By on June 22, 2009

In an interview with, The General’s global product honcho, John Lauckner, reveals the impossible: the Volt is somehow under-budget. According to Lauckner, “. . . were [sic] very pleased that were [sic] on time on target and under budget.” After all, “you can’t ask for more than that when your running a program the size of the Volt and with the amount of technology that we’re [See? It’s not that hard] designing developing and implementing largely on the fly.” Yes, but what does “under budget” mean when you’re talking about a $40K bailout-baby green halo car?

According to Lauckner, the Volt is already successful because “the initial reaction was to question whether we were sincere or whether it was some sort of PR stunt . . . in the months and years since that point and time people have figured out that we’re very serious about this thing.” By announcing that the program is “under budget” after GM had already announced that it wouldn’t make money on the Volt “for years,” even at $40K? Sorry, GM, but “leading the conversation” doesn’t count for much if you don’t have a cost-competitive product.

As if to prove how far down the rabbit hole the Volt project has gone, Lauckner ends the exchange by asking fans to pay no attention to the year-long Volt hype. When gm-volt asks, “is there anything more at this point that could derail the Volt launch,” it’s hard to tell if Lauckner replies out of ignorance of the relentless Volt-boosting or indoctrination in it.

So far so good. All of us who have grown up in a technical community are understandably cautious about making big pronouncements when you are only part of the way there, because its always possible for something to pop up that wasn’t foreseen and so we’re naturally very cautious.

At the same time we need to be careful that our training by nature to be cautious isn’t somehow misinterpreted that we’re not optimistic and extremely pleased, because we are, more so that we’ve ever been. And were very pleased that were on time on target and under budget. You can’t ask for more than that when your running a program the size of the Volt and with the amount of technology that we’re designing developing and implementing largely on the fly.

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8 Comments on “Volt Birth Watch 143: Did He Just Say “Under Budget”?...”

  • avatar

    Does he really not even know how to use “your/you’re” correctly? I’m the last one to be a stickler about grammar, but I find it very hard to listen to anybody that can’t get the word “you’re” right. I learned that in 3rd grade.

  • avatar

    I’m more concerned about him not knowing the difference between “lose” and “loose”.

  • avatar

    thetopdog, Kurt B,

    On Lauckner and grammar and spelling…

    It’s not clear, from the GM-Volt article, exactly how the exchange was transcribed. It could be that Lauckner typed his responses himself but perhaps it was Lyle Dennis at the keyboard, transcribing what he thought he heard. The latter wouldn’t surprise me, as GM-Volt has often played fast and “lose” with grammar and spelling.


    Ed N,

    When “leading the discussion” is all you’ve got… then you might as well lead the discussion and pretend it’s really important to be the discussion leader. And issue more press releases.

  • avatar

    Beware the follow-up announcement: that sharply reduced costs (thanks to GM’s renowned automotive engineering genius and visionary leadership) will allow a sharply reduced sticker price.

    Translation: “Thanks to the bailouts, the taxpayer will absorb the difference.”

  • avatar

    The Volt program would be even further under budget (not to mention having much better odds of actually making it to the dealers) if it were a badge-engineered Prius made with the excess capacity at the NUMMI plant freed up by the demise of the Vibe.

  • avatar

    Can you say “vaporware”?

  • avatar

    So the budget was $20 Billion and they did it for $19 Billion?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Everyone serious who has looked at this knows and says that the Volt is not going to make any profits for GM over the next five years. So, it is in fact mostly a great big PR effort.

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