Saturday, March 3, 2012

GM Halts Production of Chevrolet Volt, Center for American Progress Blames Rush Limbaugh

The Wall Street Journal has an in-depth, front page story:

GM to Idle Chevy Volt Output as Sales Slow
General Motors Co. will idle production of its Chevrolet Volt battery-powered car for five weeks beginning this month because of slow sales amid an effort to boost the vehicle's consumer appeal, the company said Friday.

Launched last year with great fanfare, the Volt has had a rocky start as sales stalled, and the car became a lightning rod for critics of the Obama administration's auto-industry bailout and support for alternative energy.

GM said around 1,300 workers at the Hamtramck, Mich., factory where the Volt is built will be out of work between March 19 and April 23, a spokesman said. The plant had just resumed production on Feb. 6 after a prolonged holiday shutdown....
...Jack Domaldson of Davis, Calif., said he and his wife considered buying a Volt but found it impractical and bought a Toyota Prius instead. Why did the Volt lack appeal? "Short range, expensive, no infrastructure support, and the element of uncertainty with performance," he said....

...GM's move signals, "consumer demand is just not that strong for these vehicles," said Lacey Plache, chief economist for auto-research firm "The price premium on the Volt just doesn't make economic sense for the average consumer when there are so many fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars available, typically for thousands of dollars less."

The Volt also has garnered strong backing from environmentalists, including many of the critics who slammed GM for killing a previous effort to test an electric car called the EV1....MUCH MORE
CAP's Joe Romm writes:

Limbaugh, Fox News, Tea Party Get What They Want With False Attacks on Chevy Volt: 1300 GM Lay-Offs
...No doubt there are many contributing factors, but in January, GM CEO Dan Akerson explained:
We did not design the Volt to become a political punching bag and that’s what it’s become.
He had been called in to testify by the Tea-Party crowd running the U.S. House in a hearing witch-hunt titled, “Volt Vehicle Fire: What Did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?” Yes, that’s a reference to Nixon and Watergate!
In fact, NHSTA concluded it does not believe the Volt and other electric vehicles “pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”...MORE
I'm guessing that among the contributing factor is the fact that people just plain don't want to spend their money on the Volt.