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Posts Tagged ‘Chevrolet Volt’

More Volt Sales: Bad News for GM, Good News for Used Shoppers

September 11th, 2012

2012 Chevrolet Volt

You might think that the good people over at General Motors would love to read a news story that begins with this sentence:

General Motors sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August.

That’s really good news for the maker of the slow-selling $40,000 electric car, right?

Well, yes, it is, but there’s a huge problem with those increased sales numbers.

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Toyota Prius C Takes Aim at Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf

March 19th, 2012

Let’s talk fuel efficiency.

Again.

Gas prices keep going up, people keep complaining, blah blah blah. Nothing new to report there.

It’s the cars that people choose to buy as prices rise that remains an interesting, though somewhat predictable, topic. One new highly efficient car has outsold the February totals of both the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

In just three days.

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Volt Production Halted; What’s Next?

March 5th, 2012

Volt production line

GM is temporarily laying off some 1,300 workers as it suspends production of the Volt at its Detroit Hamtramck plant. There are simply too many Volts in dealer inventory waiting to be sold: five months versus the normal two-month supply of cars.

The car had a good jump in sales last month, however, as GM sold 1,023 Volts—420 more than in January. Of course these numbers are peanuts compared to the stupid predictions GM and the USDOE have claimed over time. But it was good news for the Volt!

Edward Niedermeyer is ventilating (and also making some good points) about “The Twilight of the Volt” in the above-referenced article. Indeed, the history of this car is not only a testament to GM’s grand failure in marketing it but to the Obama administration’s continual promotion of the Volt, which made it a symbol of partisan politics. Niedermeyer is right about this.

After the phony fire scare, the company attempted to fight fire with ads, which campaign by itself isn’t going to light any fire under potential buyers. The campaign was aimed at creating an image of patriotic green: “It’s the car America had to build.”

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Green Update: The Volt’s Troubles *UPDATED

January 24th, 2012

Chevy Volt, front

*UPDATE: Some House Republicans charged in a Wednesday hearing that NHTSA delayed investigating the Volt’s battery fire, basically to protect General Motors, the Volt’s reputation, and President Obama’s reelection campaign. Dan Akerson, GM’s chief, and David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, bore the brunt of the contemptuous assertions of Darrell Issa, R-Cal., who typically holds hearings where there is always smoke but no fire. Akerson called the Volt entirely “safe, a marvelous machine,” and drove one to the hearing. He also said the car was not designed “to be a political punching bag, and, sadly, that is what it has become.”

We might as well say it out loud: The Chevy Volt has been a fiasco for GM.

Now dealers are refusing to take on more Volts, even though NHTSA has given the car a clean bill of health after investigating battery fires supposedly caused in side-impact crashes. Volts are no more prone to such fires than other cars.

Just as Volt sales were beginning to improve (slightly), somebody cried “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and that has really put the kibosh on sales. Once again, GM has had to backwater on its sales targets, now saying it will simply build as many cars as customers will buy.

The pace and frequency of anti-Volt stories has been picking up, as some find it a timely excuse to bash the Obama administration for backing the car in the first place. But the political problems with the Volt are fleabites; the real wounds were caused by GM’s complete failure in marketing the car.

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Biggest Product Flops of 2011: FIAT 500 and Chevy Volt?

December 30th, 2011

New Coke was a product flop. Bic disposable underwear was a product flop. I won’t even mention the Ford Edsel.

But the new FIAT 500 and Chevy Volt?

Yahoo! Finance has determined, perhaps as nothing more than a way to generate year-end web traffic, that those two new cars were some of the biggest product flops of 2011, right up there with Qwikster.

Yes, sales have been a disappointment, but calling them flops is a bit unfair and premature. Well, for one car, anyway.

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Green Update: $40,000 for a Focus EV?

November 15th, 2011

Ford Focus Electric

The big news seems not to be the debut of Ford’s all-electric 2012 Focus but its price. At $39,995 (including destination fee), it is $3,995 more than the Nissan Leaf—its real competitor—and twice the price of a gas-powered Focus, to which it looks nearly identical.

Chevrolet’s Volt is priced the same but has the range-extender gas engine. Guess which car I’d want? Both are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

Ford pumps up the fact that the car will recharge in three to four hours using a 240-volt charging station (optional) and that it comes with a slew of standard equipment. The Leaf takes much longer and options out its equipment list.

Whether one would want all this stuff—MyFord Touch, rear camera, push-button start, MyKey, Bluetooth, SIRIUS satellite radio, etc., etc.—is surely questionable. Your only options are leather seats and two paint colors. “Build your car” with these two choices at the Ford site.

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Volt Owners Are Giggling: Fisker Karma Gets Low EPA Rating

October 20th, 2011

Fisker Karma Hybrid

The EPA just rated the series plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma sedan, and the company immediately put out a press release saying how “delighted” it was at the results. What?!

The EPA rated the Karma at 52 mpge (mpg “equivalent” for EVs and hybrids, that is, for combined city/highway driving). The company had projected 100 mpge and still says it “firmly believes” you’ll get up to 50 miles on a charge. EPA says, no, you’re gonna get 32 miles on battery alone, and another 20 mpg when the gas-powered range extender kicks in. And probably a lot less driving in Sport mode.

The similarly powered Chevrolet Volt was rated at 94 mpge and costs $39,000. The Karma has three versions priced at $96,000-$109,000. “The top EcoChic edition is an animal-free showcase of high-end textiles, faux suede, and rescued California wildfire hardwood.” So says Car and Driver, while Volt drivers continue laughing.

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