By Philippe Crowe
Can a tiger change its stripes? Can a fox change its tune?
We’re not sure, but Fox News has noted the Volt as deserving a unique distinction which in itself is something of a distinction from the network whose commentators have previously panned the Volt, repeatedly calling it “stupid” and other harsh descriptors.
Indeed, since its December 2010 launch, various Fox reporters either gave more or less straight news coverage to Chevrolet’s plug-in car, or alternately roasted it via ostensible analysis by its talking heads.
In recent months Fox has increasingly given the Volt flattering coverage as well.
This seemingly altered face on the same subject was again shown on no less than Independence Day this week, when the Volt received an interesting accolade by Marty Padgett from High Gear Media writing for Fox.
Good cop, bad cop. When Fox wasn’t giving straight news, its famous speakers aired their views with little ambiguity, as this montage of one of them reveals.
Here’s the famous running out of juice after only 25 miles in the Lincoln Tunnel story.
And then in March this year, after Fox had said so many negative things about the Volt, it let a conservative defend the car.
His article was titled, “Patriotic acts: The most important American cars of the past 25 years.” Saying this could be seen as more than a mere “car of the year” acknowledgement – it was a car of the last quarter century acknowledgment.
And rightly so, the author stated the Volt is “the single most important American car of the past 25 years.”
Noting the Volt was conceived prior to GM’s bankruptcy, following is the bulk of the write-up:
It was born into controversy: of “Government Motors,” of “killing the electric car,” of then-GM vice chairman Bob Lutz calling global warming a “crock of s—.” Lutz, who played a role in developing seven or more of the cars on this list, later changed his tune, and said that electrification was inevitable–and had a hand in the Volt’s survival through GM’s 2009 bankruptcy.
It’s been politicized as a “car designed by Congress,” and been glowingly described as a Space Shuttle for the U.S. auto industry. The Chevy Volt does have a moonshot mission: to replace the horizon of today’s cars with something that reaches further, while staying tethered to today’s expectations. It’s capable of 40 miles of pure electric driving, but carries enough gas for another 300 miles or more of extended-range power. To some that makes it superior to the electric Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric, while purists disagree.
That’s the writer’s two cents, and we’ll add many would also argue that other American vehicles have had bigger impacts on the finances of their manufacturer, or that they were bigger sales success, and the author does name a few other vehicles that had a great impact.
But no one can contest the fact the Volt paves the way towards a different mindset and the production of a different breed of cars in America, in the same fashion the Prius did around 15 years ago in Japan.
The author ends by saying, “Has the market spoken? The $42,000 Volt is finally selling in decent volumes, and it took home honors as the 2011 North American Car of the Year. In time, it may be seen as an engineering triumph or as a political novelty, or both – but there’s no doubt it’s the most historically significant car of the past 25 years.”
But what do you think? Is this latest praise an unequivocal compliment, or is the piece leaving itself an out by qualifying it could either be “an engineering triumph,” or, as Fox has said in so many ways so many times before, “a political novelty?”
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