By on April 15, 2008

voltrust1.jpgWe just received this photo via email from one of TTAC's Best and Brightest: "This may be out of date, but I figured you may find it noteworthy for the Volt birthwatch series. Just under a year ago, GM had a Volt on display at the Indy 500. The car was likely a non-running example, but nonetheless it was there to showcase GM's engineering prowess so I judged it in that light. What I saw was… not good. Some of the trim on the Volt was rusting! Rust! On such a high profile vehicle at such a high profile event!" As the photo shows, it wasn't just a spot or two, either. Whatever GM's reason for showing the vehicle in this condition, let's just hope the production version – whatever it ends up looking like – will have better quality trim. And that their attention to the detail on this display model isn't indicative of their attention to detail on the engineering side.

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13 Comments on “Volt Birth Watch 40: Rust Never Sleeps...”

  • avatar

    That leads me to believe that they are using metal as trim, on a car that’s supposed to be lightweight and efficient. Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought most manufacturers use plastic trim components to avoid problems like rust and help reduce weight.

    I can’t comprehend how they could put the car on display with such an obvious defect, but they probably actually thought that no one would notice. This is GM, after all. Maybe they should have used a CGI version of it, like what they did in the Malibu ads. The Voltpourware doesn’t even exist, so no one would mind if they did that.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I bought a 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity in January 1986. By February, it was showing rust on the bright work. I actually drove the car for 9 years until it was totaled for a fairly minor accident. I liked driving it, but the rust was annoying.

    I have owned Fords and Chryslers over the past 25 years and the only car I have had rust problems with was the Chevy. It was the last GM car, I bought.

  • avatar

    And nobody could find some fine sandpaper?

  • avatar
    John R

    Understanding that its only a display model and that the production version will be radically different, this does not look good.

    The above isn’t neccessarily enough to put me against the car until its in action, but I (and readers here) have keener interest in cars than other consumers. If anyone else I know were to see rust on a model that is allegedly a hybrid it would not instill any confidence.

    GM’s marketers need to understand that the Devil is in the details.

  • avatar

    GM contracts the shows and media displays out to lowest bidder; like everyone else does.

    You think Wagoner is hand washing this stuff?!?

    I have some swampland in Nevada for sale.

  • avatar

    GM doesn’t contract out their prototypes however.

  • avatar

    Patina is the new bling.

  • avatar

    Well obviously they’re so focused on making it a 40mile all electric plugin that they have to time to focus on getting the car not to rust.

  • avatar

    Don’t worry. During production they’ll carefully coat it with a 1-molecule thick lacquer finish.

    This highly cost- and weight-efficient coating will prevent oxidation, until careless owners damage the coating by carelessly contaminating it with skin oils, Armor-All, or terrycloth shop towels.

    Of course this wouldn’t happen if those careless owners whould just read the Owners Manual!

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    It’s obviously high-performance energy-saving rust that was meant to be flaunted. Much like Homer’s speed holes.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    And that their attention to the detail on this display model isn’t indicative of their attention to detail on the engineering side.

    No, it indicates inattention to detail on the business side. There are a lot of reasons a metal susceptible to corrosion might end up on a prototype or a mock-up vehicle. It’s the business side managing the circulation of the prototype that is mismanaging exposure, blind to the market consequences of their lax maintenance of Volt’s physical presence.


  • avatar

    Looks like bare steel and when the vehicle was washed, flash rust. Interesting over sight nonetheless.

  • avatar

    I’m stunned that nobody has the job of making the concept cars look good before the show opens and rechecking them every night. Even bare steel can be made to look good for a few days with attention to detail.

    Sweating the details should be a habit from the top to the bottom of the company ladder.

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