Automotive News
GM to Idle Chevy Volt Production Again

GM will stop production of the Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant from mid-September to mid-October. (Source: GM)
GM will stop production of the Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant from mid-September to mid-October.
(Source: GM)

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What we've been saying
naperlou   8/30/2012 8:53:15 AM
Chuck, if you follow the posts on these subjeects on this site, then the information in this article is not suprising. 

The Volt seems to be a nice car, but at the price only people who are not sensitive to the gas price can afford one. 

Ford is taking a different approach.  They are offering the same car with several alternative drive trains, including conventional ICE, hybrid and PEV.  This should lower the cost (lots of shared components) and make the marketing of the vehicle less costly. 

Until batteries come WAY down in price, these are just curiosities.  I think that the car companies are making a mistake by not developing the battery technology themselves.  It is kind of like IBM with the PC.  They farmed out the CPU and look where they are now.

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Re: What we've been saying
Totally_Lost   8/31/2012 1:50:25 AM
@naperlou says They farmed out the CPU and look where they are now.""

And they farmed out the OS, creating another competitive monster.

My mentors always said, have control over your means of production.

Out sourcing production, means that is where revenue, skills building,  engineering, and sales will go in the end.

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Not a curiousity
akwaman   8/31/2012 10:00:41 AM
I would like to find those people that own these cars that complain about them.  I can't. It seems the opposite is the norm.  I have never talked to a Prius owner that thought that buying one cost them money.  I own one and it saves me 80-200 dollars /month, and it's not a plug-in model (Not offered where I bought mine).  The real problem with volume sales of EVs like the leaf and Volt (actually a hybrid), is that the industry doesn't want to sell them.  If they wanted to sell them, they would put them in the dealerships so people could walk out with them.  The only way you can get one is to get on a waiting list and Pre-buy them and wait.  What a joke.  Everybody knows that Americans want everything here and now.  In many cases it is need. I couldn't wait when I needed a car after some idiot totaled my first Prius (My wife and baby were not seriously injured, both walked away), we needed a car here and now, not months from now.  It is a technique used to fool us into thinking that the demand is not here, but it is here, and if they wanted to sell them they would put them in dealerships.  Smoke and mirrors, baby!  Simple mathematics is their best selling point, because when you do the math, even with higher vehicle costs, the savings in gasonline alone covers the difference in price (depending on how many miles you drive).  With every rise in the price of gasoline, the amount I save EVERY month increases.  Not to mention the oil changes, maintenance, etc.  Prius changes oil every 10,000 miles, and experience few breakdowns.

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Re: What we've been saying
NadineJ   8/31/2012 11:44:03 AM
I agree.  I've used Ford's approach as a model example for my clients for a while now. William Clay Ford, Jr's presentation at the Commonwealth Club in California last year is great to hear a little about that.

I don't think the current pricing is as much of an issue as the consumer perception.  Creating the story is an important part of marketing but the current story told around EV's and hybrids is elitist and ignores the mass market.  Until people can see how a hybrid fits into their lifestyle, it will continue to be a curiosity.  EV's aren't convenient unless you have a very consistent and limited commute.  Aftermarket costs on hybrids are too high for average consumers who may be used to saving money, when needed, by performing basic maintenance on their own vehicles.

People need to believe they won't be stranded in an EV.  Consumers need to have choices for aftermarket parts and maintenance on hybrids.  Then, demand will increase...which will drop the price. 

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Down time
Mydesign   9/4/2012 2:14:17 AM
1 saves
"General Motors plans to shut down the Michigan plant that builds the Chevy Volt for four weeks from mid-September to mid-October"

Charles, is it due to excess production or less demand from the market. Normally companies may take a down time for annual maintenance also.

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The Volt is Unique
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:22:19 AM
I've put 18,000+ miles on my Volt, averaging 222 MPG. VERY unlike the Priusm 90% of my driving has been all electric - I hate when folks lump the Volt in with the other "hybrids"). Maybe the other 10% I'm "only" getting 37 MPG, which is just about your Prius. I understand that the Volt is technically a hybrid, but that depends how it's driven.  It's a rare day when I dip into the gas.  The Volt truly is unique. American Engineering creatively inching us forward towards EVs. I will be truly amazed, and flattered, if I'm one of the 150,000 early adopters of "heavy Plug-Ins" in 2020.

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Re: Down time
Constitution_man   9/4/2012 9:37:08 AM
The Volt is a failed White House pet project.  I've run the financials every direction and have yet to see how paying all that money up-front, even with cash, can be less costly per mile versus paying $15K less and then buying gasoline.  Of course, the future price of gasoline is unknown, but based on a reasonable extrapolation it still doesn't pencil.  The Impala sells well because GM [Government Motors] is, via the White house, strong-arming state agencies and others to ignore offerings from Dodge, Ford, and others.  It is true in MN and SD.  Look around your area.  State fleets, in the past, had some Fords, some Dodges, some GMs.  Now they are mysteriously all GM.  Plug-in cars come with an ideological shroud worn by the purchaser.  They know the performance stinks, the cost is high, and the batteries are too heavy and too expensive to replace... but the "feel-good" factor takes over.  Guys like me who have to keep their money together simply cannot buy cars on ideology.

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Re: Not a curiousity
ChasChas   9/4/2012 9:40:35 AM

akwaqman, is it possible that the dealership floorplan is too expensive? Or maybe they know they need to sell other models as well to remain a dealership.

I agree, if you look at your gas savings as real money, this makes sense. Many people can only see what they are spending, not what they are not spending.

It sure seems that, for most people, paying zero dollars for gas each month could easily make the battery payment and more.

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Re: Down time
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:44:24 AM
You're ONLY looking at the economics and you're ONLY looking at them now.  Considering oil independence, air pollution, performance (apparently you haven't driven an EV), AND the economics, the Volt is very cost competitive.  I'm still blown away with how many folks CHOOSE a 20 MPG BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, [insert your favorite high-end import here] car.  Regardless of the immediate economics, fossil fuels (natural gas included) are a limited world resource.  It is only inevitable, a question of when, not if, we make the transition to EV. 

User Rank
Re: Not a curiousity
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:46:27 AM
You're exactly correct. I'm getting gas once every 3 months - and only about 8 gallons each time.  High initial cost, but saving $200/month in gas (at $4/gallon).  Imagine what I'd be saving if we were paying Europe prices for gas. 

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