Mar 31

Bob Lutz: Volt Will Survive and Propser

 

We are bearing witness to an apocalypse of world finance. Square in the eye of the storm is the auto industry.

Its hard to fathom the events of the past 24 hours. The President of the United States fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner, and though he specifically said the government “has no intentions of running GM,” its hard to argue that they won’t be playing a major role. This is reasonable to expect considering how much money taxpayers have already invested and will continue to invest to reorganize the company.

It seems the White House is sincere about its intent to sustain GM either with or without bankruptcy.

But how will the Volt fit in? Certainly one might feel a bit melancholy about the loss of two of the Volt’s main linchpins, Lutz who steps down as vice chairman after today, and now Wagoner who is gone.

The Volt team and its engineers, and other supportive high level VPs remain in place.

The President’s Task Force on Autos issued a brief analysis of GM business operation ahead of Obama’s announcement that explains how they determined viability. In that document the following statement is written:

GM is at least one generation behind Toyota on advanced, “green” powertrain development. In an
attempt to leapfrog Toyota, GM has devoted significant resources to the Chevy Volt. While the
Volt holds promise, it is currently projected to be much more expensive than its gasoline-fueled
peers and will likely need substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become
commercially viable.

Since the government now decides what stays and what goes, could the Volt get thrown out with the bathwater? I would think not considering how important the White House views electric cars and energy independence, and their realization that new technologies are always more expensive at first.

“As the White House has said, they do not intend to run a car company, much less make product decisions. They recognize the Volt for the game changer it is. And yes, no kidding, that costs money up front. But, this is a long term play for us.” GM spokesperson Greg Martin told me. “Not to fear, the Volt is safe.”

And to be certain, on his last day I turned to none other than soon-to-be former GM vice-chairman Robert M. (Maximum Bob) Lutz.

“Thanks for your concern. Volt will survive and prosper. We know the numbers better than the Government…we furnished them! First-generation technology is expensive, but you can’t have a second generation without a first generation,” Mr Lutz wrote me in an email. “Common sense and intelligence will prevail, here!”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 5:51 am and is filed under Financial, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 249


  1. 1
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:00 am)

    First


  2. 2
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:03 am)

    If the Volt does survive, it is due in no small part to Lyle and this website. While Tesla and Fisher barely clear sales of 4 figures, 2 years prior to sales, the Volt has a waiting list half way to 6 figures.


  3. 3
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:14 am)

    I just hope the Volt/Ampera will be my next car as I always thought since the day I connected to gm-volt.Com for the first time.

    JC NPNS !!


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    koz

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:16 am)

    I’m confident the Volt program will continue as long as a path to viability is seen but warm and fuzzies don’t come from costs provided to the government by GM. Build the Volt and continue to cost reduce Voltec and leave the grandstanding behind.

    NPNS! LJGTVWOTR! Start your own recovery plan and buy North American (not to be confused with government protectionism)


  5. 5
    FME III

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:25 am)

    Given GM’s earlier estimation that it would initially take a loss on each Volt it sells (much as Toyota allegedly did initially with the Prius), it’s hard to argue with the conclusion of the task force that the Volt is not commercially viable.

    But Lutz is only stating the obvious when he notes that you can’t get to a (presumably) less expensive Gen. 2 without Gen. 1.

    Now, we all have to hope that the Obamanistas’ desire to foster energy independence and a rennaissance in American automotive technology will persuade them to keep this program on track.

    All this reminds of that ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”


  6. 6
    Joe

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:26 am)

    “GM is at least one generation behind Toyota on advanced, “green” powertrain development.”

    ****************************************************************************

    The above statement is a bunch of crap. The two mode trans is more technologically advanced than the Prius.

    I ask, why do we knock ourselves? is it so we can push ourselves harder? I don’t get it.


  7. 7
    Dave B

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:39 am)

    Just why is it a smaller firm can produce a vehicle like the Roadster or Aptera or Fisker (E-REV) when GM can’t do it with only a fraction of the range for a FRACTION of the cost? This is ridiculous. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Time to look to Darwin.


  8. 8
    Bob

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:41 am)

    Everyone seems to be completely blind to the fact that just 24 months ago Americans were still buying massive ego-stroking Hummers and Suburbans and Escalades like hotcakes. It wasn’t until gas prices spiked that there was a sudden shift to preferring gas economy. I keep seeing phrases like “For years GM has been making cars nobody wanted to buy” and “GM has slipped generations behind Toyota” but the fact is that they were making exactly what America wanted to buy — big smelly gas-guzzling muscle cars. I’ve always hated the fact that people wanted such big cars all the time, but you can’t fault GM for giving people what they wanted.


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    KenEE

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:45 am)

    Behind Toyota? Nice to see our govt. supporting our engineers and companies! The two-mode hybrid system is more advanced than the synergy drive and the voltec is indeed a leapfrog.

    It’s the politically motivated – everyone elses way is always superior to the American Way – attitude that diminishes our economic future.

    GM’s approach to hybrid technology is and has been so much broader and more practical than any other. (Guess what! Some families need a lot of room in their vehicles *and* contribute greatly to the economy while liviing their busy lives)

    It’s the lack of support at so many levels of media and govt. that have stymied a great company and its awesome products.

    I hope GM and the Volt can survive this “Help”. I hope Ford Executives are patting themselves on the back.


  10. 10
    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:53 am)

    Lyle’s post says
    But how will the Volt fit in? Certainly one might feel a bit melancholy about the loss of two of the Volt’s main linchpins, Lutz who steps down as vice chairman after tomorrow, and now Wagoner
    —————————————-
    That is very well stated. We are in deep space, insofar as the Volt.

    Working at a place that at some moments has tried to respond to similarly vague government instructions, I think GM is most likely to go through the task-force report, make it into a list of bullet points, and try to fulfill each one. Unfortunately the comments about the Volt are negative, so the Volt program is unlikely to get much support. At the same time, the Volt is a symbol of hi-mileage green cars, so the Volt program will be hard to kill. My guess is that the program will continue in inertia mode for the next months, that present contracts for 400 batteries will run to completion, and that GM will make the prototypes. On the other hand, anything after that is very uncertain. Any substantial expenditures (as for a production line for significant numbers of Volts) will require higher level approvals from somebody. Such approval will be risky and very slow in coming.

    When big bureaucracies become uncertain their reflex is to go slow or do nothing on everything until who is in charge becomes clear and new directions are received. Right now everything is murky. Every person is wondering “where do I stand? will I keep my job?” Who at GM has time to pay attention to something like Voltec when the government already has spoken of Volts in such a disparaging way? At the same time, who at GM has any time or inclination to start a Volt production line or do anything else new or different? Too risky, and besides, all the best people are using every free moment trying to get jobs someplace else.


  11. 11
    Darius

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:54 am)

    Quote: Presidential Auto Task Force Concluded Plug-In GM Volt Likely “Too Expensive To Be Commercially Successful in the Short-Term”


  12. 12
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:03 am)

    Lutz -”“Thanks for your concern. Volt will survive and prosper. We know the numbers better than the Government…we furnished them! First-generation technology is expensive, but you can’t have a second generation without a first generation,” Mr Lutz wrote me in an email. “Common sense and intelligence will prevail, here!”
    ————————-

    Translation: “The government can piss off, you can’t build anything new without first paying your dues…eventually those morons will figure that out”

    Oh Bob, it is your last day and you are rolling without a filter…who would have guessed it? We can look forward to progressively more and more over the top comments.

    /can’t wait


  13. 13
    unni

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:05 am)

    To be true, they need a cruze hybrid (better word : erev) with a 10 mile battery A hybrid at $17k. or volt should be sold for $17K because they are looking for big numbers. The maximum they can prize is $21k.

    Investments in volt will pay back, if they can scale up and down the technology.


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:09 am)

    The two-mode hybrid system is more advanced than the synergy drive
    ___________________________

    It’s interesting how many people claim that, yet provide no information to support it.

    In reality, the additional gearing isn’t competitive. It adds too much cost for too little gain.


  15. 15
    ziv

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:11 am)

    I hope the work on the Volt is continuing at full speed but I wonder. I heard a GM ad on the radio yesterday, and it referred to the _Soon to be released 2012 Chevy Volt_
    2012? I thought it was going to be the 2011 Chevy Volt released in 2010? The radio ad was generated by GM marketing, are they walking back on the November release due to a slowdown at GM?
    I feel like a Etruscan soothsayer trying to predict the future by looking at the entrails of a butchered sheep. I am not sure if I blame Wagoner, the UAW, the bondholders, or the MBA’s that run GM the most, but they all are partly to blame for this tragic trainwreck.


  16. 16
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:14 am)

    Also, today is HUMMER D-Day! Remember Wagoner’s promise in the last viability plan that HUMMER would definitely be sold or shuttered today?

    Here is the quote: “We will make a final decision to sell or phase out HUMMER by March 31st of this year”

    Surely, they can hit this one right? I mean they have announced HUMMER is dead or sold with ‘many interested buyers’ at least a half dozen times over the past year.

    Troy Clarke (Pres of NA Op) said today, “Our efforts to sell Hummer are proceeding, and there are several parties interested — and I would say really interested — in the brand…We’re still very much in the process, although that process is maturing.”

    HUMMER spokesperson Nick Richards said Monday night they are “cautiously optimistic that we will report a favorable outcome to our efforts to sell HUMMER within a very short time period.”


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:16 am)

    Given GM’s earlier estimation that it would initially take a loss on each Volt it sells (much as Toyota allegedly did initially with the Prius), it’s hard to argue with the conclusion of the task force that the Volt is not commercially viable.
    _______________________________

    Not soon enough was what they actually said.

    Of course “Volt” will be commerically viable… eventually. But waiting several years and limiting quantity in the meantime, like Toyota did with Prius, is not realistic when taxpayer money must be paid back.

    That’s why reconfiguring Volt to be competitive quickly is becoming the best next step.


  18. 18
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:16 am)

    Of interest (and perhaps on topic with Volt surival information):

    Fritz Henderson (newly minted CEO) will be taking to the microphone to ‘Discuss Announcements Made By President Obama’ @ 10AM this morning, if you care to watch it, here is the link:

    http://gmtv.feedroom.com/?fr_story=9e40d5175d757a342d3c22d827c272010a1fa9a8


  19. 19
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:23 am)

    #7 Dave B Says: Just why is it a smaller firm can produce a vehicle like the Roadster or Aptera or Fisker (E-REV) when GM can’t do it with only a fraction of the range for a FRACTION of the cost?
    ————————————————————————————–
    For the Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma, remember that it’s fairly easy to hand-build expensive sports cars.

    For the Aptera, remember that this is classified as a motorcycle, so many of the standards that apply to cars don’t apply.

    For the Tesla Model S, remember that they haven’t even started building the manufacturing plant yet, and they have zero experience doing mass production. All they have now is a hand-built prototype, which they could never sell at $50K and make money. So expect some bumps in the road here…

    Also, Tesla, Fisker, and Aptera all use regular consumer electronics Lithium Ion batteries, which wear out after 5 years, and can explode or catch fire. All have designed the pack to contain an individual Li/Ion cell explosion or fire, but if the pack is ruptured in an accident, that may be compromised.

    By contrast, the Volt doesn’t use consumer electronics Lithium Ion batteries. They use a special Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry developed by LG Chem especially for GM’s Voltec cars. These batteries last 10-15 years and never explode or catch fire. In addition, the Volt only uses 1/2 of the battery capacity initially to insure that you will have the full 40-mile range over the entire 10-year battery warranty.

    So I believe the Volt is the only electric car that has truely been designed for the masses. All of the others have issues with price, range anxiety, battery life, safety, etc..


  20. 20
    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:23 am)

    #18 statik — thank you for the link to Fritz Henderson’s upcoming comments.
    ————————-
    He will try to put his own voice to “yes sir, no sir, anything you say sir.” But his task, and it’s a tough one, is to stem the panic in his own ranks. The toughest maneuver to manage is a retreat under fire.


  21. 21
    Stan

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:28 am)

    The Volt is truly a remarkable vehicle and it would be a devastating blow to the industry if it didn’t make it to the dealerships.


  22. 22
    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:28 am)

    #8 Bob says Everyone seems to be completely blind to the fact that just 24 months ago Americans were still buying massive ego-stroking Hummers and Suburbans and Escalades like hotcakes
    ————————————-

    Not only that, but the present auto “recovery”, such as it is, shows strength in big cars and trucks, not small ones. By and large Americans prefer bigger vehicles. In this respect, Wagoner was right.


  23. 23
    Tim

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:29 am)

    “As the White House has said, they do not intend to run a car company, much less make product decisions.” HA HA HA HA HA… that’s a good one!

    This administration is EXACTLY like the last administration because what they SAY and what they DO are usually polar opposites.

    Say: “We must be fiscally responsible and tighten our belts”
    Do: Biggest spending bill in the nation’s history all on borrowed/created debt. Keynes would be so proud!

    Say: “We will have complete transparency”
    Do: Not giving congress time to read bills before voting. Those who voted Aye on any bill they did not read are Traitors!

    Say: “We will put all spending bills on the internet 7 days before the vote.”
    Do: Place propaganda on a website with no real substance.

    Say: “We will get out of Iraq”
    Do: Troops there indefinitely and send MORE troops to Afghanistan

    Say: “No more Earmarks & Pork… ever!”
    Do: PorkZilla and Porkzilla II, (the sequel) are almost ALL earmarks.
    http://www.benjaminbradley.com/politics/obama-lies-about-earmarks-in-stimulus-bill/

    Say: “We don’t want to run the auto industry”
    Do: Appoint a committee to “oversee” the auto industry and fire GM’s CEO because it’s politically good to be seen as “doing something” other than just digging a huge debt hole.

    Maybe these Statists should have just obeyed their OATH to the Constitution and let Bankruptcy work instead of giving $Billions in taxpayer debt (Fiat “money” created out of thin air) to for-profit companies all FOR NOTHING?

    Only those fools who still watch the Chairman’s propaganda arm, CNBC still have faith and hope. It won’t be long before the American people get tired of the lies, doublespeak and wake up to the Chairman’s/banker’s hidden socialist agenda. Central planning NEVER works! (Just ask the Soviets)

    Welcome to the USSA!

    “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson

    “From my cold, dead hands” — Charlton Heston


  24. 24
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:29 am)

    I have mentioned this before, but the President’s Task Force on Autos’ statement that the Volt is not commercially viable and that GM is plowing a lot of money into it, is exactly the right thing for them to say…if they did not, it would not be much of a ‘task force’

    They are charged with the ‘task’ of assessing if GM can stand on its own two feet, and to suggest the things that need to be done now to make them potentially solvent and able to continue operations.

    Their job is not to interpret executive policy on electric cars, or what is the right thing to do for the environment, or to assess if this technology will give GM a competitive advantage 10 years from now. Their job is to see if a large American auto company can slip through the eye of a needle and come out a profitable entity on the other side…and what scenario gives them the best odds of doing that. Certainly the Volt is no help to GM over the next 5-10 years in that regard…and I’m thinking the government is not keen on supporting them that long, lol.

    Again, it doesn’t matter what their (PTFoA) opinion is on the Volt. They are doing their job, they are just going to file a report. If GM gets the bondholders/UAW to capitulate, or if the gov’t pushes them through a GSB…the will of the executive will certainly keep the Volt program alive (imo).


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:34 am)

    #6 Joe Says: The above statement is a bunch of crap. The two mode trans is more technologically advanced than the Prius.
    ————————————————————————————–
    When it comes to parallel hybrids, I would say Toyota has the edge in practical terms. After all, they’ve been perfecting it for the last 12 years.

    But we must realize that this type of car will never achieve energy independence. Not even close. We need electric drive.


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    Eco

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:38 am)

    #8, Bob.

    I heard the same thing on the radio this morning, and it’s just a paliative. Toyota and Honda own the sedan, midsize and smaller car market. They own it.

    They won it by giving the consumer VALUE.

    GM could not or would not sell a product of comparable VALUE.
    No one put a gun to GM’s head and said “build lousy cars for 30 years, so that anyone 40 or younger will NEVER put quality and GM in the same sentence.”

    If I hear another apologist for GM say “but the cars we are building now exceed the quality of Honda, Toyota, and Nissan” I’m going to barf, because it cannot be proven AND it is irrelevent. That JD Powers (or whoever it was) survey is just that, a survey, for THREE YEARS of essentially random data. Collect data for 7 years and 150,000 miles, THEN compare REAL data on REAL cars with REAL repair costs, on enough cars to actually make a factual statement.

    In 2015 when I see real data on what the average actual cost of ownership was on a GM car purchased in December of 2008, and it’s better than every comparable vehicle, THEN I will be convinced.

    Until then, it’s all marketing.


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:38 am)

    #20 RB said:

    He will try to put his own voice to “yes sir, no sir, anything you say sir.” But his task, and it’s a tough one, is to stem the panic in his own ranks. The toughest maneuver to manage is a retreat under fire.
    ============================
    Fritz is a good guy, (well, he is the right guy), very intuitive/smart . I have been dying for Wagoner to step down the last couple years, with the hopes that Fritz would take over. Hopefully, there is enough time left and he is up to the task.

    I have no quams/hesitation about him taking over, he is the right guy for this environment. I always felt like he was trying to be a realist and Wagoner was muzzling him with his over-optimism all the time, which only eroded GM and the government’s position.

    What we need now is some straight talk, and enough with the ‘bankruptcy is no option’ nonesense…no more sugar coating everything, just say how it is and how you want to fix it. I think thats what all Americans want from companys in this situation (on the take)…tell us how bad it is, and what your plan is to get out.


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:48 am)

    #24 statik Says: Certainly the Volt is no help to GM over the next 5-10 years in that regard…
    ————————————————————————————–
    I don’t think so. If and when the Volt is released, I believe consumer response will be overwhelming, and the Volt could be profitable to GM in as little as 4 years after release.

    Couple that with what Ford has just said about the prices of electric drive falling much faster than they had thought, and the need for electric hybrids.

    After gas prices spiked last summer, and with the economic chaos that has followed, I believe there are many, many people that would love to get off of oil if they had the chance. When people start hearing someone at work say they only go to the gas station once every 3 or 4 months, the light bulb above their head will go on, and things will happen much faster than anyone is predicting.


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    hermant

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:49 am)

    Yeah, Fritz is the man. He can save the company. He’s not like that bad Wagoner guy. Throw out that bum. All change is good, all the time, no matter what. And if Fritz can’t do the job, whatever the job might be, we’ll just throw him out. Change it all up again and again. Things are just so bad that any change will be better than what we have today. The current administration in Washington is exactly right. All change is good for us. Better living through constant change. Yeah, that’ll fix everything.


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    Schmeltz

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:49 am)

    “Common sense and intelligence will prevail, here!” –Man, I sure hope so!!!

    Regarding Hummer…Either they can sell it, or they can’t. Get on with it already. I’m thinking they likely can’t sell it and are embarassed to admit it. GM could look at it this way…The temporary shame of killing Hummer can be very much overshadowed by the good image of bringing affordable, mass- produced electric vehicles to market. By terminating Hummer, this would be a public affirmation of GM finally moving on to a new world of greener transportation. Do the right thing.


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    maharguitar

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:51 am)

    If the objective of the Government Task Force is to have GM survive for the long term, they can’t “eat their seed corn”. They have to support development of new, more advanced, products. Even though those products won’t make money for a few years.

    Many automotive experts don’t think that the Volt technology is viable even in the long term, however. The Task Force may believe these experts more than they believe GM. GM doesn’t seem to have a “plan B” for “green” cars which leaves the Task Force with little room to maneuver. If they kill Volt than GM has no long term potential. If they don’t kill Volt than GM probably has no long term potential. The government claims that they don’t want to be in the car business and making management decisions on whether Volt will be a success or not should be outside their jurisdiction.

    If the restructuring creates a GM that is viable in the semi-near term and it also has the Volt project, the restructuring should be approved. If it is impossible to create a GM that is viable in the semi-near term unless the Volt is canceled, than the Volt is gone. I’m inclined to think that the Volt is such a small part of the current financial picture that it will continue as long as there is a GM.


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:03 am)

    When it comes to parallel hybrids, I would say Toyota has the edge in practical terms. After all, they’ve been perfecting it for the last 12 years.
    __________________________

    If nothing else, this recent move in the loan/bailout situation should be that people should make an effort to be clear about hybrid information.

    Toyota’s hybrids are *NOT* the parallel type.

    There’s a profound difference between Insight (which is a parallel hybrid) and Prius (which is not).

    One has just a single small (10 to 15 kW) electric motor, which is bonded directly to the engine and they always spin together.

    The other has two electric motors, both much larger (around 30 to 65 kW) and each has the ability to operate independently. The system also has the ability to propel the vehicle with the engine motionless.


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:08 am)

    In the 857 page document for the 2011 model-year CAFE requirements, a PARALLEL hybrid (aka “ASSIST”) is defined as follows:

    Integrated Starter Generator (ISG)

    The next hybrid technology that is considered is the Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) technology. There are 2 types of integrated starter generator hybrids that are considered: the belt mounted type and the crank mounted type.


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:10 am)

    In the 857 page document for the 2011 model-year CAFE requirements, a SERIES-PARALLEL hybrid (aka “FULL”) is defined as follows:

    Power Split Hybrid

    The Power Split hybrid (PSHEV) is described as a full or a strong hybrid since it has the ability to move the vehicle on electric power only. It replaces the vehicle’s transmission with a single planetary gear and a motor/generator. A second, more powerful motor/generator is directly connected to the vehicle’s final drive. The planetary gear splits the engine’s torque between the first motor/generator and the final drive. The first motor/generator uses power from the engine to either charge the battery or supply power to the wheels. The speed of the first motor/generator determines the relative speed of the engine to the wheels. In this way, the planetary gear allows the engine to operate independently of vehicle speed, much like a CVT. The Toyota Prius and the Ford Hybrid Escape are two examples of power split hybrid vehicles.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:12 am)

    It’s all about the batteries. Unfortunately, the latest “between the lines” battery news from GM and Aptera hasn’t been good.

    1. The volt’s AER is going to be less than 40 miles under anything less than perfect conditions.

    2. Aptera has apparently increased the battery size (from 10-13 kwh to 17-22 kwh) with no increase in range.

    Contrast this with Honda and Toyota fighting over a $20,000 “conventional” hybrid price point and it looks like electric drive viability (profitability) may still be a long way off.

    http://auto.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090326.whAutoBuzz0326/GAStory/specialGlobeAuto/home

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/car_shopping/latest_news_reviews/2010_aptera_2e_first_drive_review+t-behind_the_wheel_of_the_beast+page-2.html


  36. 36
    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:15 am)

    THE PRESIDENT JUST KILLED THE VOLT!!!


  37. 37
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:16 am)

    In the 857 page document for the 2011 model-year CAFE requirements, a PLUG-IN hybrid is defined as follows:

    Plug-In Hybrid

    Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are very similar to other strong hybrid electric vehicles, but with significant functional differences. The key distinguishing feature is the ability to charge the battery pack from an outside source of electricity (usually the electric grid). A PHEV would have a larger battery pack with greater energy capacity, and an ability to be discharged further (referred to as “depth of discharge”). No major manufacturer currently has a PHEV in production, although both GM and Toyota have publicly announced that they will launch plug-in hybrids in limited volumes by 2010.


  38. 38
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:25 am)

    In the 857 page document for the 2011 model-year CAFE requirements, a TWO-MODE hybrid is defined as follows:

    2-Mode Hybrid

    The 2-mode hybrid (2MHEV) is another strong hybrid system that has all-electric drive capability. The 2MHEV uses an adaptation of a conventional stepped-ratio automatic transmission by replacing some of the transmission clutches with two electric motors, which makes the transmission act like a CVT. Like the Power Split hybrid, these motors control the ratio of engine speed to vehicle speed. But unlike the Power Split system, clutches allow the motors to be bypassed, which improves both the transmission’s torque capacity and efficiency for improved fuel economy at highway speeds. This type of system is used in the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid.


  39. 39
    Rob

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:30 am)

    IMHO #23 Tim’s screed contributes nothing useful to the debate.

    While I don’t pretend to understand all of the ramifications, I’m in favor of the government holding the domestic auto industry’s feet to the fire if it wants taxpayer money to see it through these hard times. At the same time, I do not put all the blame for the present situation on the industry: they built the gas guzzlers, and the American public bought ‘em.


  40. 40
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:31 am)

    Most of us recognize the importance of the Volt technology to GM. That is not to say that a “bean counter” (my apologies to all you accountants out there) will not make a “business” decision to cut the program or try to eliminate it because of future cost. When it comes to numbers, some people in and out of the government have no sense at all. They get mesmerized buy the numbers and that is all the see and understand.

    My “gut” feeling is that the Volt will survive, but will be released in late spring or early summer of 2011. I think government bungling will delay the introduction simply because they will ask that all work stop on future vehicles while they run the “numbers” without excluding the Volt from the stoppage. It may even be as much as a year late. I have all the confidence in the world in the ability of our government bureaucracy to screw things up. But, we can always hope someone is smart enough to support the Volt program and to insure GM continues working on it as they evaluate the other lines. It is a sad day for GM when they have to submit to governmental control like they may be undergoing.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:33 am)

    IS NO ONE LISTENING? OBAMA JUST DICTATED THAT THE VOLT IS GONE
    Tag


  42. 42
    ThomC

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:36 am)

    Tag,

    It’s pretty hard to miss OBAMA JUST DICTATED THAT THE VOLT IS GONE. Please give a reference or link!


  43. 43
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:37 am)

    #6 Joe

    “GM is at least one generation behind Toyota on advanced, “green” powertrain development.”

    ****************************************************************************”

    That is a statement from someone who does not understand the technology and are only repeating what he has heard or read all of his life from the media and people around him. Another case of just repeat what everyone else is saying without taking the time and trouble to investigate the matter himself. Typical American BS.


  44. 44
    Dan Petit

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:37 am)

    The larger a firm is, the more impossible it is for it to “turn on a dime”.
    The less overhead a firm has, the more likely it is able to produce new products just in time. The more diversified a firm is, the more likely that there will be conflicts of interest. The more debt a firm has, the more likely that it becomes “anchored” in the past with regard to fiduciary duties to service that debt.
    America and the World must quickly change over to green electric motoring as soon as possible.
    When I close a contract several times a month to teach L-1 diagnostics in auto repair shops, I happen to find myself saying more often, “I can do that”, with regards to both what types of content the owner/management wants me to cover over longer periods of time and trips, as well as, how long the shop owner needs to pay me for my services. (For every dollar spent on my time, my Seminars reveal 9 dollars in properly-diagnosed and highest-service-priority services on live repair orders which generally would not be otherwise absolutely-conclusively reliable.)
    It is just going to take an outside major force of practicality to extricate the entire automotive industry out of the Internal Combustion quagmire. And,
    the physical as well as the economic environments select those to survive whom are most efficient in the use of it. GM just needs to be pulled forward with our help in the form of a very practical approach from the outside of the firm.
    President Obama has the exceptional gift of insight and common sense to do that where no-one else has been able.
    Drastic times call for drastic measures, measures that make the best common sense.
    Dan Petit Austin TX


  45. 45
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:38 am)

    #24 statik Says: Certainly the Volt is no help to GM over the next 5-10 years in that regard…
    ———————-
    #28 Dave G said: I don’t think so. If and when the Volt is released, I believe consumer response will be overwhelming, and the Volt could be profitable to GM in as little as 4 years after release.

    Couple that with what Ford has just said about the prices of electric drive falling much faster than they had thought, and the need for electric hybrids.

    After gas prices spiked last summer, and with the economic chaos that has followed, I believe there are many, many people that would love to get off of oil if they had the chance. When people start hearing someone at work say they only go to the gas station once every 3 or 4 months, the light bulb above their head will go on, and things will happen much faster than anyone is predicting.
    ================
    Think we are on same side of coin again Dave. I said no help for 5-10 years….you said a very optimistic 4 years after release.

    Even under your scenario, the Volt for all intents and purposes is released in 2011…thats 2 years away + 4 years of production = 6 years (within my range).

    In my world, the Volt’s road to ‘potential’ profitability goes like this:

    GM estimates between 1 and 2 billion up front investment. I figure even with the most optimistic of margins GM has to sell 500,000 Volts to break even (especially considering the first couple hundred thousand will be sold at less than cost). GM by their own words has first year production at 10,000…then up to 60,000 for years 2 and 3 (which is the capacity of the Hamm line), maybe then they have working capital to open another line (or a alt line in Europe)…which is even more development money to recoup.

    Most optimistic scenario in my opinion:
    2009: 0 units
    2010: 50 units (big maybe)
    2011: 10,000 units (big maybe)
    2012: 60,000 units
    2013: 60,000 units
    2014: 60,000 units
    2015 100,000 units
    2016 100,000 units
    2017 100,000 units (total production hits 500,000)
    2018 GM maybe makes dollar number 1 on the Volt

    Personally, I don’t think gen 1 can make money…at all, ever. I don’t think GM even had designs on it making money, but rather being a springboard to other future products (and green washing). Maybe gen 2 (and alternative products) can, if GM survives.


  46. 46
    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:38 am)

    . . . and what is propser?

    Is that like liev logn adn propser?


  47. 47
    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:38 am)

    Thomc@42
    It was just on the news- live.
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:41 am)

    Tag,

    >> It was just on the news – live.

    What broadcast network?


  49. 49
    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:43 am)

    #36 Tagamet,

    I figured that was a joke. Are you serious?


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    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:45 am)

    ThomC
    Thanks for the confidence.
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:45 am)

    @26 Eco
    Don’t join the religion of data (or surveys for that matter, they are also data). Data can be manipulated any way someone wants it to be. Personally, I trust my own experiences and “data-collection” vs. a lot of the published garbage.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:50 am)

    If GM sells the Hummer to a middle eastern company, does that mean they will be producing the H2′s for the Army?


  53. 53
    frankyB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:52 am)

    #41.Tagamet

    Over reacting a little? Any facts to support this? No.

    BTW, GM doesn’t survived = NO VOLT, by making sure GM has a remote chance to survive the Obama administration is actually giving it a chance.


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    George Bush

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:54 am)

    Just part of Obamas plan to destroy the United States, one company at a time!


  55. 55
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:55 am)

    CEO Fritz Henderson has a live telecast on the “U.S. Treasury’s decisions on aid to the auto industry” in like….5 mins

    Watch it here…now:

    http://gmtv.feedroom.com/?fr_story=9e40d5175d757a342d3c22d827c272010a1fa9a8


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:58 am)

    I guess an Orson “Tag” Welles moment just doesn’t go as far in the digital age.


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    George Bush

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:01 am)

    Right On Tim!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “As the White House has said, they do not intend to run a car company, much less make product decisions.” HA HA HA HA HA… that’s a good one!

    This administration is EXACTLY like the last administration because what they SAY and what they DO are usually polar opposites.

    Say: “We must be fiscally responsible and tighten our belts”
    Do: Biggest spending bill in the nation’s history all on borrowed/created debt. Keynes would be so proud!

    Say: “We will have complete transparency”
    Do: Not giving congress time to read bills before voting. Those who voted Aye on any bill they did not read are Traitors!

    Say: “We will put all spending bills on the internet 7 days before the vote.”
    Do: Place propaganda on a website with no real substance.

    Say: “We will get out of Iraq”
    Do: Troops there indefinitely and send MORE troops to Afghanistan

    Say: “No more Earmarks & Pork… ever!”
    Do: PorkZilla and Porkzilla II, (the sequel) are almost ALL earmarks.
    http://www.benjaminbradley.com/politics/obama-lies-about-earmarks-in-stimulus-bill/

    Say: “We don’t want to run the auto industry”
    Do: Appoint a committee to “oversee” the auto industry and fire GM’s CEO because it’s politically good to be seen as “doing something” other than just digging a huge debt hole.

    Maybe these Statists should have just obeyed their OATH to the Constitution and let Bankruptcy work instead of giving $Billions in taxpayer debt (Fiat “money” created out of thin air) to for-profit companies all FOR NOTHING?

    Only those fools who still watch the Chairman’s propaganda arm, CNBC still have faith and hope. It won’t be long before the American people get tired of the lies, doublespeak and wake up to the Chairman’s/banker’s hidden socialist agenda. Central planning NEVER works! (Just ask the Soviets)

    Welcome to the USSA!

    “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson

    “From my cold, dead hands” — Charlton Heston


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:02 am)

    Fritz looks nervous:

    His first announcement is to copy Hyundai and give ‘job pertection’ on new cars.


  59. 59
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:03 am)

    #45 statik,

    Again, I believe most people (including GM) are underestimating the demand for the Volt. Also, most of the development cost of other Voltec vehicle types (Converj, Orlando, etc.) will be covered by the initial Volt development.

    In addition, I don’t really believe in a distinct Volt version 2 as such, but probably more of a continuous improvement each year. For example, GM has already said the 2012 Volt, which will release toward the end of 2011, will have over a dozen design changes to improve cost and performance, and that was a year ago. So again, most of the initial Volt development cost will carry forward with minor changes each year.

    So my most optimistic scenario, assuming GM can keep up with demand, and including other Voltec cars like Converj, Orlando, etc, would be:
    2009: 0 units
    2010: 1000 units
    2011: 10,000 units
    2012: 60,000 units
    2013: 100,000 units
    2014: 150,000 units
    2015: 220,000 units
    2016: 300,000 units
    2017: 450,000 units
    2018: 600,000 units


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:04 am)

    ‘job protection’ even, lol


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:05 am)

    TAG.. April fool’s day is tomorrow.


  62. 62
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:07 am)

    I know I didn’t imagine the 5 minutes they spent on this on Fox (yes, Fox) News.
    Time will tell, but I would NOT kid about something like this. If/when they retract – I’ll retract it.
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:08 am)

    @59 Dave G
    I think the Orlando was actually cancelled. Let me see if i can find a link on it.


  64. 64
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:10 am)

    #61 k-dawg said:

    TAG.. April fool’s day is tomorrow.
    =====================
    Tag is just such a pessimist, thats all it is…that is what he is know for.
    (=


  65. 65
    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:18 am)

    If Statik is not on top of this, I must obviously be wrong (or he just got scooped – he’s such a Pauliana)
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:20 am)

    Side note:

    Chrysler couldn’t pay wages today in Canada. Canada had to send them a emergency 250 million advance off a unapproved loan, lol (that was tenatively up to 1 billion).

    /so Chrysler is in serious need of cash…like now


  67. 67
    benion2

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:22 am)

    I saw the same report on Fox news that Tag reffered to. President Obama’s auto task force say’s the Volt is to be killed.


  68. 68
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:25 am)

    #65 Tag said:

    If Statik is not on top of this, I must obviously be wrong (or he just got scooped – he’s such a Pauliana)
    Tag
    ==================================
    I got/have nothing on it, haven’t heard anything…I though at first maybe you were joking. I’m not a big fan of FOX news. I just didn’t want to shoot you down just out of skepticism.

    I’m watching Fritz shoot his trap off now, so I figured I’d just sit back and listen. I figure if something that big is true, he will say something.

    He is taking Q&A now…haven’t heard anything.


  69. 69
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:25 am)

    All this can be somewhat depressing, except for the fact that the gov’t will not allow GM to fail, that is clear in all the rhetoric.

    Couple that with the fact that GM is currently already building some of the best vehicles on the road, according to MANY opinions, media and private, maybe the new GM will be something others will have to respect.

    I do not think for a second that the imports really want to see GM revitalized in that way. Its one thing to battle them while they had a ball and chain on their ankles, its quite another if GM shows up to the fight with a chip on their shoulder.

    Right now, while the chain is being sawed from the ankle, they are developing quite a chip. Things could get very interesting in the next few years.

    I predict the spin on what is taking place here, right now, will get VERY interesting. I think the word AMERICAN will star heavily in the approach that is taken to convince people that buying GM cars matters. Hopefully the GM marketing department will put the gloves on. No matter how Toyota and Honda try to wrap themselves in red, white, and blue, I think the writing is on the wall. Think about it.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:27 am)

    #67 benion2 said:

    I saw the same report on Fox news that Tag reffered to. President Obama’s auto task force say’s the Volt is to be killed
    =======================
    I was thinking it was based on something like this.

    Sounds like Fox news is jumping the shark and connecting the PTF to Obama and the executive themselves…and maybe Tag wasn’t reading the forums this morning and naturally freaked out.


  71. 71
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:29 am)

    Q: How are you (Fritz) different than Wagoner:

    A: Blah, blah, blah…I speak portuguese, blah, blah, blah
    (unintentional comedy gold)

    (I still like Fritz…just thought that was amusing)


  72. 72
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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:32 am)

    Thanks benion2. Good reality (as I know it) check.
    I watched Fritz too, statik until the Blah blah got to be too much.
    Time will tell, but the thrust is “should the govt dictate which cars (including the Volt) will get built.
    Tag


  73. 73
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:32 am)

    The American Auto Industry is doomed because Obama doesn’t get it. He wants to wave his mighty hand and dictate to all Americans to buy ONLY hybrids and/or high-mileage cars.

    You can’t COMMAND a buyer to like only one type of vehicle. Obama believes Americans only want high-mileage cars. BS. If that were true, people would be lining up for Aveos, Cobalts and Malibus. HA!

    Car buyers shop on emotions. Every reader of this blog who signed up for the wait list is VERY emotional about America being energy independant. From what I’ve read, that is far stronger than the opinions about PRICE which now seems to be second now that we are in a recession. Last year, STYLING was more important when they changed the look away from the original concept car. (Again, an emotional response!)

    Car buyers want a vehicle that has STYLING, PERFORMANCE, RELIABILITY, COMFORT, GIZMOS, and now GAS MILEAGE that is far better than anything else in a specific price range.

    Would any of you turn down a Corvette ZR-1 if it were $29,995.00 ??????

    When Obamas “Task Force” gets in there and starts deciding which vehicles and brands to axe, you can be sure it will be the wrong choices for the wrong reasons.


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Wow, he is super nervous…he has picked up his water glass at least 3-4 times and then not taken a drink and just turned around and sat it back down again.

    /dude needs a podium or something


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:38 am)

    #70 statik said:

    Sounds like Fox news is jumping the shark …
    ====================================
    Oh, yes … FoxNews is clearly in its death spiral. (The enemies of a fair and balanced media can only “HOPE” for “CHANGE.”)


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    Bob Armstrong

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:46 am)

    The gov report contained statements that could be (wrongly?) interpreted to mean that GM should cancel the Volt….

    from http://detnews.com/article/20090330/AUTO01/903300425/Government++Volt+can+t+save+GM

    The Chevrolet Volt will not save General Motors Corp., the U.S. government said Monday in its Viability Summary of GM.

    “While the Volt holds promise, it will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short-term,” the report said.

    The electric car “is currently projected to be much more expensive than its gasoline-fueled peers and will likely need substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become commercially viable.”

    The government audit of GM’s restructuring plan suggested the car maker had invested too much time developing the Volt to leap frog Toyota Motor Corp.’s lead in green technologies. Instead of focusing on a car that will not produce a commercial winner out of the gates, GM should focus on producing better smaller cars.


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:47 am)

    FOX business just got their question Tag:

    They asked how much money GM needs now from the interm financing for ‘working capital’, and how much will they need in the future (post the 60 days term).

    Fritz broke out a little salsa move and they moved on.

    …no Volt specific question


  78. 78
    KUD

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:48 am)

    Here is my Question ….

    Why was GM’s CEO fired, but Bankers use our TAX money to pay themselves bonuses, with no one getting fired? After all GM made a lot of mistakes, but the problem was intensified by the Bankers.

    Question 2 How Many GM Bond Holders are Bankers, that are unwilling to renegotiate.


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:01 am)

    #73 CorvetteGuy Says: Would any of you turn down a Corvette ZR-1 if it were $29,995.00 ??????
    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes, I would turn down a ZR-1 even if the going price was $30K. I need more room for people and cargo, and I don’t want a car that gets 15 MPG.


  80. 80
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:05 am)

    #78 KUD Says: Here is my Question ….

    Why was GM’s CEO fired, but Bankers use our TAX money to pay themselves bonuses, with no one getting fired? After all GM made a lot of mistakes, but the problem was intensified by the Bankers.
    ————————————————————————————–
    In this video segment, starting at 2:40
    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/business/2009/03/30/dcl.romans.gm.cnn

    “Well, AIG Ed Liddy, it’s CEO was installed by the Treasury department. Freddie Mac and Fannie May, their CEOs and their management structure installed by the government. Citigroup, you’ll recall, Vikram Pandit is still it’s CEO, but all but 2 of its board members have been told to go, and will be replaced at the behest of the United States government.

    So there is the sort of populist feeling like:
    ‘wait a second, the blue collar auto industry gets this tough love from the administration, but what about the banks – are they just beholden to the banks?’

    Well the banks will tell you there have been a lot of management changes and there are a lot of directives coming down as well. So there hasn’t been a big bank CEO who has been replaced by president Obama, no. But there have been a lot of moves that have been happening none the less. Any maybe we will still see a bank CEO replaced, we don’t know.”


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    DonC

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:06 am)

    #78 KUD – “Why was GM’s CEO fired, but Bankers use our TAX money to pay themselves bonuses, with no one getting fired?”

    Two part Q:

    Q1: Why was Wagoner fired?
    A1: Cause he was CEO for nine years and lost market share every year but was always claiming next year would be better. Not a hard decision.

    Q2: Why the disparate treatment for manufacturers and bankers?
    A2: Very good question. Note the vituperative posts on this board directed towards the UAW buy not the bankers. Go figure. Maybe it’s just easier to kick the deck hands than take on the captain. He/she is, after all, The Captain!


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:09 am)

    #78 KUD Says: Question 2 How Many GM Bond Holders are Bankers, that are unwilling to renegotiate.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Not sure, but you can bet the bondholders are wealthy, so news outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Fox News will try to distract the issue away from the bondholders by bashing the UAW.


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    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:11 am)

    I didn’t see anything inspiring from Fritz. It doesn’t even sound (look) like he wants the reins. When given an opportunity to distinguish his “new leadership” he basically said he and Rick have been attached at the hip for 25 years.

    Friggin’ great.

    Sounds like S.O.S. to me. (either S.O.S. works here)

    P.S. How sad is it when the cornerstone of the plan is “we’ll cover your payments for a few months if you lose your job? *Good grief*.


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:12 am)

    #81 DonC Says: Note the vituperative posts on this board directed towards the UAW but not the bankers. Go figure. Maybe it’s just easier to kick the deck hands than take on the captain. He/she is, after all, The Captain!
    ————————————————————————————–
    Or in this case, they hold the deed to your house.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:17 am)

    #83 carcus1 Says: I didn’t see anything inspiring from Fritz. It doesn’t even sound (look) like he wants the reins.
    ————————————————————————————–
    I actually got the opposite impression. Fritz seems like zero BS, although you do have to know corperate-speak to understand what he is saying. For many questions, his answers were essentially “We don’t know” or “I’m not allowed to tell you that”.


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    Van

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:17 am)

    Rick is the scapegoat, Fritz is the sacrificial lamb. I watched part of his press conference where he dutifully laid out his plan for a plan. It sounded a lot like too little too late with him having to check if this agreement or that action was enough. He had to pretend he is without a clue. Did you see his left arm drop when one of the strings broke. :)


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    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:22 am)

    #85 Dave G.
    “Fritz seems like zero BS, although you do have to know corperate-speak to understand what he is saying. For many questions, his answers were essentially “We don’t know” or “I’m not allowed to tell you that”.”
    ______________________________________________________

    That’s rich.


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    Tim

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:22 am)

    KUD (#78)

    This just points to whom both Obama and Bush REALLY work for and it’s NOT “We, the People”.

    We will NEVER have a sound economy, real wealth, or prosper as long as the unFed exists and we follow that fag, Keynes communist central planning voodoo economics where gov’t can buy anyone they want by inflating and debasing the currency causing everyone else misery.

    The Keynesian model of fiat currency and Statist central planning only works as long as the people and Gov’t borrows, spends and runs up debt. Now we’re out of credit and increasing central planning and spending because politicians have NO self-control and are only limited to a sound fiscal policy by a gold standard where they can NOT print debt instruments (counterfeiting) to buy votes.

    What happens to us when the $Dollar collapses?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

    It’s the “golden” rule… those who print the fiat currency, make the rules. Neither Congress, nor the Chairman have any REAL power as long as the Fed controls the money supply. You can’t fix you addiction with MORE of what you are addicted to!

    It’s about time we Audit the FED:

    Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBkHyHYRuE

    We fiddle for the Volt while our currency, our freedom and our nation sinks beneath the waves. FOOLS!


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    StevenU

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:25 am)

    Lyle: I hope you keep Bob Lutz’ email address as I would like to hear his opinions as things progress.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:31 am)

    Bottom line is these guys can say whatever they want, but if the company is not around in a year, the Volt isn’t either. Hearing them talk about “common sense and intelligence prevailing” is laughable coming from these guys and what they did to the company.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Phucks news -gimme a break!


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    Tim

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Innas and NOAX to Show Hydraulic Series Hybrid Drivetrain at Hannover Messe

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/

    If GM is broken up into separate companies in a bankruptcy, the E-REVs will STILL survive and have a BETTER chance of becoming a success without all the GM baggage. The cars many not say “Volt” on the nameplate, but is THAT what’s really important?

    However, if a product can only exist because of a consumer environment produced via central planning, what happens when administrations change and therefore so does public policy? The market must WANT the product at the price point offered for it to have long-term viability.

    Ideology (propaganda) vs. Ideas, free market competition innovation & growth


  93. 93
    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:48 am)

    Americans are still buying massive Hummers and Suburbans and Escalades like cold hotcakes. Why? Because they don’t look so obese next to and in them. I live in a new urbanist development where the full size SUVs visually dominate the houses (thanks to good house architecture and siting) which makes the the porky full size SUVs look as ridiculous as they really are, since they are rarely or never used to haul much or tow anything and usually have only a driver and maybe one passenger.

    How did automakers get oversized SUVs that use 1940′s technology to be so profitable (= charge more than it costs to make them)? Marketing. So I look to proper marketing as the solution to move to electric drive and get profits from it. There’s a place in some residential driveways for small pickup trucks and small SUVs (mostly for folks in the countryside – dirt roads more than a mile long with winter weather) – they can use electric drive, too. I’m surprised no one has converted a Ford Escape hybrid small SUV into a pickup truck yet. Big commercial vehicle vehicles are just that – things that come with commercial licenses. Folks that truly need them are in business and have them as company vehicles. Think heavy duty diesel, for efficiency and proper torque and power.

    Time for a general improved diet, both for ourselves and our automobiles, for health and improved quality of life which, by the way, saves us money, too.

    Instead of 65k on an old technology monster land bruiser (yes, some full size SUVs really cost that) that uses it’s full capabilities less than 1% of the time, why not spend 65k on white hot, cutting edge technology instead? Once you feel the torque and hear the turbine like whine of electric drive, you won’t go back to herky, jerky pregnant pause at the start, no power at the bottom and flat at the top of each gear pure gassers. If you want to go off roading properly, I recommend one of the several very high performance, low cost (= gasser price up front, but lower fuel, operating and maintenance costs after the purchase) off road electric motorcycles now available.


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    kent beuchert

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:05 am)

    It’s hard to explain why that task force made so many bizarre claims. The idea that GM is “one generation behind” in terms of hybrids
    is rather pointless. GM has plenty of hybrids and those are actually leading the segment, not following. GM doesn’t have a money-loser like the Prius, but if your focus is on GM’s finances, why would you worry about that? Did that team actually know that GM has a hybrid powertain available? I certainly don’t see a lot of other hybrids on the market and a lot of those companies are doing quite well. The insanity of Obama is that he’s trying to push the nutty idea that Gm can prosper by building small, low-profit vehicles. And not build many of them. He wants high tech but then claims the highest tech car on the planet won’t work. Someone fix Obama’s teleprompter again. He’s talking without a script, and we all know what happens
    next. He’ll probably accidentally declare war on some country.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:13 am)

    IM(professional)O Fritz looked like a eunuch puppet. Hmmm, or puppet eunuch….
    Hold on,
    Tag


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Blah Blah Blah….
    Yak Yak Yak…

    Just build my Volt Dangit!!!
    Chap whatever or Nationally owned, I don’t give a shlt. I just want my EV/EREV.

    No Power Windows
    No Power Adjust Seats
    No Power Side view mirrors
    No Power Sunroof (Actually No Sunroof at all)
    No Power Door Locks
    No Power Trunk lock
    No Radio (Remember that fiasco? – Get an iPod)
    No Heated Seats
    No OnStar!!!

    Make the garbage I listed, but another mans treasure, an “Upgrade” for those who want these creature comforts.

    Standard Features:
    AC
    Heater
    Defogger Front/Rear

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:23 am)

    They must be having a huge party at Toyota (obvious segue for John the Worshiper).
    Be well,
    Tag

    Let’s just get the Volt in production…..?


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    DonC

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:26 am)

    Tagamet — Did you not take those meds you were sending to statik? LOL

    I think you should read the PTF report for yourself. The report was essentially a justification of why the GM plan failed to prove viability. There were several sections, including one about CAFE standards. In that section the point was made that GM had fallen behind on hybrid technology and that the Volt, while promising, would not be commercially viable in the short run.

    This seemed right on to me. GM has fallen short on hybrids and the Volt, while a terrific technology, will sell at too high a price and at too small a volume initially to make an appreciable impact on either its bottom line or on oil demand. However, like Lutz says, unless you have generation one you don’t ever get to generation two.

    But I saw a lot of comments about “taking aim at the Volt” and so forth that I didn’t see. But you can decide for yourself. I posted the link to the report in the last thread. I think in this case reading the original document is better than the alternative of relying on other people’s interpretation of the document.

    Be well.

    PS: I’m loving the “John the Worshiper” moniker. LOL


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:27 am)

    They must be having a huge party at Toyota
    ________________________

    With an outcome that results in a cost-competitive Volt, u betcha!

    The want all along was a real competitor, something “nicely under $30,000” that would help quickly propel us away from dirty guzzlers. The 40/40 Volt simple didn’t meet that objective. A new more competitive configuration would… which is what has been asked for on behalf of the tax payers.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:30 am)

    I’m loving the “John the Worshiper” moniker. LOL
    ______________________

    The Prius chatters have called my the high “Priust”, preaching about how things will be once we finally move beyond the priustoric times.


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    D

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:32 am)

    EV Owner, #93- lol

    carcus 1 #35 -”2. Aptera has apparently increased the battery size (from 10-13 kwh to 17-22 kwh) with no increase in range.” this may or may not be bad news, apart from up-front cost. Larger pack Probably extends battery longevity a couple or three times, a la gm-volt ‘s strategy for extended life.Slender Aptera still speeding along at 10mi/kwh………..?


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    Bruce

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:50 am)

    #73 CorvetteGuy
    “The American Auto Industry is doomed because Obama doesn’t get it. He wants to wave his mighty hand and dictate to all Americans to buy ONLY hybrids and/or high-mileage cars.”

    Well there’s a solution to that. You can be a car company and make WHATEVER cars you like. You can hire/fire who you want and pay people what you want. All you have to do is support yourself and not take handouts from the the government to survive. Its called running a self sustainable and profitable business plan!

    Unfortunately when you take money from someone else, they now have a say in your business whether you like it or not.


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    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:51 am)

    #73 Corvette Guy says “Would any of you turn down a Corvette ZR-1 if it were $29,995.00 ?”
    —————————————————-

    Please reserve one for me :)


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    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Boy, you guys are all over the place today. Kinda glad I am keeping out of the fray to some extent. Go get ‘em.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:54 am)

    GM doesn’t have a money-loser like the Prius
    ______________________

    Sadly, they have for many years. It’s called Saturn. That entire brand always struggled to turn profit from the product itself and depended heavily upon financing to make up the difference… which is why with the credit collapse they want to discontinue that brand.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:54 am)

    @Corvette Guy 73

    “Would any of you turn down a Corvette ZR-1 if it were $29,995.00 ?”

    YES!
    But I would like the last Camaro (V8 Model) that rolls off the line when they go under. Where’s that waiting list?
    =oP


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    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:58 am)

    #24 statik said
    Again, it doesn’t matter what their (PTFoA) opinion is on the Volt. They are doing their job, they are just going to file a report. If GM gets the bondholders/UAW to capitulate, or if the gov’t pushes them through a GSB…the will of the executive will certainly keep the Volt program alive (imo).
    ————————————————

    With greatest respect, I think your forecast may lack sufficient detail on the time line. Yes, if Obama wants the Volt, it will continue to exist in the long term. But no, because Obama only talks about GM in moments of crisis [moments of TV :) ].

    So for the next 60 days Fritz is going to do all he can to satisfy the viability monitors. He is going to follow their “suggestions” in their report as best he can. While the “viabiliters” view of the Volt long term is unknown, in the short term they certainly see Volt as unproductive. So Fritz is going to make no new commitments to Volt in this time period. That is, GM will build some prototypes and otherwise go into a holding period (imo).


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    Bob Lutz: Volt will survive and prosper | Only Hybrids

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:00 pm)

    [...] [Source: GM-Volt.com] [...]


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    noel park

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    Well I think it’s all been said here, probably about 1000 times. I guess we just have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Best of luck to all of us. It looks like we’re gonna need it.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:16 pm)

    Tag

    NO ONE IS LISTENING

    Be Well.


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    #107 RB said:

    With greatest respect, I think your forecast may lack sufficient detail on the time line. Yes, if Obama wants the Volt, it will continue to exist in the long term. But no, because Obama only talks about GM in moments of crisis [moments of TV ].

    So for the next 60 days Fritz is going to do all he can to satisfy the viability monitors. He is going to follow their “suggestions” in their report as best he can. While the “viabiliters” view of the Volt long term is unknown, in the short term they certainly see Volt as unproductive. So Fritz is going to make no new commitments to Volt in this time period. That is, GM will build some prototypes and otherwise go into a holding period (imo).
    ==========
    I think I understand what you are saying here. And yes, I didn’t put any timeline in there.

    I also agree that Fritz will likely make no new commitments to the Volt in the next 60 days…in fact I am of the opinion that GM has made no commitments since november, in fact all they have done is cancelled commitments…and then tried to give the impression something is still going on by keeping busy, ‘testing’ and endlessly repeating that it is on schedule. (Although the looming deadline makes them seem more and more comical with each day)

    I assume from the PTFoA’s report on the Volt, that it will be certainly be put on the table for termination by Fritz at the government’s discretion in the next couple weeks (along with anything else that would secure the government’s backing)…and at that point the PTF (knowing Obama’s position on EVs) would confer back with the executive on the fate of the project.

    To be fair, Obama could still back away from the Volt and use the economy and the state of GM as a excuse, just as easy as he did for…several other projects.

    /political will is like building on shifting stand


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    DonC

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    #100 john1710a says “The Prius chatters have called my the high “Priust”, preaching about how things will be once we finally move beyond the priustoric times.”

    That one is even better! Very funny. Was the “Priust” invited to the Detroit unveiling?


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    #96 CaptJackSparrow Says:
    No Power Windows
    No Power Adjust Seats
    No Power Side view mirrors
    No Power Sunroof (Actually No Sunroof at all)
    No Power Door Locks
    No Power Trunk lock
    No Radio (Remember that fiasco? – Get an iPod)
    No Heated Seats
    No OnStar!!!

    ————————————————————————————–
    For each of these features, there has to be a bang for buck analysis to see if leaving it out saves any money. In other words, if you offer something as an option, you have to support that as an option, which costs money. Also, if you leave out some of these options, like power windows, then you have to design another alternative. So let’s look at each of these features with this in mind:

    • Power Windows – This should be standard. A manual window opener probably wouldn’t save that much money, and it would require a whole new door panel design.

    • Power Adjust Seats – Make this an option.

    • Power Side view mirrors – Make it standard. You need to be able to adjust these somehow, and aerodynamics dictates a hard mount mirror enclosure.

    • Power Sunroof – Any sunroof should be an option.

    • Power Door Locks – I suspect it’s more toruble than its worth to design in a manual door lock option.

    • Power Trunk lock – Same as power door locks.

    • Radio – An AM radio is required by law. That’s still how emergiency alerts are broadcast. A basic radio/CD player is pretty cheap these days. The Bose energy saving version for the Volt may be overkill for standard equiptment.

    • Heated Seats – This could actually save money in the Volt by allowing a smaller electric heater unit.

    • OnStar!!! – Optional equiptment.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:26 pm)

    DonC
    If I take the meds, I can’t READ the report!

    jeffhre
    I think we’ll all be listening when the Pres completes the plan by hiking gas taxes to MAKE the roller skates the only game in town.
    Be well too,
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    #111 statik (and RB) says “To be fair, Obama could still back away from the Volt and use the economy and the state of GM as a excuse, just as easy as he did for…several other projects.”

    I don’t know what other projects you’re referring to (Air Marine One, the White House remodel?). In any event, since one of the requirements that the PTF put forth for the Chrylser-Fiat deal is a fuel efficient car manufactured in the US, I’m having a hard time seeing why anyone thinks the PTF, or the President for that matter, would want to cancel the Volt. But that may just be me.

    FWIW, Michael Jackson, he head of AutoNation who has always impressed me, has flatly said that the PTF report “completely nailed it”. When I read the report I couldn’t find anything to disagree with. In fact, it seemed like it echoed the position of that economics professor from Maryland who testified at the congressional hearings last November. Essentially the restructuring plan didn’t go far enough and the steps weren’t going to be taken fast enough. In a sense, it was a reflection of Wagoner’s tenure. Sometimes the right direction. But too little too late.

    I’ll also go out on a limb and say that anything that anything identified by the PTF as a short term problem is not a problem as far as the members of the PTF are concerned. Obama is not a short term thinker. If he is to be faulted it would be that he ignores the short term when concentrating on the long term. Does it really matter if the Volt will not be a commercial success in the short term? I don’t think so, and I don’t think the members of the PTF think so either.


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    Jim in PA

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    Oh man, Obama’s folks (and Prius fanatics) have their heads up their butts with the whole cost viability argument. The Volt will be a technologically advanced and unique automobile. It is complete leapfrog over the Prius. It doesn’t have to pay for itself or be cheaper if it has other allure that buyers gravitate to (i.e. fascinating and exciting technology). Car buyers almost NEVER select their car based entirely on cost considerations. Often lost in this discussion is that a Prius also does not pay for itself over a cheaper fuel efficient alternative with a conventional ICE.

    People don’t expect a payback when they buy ANYTHING near $30,000. Once you break out of the $20,000 range you are buying based on pure taste and desire. I am at my wits end trying to figure out why people don’t get this. The Volt is viable if people want it and will buy it, whether it has cheaper competition or not.


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    stas peterson

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    GM already is fourth or fifth in auto employment even though they are first or second in building vehicles in the world.

    If volume return to even a sub par year, their profits will snowball. I expect that their further round of capacity reductions will make the overall future profitability spectacular.

    As for Chrysler, I think it is destined to be broken up and the parts absorbed. I just wonder if the government will loan money to Ford and GM to purchase the parts of Chrysler that they would be able to buy at pennies on the dollar if they were to try to duplicate the investment.

    And there are attractive factories and facilities much more than vehicles. The Minivans and Jeep are the vehicles, but the I4 capacity and GEMA factories, the phoenix v6 and their new factories along the lines of GEMA, perhaps the RWD drive large car designs based on respected Mercedes designs and well sorted out and improved in the LY, are all worth something to both Ford and GM. As is the Cumin’s new T2B5 truck diesels to get them by the 2011 “interim” CAFE truck standards that they both can’t meet. Since both deferred developing mid size truck diesels, to save money.

    In all this discussion of converting debt to equity I have a question.

    Will the government ALSO accept something like callable, non cumulative, senior, preferred equity after the debt holder’s debt is converted and extinguished?
    The amount of government debt will be a significant portion of the debt/equity relationship, to produce a clean balance sheet.


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    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    My question to you is: In two or three years when the movie “Who Killed the Volt Electric Car?” comes out, who will actually get the blame?


  119. 119
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:44 pm)

    Obama has stated several times (in not so many words) that people are not buying American cars because they are the wrong kind of cars; i.e.; low-mileage gas guzzlers – which is only partially true.

    Mercedes, BMW, Lexus are still selling cars, aren’t they?

    People are not buying right now because:
    a) they are unemployed or under-employed and cannot afford them, or
    b) they are afraid that they soon will be unemployed or under employed.

    It has little to do with the price of gas. People will still buy Chevy, Ford and Dodge trucks because they NEED them. And they need them at an affordable price. If any one here wants a HYBRID Silverado truck, they are available. But just like the HYBRID Tahoe, Chevrolet loaded them up with too many options and the price is too high.

    Obama wants to dictate that all vehicles be HYBRID or Electric. Hey. I’m all for it. But until people can afford them (get banks loaning money again), and people’s perceptions about hybrid reliability changes, these cars and trucks will just sit until the rebates get big enough to offset peoples fears.


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    Dave G

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    #111 statik Says: To be fair, Obama could still back away from the Volt and use the economy and the state of GM as a excuse, just as easy as he did for…several other projects.

    /political will is like building on shifting stand
    ————————————————————————————–
    Obama has been pretty consistent and unwavering when it comes to his core issues:
    • Economy
    • Energy
    • Education
    • Health Care

    What’s more, Obama has consistently reminded us that these issues are inter-related.

    Transcript from Obama’s announcement yesterday:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/us/politics/30obama-text.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
    “I am absolutely committed to working with Congress and the auto companies to meet one goal: The United States of America will lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars.”


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    @ Dave G 113

    • Power Windows – This should be standard. A manual window opener probably wouldn’t save that much money, and it would require a whole new door panel design.
    Nope. This adds weight as well as addirional electrical systems and contact points that WILL fail at one point due to use and corrosion of contact points. Most “Roll up” window designs have an axial rotation to to a gear that in turn raises and lowers the window. Adding power adds the DC motor as well as a 5 or 10 to 1 ratio gearhead to amplfy torque. A Power window adds another piece of possible electrical failure. I hace seen switches stick in the “On” or “Flapping” causeing power drain. Again, If it aint there it won’t break. Besides, what is less expensive to fis, a broken handle or a Gearhead motor? If you can’t engineer KISS don’t engineer.

    • Power Adjust Seats – Make this an option.
    We Concurr. Again, If it aint there it won’t break.

    • Power Side view mirrors – Make it standard. You need to be able to adjust these somehow, and aerodynamics dictates a hard mount mirror enclosure.
    I can see your point in that so I’m on the edge with this but, Again, If it aint there it won’t break.

    • Power Sunroof – Any sunroof should be an option.
    We Concurr. Again, If it aint there it won’t break, in this case Leak.

    • Power Door Locks – Not sure about this. I suspect it’s more toruble than its worth to design in a manual door lock option.
    Quit being Lazy. REAL MEN OPEN DOORS FOR LADIES.

    • Power Trunk lock – Same as power door locks.
    See response to “Power Windows”. There are many designs that DO NOT use electricity. Using Power locks require electric Solenoids or again maybe some small gearhead motors. Again, If it aint there it won’t break

    • Radio – An AM radio is required by law. That’s still how emergiency alerts are broadcast. A basic radio/CD player is pretty cheap these days. The Bose energy saving version for the Volt may be overkill for standard equiptment.
    You said it. The Bose thing they spent so much R&D money on is too “Proprietarily OVERKILL!”. Can anyone come up with the cost of this thing? That fiasco was a joke.

    • Heated Seats – This could actually save money in the Volt by allowing a smaller electric heater unit.
    I recall the arguments on this in giving the “Felling” of warmth as opposed to the heater running. However, in keeping with KISS remember, this is an electrical part that is designed to warm up and we all know that heat is the enemy of electrical lengevity. It also requires additional electronics to monitor it to prevent thermal runaway as well as adjust for thermal “Best Performance” to achieve the heat and will need a switch to turn it on /off. Whether the switch be mechanical or electronic (probaly mech) there is again a possibility of failure. Again, If it aint there it won’t break

    • OnStar!!! – Optional equiptment.
    We concurr on this.

    Most everything will require some sensors on top of them to ensure it’s “Status”.
    There’s a lot of reasons to “Have” and there are a lot of reasons to “Not Have”. But in time you will find that too many xtras, no matter how small, will fail and that’s where the bad stigma comes from when people say “knobs keep falling of an blah blah stopped working…”

    Again, If it aint there it won’t break
    KISS….

    Keep
    It
    Simple
    Stupid


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    Voltair

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:50 pm)

    #105 john1701a
    Sadly, they have [had a money loser] for many years. It’s called Saturn.
    ________________________
    Saturn is one of those lost opportunties for GM. GM basically stopped investing in Saturn in the mid 1990′s. This was echoed by Saturn engineers who, at the time, only had to physically point at the condition and staffing of their facilities and compared to how much the “truck guys” were getting. Trucks were hugely successful for a period of time, but what GM needed was to maintain some level of small-car capability like they have in Europe, just in case. GM built what most US consumers wanted, but failed on contingency plans.

    BTW: Based on the limited benchmarking we did on the first generation Prius, it was a really expensive car to build. I say that Toyota is one generation ahead with hybrids because they have had a full generation to get the cost of the existing technology down to a commercially viable program.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    # 109 Noel Park

    I think you have summed it up. God help us, especially in (if I remember correctly) our mutual home state of California.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    #119 CorvetteGuy Says: People will still buy Chevy, Ford and Dodge trucks because they NEED them.
    ————————————————————————————–
    I disagree. Most soccer-moms want an SUV because they wouldn’t be caught dead in a minivan or station wagon. Let’s face it, SUVs were a kind a fashion craze.

    Yes, there are some people that actually use an SUV or pickup for what it was designed to do, and I don’t fault them. But from what I’ve seen, these people are the exception rather than the rule.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:53 pm)

    Tag

    I think we’re all exhausted from the announcements when each each new one seems like a crisis within an ongoing tempest. Every new announcement seems like the straw that breaks the camels back. But we never stop gaping at, analyzing and commenting on the continuing train wreck!


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    @Dave G 124

    “Yes, there are some people that actually use an SUV or pickup for what it was designed to do. But from what I’ve seen, these people are the exception rather than the rule.”

    Amen to that!!!!
    I pass by parks on the weekend where little league plays and soccer and 80% of the cars are big SUV’s and 4Door Crew cab Pickups. The only ones that get into a Sedan are the Grandparents that went to go watch the games. The rest pack the one or two kids into the car and one bag of gear or Stroller in the car. And you need a Tahoe/Expidetion/F150 Crew/Armada for this?
    More obsurd is these are recreation leagues which means they live only 5 miles away at the most. Sheeeshh!


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (12:59 pm)

    Ok, ok….hideous error to mention Obama and anything but flawless perfection. I really don’t care one bit about the political scorecard at all. I take it all back…a thousand apologies, I fall on the sword.

    Obama or not, my point is political will changes depending on the priorities/morals of the day…and it does so quite often, and therefore it is hard to predict where their ‘head will be’ in the future

    When it comes to large corporations the will is always the same…profit, so it is much easier to make educated guesses.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:00 pm)

    I’ve asked it before. Why can’t GM make an equivalent to the Honda Insight? 4 door, 45MPG, $19k, with Honda quality and reliability? This car is going to be an enormous seller.

    Build a car like the Insight and that is the vehicle the would save GM, not a $37k Volt.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    [...] [Source: GM-Volt.co&#109] [...]


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    @Bruce 128

    “Why can’t GM make an equivalent to the Honda Insight?”

    Because that’s wht GM lacked… “Insight”. As well as Foresight of the market.
    He||, their product advertising sucks a$$ too. Not many people even know what the Volt is.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:06 pm)

    #23, Huzzah!! I hope the Volt survives. But its engineering and design should drive GM forward not career politians looking for the next handout and entitlement to back.

    Give me a smelly gas lovin’ truck and sports car than a smelly little car that is no fun to drive. Don;t hate gas/oil. Diss the terrorist countries that produce it and drill for our own! Give Americans a choice. Electric or gas. We should be able to choose what we want not be told.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    Is it me or is the edit not working?
    Dang, If I don’t get moderated, I can’t edit my lame a$$ typing.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    Hmm…
    Edit worked in FireFox…….


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    jeffhre

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    Bruce 128

    I believe GM can, but it would take several generations of refinement and the GM process is not the best at this type of follow through, plus they’d be shooting for a moving target. The first insight was a brilliant leap of manufacturing which few ever heard of and even fewer bought. Would GM stick with the program if it wasn’t a hit right out of the box? Now that gas prices are lower and big cars are back would GM even try if they had the money to invest? The will is not there.

    It would take one heck of a massive effort to get it to 19k and you could guarantee the market will have changed by that point. This size car is Honda’s bread and butter so it makes sense for them to plug away till they get it right, even while they keep improving the next (moving target) version.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:09 pm)

    #111 Statik

    “I assume from the PTFoA’s report on the Volt, that it will be certainly be put on the table for termination by Fritz at the government’s discretion in the next couple weeks (along with anything else that would secure the government’s backing)…and at that point the PTF (knowing Obama’s position on EVs) would confer back with the executive on the fate of the project.”
    —————————

    In my opinion, if GM kills the Volt then they are as good as dead in my view. They don’t have anything else to really offer the people on this site who are looking for a way away from petroleum use. I believe it would turn most of us completely off GM products. I still would want to buy an American vehicle next, but I would just switch to buying a Ford. And I am not a Ford customer. Only owned one Ford and that was my first one. But, they make some damn good vehicles now – just like GM. But I would be an ex-customer to GM.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    To add to my last comment: I had been waiting for the convertible Camaro to come out to really take a good look at it. I had in the back of my mind to swap out my 2009 Honda Accord for the Camaro. I have been wanting to buy another convertible now for several years but did not want to buy one from the companies currently producing them. I wanted a Chevy convertible. My last convertible was a Chevrolet (about 10 or 12 years ago). My first convertible was a 1967 Buick and it was a real beauty.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:19 pm)

    So here a reason you will need a higher mileage car in CA…

    Google this: autobloggreen half-of-california-gas-stations-could-be-forced-to-close-for-fai/

    Looks like if at the end of 2009 Gas stations that don’t meet the upgrade requirements, they will be shut down.

    Wow! $11,000.00 per pump. Holy crapola!

    Dang moderation of URL’s….


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:20 pm)

    Sorry in advance if my post repeats, I was trying to “Circumvent” the URL moderations.

    =oP


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    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    #114 Tagamet

    “I think we’ll all be listening when the Pres completes the plan by hiking gas taxes to MAKE the roller skates the only game in town.”
    —————————–

    And when he does, the media and a large portion of the general population will just ooh and aah all over it. He will be praised for his forward looking strategy to remove us from the evil oil barons. When you can walk on water, nothing is impossible.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    Was the “Priust” invited to the Detroit unveiling?
    ________________________

    Yup! And here’s a downloadable document containing the best photos I was able to take at our hands-on experience… http://john1701a.com/prius/prius-2010_introduction.htm


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    Tim

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:22 pm)

    Here ya go, CaptJackSparrow:

    Half of California gas stations could be forced to close for failing to install new nozzles

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/31/half-of-california-gas-stations-could-be-forced-to-close-for-fai/

    Statists HATE competition… any competition.


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    Timaaayyy!!!

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:25 pm)

    Great to see GM heading towards being a vehicle company again, instead of a finance company.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:38 pm)

    N.Reily
    He can’t really walk on water (but he does know where the rocks are). I can’t imagine anyone but the most rabid treehugger ohhhing or Ahhhing about $4 gasoline – unless of course Barney charges it all to “the rich”. That would work, until we run out of their money….
    Be well,
    Tag


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    #137 CaptJackSparrow

    Here is the link you referred to. It is down on the page – second story.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/31/half-of-california-gas-stations-could-be-forced-to-close-for-fai/


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:49 pm)

    I’m sure it’s no different than the Prius when it first came out, in that the Prius was very expensive, right? (I think I was a sophomore in High School when it was released, lol)


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (1:53 pm)

    #143 Zach

    The Prius is still pretty expensive for the size car you get for the money you have to pay. Average price of the Priuses I have seen on dealer lots run about $27,500. That is against other cars its size for about $16,000 to $17,000. Granted, the Prius gives you a good bit for the money you pay and the 2010 model will up that some more. I was and still am impressed by the Prius. But, I would rather purchase the Volt or the Ford Fusion hybrid.


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    voltfail

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:06 pm)

    GAME OVER GM


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:24 pm)

    #110 jeffhre:

    Puts me in the mind of one of my favorite Dylan songs, “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”:

    “There’s ten thousand whispering and nobody listening.”

    #114 Tagamet & #138 N Riley:

    Get ready for it. It’s gonna have to happen.

    #115 Don C:

    Very thoughtful. Thank you.

    #120 Dave G:

    Also very thoughtful. Thank you too.

    #123 ccombs:

    Yup, 60+ years in the LA Basin, and just don’t know any better. Thanks for your kind words.

    #128 Bruce:

    Amen. Although, from what I’ve seen, good luck getting an Insight for 19K. More like 22K to actually get your hands on one.

    Lots of constructive and thoughtful comments today bloggers. Very impressive under these trying circumstances. All credit to you.


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    Ryan P.

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    #73 Corvette Guy:
    …Would any of you turn down a Corvette ZR-1 if it were $29,995.00 ??????…

    YES, I WOULD! IN A FREAKIN’ “HEARTBEAT” !
    WHO NEEDS A MONSTER LIKE THAT TO PICK UP DOG FOOD AT THE GROCERY?


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    ChevySales

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    >CaptJack
    >Dave

    It’s true. A soccer mom doesn’t really need a Tahoe or Suburban or Escalade for ‘space’ reasons. As the husband of one of those soccer moms, I can say that it did take $3.90 per gallon gas to convince her to trade down. As I mentioned earlier, people buy for emotional reasons: Soccer moms convince themselves that their children are safer riding in a larger vehicle (emotion); having a bigger, nicer vehicle than what the other kid’s mom has is an important factor to the soccer mom (emotion); making their husbands pay for a vehicle that is appropriate compensation for their mother/wife duties is always gong to be there.

    When I talk about truck sales, I’m talking about hard-working-blue- collar-beer-drinkin’-when-my-shift-is-over truck buyers. Those guys are NOT interested in hybrid anything.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:49 pm)

    #146 Noel Park

    I don’t doubt that it will happen with our current political climate. When it does the old saying that “California leads the nation” will ring even more true. Just look at the sad state of California from economics to environmental to some pretty stupid regulations. I really don’t want to see the rest of the nation follow California down the rat hole it is fast swirling down. That is not the type of leading the nation I yearn for. I know, I know. California is a GREAT state. It also has many, many unsolvable problems with the current political climate found to reside there.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:55 pm)

    Jim in PA 116

    Unfortunately viable is not doing the right thing, the best thing or the thing that is game changing and we would all love to see it.

    Viable is simply taking pencil to paper based on what has been invested + will be invested from what will be earned, based on current conditions. No matter how correct I think investing in the Volt would be, I can’t change that it won’t pull net income for GM in the time frames noted.

    Even if folks buy it en masse, if GM loses money at expected retail price, for every unit sold for the first four years, none of my hopes and dreams will make it viable through 2016, bottom line.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:58 pm)

    #148 ChevySales

    “When I talk about truck sales, I’m talking about hard-working-blue- collar-beer-drinkin’-when-my-shift-is-over truck buyers. Those guys are NOT interested in hybrid anything.”
    —————————–

    And those type of guys are going to be there 5, 10 or 20 years from now no matter what the rest of us hybrid loving guys think. They will be an important part of GM’s recovery. Especially if GM can get the mileage up another 20 to 25% and reduce the cost of the trucks at the same time. There will always be a big, big need for full-sized trucks and SUVs. I don’t care what any one says. That market is not going away any time soon. And all you “tax gasoline so high that only the rich can afford to drive and then there will be plenty of parking places at the mall” types can keep on hoping that will happen. I don’t see that happening any time soon. Sure, the cost of gasoline will go up because of the cost of crude. But, these congressmen and senators don’t get elected by the smaller number of people who want large taxes on fuels. They get elected by the millions of hard working guys and gals who want full-sized cars, vans, trucks and SUVs to drive and haul their families around. Raise their taxes like that and they will not forget it come election time. IMO.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:58 pm)

    #120 Dave G notes Obama’s statement:
    “I am absolutely committed to working with Congress and the auto companies to meet one goal: The United States of America will lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars.”
    ——————————————————–

    It is soaring language. He says it well and impressively. Going from this high statement to specific lower-level actions is like hopping off a high stage on to the floor below — you think you can but sometimes a nasty bump happens. That is, my interpretation of the statement is that Obama favors the Volt project for the longer term, but he really does not exactly say that. It could mean he favors another kind of hybrid, more like Toyota, or that his thinking is just more “in general”.

    My interpretation of Obama’s intent is in contrast to the actual text of the viability report, which specifically notes that the Volt is non-positive for GM in the short/medium term and says nothing about the long term. I’d take that as negative, at least for now.

    So, if I were at GM in the position of having to decide what to do next to make the government happy (as Fritz is and I am glad I am not), I think I would wait to make any new commitments to the Volt until the guidance is a bit more specific. But I would not cancel Volt or do anything overtly negative. That is, I think I agree with statik :)


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    Herm

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    Not sure but I think Toyota is making a killing on the Prius, it should not be an expensive car to make since it replaces an automatic transmission, the starter and the alternator with their synergy system. Two motors, control electronics, small geared device and a battery pack cant be much more expensive than what was replaced.

    The 2010 Prius is already ready to be fitted with a plug-in battery pack. The only limitation is a max speed of 60mph in all electric mode.. they could provide a plug-in instantly if the market demanded it.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    RYAN P

    I use the ZR-1 as an example of one of the highest quality, best performing Chevrolets ever built. Until the VOLT comes out, I would say with confidence that the ZR-1 is the highest VALUE for the dollar that GM has ever built. And, as some of you have noted, NOBODY NEEDS A ZR-1. However, customers who plunk down $125 large (or more) do it for emotional reasons.

    Now, if GM doesn’t do a better job of promoting the VOLT (SELL THE SIZZLE!) then even if it is superior to all other hybrids out there, it will be a loser. Perception is reality.

    EREV or VOLTEC by itself is not enough to sell these cars in big volumes. The public needs to be excited about it, and right now, most of them have never heard of the VOLT.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    #154 Chevysales: Agreed, GM has to sell the sizzle!

    Others: Would everyone just…. STOP… mentioning… Obama!

    This is a Vehicle site. If ya wanna talk politics go to
    whitehouse dot gov

    WE TALK ABOUT THE VOLT HERE!


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    The batteries have been the key. Is battery technology there? GM understands batteries. GM seems confident in the batteries. Wrapping a good package around good batteries will create the future. I wish the Volt program luck to go with their skills.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:06 pm)

    #151 N. Riley on how truck people will be there for years to come.
    ——————————————–

    I completely agree.
    I am one of them.
    (It is true that most of us have more than one vehicle in the family.)


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    Jaime

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:12 pm)

    ““When I talk about truck sales, I’m talking about hard-working-blue- collar-beer-drinkin’-when-my-shift-is-over truck buyers. Those guys are NOT interested in hybrid anything.”

    Why would these guys want to spend more than they have to on gas? Is its some badge of honor to say, yep I get 12MPG in my truck, yesirreee. I think you underestimate people. All things being equal, you’d have to be a complete moron not to choose a more economical option. If nothing else for you own pocketbook.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:20 pm)

    Anybody know if Fritz Henderson’s comments today are available anywhere? I see clips here and there, but I’d like to see the whole thing straight through.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:23 pm)

    #158 Jamie says “All things being equal, you’d have to be a complete moron not to choose a more economical option. If nothing else for you own pocketbook.”
    ———————————————–

    We all make choices. Some of us like trucks.

    (I’d like to have a truck that got more mpg, but that’s not the same as saying I want a better mpg so much I’d give up the truck.)


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:28 pm)

    #158 Jaime

    You obviously do not understand truck lovers. They like their trucks not for the low mileage. Damn, man. Every truck owner would love to get 60 MPG. But, have you really looked at a lot of trucks you see at Walmart or Target. Sure, some of them look like passenger cars. All shiny and new looking. But that is really just a sissy assed truck. Not a real world working truck. Most of the guys and gals I know drive a truck because they have tools, boxes, all sorts of things to carry to and from work-site to work-site. If the tools and such aren’t just thrown in the bed, they are stored in a tool box or a big tool chest in the bed. Having a nanny-panny Toyota Camry or Honda Civic to drive would not do for these people.

    And there are those that just love trucks. They don’t need a truck every day (me included), but it sure does come in handy at Home Depot or Lowes.

    Jaime, you just need to get out and smell some diesel and grease for awhile. Maybe you will learn something about truck owners.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    #159 RB

    Thanks to Statik

    “Of interest (and perhaps on topic with Volt surival information):

    Fritz Henderson (newly minted CEO) will be taking to the microphone to ‘Discuss Announcements Made By President Obama’ @ 10AM this morning, if you care to watch it, here is the link:”

    http://gmtv.feedroom.com/?fr_story=9e40d5175d757a342d3c22d827c272010a1fa9a8

    EDITED: Well the link takes you there, but for some reason when I click on play it says it is loading but never starts playing. May work OK for you.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    #155 Ryan P:

    God send that it shall be true! Alas, too much to hope for IMHO.


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    ChevySales

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    Jaime

    My point (maybe poorly stated) is that our new administration has been touting hybrids and electrics as the ONLY solution to the auto industry problems, and I disagree.

    Chevy now has a Hybrid Silverado that has had ZERO interest by customers on the lot. If all trucks are required to be built that way by the new “Task Force”, then GM/Chevrolet truck sales have just been eliminated.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    N Riley

    Well said.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    @Dave G 120 Obama’s statement:
    “I am absolutely committed to working with Congress and the auto companies to meet one goal: The United States of America will lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars.”

    So Congress and the Auto companies are mentioned that needs to be worked with. Notice something missing?????……….UAW.

    @N. Riley 151 on how truck people will be there for years to come.
    Ditto. I want a PickemupTruck EREV……yeeehaw!

    @ThombDbhomb 157
    ” Is battery technology there? ”
    Yup. Before, they claimed the Lead Acid batteries were not sufficient. Then came NiCad that was better than LA and still they say was not sufficient. Then came NiMH and yup, once again they said it was STILL not ready although EV-1 worked. Then the battery patent was sold. WTF? Now we have Lithium Ion of many different flavors and they still argue if it is “There yet”. But here’s the kicker, although Lithium in it’s many flavors dwarfs the previous technology, battery packs, they only get 20% – 35% more in range.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    The younger folks are setting the electric car example:

    http://www.micromotorx.com/


  170. 170
    Jackson

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:38 pm)

    No, the Volt won’t save GM, it’s the reason that it should be saved. With no Volt, what’s the point?

    Ford recently announced “me too” on the Hyundai thing, and that “hey, maybe we’ll build a Volt after all” statement for a reason. If GM is allowed to fail, what is the government going to get in exchange for all the taxpayer investment already made? The research and testing that’s gone into the Volt, that’s what. And who will be left on the field alone to act on that information?


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    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:43 pm)

    #166 CaptJackSparrow

    “@N. Riley 151 on how truck people will be there for years to come.
    Ditto. I want a PickemupTruck EREV……yeeehaw! ”
    ———————

    I agree. But if I don’t get that EREV pickup, then I want a good truck with as high mileage figures as I can get. Right now that is GM trucks (Chevrolet and GMC). The GM brand is getting the best mileage per gallon than any other full sized truck. And to top that off, they both are better trucks than what Toyota, Honda and Nissan offers. Even Dodge is better than the foreign – IN MY OPINION.

    Edited: Not to leave Ford trucks out, but they beat the foreign trucks hands down too.


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:46 pm)

    @ 148 Chevy Sales (and N Riley 151 and Jamie 158)

    “When I talk about truck sales, I’m talking about hard-working-blue- collar-beer-drinkin’-when-my-shift-is-over truck buyers. Those guys are NOT interested in hybrid anything.”

    Except for those that are. Why do you think the Silverado and Sierra hybrid pickup trucks that are currently built and out there (take your pick, weak or dual mode) actually sell?

    I can’t believe that I’m defending 18 to 19 (2WD vs 4WD) mpg hybrid pickup trucks, but if they are used for commercial construction and manufacturing (say, for hauling wind turbine or solar panel parts to a wind or solar system installation), I am defending them, though I’d rather see a retractable back cover on a Ford Escape hybrid style small SUV, so you also get a flexible hybrid pickup truck that gets 34 mpg. Soccer moms and tots in 12 mpg full size SUVs that have never been off pavement, never towed anything for commercial reasons, rarely carry a full complement of passengers, not so much on the defending them.

    It’s the marketing.

    In the end, the key improvement is using electric drive, whatever gets you there.


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    N Riley

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    #167 ThombDbhomb

    My grand kids have been riding electric cars, trucks and 4-Wheelers for about 5 years. They love them.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:48 pm)

    #168 Jackson

    “No, the Volt won’t save GM, it’s the reason that it should be saved. With no Volt, what’s the point?”
    ————————-

    EXACTLY!!!!! You nailed it.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:55 pm)

    #170 Electric Vehicle Owner

    ——————————-
    “@ 148 Chevy Sales (and N Riley 151 and Jamie 158)

    “When I talk about truck sales, I’m talking about hard-working-blue- collar-beer-drinkin’-when-my-shift-is-over truck buyers. Those guys are NOT interested in hybrid anything.”

    Except for those that are. Why do you think the Silverado and Sierra hybrid pickup trucks that are currently built and out there (take your pick, weak or dual mode) actually sell?”
    —————————

    I don’t think any truck owner has a problem with hybrid trucks except that currently they cost about 6 to 8 thousand more than a regular truck. If the price was the same, or close, truck buyers would go for the mileage as long as towing and hauling characteristics were the same or better. There are all kinds of truck buyers, just like car buyers. You can not really pigeon-hole them into a particular class or anything anymore than you can people who purchase different sizes, types, colors, models or whatever of cars. Plus, hybrid trucks are not carried by every GM dealer. Many factors enter into buying a truck as it does any large purchase item.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (3:59 pm)

    #170 Electric Vehicle Owner

    “Soccer moms and tots in 12 mpg full size SUVs that have never been off pavement, never towed anything for commercial reasons, rarely carry a full complement of passengers, not so much on the defending them.”
    ————————–

    No one can defend this type of truck or SUV buyer. But, hey, this is a free country and people should be free to make purchase decisions based on their needs. Perceived needs or not, it is what they think they need. We sure don’t need anyone telling us what kind or size vehicle to buy. Once we get to that slippery slope we are all in deep dodo. That is when the real “fight” will start. And I mean a real fight. With real tools to fight with.


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    ChevySales

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:01 pm)

    EV Owner
    “Why do you think the Silverado and Sierra hybrid pickup trucks that are currently built and out there (take your pick, weak or dual mode) actually sell?”

    Sell? You gotta be kidding!

    2009 Chevy Silverado Hybrid 4×4 = MSRP $48,280.00
    Fully Loaded – Similar to LTZ in equipment.

    Now, how many seconds do you think it takes before the average truck buyer walks away cuz the price is too high?

    If GM wants to sell more Hybrids, they have to come out with one that has little or no options to keep the price down. Right now the perception is “not worth the price your asking”.

    I see too many entries on this blog saying “if the VOLT is over $40,000, then I’ll pass”. And you guys really want one! Imagine the response of an average consumer….


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    k-dawg

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:06 pm)

    #168 Jackson

    No, the Volt won’t save GM, it’s the reason that it should be saved. With no Volt, what’s the point?
    ——————

    3.5 million jobs


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    Speaking of trucks, vans and SUVs: GM needs all of these to be a successful company. I don’t hear anyone here advocating for Toyota to stop making their large trucks, vans or SUVs. Toyota’s trucks, vans and SUVs generally cost more and get less mileage than a comparable American brand. Insurance and tag cost are generally higher also. At least in Mississippi. Parts are more expensive. Repair cost is generally around the same or a little higher because of the parts’ higher cost.

    GM or Ford would find it tough to fund many of their smaller cars if not for truck and SUV sales. I agree mileage must be improved for these vehicles to have a good future. But, how are you going to replace the need for them in today’s society? They are too ingrained into the fabric of commercial business and industry to just do away with them. Sure, fewer families should buy them. When you really need the hauling capacity of a large truck, you could rent one. We have a long way to go before we see the end of the large pickup truck or SUV. Government might mandate it but the consumer will find a way to keep the current fleet running and doing the jobs they were designed to do. And, same thing for raising the gas tax too high. If government mandates the end of what America dearly loves, the people will remember at the polls. So, politicians, beware. Be very beware.


  180. 180
    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    #164 ChevySales said
    Chevy now has a Hybrid Silverado that has had ZERO interest by customers on the lot. If all trucks are required to be built that way by the new “Task Force”, then GM/Chevrolet truck sales have just been eliminated.
    ———————————————————-

    Regarding “ZERO interest by customers on the lot” I’ve actually looked on the lot and never seen one there, even though there are lots of other trucks. It seems that the dealer thinks that there is going to be no interest because of the price so she has decided for us. [She's probably right.]

    But my point is that one aspect of low sales is low visibility on the dealer lots, at least around here.


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    Let’s not lump all SUVs together, please. There’s a world of difference in efficiency among them (from 36 mpg for a cute but competent small hybrid all around SUV all the way down to 9 mpg (not naming names), city). It’s clearly possible to make competent, saleable 4WD pickup trucks and AWD or 4WD SUVs that get 18 mpg or better (indeed you can get a 4WD SUV that beats 30 mpg in the city), so you have to wonder about the ones that get less.

    You can get:
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybrid_sbs_SUVs.shtml

    or

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=26181
    (yes, there are those with even worse mileage – not naming model/version names).


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    #175 ChevySales

    “Now, how many seconds do you think it takes before the average truck buyer walks away cuz the price is too high?

    If GM wants to sell more Hybrids, they have to come out with one that has little or no options to keep the price down. Right now the perception is “not worth the price your asking”.
    ———————————

    My point exactly. I just don’t understand why GM and Ford don’t sell more lower priced trucks with out all the junk on them. Well, of course, I know. it is because surveys says that is what the buying public wants. Not exactly as straight forward as that. I suspect it is more along the lines of what the dealers want to order more than what most truck owners really want to pay for. The dealer adds all the options to the truck because there is more profit in that truck than for a cheaper entry level truck. But, somewhere there ought to be a “happy medium” for buyers looking for a truck with just the few necessity options like power steering, power brakes and air. You don’t really need much more than that in a good truck. It is just plain stupid when I drive down some of the streets and see trucks and cars that cost more than the owner’s house would sell for. It is totally ridiculous.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    We have a long, long time to go before we see the Chevy Volt. If GM plays its cards right and the Obama team allows it to survive their surgical cutting and paring down of the lines. At this point I am not sure about what to expect. I sure hope for the best for GM and the Volt. I want to see it on the streets in large numbers with its siblings coming on strong. Maybe one day. Maybe. But for now….


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    Benjamin Netanyahu

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:23 pm)

    I believe they said “at least” one generation behind.

    I think more like 2 or 3 generations behind the mighty Toyota empire.

    Get your act together GM, work hard and stop making excuses.


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    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:24 pm)

    #162 N.Riley gave the link to GM’s site in the hope that Fritz’s comments still would be there.
    ———————————————

    Thank you for the link. When I try it I see a message that says that it was shown on a one-time basis and will not be repeated. Seems strange, but I guess it will not be available there.

    Anyone know any other link to today’s comments by Fritz?


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    hermant

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    #182, Ben, a reference, please??!!…


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:31 pm)

    Please notice that I have not advocated that GM not make any type of vehicle they want or that consumers not purchase any vehicle that they want.

    I merely point out that marketing matters and that there is already a HUGE array of existing vehicle possibilities and can suggest that there are massive costs to not having strategically placed the company in the forefront of what’s here to stay, electric drive, starting 35 years ago, when it was screamingly obvious the first time.


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    Conficker Worm

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:36 pm)

    Finally, at least somebody has the nads to tell the truth.

    GM is way way way behind Toyota (even behind Toyota’s shadow)

    I drove a Lexus, then went to my local Cadillac dealer, sorry no comparison, the luxury Toyota completely embarrasses anything that Caddy dealer had on his lot.

    Start making good cars and Americans will buy them.

    Warning: You might want to keep your computer turned off tomorrow !!!


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    Don

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:37 pm)

    Of course the Volt will live on. Even if a Chapter 7 occurred (which won’t occur), someone would buy all the Volt development and release it.


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    Unni

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:39 pm)

    May be they are saying due to this :

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/31/chart-of-the-day-gm-doesnt-have-the-green-tech-patents/

    Less green tech patents and less patents on core technologies and more concentration on non core technologies where partner IT companies can contribute

    Its always good to listen and find what may have made them say this than saying its all politics.

    Again i wonder the volt winter test results. The reason is was reading some news on ford fusion.

    ” Ford’s new Fusion Hybrid and its cousin the Mercury Milan Hybrid, which are arriving in dealers’ showrooms over the next couple of weeks, run at up to 47 miles per hour in pure electric mode”

    from :http://www.newsoxy.com/ford-hybrid/article11812.html

    I think this may be reason of low performance in winter as battery performance changes. Was wondering what will happen to volt on low temp.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:44 pm)

    The 2010 Prius is already ready to be fitted with a plug-in battery pack.
    … they could provide a plug-in instantly if the market demanded it.

    ______________________

    You’d think GM would learn from Toyota & Tesla. Offer the plug-in option or battery-pack upgrade as a choice, rather than limiting consumers to a premium configuration only.


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    Just of interest: Ray Young was just on CNBC not that long ago, he mentioned that they had been working on a bankruptcy plan for quite a while, and have new hires on, because it is such a huge and complex job.

    …this would be at odds with Wagoner’s “not a option” mantra, but good to see they are at least ahead of the curve here trying to figure out the logistics of how keep the ship upright during the process


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    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (4:58 pm)

    #188 John1701a,

    “You’d think GM would learn from Toyota & Tesla. Offer the plug-in option or battery-pack upgrade as a choice, rather than limiting consumers to a premium configuration only.”
    ______________________________________________________

    In order for the “smaller battery pack” volt to sell it will have to have
    1. good mpg and 2. good performance after “customer depletion” of battery.

    Both of these have yet to be verified.


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    Hmmmm…

    Thinking that if folks on the thread here are right, when the patents run out there’s going to be an electric drive retrofitting craze if there are pure gassers left on the roads at that point.

    Bring in your old clunker, and for a few thousand come back in a week or so for a vehicle with the latest public domain cutting edge electric drivetrain. Even cheaper/easier if it goes to all electric drive rather than hybrid. Plug and play. My first pick – old Jeeps with crapped out engines for off road play.


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    eightzero

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (5:19 pm)

    Love the thesis sentence: “We are bearing witness to an apocalypse of world finance. Square in the eye of the storm is the auto industry.”

    Nice spin. But hey, it wouldn’t do to wiite: “We are bearing witness to an apocalypse of world finance caused at least in part by mismanagement of the auto industry.”

    Yeah, the truth is a real biatch.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (5:51 pm)

    I recall Mazda having a competition model for the Volt. They had a running prototype fleet but used the rotary engine.Is there any more info on that?


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:00 pm)

    In order for the “smaller battery pack” volt to sell it will have to have
    1. good mpg and 2. good performance after “customer depletion” of battery.

    _______________________

    Both are required regardless of battery-pack size.


  198. 198
    Herm

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:27 pm)

    “Plug In America Challenges Obama Auto Task Force Conclusion on GM Volt, Proposes Reduction in Warranty Terms to Reduce Manufacturer Cost”

    interesting point…

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/03/plug-in-america-challenges-obama-auto-task-force-conclusion-on-gm-volt-proposes-reduction-in-warrant.html#more


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    Jake

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:27 pm)

    #176
    No, the Volt won’t save GM, it’s the reason that it should be saved. With no Volt, what’s the point?
    ——————
    3.5 million jobs

    ————-
    So the rest of America should subsidize an unsustainable company losing billions a month with our tax dollars, just so people can keep working? Doesn’t seem too sensible to me.

    And I think its closer to 300,000 jobs, not 3.5 million.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:49 pm)

    #195 Herm

    Interesting point, indeed! A 5-year battery warranty would lessen the cost. Maybe, after 5 years, batteries will be better and cheaper. Who would oppose such a change in California warranty regs?


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:56 pm)

    @ThombDbhomb 198

    “A 5-year battery warranty would lessen the cost.”

    I agree. And if they keep the battery in the Volt “as is” capacity wise, they can allow for a deeper drain in SOC to give an additional 15-20MPC so the AER COULD be 55-60 and stay in the 5year mark..


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    kdawg

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    @ Jake
    Its millions. And you can choose to “subsidize” them while they make cars, make parts to cars, make parts to make machines to make parts that make cars,… etc. Or you can “subsidize” them at the unemployment line. Either way, you are going to have to pay for these people. Might as well put them to work, let them keep their homes, and also collect tax money back from them. America needs a manufacturing base, sorry.

    I wont mention the hundreds of billions of dollars that went to banks… oops I just did.


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    Cooter

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:05 pm)

    “Common sense and intelligence will prevail, here!”

    Politicians, like Rock stars (Obama) aren’t known for there common sense and intelligence


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    If U Fly the American Flag

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:37 pm)

    GM makes the best cars for the money.
    Lets face it.
    Buick is #1 in quality.
    http://www.buick.com/?evar27=Confidence_Sitelet


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    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:43 pm)

    #195 Herm,

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/03/plug-in-america-challenges-obama-auto-task-force-conclusion-on-gm-volt-proposes-reduction-in-warrant.html#more
    _______________________________________________________

    Excellent subject matter.

    Lyle,
    I’d love to see this as a thread with some input from your technical GM contacts.


  206. 206
    Dan Petit

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:53 pm)

    Let’s just turn all of this around. Toyota is at least 4 years behind GM in regards to E-REV technology. The problem is that less-technical people are unable to make the distinction between these two widely different technologies. This includes so called “experts”. “Experts” is not only an extremely-loose term used by anyone who wants to influence anyone else without being called upon to show credentials, but, the term “experts” has become such a worthless sham regarding technological representations of any kind, it is essentially a fraud nowadays. Dishonest media always rely heavily on the term “experts”, and, you should always be skeptical when they use that term, since highly-credentialed individuals would never be just described as an “expert”.
    Yes it is very difficult to show the public that these technologies are not at all comparable, hybrids and E-REV’s, but the ultimate decisions to get Voltec technologies to us apparently has been concretely made in favor of the very wise decision-making to bring about the green electric motoring evolution we must have.
    Comparing GM to Toyota just is not a valid comparison. While the methods that hybrids use to cut gas consumption are indeed helpful to cut carbon, the new universe that the environment calls us to adapt to is E-REV. E-REV is not just a transition, but a very long term solution that is an absolute technical requirement for carbon elimination, and, the Environment is selecting it.
    I am too, and am sacrificing whatever I need to get one, which sacrifices themselves are cutting carbon.
    Dan Petit Austin TX.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:53 pm)

    #200 Cooter

    When disparaging someone for a lack of common sense and intelligence, I suggest you don’t make any grammar errors. ;)


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    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    #195 Herm said:

    “Plug In America Challenges Obama Auto Task Force Conclusion on GM Volt, Proposes Reduction in Warranty Terms to Reduce Manufacturer Cost”

    interesting point…

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/03/plug-in-america-challenges-obama-auto-task-force-conclusion-on-gm-volt-proposes-reduction-in-warrant.html#more

    ================
    I’ve mentioned this a few times myself over the years here when we talk about the costs of EVs and stumbling blocks.

    This is a warranty whose time has long since passed…it has out lived its original intent. I think everyone would suport it being withdrawal as it is a major stumbling block to EV adoption. Battery warranty should exist of course, but it should be akin to a standard ICE warranty 3/60, 4/80, 5/100 type of thing.

    It is too bad this type of ‘challenge’ is coming from…how to put this without ruffling feathers…a group of random people on the internet (like ourselves). Not that there is anything wrong with that at all, I support the challenge 100%, and we all have our impact on the nation’s EV landscape, but just with varied amounts of leverage.

    /who knows, maybe it will start the ball rolling, and somewhere out there, somewhere, will say, “yeah, that makes a heck of a lot of sense”

    Although, with Lutz on the record as having a ‘second pack priced into EVERY Volt,’ GM would have to reduce the MSRP by around $8,000.

    Hehe, who am I kidding? No way they would do that…I can almost hear them, “Who is this Lutz person you speak of?”, “And what is this second pack priced in nonesense?”


  209. 209
    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:13 pm)

    From WSJ online now regarding Fritz Henderson
    New GM Chief Bends to U.S. Pressure.
    ————————————

    Yes sir, no sir, anything you say, sir.

    I feel sorry for Fritz — it’s a tough life to be a “yes man.” One has to dump one’s own best judgment in favor of some masters elsewhere. It’s humiliating.

    I know they won’t let him ride in the company plane, but I wonder if he has to sit in the economy middle seat on commercial flights :)


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    RB

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:31 pm)

    A little more from the much longer WSJ article
    During a separate interview, GM’s new nonexecutive chairman, Mr. Kresa, said Mr. Henderson is squarely focused on delivering on the administration’s expectations. “Fritz understands the mandate, and he’s about to do it,” he said.
    —————————————————

    Makes Fritz sound like a real boot-licker.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    #205 statik

    Alright, I’ll take care of the warranty thing. Who do I have to sleep with to do it? I hope it is one of those influential Prius-driving, Hollywood leading ladies.

    But seriously, can someone cite the CA reg requiring the 10-year warranty? I took three minutes and couldn’t find it – three minutes of my life that I will never get back!


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    zipdrive

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:44 pm)

    Conficker Worm@186 says “Start making good cars and Americans will buy them.”
    ————————————-
    Come on up to the 21st Century Mr. Worm. The 1990′s are soooo over.

    Buick is the top dog on the planet now.

    http://autos.aol.com/article/car-news/2009-dependability-rankings/20090319003


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    carcus1

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:52 pm)

    #208 ThombDbhomb,

    “Alright, I’ll take care of the warranty thing. Who do I have to sleep with to do it? I hope it is one of those influential Prius-driving, Hollywood leading ladies.”
    ______________________________________________________

    Ok , here’s the very influential leading lady you have to sleep with. Just watch her reaction when you tell her the battery warranty should only be for two weeks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V17duGlHEYY&feature=related


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    SunnyVette

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (8:57 pm)

    I have some questions for an EV expert. What is the equivalent electrical costs per mile for a car like the Volt? I am not asking about battery replacement vs. maintenance, etc. but just the raw KW cost off the grid. I read a letter to the Editor in a University magazine that stated it took 40KW to move a vehicle the equivalent distance of a gallon of gas, which works out to around $4.40 per gal.

    If so, why would consumers get excited over this? With restrictions on Nuclear power, aren’t you just trading one carbon source, oil, for another (coal, natural gas, etc) and dramatically losing energy efficiency along the way. If so where is the green payoff? Seems like our local utility here in Chicago can barely handle the summer’s air conditioners. How many EV’s can our electric grid handle simultaneously?

    Not trying to rain on the Volt parade. Just trying to educate myself.


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    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:02 pm)

    #210 carcus1

    Hilarious! I live in California. Apparently my governor won’t go for a two-week warranty.

    p.s., We need to avoid any total recall/Volt associations.


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    Bruce

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:11 pm)

    #201, #209

    Actually Jaguar and Buick tied for #1. And Lexus/Toyota still dominated the study with the top awards in 9 other segements. A good showing with Buick for sure, but I’m sure GM would rather have the results Toyota did.


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    SunnyVette

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:14 pm)

  218. 218
    statik

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:16 pm)

    Just a late night (well, late night-ish) random thought:

    GM announced today that it was copy-cating Hyundai’s “if you lose your job we take your car back” with their “we will make your payments for you” promotion (up to $500 for 9 months).

    Do you think that makes GM employees want to run out and buy a GM car? I mean, they get the full employee discount…and plus there is pretty decent odds that they could get 9 months of free payments.

    /just a musing


  219. 219
    Jake

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (9:19 pm)

    199 kdawg:
    “@ Jake
    Its millions. And you can choose to “subsidize” them while they make cars, make parts to cars, make parts to make machines to make parts that make cars,… etc. Or you can “subsidize” them at the unemployment line. Either way, you are going to have to pay for these people. Might as well put them to work, let them keep their homes, and also collect tax money back from them. America needs a manufacturing base, sorry.”

    With all due respect man, this is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. The options are not just either subsidize a failed company or pay people unemployment. How about getting ANOTHER JOB? There are tons of jobs out there if people want to work. I have personally worked for 3 companies that went out of business cold with no warning and you know what? I had a new job within 2 months every time. I totally reject the idea that if people lose their job they are going to just sit home unemployed.

    And GMs own profile lists the number of full time employees at 243,000. I dont know where you are seeing in the millions.


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    Jackson

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:07 pm)

    k-dawg (#176):

    #168 Jackson (me)

    No, the Volt won’t save GM, it’s the reason that it should be saved. With no Volt, what’s the point?
    ——————

    3.5 million jobs

    So, what you’re saying is that Obama will do whatever just for the sake of the UAW faithful; he’ll play for Party first. The Volt, and his million electric cars (and hundreds of millions of future jobs), are secondary. His detractors are completely correct on this.

    To give him benefit of the doubt, the President may find that his aspirations are limited by the environment he’s inherited (I’m speaking of professional political inertia, not one party or the other). There’s so much more to governance in America than making a glorious speech.

    Even at that, one has to wonder about a million electric cars to wean us from foreign oil on the one hand, and carbon cap-and-trade to double and triple the cost of electricity on the other. So far, Barack Obama seems to be headed for an eventual legacy as “The Paradox President.”


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    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:09 pm)

    Please Jake:

    Come back after a little research on how the auto/supplier industry works.

    Just because you want something to be true, doesn’t mean it is.


  222. 222
    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:10 pm)

    @ Dan Petit 203

    “Let’s just turn all of this around. Toyota is at least 4 years behind GM in regards to E-REV technology. The problem is that less-technical people are unable to make the distinction between these two widely different technologies.”

    Perhaps that judgment is based on what’s in consumers hands now, which after all is what’s real and really counts.

    The inability to make the distinction is because there are no GM E-REVs on the road owned by regular consumers, while there are over a million Toyota Priuses in the US alone (and more worldwide) on the road owned by regular consumers who can easily imagine theirs with a larger lithium power pack where you bonk its electric plug into the garage outlet at night.

    As soon as GM starts getting E-REVs into the hands of regular consumers, inabilities to understand distinctions will start evaporating like snow on a griddle.


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    Tom Harwick

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:16 pm)

    #2 Jason

    While Tesla and Fisher barely clear sales of 4 figures, 2 years prior to sales, the Volt has a waiting list half way to 6 figures.

    ——————————————————————————–
    You simply cannot equate sales figures for bought and paid for cars with a list of names added to the internet.

    Those 50k names include children, people who do not have $30k, assumed names, people who will buy other cars in the interim,. the unemployed, and lots and lots of people who like the idea of the Volt when all you have to do is type your name.


  224. 224
    Michael Robinson

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:40 pm)

    Obama is way out of line stepping into GM and forcing
    people out.

    The Volt does have problems. If Lithium is the choice
    for batteries in cars, there will be a shortage in 10 years.
    Before that happens, we will be acquiring Lithium from countries
    that don’t like the U.S. where Lithium is in tighter supply than
    oil. Only half the world’s oil has been used.

    A large battery seems to be a mistake, especially if you have to
    heat it to make it work. If you have to heat it or you need complex
    climate controls, how much of the stored energy will get wasted?
    How about running the radio, the heater, the air conditioner, the
    power anything? Will the 40 mile range drop to 10 if other
    electrical devices are running?

    Concerning the comment that the gas engine can be used to
    heat the battery, the whole point of having a battery is to avoid
    using a gas engine.

    Ford is making light hybrids it appears. Ford isn’t getting money
    from the government and doesn’t seem to need it. Way to go
    Ford. If accepting loans from the government means that the
    government replaces you with the person of their choice, don’t
    accept the loans. Light hybrids make sense because the lessons
    learned from producing light hybrids can be applied when the time
    comes to produce fuel cell hybrids.

    I disagree with Obama that GM is behind in making “green” cars.
    A few points to defend GM:

    1) To date, nobody seems to be profiting from hybrid cars.

    2) Fuel cell cars are the future, but the future isn’t here yet.

    3) Chemical battery only cars are probably a mistake and
    developing them distracts companies away from
    perfecting fuel cell cars.

    4) If it’s true that Toyota and Honda are heavily subsidized,
    of course they have more hybrids on the market.

    5) GM has project driveway, but there is a long ways to go
    and GM’s focus is wrong.

    6) It’s debatable whether an untested technology is inferior
    to what Toyota and Honda have in their hybrids.

    7) Companies have to produce what they can sell, even if
    it isn’t ‘green.’

    I suggest that we perfect producing biofuels from algae and use
    these biofuels to offset 25% of the gasoline and diesel that is burned each day. That will help make the cars that can be produced more green by making their emissions more carbon neutral. Also, biofuels can be reformed on board a vehicle to produce a stream of hydrogen. I suggest that we perfect getting ethanol from cellulose instead of food. I suggest that we get serious about converting seawater to hydrogen and from
    hydrogen to a hydrogen rich substance that stores, transports,
    and reforms easily. We need to get serious about reforming
    novel sources of methane such as: garbage dumps, manure piles,
    etcetera to produce hydrogen. There should be a short term goal
    of replacing 10% of the gasoline that is used nationwide each day
    with hydrogen. With a serious effort, I think the remaining 65%
    of the daily usage of gasoline and diesel can be replaced. One
    option is to mix gasoline with ammonia and convert ICE’s to burn
    it. It is easier to electrolyze seawater than fresh water, something
    to consider.


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    Gregski

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:46 pm)

    I will settle for a 40+ MPG GM vehicle, just make them available in the US. It does not have to be a Hybrid to achieve that threshold, the Prius is a scam. The Volt is just too complex why two motors? Just offer it in electric only, if it can go 40 miles with the ICE and fuel tank, exhaust system, then it should be lighter and go further without all that crap.

    My commute to work is 9 miles one way, I would have 22 miles to spare each day to run an errant or two.


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    koz

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:46 pm)

    Sunnyvette #211

    I’m not an EV “expert” but can help with some info:
    -The Volt is projected to be able to travel 40 miles on 8kwh of energy. What may have been meant is that one gallon of gas contains around 40kwh of combustible energy but typical automotive gas engines (ICE) are very innefficient, averaging roughly roughly 15% in normal driving patterns. The raw cost of utility electricity for the Volt will be $0.022/mile; assuming $0.10/kwh, 90% charging efficiency, and 40miles/8kwh.
    -Just under 50% of US electricity is currently derived from coal. Some of this energy comes from older, dirtier plants and an increasing amount comes from clean, more efficient plants but still high CO2 producers. The rest of the energy comes from nuclear, gas, oil, hydro, small amount of renewables, and minor other miscellaneous sources. On a percentage growth basis, renewables are the fastest growing segment but they were still only around 2.5% in 2007.
    -The large central power plants, grid, and charging are all very efficient relative to gas ICE engines in automotive applications, so no using EV’s does not trade down in efficiency. There are many sources for hard numbers for these efficiencies. The difficulty with transitioning to EV’s comes from the fact that gas is relatively cheap, transportable, and energy dense (by weight and volume). It is a tough act for batteries to follow in these regards.
    -The number of EVs that our grid can handle varies from area to area, what charge rate you assume, and what time the charging occurs. If they were to charge at high rates and at the peak usage times, not very many could be supported. Fortunately, charging will occur when it can. For most people, this will be the evening and night. Rates are cheaper at night in some areas and outlets are most available at home. Utility companies could also use rate structures to encourage charging when it best suits them. Some estimates say our current capacity can support 150 million Volts charging at night. EVs will be a boon for power companies.


  227. 227
    Don

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:51 pm)

    #211
    >>>I have some questions for an EV expert. What is the equivalent electrical costs per mile for a car like the Volt?<<<

    Only counting the electricity, it costs about 2 cents per mile in electricity to drive the Volt. Powering vehicles by electricity is really cheap . . . it is just the big batteries that are really expensive.

    If someone invented a magic extension cord that was invisible, infinitely long, and would not get tangled in anything then EVERYONE would be drive electric cars. The only difficulty with electric cars is creating large inexpensive batteries.


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    Don

     

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    Mar 31st, 2009 (10:59 pm)

    #220 Michael Robinson.

    You are so full of crap. Lithium is hugely abundant on Earth and is available from friendly countries . . . in fact the USA has lithium reserves.

    Fuel Cell cars never made any sense. You cannot easily make free hydrogen . . . it is expensive. And when you do make it, it is very difficult to store. And fuel cell engines are really expensive.
    You can go look it all up.

    But just think about this . . . if fuel cell vehicles were possible then how come there are absolutely no home-brew fuel cell vehicles and how come there are absolutely no fuel cell vehicles for sale (they are just available in HUGELY subsidized leases.)
    Answer: They are not even remotely close to being economically viable. Battery electric cars are very close. They’ll start out as plug-in hybrids (like the Volt) and very light/efficient pure battery vehicles like the Aptera. And if battery prices keep coming down, they’ll only grow more.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:14 pm)

    #6 Joe

    A bird in the hand (Prius) is worth two in the bush (Volt).

    Toyota has sold over 1 million Priuseseses already, GM… [ahem] zero!

    I do want GM to succeed, I’m just tired of the games and delays. How much more of a rock buttom can they hit, before they realize it.


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    Mar 31st, 2009 (11:17 pm)

    #7. Dave B.

    I echo that brother!

    GM has too many ties to it’s suppliers, they have to use steel instead of fiber glass do to contractual obligations, so the cars can’t be lighter. I had an article from a former GM engineer saying just that, I posted a link to a while back, but can’t seem to find it.


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    DonC

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (12:34 am)

    So here is a suggestion about what the PTF might be thinking. A “good GM bad GM” split. Seems like a long shot — too many moving parts, too complicated, and therefore too many things to go wrong. This is also know as “too cute by half”. Note the seasoned bankruptcy lawyers are a tad skeptical. But it’s quite innovative and daring:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/business/01bankruptcy.html?hp


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    Gregski

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (12:52 am)

    Thank you Don #224, Geez, some people, electric cars were made 100 years ago just Google Detroit Electric or go to the Wiki page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Electric

    I thing fuel cell cars are just a pipe dream to keep us off target.


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    Greg Simpson

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (1:29 am)

    #19 Dave G said:

    Also, Tesla, Fisker, and Aptera all use regular consumer electronics Lithium Ion batteries, which wear out after 5 years, and can explode or catch fire. All have designed the pack to contain an individual Li/Ion cell explosion or fire, but if the pack is ruptured in an accident, that may be compromised.

    By contrast, the Volt doesn’t use consumer electronics Lithium Ion batteries. They use a special Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry developed by LG Chem especially for GM’s Voltec cars.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Tesla does use ordinary (LiCo) lithium-ion. I haven’t heard of anyone else using them for vehicles.

    Aptera has said they were using lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) plus “pixie dust”, then later said they hadn’t decided yet. Lots of funny reports in the news lately about Aptera, but their switching to LiCo would be a shock.

    The Volt uses lithium manganese, not LiFePO4. According to speculation the Fisker Karma uses the same, but I don’t think there’s been a formal announcement – other than that they will use batteries from ALP.


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    popurls.com // popular today

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (1:39 am)

    popurls.com // popular today…

    story has entered the popular today section on popurls.com…


  235. [...] The guy who just left his job at GM with “Chairman” in the title (No, not that guy! The other guy!) says despite Auto Task Force comments, the Chevy Volt will “survive and prosper.” [GM-Volt] [...]


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    mylaw

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (4:48 am)

    Well done to general motors. I saw a documentary last night on the EV1. do you remember it? The electric car you had that was brilliant. A car that not only could have helped save the planet but your company as well.
    And now here you are struggling in the sesspit that is the economic down turn along with the rest of the car industry.
    Are you proud?
    Do you go home at night with the sense of a job well done?
    You could have been a world leader with people cheering your name.
    You could have gone down in history as the company that really made a difference.
    But you didn’t.
    Is it to late to change your mind abegin building them again?
    Now is the time.
    The people will listen.
    Positve PR.
    Stop messing about with other fuels that will take years to sort out if they work at all.
    You know it makes sense.
    So do it.
    Be saviours of mankind instead of destroyers.


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    Maynard Keenan

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (5:35 am)

    Lyle, Statik! Provide us with news. I just read an article in the German “Spiegel”, that bankruptcy is becoming more likely. Time for a new thread!

    I also believe, that the Volt will live on, but it surely will will be delayed by this mess. I hope that we will have our Volts until 2012… otherwise it will be scrap, antiquated technology. The Volt just fits in the narrow gap between fossile fuel (now) and pure EVs with 500 miles+ range, that can be charged in 5 minutes (probably by 2015-2020).

    Hurry up Volt!


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    George B.

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (5:49 am)

    When America makes it’s mind up about getting something done, it gets done in a big way. I’m confident that GM will survive and that the Volt will mark the beginning of a new era for GM and America.

    If you ever get to Cleveland, Ohio, stop in to the Intenational Expo Center. This massive facility was once the Tank Plant (I believe it was GM or Cadilac) during WW II. The scale of this enterprise was awesome and it was the result of a cooperation between private industry and the government. The mandate from the government at that time was clear and industry responded…make a huge number of vehicles, make them right and make them fast.

    If we put this kind of effort into the E-REV, 1 million cars by 2015 is very achieveable. I can’t wait till I can get one!


  239. 239
    Murmp - Bob Lutz: Volt Will Survive and Propser

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (8:53 am)

    [...] Bob Lutz: Volt Will Survive and Propser Submitted 12 seconds ago by politico Tags: bailout! bob lutz! chevorlet! politics! volt! “As the White House has said, they do not intend to run a car company, much less make product decisions. They recognize the Volt for the game changer it is. And yes, no kidding, that costs money up front. But, this is a long term play for us.” GM spokesperson Greg Martin told me. “Not to fear, the Volt is safe.” [...]


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (10:25 am)

    #ThombDbhomb:

    While I agree with you on 95% of issues, I would not support shortening the battery warranty. As I have said before, I believe that one of the secrets to the success of the Prius has been the gutsy decision of Toyota to offer the original 7 year battery warranty, People would not have bought a car with an unproven $3500 battery without it. Less still will they buy a car with an unproven $10,000 battery without same.

    #206 RB:

    “own best judgment”?? I haven’t seen much of that. When you go with your hat in your hand to beg for rescue from your own incompetence, you have to be ready to take direction from the rescuers.

    I agree with the PTF and the President that GM has proven over and over that they cannot save themselves without strong adult supervision. There “viability plan” was to slip on off the cliff, taking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars with them, IMHO.

    # 234 George B.:

    Amen! that’s what I’m talking about.

    My late father in law was named George B. Doubleday. Everybody called him “George B.”. It brings back a lot of memories. What a character! And I bet that his suggestion would be just the same as yours.


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    Dane Hammond

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (12:13 pm)

    When the government wants you dead they will do the killing in a public forum and Obama clearly wants GM to expire. Nevermind that he made promises, to a politician promises are made to get elected and to be broken when few are watching. Well we are watching and we are voting. There is more at stake than a car here, General Motors has made great strides in batteries, bio fuels and hybrids. Killing the Volt will only kill America’s competitive advantage for the future, but clearly this administration is not interested in that future, the American auto industry, the workers, nor Michigan as a whole. 2012 is not far away Mr. President.


  242. 242
    President’s ATF wants to kill the Volt «

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    [...] Read Bob’s comments here >> Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The problems with the Chevy VoltObama’s Auto Task Force Test Drives the Volt TodayTaking the charge out of Chevy’s VoltTask Force Says GM Can Bounce Back With Changes [...]


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    Allie

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (2:26 pm)

    I’m glad the government didn’t just randomly give out bailouts to these failing companies.


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    iiiears

     

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    Apr 1st, 2009 (4:03 pm)

    Everyone can agree that there is a limited amount of petroleum in the ground and that sending dollars overseas to buy oil is a bad idea for the U.S.
    So when do we develop an awareness of that and begin building an alternative energy infrastructure?
    Today!

    Hybrid vehicles are a difficult but solvable challenge to American ingenuity. Americans led the worlds economy through the last century by innovation. There is no reason to believe this century will any different or that General Motors isn’t up to the task.


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    Michael Robinson

     

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    Apr 2nd, 2009 (3:24 am)

    Hydrogen is not a crock of shit. I am sick and tired of people saying
    that hydrogen powered vehicles are not a practical option. The $600/month lease for the Clarity is not bad as far as leases go.
    I bet that can be cut in half if the fuel cell is stripped of expensive
    platinum where NDVCNTs can be substituted. Hydrogen storage
    is not a problem if you use an organic hydrogen containing
    compound or a hydride. A man in Oregon has converted many
    lawnmowers to run on hydrogen and he has built his own fuel cells.
    Hydrogen containing compounds such as hydrnol that ship and store easily offer a lot of potential. There is also Magnesium hydride slurry.

    Concerning the we have Lithium in the U.S. comment. There isn’t
    very much and it’s not the popular source. Lithium is predominantly
    mined in South America and China.

    Large chemical battery EV’s and hybrids are not a proven technology. Noone knows if they will perform adequately.

    For fuel cell cars, that 58% of the cost that comes from using
    platinum is highly addressable and there’s no need to compress
    hydrogen or liquefy it. Fuel cell cars are a very real option, it is
    just a matter of time.

    There is enough renewable energy potential to produce all the
    hydrogen that this country needs to convert light duty vehicles
    and SUVs to run on hydrogen. Seawater splits more readily into hydrogen and oxygen than freshwater does, something to consider.


  246. 246
    Ken

     

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    Apr 2nd, 2009 (4:46 am)

    The GM “bankruptcy” reminds me of the Studebaker Avanti (the last great Studebaker car, before Studebaker went under).

    I think the Volt will be built one way or another (and) become a classic quickly. (Whether or not “GM” is able to place their name on the car is looking more questionable every day).


  247. 247
    Richard

     

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    Apr 2nd, 2009 (12:05 pm)

    About lithium carbonate salt. Unfortunately, most lithium is mined in politically unstable South American countries that are not exactly friendly to the USA. Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile to name a few. Throw China into the mix and one can hardly expect these countries to mine and ship strategically important minerals to a potential enemy. in Bolivia, the local indigenous populations are demanding a fair portion of the wealth, and that doesn’t go down well with the well connected business elite and corrupt tin pot dictators who tend to run these countries.


  248. [...] will survive and prosper,” G.M.’s vice chairman of product development, Robert Lutz, reportedly told Volt enthusiasts at the Web site GM-Volt.com. “We know the numbers better than the Government … we furnished them! First-generation [...]


  249. 249
    Ben

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:56 pm)

    MediaCurves.com just conducted a study with 300 viewers of a news clip featuring General Motors’ new Chevy Volt. The results showed that 55% of respondents who reported that they were likely to purchase a car in the next year indicated that they would consider the Chevy Volt. For more in-depth results, please visit http://www.mediacurves.com/NationalMediaFocus/J7493-ChevyVolt/Index.cfm.
    Thanks,
    Ben