By on April 1, 2010

Way back when the Chevy Volt was taking center stage in GM’s case for bailout (as in give us one, or you won’t get the Volt), the Obama Administration’s task force on autos was not amused. “While the Volt holds promise, it is currently projected to be much more expensive than its gasoline-fueled peers and will likely need substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become commercially viable,” was just one of the knocks the pols gave the then-mule-stage Volt. And even though the Nissan Leaf has since proven that the Volt is also “much more expensive than its pure-electric peers” the White House’s official car guys have changed their tune.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2010

This week saw the Volt’s price point issues return to the public eye, as GM’s Chairman and CEO made it clear that he takes the government’s $7,500 tax credit for granted. But Whitacre’s dissembling revealed once again GM’s fundamental problem with the Volt: getting people past the sticker shock. Though GM’s short-term viability doesn’t hinge on the Volt selling like gangbusters, it’s clear that the Volt’s initial success or lack thereof will be a crucial factor in GM’s ability to hold a successful IPO and extricate itself from government ownership. Which, according to The Big Money‘s Matt DeBord, is one of the reasons the government should expand the Volt’s credit of $10k. Another reason: the Volt’s competition is too good!

with the base Prius selling for just over $20,000 and the base Honda Insight hybrid for under $20,000, the feds may have to start thinking about how to enable innovative electric and gas-electric plug-ins to survive. The EPA mandate to raise fleet fuel-economy standards to average of 35.5 mpg by 2016 looms, and a component of that target should be EVs and plug-ins. Otherwise, carmakers may abandon the tech, leaving it stillborn to cynically massage their fleet numbers by importing small cars from foreign operations to North America—cars they know Americans will only grudgingly purchase and that may force the government to chuck the 35.5 requirement.

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2010

By the power of government intervention! (courtesy:whitehouse.gov)

Subtitle two: we don’t believe a word of it. The report comes from an exclusive interview of GM Chairman/CEO Ed Whitacre at the Volt fanboy site gm-volt.com. GM-volt’s Lyle Dennis asked Whitacre if GM would lose money on every Volt it sells, a fact that GM executives have never tried to substantively deny. Until now. Whitacre’s answer:

“We’re not in business to lose money,” he said. “We did enough of that already.”

The Volt “is going to sell in the low 30s,” said Whitacre. “We’ll get a margin on that.”

Oh really? Because it sure seems that GM plans on selling the Volt for $39,500-$45,500, and that the “low 30s” number is dependent on a tax credit. As for Whitacre’s claim that the Volt will make profit, the lack of time-constraints on his prediction is all you need to know. With enough sales and over enough time, almost anything will create profit, especially if the government is distorting the battery market for you. Meanwhile, GM still has to overcome $40k sticker shock (sorry, but you can’t exactly advertise post-tax break prices) and at least a few years of loss on the Volt. But if the gm-volt comments section proves anything, it’s that you can never go wrong misleading the fanboys.

By on December 29, 2009

Getting a car like the Volt on Jay Leno’s Garage seems like a no-brainer. America’s patron celebrity of car obsession has the gearhead credentials to help explain the Volt’s positive attributes, and the enthusiasm to draw a very different crowd than the usual Volt fanboy sites. And yet from the first, the Volt’s visit to automotive Valhalla seems to have chief engineer Andrew Farah in permanent flinch mode. Leno is never overtly hostile (alá Letterman), but from his comparison of the Volt to a 1916 Owens Magnetic, to his assessment that the Volt is “not a tiny car,” you can’t help feeling that he thinks it’s all a bit of a joke. It’s a four-seater. Literally. They’re shooting for a 2,900 lb weight goal. Your mileage may vary. The hood is held up with a stick. What is the deal with that? Like any comedian, Leno’s only as good as his material. Luckily, the yawning chasm between the modest reality of the Volt and its relentless hype is fertile ground indeed.

Recent Comments

  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Scuttle - I do not yet other than I’ll be renting, I should know more in the coming months. I’m actually more concerned with finding some kind of enclosed...
  • Re: TTAC Salutes The Lincoln Motor Company

    Lorenzo - I don’t understand the complaints about the naming scheme. A friend owns a MKZ and was going to have a “Mickey-Zee” plastichrome emblem...
  • Re: The Mustang Embargo Is Done

    burgersandbeer - I think another reason the Mustang was not historically cross-shopped with the 3-series is both of these cars are often daily drivers, and a 3 series is much...
  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Pch101 - Do you know your housing situation? I would presume that parking and break-ins are more likely to be an issue there, which may influence your choice of car. If...
  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Scuttle - The question was mine, great replies from everyone so far. I think I will have place fun and availability compared to the states above reliability in my...
  • Re: TTAC Salutes The Lincoln Motor Company

    DeadWeight - Dr Z - 1) Rear wheel drive (or light AWD system, sending no more than 18% of power to front wheels) 2) Diesel (turbocharging a diesel, unlike a petrol...
  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Scuttle - I probably will be looking for something with the three points you suggested. My work contract is for that amount of time, I may be there longer if things go...
  • Re: GM Already Adding Third Shift At Mid-Size Truck Plant

    Pch101 - Polk calculates fleet data based largely upon public registrations data. If the buyer is a commercial buyer, then it will be booked as fleet....
  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Scuttle - I can ship the truck for free as well through work, I just do not want to bring it with me.
  • Re: Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

    Scuttle - Thank you for the websites, that will be very helpful in my search. I may also look to add another motorcycle, do you recommend those websites for that as...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States