I was a Powertrain engineer for the Chevrolet Volt before moving to national Lab in New Mexico, I am back home to visit my relatives in Michigan.
The persistent low sales volume did not surprise me; we all along have predicted this. I spoke to several current engineers, their morale is still very low (the reason why many top guys left) because the car is still sold tens of thousands below manufacturing cost. We always know the Voltec technology has no mass appeals unless gas is $10/gal, and the technology will be a perennial financial loss. Engineers were beaten up daily to reduce cost and ensure quality (this only applies to the Chevrolet Volt in my opinion, everything else is decided by bean counter). I am proud to say the engineers are top notch, but putting a large battery next to ICE and ensure perfect reliability is like play fire next to a gasoline tank (fire can happen at any time), it is very difficult and very expensive. Also the factory has been severely under utilized, thus very high fixed cost (We must appreciate UAW for that). My relative who works as Chevy salesman in Toledo told me GM imposed high-pressure tactics to put more vehicles on their lot despite low sales numbers (similar story in metro Detroit). GM has stopped promoting it because the election is over, do you still remember how heavily it was promoted before November? It is just a matter of time before GM will end this disaster.
Our country is very sick: we have a President who behaves like a third-world dictator, we have a business culture whose only concern was quarterly earnings, we have a large population who think they are entitled to other peopleís cash, we have state government who forces companies to make unviable product at huge loss (think these compliance vehicles), we have a legal system who reward young mother $100 million due to unintended results during delivery, we have millions of tree huggers who think US companies should lose billions just to be socially/environmentally responsible. As far as I know, Japanese government has very strong motivation to be energy efficient, but they donít force Toyota to build cars against their will (Prius was started by Toyota voluntarily in 1994 when gas was cheap, in spite of large subsidy, it is Toyota who wants to make Prius).
Anyone who wants to know more can contact me privately. God bless America!