Toyota Angry At Ontario's "Disguised" Chevy Volt Subsidy

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

America and Canada have spent tens of billions in taxpayer money “saving” Chrysler and GM. During this Year of Living Parasitically, Toyota hasn’t said boo to a proverbial goose. This despite the fact that a non-governmental ChryCo Old GM Chapter 11/7 would have eliminated most of the North American market’s production over-capacity, setting the stage for a more rapid recovery. Politics, doncha know. Anyway, yesterday, sitting in a Volt prototype at a Toronto GM Chevrolet dealership, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made an announcement. After July 10, 2010, customers plunking for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles would be eligible for a $10,000 rebate. The car most likely to be so blessed: the Chevy Volt. But that’s not what really got Toyota’s goat. As the Leader-Post reports, “Mr. McGuinty said he wants one out of every 20 vehicles in Ontario to be electrically powered by 2020.”

Ontario had to help stabilize the auto industry by providing aid to GM and Chrysler Group LLC, said Stephen Beatty, managing director of Toyota Canada Inc. But he said that was meant to be a one-time action — step in and get out.

“How long does this continue?” Mr. Beatty said. “We can’t set up a situation where the future of the industry depends on constant subsidies…. This suggests that [the government] is prepared to be interventionist beyond their aim to help the industry recover.”

Toyota, known for its hybrid technology, was not informed of the government’s intention to offer the rebates and was taken off guard that the announcement venue was a Chevrolet dealership, Mr. Beatty said. “The question is: Is this a well-thought-out industry strategy? Or is it sort of the next stage in advancing a particular product and helping a particular company?”

Don’t you just love rhetorical questions? No, then what about perks?

Drivers of electric cars would get green vehicle licence plates, allowing them to use less-congested carpool lanes, even if there is only one person in the vehicle, Mr. McGuinty said. Drivers of the cars would also have access to parking at Ontario government and GO Transit lots.

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  • Christy Garwood Christy Garwood on Aug 03, 2009

    @KixStart Friendly reminder, I was comparing the Volt to what I drive today - a 4 cyl 5 speed AT turbo-charged 'vert. Absolutely I agree that the Priuses are on the road now and Volts are not - the only info I have is the GM public info stating 40 miles per charge. I see the 16.8 lbs. of CO2 over 40 miles as worst case IF I get electricity from a coal fired plant, most in the USA do - I probably get mine from a nuclear powered plant down river. So the first 40 miles of my commute could have zero CO2 emissions. And if GM follows through on their plans, I would have an electric charging station at work, too, so only CO2 emissions from the electric power station on the way home. As for the 17 Prius vehicles reporting 53 mpg - under what conditions? A true combo like I drive MTF - 50% rush hour freeway at speeds of 70-80 mph until a wreck slows everything down to a 5 mph crawl and 50% stop/go every mile unless I happen to hit the camera controlled lights at green? And 3 hour commutes creeping in inch per hour snowfalls? As for what happens after the first 40 miles without a battery recharge in the Volt, I agree, GM's public info is murky - again we have to wait and see if GM executes the plan to achieve 50 MPG (as stated on the site you do not believe in) during extended range travel. RE: CO2 - incrementally I get the big reduction in CO2 emissions by driving a Volt compared to what I drive today and the Prius emissions are just a smidgeon better than a Volt. (Doesn't the Prius gas engine run almost continually?) Serious CO2 emissions reduction could be obtained with CFL bulbs (doing it), turning off my gas swimming pool heater (AGTH), mowing my lawn with an old-fashioned push-reel mower (When I Retire), getting a residential windmill for my home (if the site condo politboro approves it - WPF). As to what's easiest on my pocketbook? I work for GM so I will do the loyal thing and buy GM. Using electricty to power 50% of my commute will be easier on my personal finances than having to buy gas for a Prius 100%. And GM's plan to have charging stations for me at work, almost negate my need to ever buy gas, except to drive to see family 300 miles away. Finally, the little bit of CO2 extra that the Volt MIGHT emit compared to a Prius is offset for me by the fact that I also reduce reliance on liquid gas from Alberta's oil sands or Saudi oil fields. Thanks for helping me think a little longer on this topic, it's been fun.

  • KixStart KixStart on Aug 03, 2009

    ChristyGarwood: "As for the 17 Prius vehicles reporting 53 mpg - under what conditions?" That's the figure for 2010 Prius user-supplied fuel economy figures on It's probably a variety of driving habits. In any event, the Volt isn't going to be some kind of green superhero and the $40K price makes its value in chasing green improvements questionable. If I buy a 50mpg Prius instead of a $40K Volt, I have $18K left over for other green projects (solar pool heater, that windmill, SPV or solar hot water panels on the roof). I'm thinking I can do more to improve CO2 footprint with any number of other choices. The oil importation question is another matter. Certainly, an electric vehicle can have a more significan effect than a 50mpg vehicle. I see our dependence on foreign oil as a significant Achille's Heel. However, a robust gas tax would go a long way towards reducing that, where supporting 10K Volts in 2011 has negligible effect. A gas tax has an effect across the board. We know that $4/gallon gas reduces fuel consumption and it does it through a mix of transportation choices and behavioral changes. And it's quick, the benefits start when the tax goes on. ChristyGarwood: "As to what’s easiest on my pocketbook? I work for GM so I will do the loyal thing and buy GM." If you bought a Prius to commute to work at GM, I'd like to know where you'd intend to park it. :-)

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.