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TOV Forums > General Talk > > Re: Lutz Fights Back Against Volt Attackers

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CB77
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Lutz Fights Back Against Volt Attackers    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-13-2012 13:41
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Automotive News posted a story from Bloomberg about the continual attacks on the Chevy Volt by the right wingers, and the adverse effect it has had on the Volt's sales. It points out that the Volt is not an Obama creation, it was developed by a strong republican (Bob Lutz) under a republican president (George Bush). Here are some excerpts from the article:


DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Pity the Chevy Volt.

Ever since it became known that the plug-in hybrid car's batteries had burst into flames after government crash tests, the Volt has become the whipping boy of Republican politicians. Conservatives have equated General Motors Co.'s Volt with everything from government bailouts to radical left-wing environmentalism.

"Although we loaded the Volt with state-of-the-art safety features, we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag," GM CEO Dan Akerson said during a Congressional hearing on the Volt in January. "And that, sadly, is what the Volt has become."

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich faulted the Volt for its lack of space for a gun rack. Front-runner Mitt Romney called it "an idea whose time has not come." American Tradition Partnership Inc., a conservative group, referred to Volts as "exploding Obamamobiles."

Disappointing sales

After the battery fires became public in November, 2011 sales fell short of Akerson's goal and following slow sales in January and February, GM decided to stop making the cars for five weeks. While the government's investigation found the Volt to be as safe as other vehicles, they are complicated and expensive for a small car at nearly $40,000 before a federal tax credit.

Nissan Motor Co.'s Leaf electric car missed its sales targets last year, too, raising questions about the size of the market for technology-laden fuel-efficient vehicle.

Republican bashing

It's impossible to know to what degree political rhetoric is hurting Volt sales, but Akerson isn't alone in believing the numbers would look better without the Republican bashing. Chevrolet dealers in the U.S. sold 7,671 Volts last year, missing GM's target of 10,000.

About 1,600 Volts were sold in the first two months of the year, a pace that doesn't match Akerson's plans to deliver 45,000 in the U.S. this year. At least part of that gap is a result of attacks on the campaign trail, Spinella said. Buyers from the political center to the right, "will not buy a car that has anything at all that they perceive being associated with the administration," Spinella said.

The Volt, introduced a month before Obama said he would run for president, can go more than 30 miles on electricity before its gasoline engine kicks in and powers a generator to recharge the battery. The car has a range of 379 miles with both electric and gasoline power combined.

Lutz outraged

Bob Lutz, the former vice chairman at General Motors who helped develop the Volt, said he's angered that the car has become politicized.

"I don't mind criticizing Obama, I don't mind criticizing the Democrats and, you know me, I think global warming is a huge hoax perpetrated by the global political left," Lutz said. "But when it comes to starting to tell outright lies to advance your political purposes and damage an American company that is greatly on its way back, hurt American employment in Hamtramck, Michigan, I just think it's totally outrageous."

Lutz, a Republican, said he voted for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the Michigan Republican primary in part because former Massachusetts Gov. Romney wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in 2008 headlined "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" about his opposition to a GM bailout.

Obama's role

After President George W. Bush extended emergency loans to GM's predecessor, Obama's administration managed its $50 billion bailout. The U.S. still holds 32 percent of the GM shares, which have gained 26 percent this year after falling 45 percent in 2011.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who owns a Chevrolet dealership in Butler, said he doesn't sell the Volt at his store because it's too expensive for his customers, who would be better served with a cheaper Cruze. While it may be an engineering marvel, it's too far out for his customers, he said.

"It's still just not a viable alternative to the market that I serve in western Pennsylvania," he said. "I just don't have people coming in to buy that car."

Social issues

The Volt not only personifies the bailout for Republican candidates, it also plays to other controversial issues such as class and environment. On the campaign trail, for example, Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, has peppered his stump speech with comments about the Volt, including during a stop Feb. 17 caught by C-Span.

"The average family that buys it earns $170,000 a year and this is Obama's idea of populism and in his new budget he wants to increase the amount given to every Volt buyer to $10,000, which is an amount which would allow a lot of people to buy a decent secondhand car but it wouldn't be an Obama car," Gingrich said to cheers in Peachtree City, Ga.

"But here's my point to folks: You can't put a gun rack in a Volt. So let's be clear what this election is all about," Gingrich continued. "We believe in the right to bear arms and we like to bear the arms in our trucks."

atomiclightbulb
Profile for atomiclightbulb
Re: Lutz Fights Back Against Volt Attackers    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-13-2012 18:14
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CB77 wrote:
Lutz outraged

Bob Lutz, the former vice chairman at General Motors who helped develop the Volt, said he's angered that the car has become politicized.

"I don't mind criticizing Obama, I don't mind criticizing the Democrats and, you know me, I think global warming is a huge hoax perpetrated by the global political left," Lutz said. "But when it comes to starting to tell outright lies to advance your political purposes and damage an American company that is greatly on its way back, hurt American employment in Hamtramck, Michigan, I just think it's totally outrageous."

Lutz, a Republican, said he voted for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the Michigan Republican primary in part because former Massachusetts Gov. Romney wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in 2008 headlined "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" about his opposition to a GM bailout.


I don't think the truth ever mattered to any of the Republicans running for office. Romney in particular is a fake who will say anything to win, so I'm not surprised he is willing to throw fellow Republican and business leader Bob Lutz under the bus.

That being said, even if the shitheads who use the Volt as a political punching bag hadn't criticized the Volt, I doubt sales would be much better. It costs nearly twice as much as a Cruze, has a cramped interior, and questionable ergonomics. Design matters, and the Volt doesn't have the design it needs to win market share.
cksi1372
Profile for cksi1372
Re: Lutz Fights Back Against Volt Attackers    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-13-2012 19:34
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Obviously a slow news day for you both and Bloomberg. What a load of crap and typical of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek as they typically report from the "left". I know, I have a subscription to BBBW...not by choice.

The Volt isn't succeeding for exactly the reasons ALB stated: "...It costs nearly twice as much as a Cruze, has a cramped interior, and questionable ergonomics. Design matters, and the Volt doesn't have the design it needs to win market share.". The Prius is about the only hybrid that's gotten this market right, but most people aren't going to waste money on hybrids, as they are just not worth it.

At least your Fidelity "energy" article was somewhat reasonable, CB77.
superchg2
Profile for superchg2
Re: Lutz Fights Back Against Volt Attackers    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-13-2012 20:35
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Since Chevy has other, much less expensive, competent gas savers like the Cruze Eco, the $40K Volt will always be the red headed step child in their family.
 
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