Press: Japan Inc Paid For Prius; Lutz: Volt To Sell At $48k
David Kiley of Business Week (via MSNBC) dives into the CAFE issue, and in the process rounded up a wild-and-woolly collection of quotables from some of the biz' top bosses. The biggest news comes from Chrysler's Jim Press, who claims that that when he was at Toyota "the Japanese government paid for 100% of the development of the battery and hybrid system that went into the Toyota Prius." Although the revelation reeks of Japan Inc. business/government collusion, let's remember that our own government funneled over a billion to U.S. automakers at around the same time through the Partnership For A New Generation of Vehicles. The fact that the American people got little more than three concept cars is hardly the fault of the Japanese government or Toyota. Still, Press' revelation does shed some light on Toyota's current dominance of the hybrid market. Meanwhile, Bob Lutz continues to symbolize America's inability to meet the new demand for efficiency. In the same piece, Lutz unveiled the next generation of "Maximum Sticker Shock" for the forthcoming Chevy Volt: a cool $48k. Get some perspective on that number here.
"The biggest news comes from Chrysler's Jim Press, who claims that that when he was at Toyota "the Japanese government paid for 100% of the development of the battery and hybrid system that went into the Toyota Prius."" So what? The US Goverment via its military subsidiary does the same thing. An since when is sensible Government investment a pejorative?
Haven't there been a bunch of gov't grants to the big auto makers to improve their pollution controls and explore alternatives over the years? I can remember a few TVA programs exploring electric vehicles. What return has the US gov't gotten for it's investments? I think the CA laws requiring a small precentage of the CA fleet to include EVs was a good step forward. Yeah it's going to be expensive but in the long run it would pay off. The gov't has had to mandate most of the big leaps in what we consumers are able to buy from the automakers. It was the gov't that required pollution controls, seat belts, bumper requirements, lighting requirements, airbag requirements. At the same time the safety nannies have had to educate the public as to why these features are important to the public. It still took a while. More than once I remember family cutting seatbelts out of their new 1970s cars b/c honestly, who wears these things anyhow? Seems like if the gov't or the imports didn't raise the bar on the big 3 the consumer would still be buying 1963 Galaxie 500s with no pollution controls, no belts and no brakes... VBG! I think the Asians will once again set the standard for the next generation of automobiles with a round of full EVs with 75 mile range. They'll likely be the size and style of the Honda Jazz or the Toyota Aygo. Wouldn't be surprised if GM responds with some hulking monster of a vehicle that also goes 75 miles per charge but lasts half as long and requires twice the electricity to do the job. They would have something to brag about - hauling something that alrge around with batteries but once again they would miss the point of using fewer resources. Don't believe me? Compare the Insight, the Prius and what GM has chosen to hybridize - huge SUVs and medium size SUVs. No thanks GM.
The focus for these cars is rapidly shifting away from saving money on gas to buying one to save the planet. All that is left is massive tax subsidies to buy, own, maintain and dispose of these things. People in other countries have paid 4-10 dollars a gallon for a long time. Maybe we should just suck it all up and deal with the rising cost of transportation.
So Lutz thinks people are going to pay for one Volt what they could buy two Prii for? Right.