Volt Birth Watch 71: Olympian Hype
We aren't the only ones who question the viability of the Volt. U.S. News has jumped aboard the bandwagon, asking "What is the Chevy Volt, and Why is GM Advertising it During the Olympics?" Observing that GM is pushing the Volt as though it was readily available at your corner Chevy dealer, they state "The car won't reach showrooms until 2010, if it reaches them at all." They wonder about Chevy advertising director Kim Kosak's statement to Edmunds: "We wanted Volt to be an important punctuation to the spot. It's the first [ad] where we've brought [Volt] to the market this clearly." I have to wonder about that one too. After all, don't you have to have a viable product before you can bring it "to the market?" No, wait, that's right… GM's marketing the concept, not the vehicle. And apparantly they're doing a good job of it. Right after the commercial, the Volt jumped to the number eleven search on Google. "Now," as U.S. News notes, "all GM needs to do is actually build one."
I believe GM will be able to build the Volt. The concept is sound; there is no specific technological problem with being able to build one. Now, the problem is that there is no way they will be able to not lose billions of dollars on such a project. Either they price it so they break even ($40-50k) and sell almost none, or they price it close to what the Prius costs ($25-30k), and lose at least ten thousand dollars per unit sold. Now, Toyota can afford to lose ten grand per Prius sold if they needed to (although they claim to make a profit off of it). GM, well, can't.
nonce, If the Prius is all about "environmental cred" (never mind the posters here who have said they purchased the Prius for other reasons), what makes you think the Volt will sell for "environmental cred?" The Prius sells "environmental cred" (again, I'm simply agreeable) for $22K. The Volt will be selling "environmental cred" for at least $40K. Today, there's no way to know if anyone thinks "environmental cred" is worth an extra $18K. Bear in mind that the current attempt to sell "environmental cred" for close to $47K is failing (Yukahoe hybrid = $51K - $4K rebate). That's not real promising.
Because it uses NO GAS AT ALL! (except after 40 miles, but, sssh! you're harshing my mellow) People will flock to it. It won't be economically sound, but I cheer them on, because they'll be the early adopters buying it while the more rational buyers wait for the price to come down. The shine will eventually fade, like with all fashions.