Volt Birth Watch 115: Obama's Choice

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
volt birth watch 115 obamas choice

Obama is doing what he can to avoid getting overly involved in the unfolding government-industry debacle, but as we noted earlier, that’s a luxury he can only avoid for so long (not that we blame him for trying). Nothing illustrates the tough choices that The One will face in a few short months like Chevy’s moon-shot-mobile: the Volt. Accordingly, Holman W. Jenkins Jr has a column in today’s Wall Street Journal about “the car of the Age of Obama — or at least the Honeymoon of Obama, before the reality principle kicks in.” Jenkins devotes a good deal of the column to rehashing the many, many problems with the whole Volt project, a topic we have covered extensively in our Volt Birth Watch series. His logical conclusion? “It’s a car that will be unsalable without multiple handouts from government.” And he doesn’t go easy on Obama either…

Jenkins argues that Obama’s “programmatic prescriptions amounted to handwaving designed to capture the presidency rather than tell voters what really to expect. This may have been a virtue in campaigning but it becomes a handicap in governing. The public now has no idea what to expect — except miracles, reconciling all opposites, turning all hard choices into gauzy win-wins.” The upshot? “Get rid of the ‘two fleet rule,’ devised by Congress’s fuel-mileage managers to keep Detroit making small econoboxes in high-cost UAW factories… and dump CAFE altogether. If Congress really thinks consumers must be encouraged to use less gas, replace it with an intellectually honest gas tax.” But can Obama make these tough changes with the Volt dangling just out of reach, offering the same transformative change offered by Obama himself? It won’t be easy, that’s for sure.

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  • Waffle Waffle on Nov 12, 2008

    Given past history with GM new technology product launches I predict that the Volt will have: -the powertrain durability of the original alum Vega engine -bug free operation of the cadillac v4-6-8 -longevity of the Oldsmobile diesel -refinement of the quad 4 -leakproofness of the cadillac 4100 V8 -market success of the Cimmaron -smooth production ramp up of GM10 -paint quality of early 90's pickups -rust resistance of mid-90s Cavalier -elegant interior of the late 90's Chevy Corsica -timeliness of GMT900 platform

  • Kendahl Kendahl on Nov 12, 2008
    "When gas goes back to $5+ a gallon next summer." Last summer, I paid over $4 per gallon. My Infiniti G37 gets between 23 and 24 mpg. A Prius would go twice as far, but would be much less enjoyable to drive. Therefore, if I wanted to be honest when I enter data into my budget, I would put half the cost under transportation and half under entertainment. And, if I wanted to be really honest, I would also file under entertainment the difference in purchase price between the G37 and an old beater.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys you want america great again? bring back honest unions
  • TheEndlessEnigma ...and nothing is UAW politics, policies or behavior will change.
  • TheEndlessEnigma If the staff being directed to relocate aren't already in California or Illinois Rivan is likely to find a not inconsiderable portion of that staff decline the relocation; California and Illinois are not places folks are tending to MOVE TO unless you're already in those states.
  • MrIcky I think you spelled Sinn Féin wrong.
  • TheEndlessEnigma If they restrict it to electric only....well...another Stellantis fail inbound.