Most Volt owners will tell you they’ve average near 200 MPG with their Volt. The Volt computer keeps track and it’s hard to dispute, but these morons are blind from the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      owlafaye

      asd….The VOLT is only as good as a commuter needs…IF the commute is under 30 miles daily.

      Any long distance driving will give less than 30 mpgallon, with little passing power/acceleration.

      The VOLT is practically useless to 99.5% of the American driving public and it costs an average of $46,000 equipped.

      It is a second car extravaganza…a Leaf will do the same thing with bettermileage range….and cheaper

      As battery tech improves, Toyota and other smart manufacturers will have 300 mile rang ALL ELECTRIC vehicles…Tesla is doing it now and will soon have a fully equipped 4 door sedan at $65,000…never think fior a minute that this price and the range (300 miles per charge) is not going to come down in price and go up in mileage/range.

      The future is a 2 car family…one long range with electric assist around town, and an electric with respectable range and low price…bet on it.

  • avatar
    Invalidattitude

    A story about how Detroit wanted to propel itself on parity with the Japanese, but without a proper technological and corporate base, the final product became expensive, unreliable and unsellable. Thats the Volt. For God’s shake, the true EV golf cart LEAF already outsold it.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      … gee, maybe Mr. Tesla should never have bothered. I mean, Edison was so far ahead of him, and Edison was so much smarter and better financed.
      Is this what passes as logic today?

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    @KixStart: ‘Blah, blah, blah. Natural resources are our nation’s collective wealth. What gives you the right to burn it in THIS generation?’

    Ok, good point. But our country needs well paying jobs. Since a significant number of well-paying manufacturing jobs (and yes, I am aware of the ‘transplant’ manufacturers) have left the country due to excessive taxation and atrocious UAW demands, shale oil exploration seems to be the way to go. (And yes, I listen to Limbaugh/Beck, with a grain of salt. I’m not ‘brainwashed’.)

    And I must say, you are right on the ‘what gives you the right to use it all up in one generation’. With that said, ‘Where’s the beef?’ comes to mind (in relation to well-paying jobs).

    ‘Life in the camps in the Bakken isn’t any fun, either.’, i’ve got news for you buddy, wages/job oppotrunities in Minnesota have stagnated (thanks to the worst Senator in US history running the show taxing the hell out of anything that produces or moves IN ADDITION TO increasing fed taxes), so life isn’t the greatest here either. I’ve managed to hold onto my technician job with an Acura dealer here in the Twin Cities for almost a decade, but because business isn’t exactly booming at the moment (due to wealthy people leaving MN en-masse), they can’t afford to pay me more than I currently make (depsite learning new skills).

    Anyone who is wealthy would be nuts to live here, it’s worse than Michigan. North Dakota is appealing in this regard, because of oil exploration.

    @tuffjuff, you are 100% right. I was a Chevy guy ever since I got my license, until the bailout.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      … and yet you work for the ‘enemy.’ You don’t have a problem with that?
      Here’s a cute little anecdote. Once upon a time, a GM dealership opened in an expanding suburb in 1953. Within months, it became one of the largest GM dealerships in the nation. In fact, about 6 other future dealership owners started their careers at this dealership, all opening their own GM dealerships within a decade.
      Mr. X started working at this dealership in 1967. By 1974, he’d made so much money, he bought the dealership himself. He bought resorts, fancy homes, even other dealerships. At one point owning 8 in all.
      Along came the 1980s and things started to change. Mr. X now owned 3 dealerships: the original GM and 2 Toyota. Oh, there was quite a bit of cross-pollination going on. I remember his son flying to Japan to receive an award from Toyota. Toyota received all sorts of free training, advice and local marketing knowledge.
      Then in 2000, GM started bringing pressure to Mr. X: your dealership is ancient. You need to conform to our standards. So there was a ribbon cutting, cake and smiling politicians in 2002. Backhoes and diggers showed up. The body shop was shut down. Nothing happened for 2 more years. We still worked in a crappy, now 50 year old dealership.
      Then, suddenly, we were moved about 6 blocks to a failed Ford dealership building, with no left turn access and half the size. Lo and behold, an 80,000 sq ft, shiny new facility for Toyota sprang up where our crappy old building used to be.
      That lasted 4 more years, then GM told Mr. X, put up or shut up. Mr. X, who was making so much money with his Toyota stores, called GM’s bluff and shut a 56 year old operation down.
      This is a true story. Our Toyota crown wooed many of us. I walked in the doors of the shiny new palace for the first time and humored the General Manager.
      But my soul is worth more than a paycheck from a company that has wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs in North America. So I went back to school and got out of the car business.
      Now, I can watch the annihilation of our way of life from the side lines. At least I am not participating in it directly.

  • avatar
    owlafaye

    The future: 2 car families…

    One car gets 300 miles on battery power and is used in the city and commutes.

    The 2nd car is a Prius derived hybrid good for long distance driving with 90 mpg combined, normal.

    Toyota will supply both of these to interested buyers.

    Toyota is the future.

  • avatar
    asdfghjkl

    Those who knock the Volt do so because they know little about cars. The future is with Toyota, what a laugh! You’d think we live in Japan with all this hype to the point it becomes anti-American. If it were the truth that would be one thing, buts it’s not.
    The Volt is by far a much better car than the Prius. There’s really no comparison. Sure it’s now more expensive, but so was the Prius when it first came out. So was the flat screen TV. Give the Volt time and you’ll see that this is the car is the future and get us off the Mid East oil.

  • avatar
    asdfghjkl

    This web site is a circus run by clowns who are more interested in entertaining (in whichever way) the readership than imparting factual news to their readership.

    I’ll also add the totally perverse attitude of some Americans to denigrate anything developed, designed and built in the US — other than weapons, ignorance, and stupidity, all of which get heaps of praise, publicity and cheerleaders. I know of no other nation so inclined.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    Working on the final design and pricing of a new Chevrolet dealership; it has a dedicated service bay and charging station for the Volt. Seems like a long term plan to keep it or something like it around for a while.

  • avatar
    owlafaye

    The Lundberg Survey, which tracks fuel prices, said last week that gas prices would need to reach $12.50 a gallon for the Volt to make sense purely on financial terms. It said the Leaf would be competitive with gas at $8.53 a gallon.

    Still, in a recent survey by Consumer Reports, the most satisfied drivers owned Volts. The survey said 93 percent of Volt owners would definitely buy the car again — though there are only 10,000 of the cars on the road.

    Happy with your VOLT? Have you ever been accused of being an utter FOOL?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The operative term is “purely on a financial basis”. Now I am not into either the Leaf or Volt but a lot of people buy a car for other reasons as well as finance.

      If you are going to discount it because there are “only” 10000 on the road then I assume you exclude Acura RL and ZDX drivers, Lincoln Navigator drivers, Nissan Leaf drivers, BMW GT drivers, pretty much any Volvo driver because all of these sell no more than 10,000 per year.


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