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Will You Buy G.M's Electric Lemon?

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posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 08:14 AM
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I decided to put this article in the madness forum due to the politics surrounding GM's govt. takeover and the utter political foolishness involved in the development of the Chevy Volt.

This is just more evidence that our Govt. will certainly screw up just about everything that they seek to manage.

This article paints an interesting perspective of the much anticipated and sour Chevy Volt.


GENERAL MOTORS introduced America to the Chevrolet Volt at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show as a low-slung concept car that would someday be the future of motorized transportation. It would go 40 miles on battery power alone, promised G.M., after which it would create its own electricity with a gas engine. Three and a half years — and one government-assisted bankruptcy later — G.M. is bringing a Volt to market that makes good on those two promises. The problem is, well, everything else.


So now we have a $41,000 car that looks nothing like the sleek prototype that was presented to the world. According to this article it looks like a Prius and I would have to agree.

Furthermore, Chevy is not employing the sales strategy that made the Prius so successful. Toyota sold the Prius initially at a loss for a couple of years to gain market share and has maintained a market stronghold ever since.

So, why the strategy to unveil a $41,000 electric Cobalt??


In the industry, some suspect that G.M. and the Obama administration decided against selling the Volt at a loss because they want the company to appear profitable before its long-awaited initial stock offering, which is likely to take place next month. For taxpayers, that approach might have made sense if the government planned on selling its entire 61 percent stake in G.M. But the administration has said it will sell only enough equity in the public offering to relinquish its controlling stake in G.M. Thus the government will remain exposed to the company’s (and the Volt’s) long-term fate.


We now have the $41,000 Volt which is really has the same performance and interior space of a $15,000 P.O.S. GM is already planning the second generation of the Volt due to the extreme flaws of the first generation. Wait, it was just released after 3 years of development.


In truth, the first-generation Volt was as good as written off inside G.M., which decided to cut its 2011 production volume to a mere 10,000 units rather than the initial plan for 60,000.


Here's the kicker to put it all into perspective. Yes, we all paid for this new vehicle in more ways than one.


Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.


www.nytimes.com...

Allow me to share just a fundamental lesson to GM and to our govt. P.P.P.P.P.P

P roper
P lanning
P revents
P iss
P oor
P erformance

One more thing, GM perhaps someday you will learn something from the extreme successes of your competitors!!! It is ok to model after them. Take a look at how Hyundai has turned themselves around based on this simple lesson.


Interesting read:

Years ago Toyota used to say that Hyundai was the company it feared most. Today those fears have grown into a nightmare.
[edit on 30-7-2010 by jibeho]

[edit on 30-7-2010 by jibeho]




posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:22 AM
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Here is the sad part about the Volt. The entire state of Michigan has been lead to believe that this car will revolutionize the auto industry and therefore breathe new life back into Detroit.

If the Volt is so viable, why would GM slash production plans from 60,000 units down to 10,000.


Roam the state of Michigan, and you will hear the same insistent optimism:

The Volt is crucial. So much depends on this car. It cannot fail.



"The Volt," he says, "is going to be the most watched production in the history of autos."


www.cleveland.com...

Did you catch that last line?? The car battery only lasts for 40 miles! THe new Nissan Leaf will go for up to 100 miles and costs about $7,000 less.

So, the world is watching as GM is already planning a second generation Volt based on the shortcomings of the first generation.

Moves like that don't do well to build consumer confidence in a company that should have gone bankrupt to begin with. Bankruptcy would have done more to ensure GM's future success than allowing itself to be nationalized by our govt. GM is now hobbling along on a rubber crutch.

[edit on 30-7-2010 by jibeho]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:47 AM
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oee.nrcan.gc.ca...

I just tried to find out on google about recharging and refueling even a hybrid. There isn't the infrastructure for this at all in Canada. Not even for the hybrids. They need to still put in the fueling stations here. Very few and far between. I couldn't even find anything on the prairies. I wonder how the batteries hold a charge during a really extreme winter?

Until it's all figured out properly, and there is lots of places to recharge or refuel electric or hybrid, I am sticking with what I have. It'll probably take years for it to be set up in Canada.

Maybe by then the price of the cars will go down, it's awfully pricy. I'd rather get a little gas fueled car for a quarter the price. Or stick with what I have for another 20 years. It would probably take the rest of my life to spend the other $30,000 in gas. I haven't done the math though.

And for it to revolutionize the auto industry, I hope people travelling to Canada check how or where to recharge them first, or they're going to end up stuck somewhere
at least for the next few years.....

[edit on 30-7-2010 by snowspirit]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:48 AM
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I will not be buying anything from GM that costs 40k unless it has the Name "Corvette" on it.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:51 AM
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What I cannot understand is why would someone sign up to buy this in advance in the first place? I guess them hippies really can't think straight. Must be all those soy.




posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:02 AM
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The government wouldn't allow GM to build the VOLT as it was originally designed. It was a multi-fuel engine, the engine would just drive a generator to charge the batteries when needed. The expected range was over 700 miles.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:02 AM
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Hmmmm..... drop over $40K on an electric Chevy or spend less and get a nice BMW that pushes 50+ mpg?

Real tough choice.

We should figure out the circumstances in which the Volt is actually a wise economic choice. How long would you have to own the car, how much maintenance would have to cost, how much per gallon gas would have to rise to make the car a wise buy.

My guess is that, much like the Prius, it's highly unlikely the car would help anyones wallet.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:04 AM
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It makes you wonder about that battery. If you compare the size of GM's 40 mile battery to Tesla's 200+ mile battery, then you begin to think something stinks.

GM set that bar really, really low, and its been proven easy to beat by its potential competitors. Nissan with a 100, Tesla with 200+, even lousy old Dodge has a 150-200 mile contender ready to roll out. You can see it here... www.allpar.com...

Here is a small list of some electric cars. In this article, there is a small section about an electrical engineer on the Gaza strip who converted his car to all electric that gets 110-150 miles per charge. It probably isn't the greatest but come on, what's GM's angle???
en.wikipedia.org...

On Ultimate Factories I saw them hand building one of the first Volts like they do on all of their new models. I would probably give them a small pass on factory retooling, but just a small one. Most of the tooling exists to handle most of the components on that car except for the battery. And they made it such a tight fit, the robot has to be accurate so it doesn't damage the battery. Again, rediculous.

Personally, they sould build the batteries something reminiscent of toy batteries. You run low, pull into a station, they pop out the used one and put a fresh one in. It would be similar in scope to swapping empty for full propane tanks these days. The gas station becomes a battery recharge center. Sounds stupid, but these control freaks might actually favor the idea to keep getting your business and dollars.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:12 AM
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First, to answer your question, not a prayer in hell!


To elaborate on GM a bit... When have they released an original idea? The last great market splash from this company occurred back in the 1980's when they released the Cavalier - a very affordable and decent looking mid-sized car! Since then, everything has been a reaction to market demand and a rip-off of competitors. Simply take note of the HHR - it is a PT Cruiser clone that took them 10 years to get to get to market! So late, in fact, that Chrysler is already phasing the model out!!! The trend continues with the "New" Camaro - Dodge Charger anyone? And that is already 7 years too late!

Now this debacle, the Volt, is a prius clone - with much less upside than an actual Prius and they are putting it on market about 5 years too late and for a price tag that makes it both unaffordable and impractical. This is a failure before it even hits the showroom floor!

Folks, GM should have been allowed to fail and go under. History has taught us that when every great company sinks under its own weight or due to its own hubris, another company with better technology, better ideas and more innovation rises to fill the void. Instead, the taxpayers are footing the bill to keep a dying dinosaur alive. This has both immediate and long-term implications. The immediate implications come at the expense of tax revenues. The long-term implications will mean a loss of jobs and market position as a potential replacement is held down and GM continues to bleed market share to foreign competitors.

This is a perfect example of why government meddling in free-market capitalism kills the effectiveness of the system!



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:13 AM
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In short, the Volt appears to be exactly the kind of green-at-all-costs car that some opponents of the bailout feared the government might order G.M. to build. Unfortunately for this theory, G.M. was already committed to the Volt when it entered bankruptcy. And though President Obama’s task force reported in 2009 that the Volt “will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short term,” it didn’t cancel the project.


Unfortunately this seems to wrap up what is wrong with GM and the Government more acurately than anything else.

It shows that GM still hasn't learned that to be competitive they have to make a product of equal quality for the same amount of money or less. After my experience with the Buick Lacrosse, and Cadillac CTS-V, I thought they were on the right path. I guess the old saying was right. "Even a broke clock is right twice a day."

As far as the Obama administration goes, it is ideology over common sense. Anybody that ever took an economics class would see that this is a failing idea. All they could be hoping for is to recover a portion of developement cost. That move will kill the potential sales for a second generation though. Which means in the long run they are looking at throwing good money after bad. They should have spiked the idea or decided to sell for less than the Prius.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:17 AM
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I have a couple observations.

So the car is going for say 40k. I wonder if the cost of their production and design was about 80k? You know who is covering the difference.

Now, I do not know why they did not bother building 10 million. With the health care passed, they have set precedent. Forced purchases of a product is GOOD for the country.

Think of this, when the USSR was collapsing around itself, the only thing keeping that thing afloat was the black market. We are going in the opposite direction folks.

When a government goes from as large and outstretched as we are, and they attempt their idiotic control of the economy and business, what is going to happen?

We have people that Obama has appointed and brought in that are academia. Pure academics and political sycophants. They know NOTHING about running manufacturing or anything for that matter.

Look at the latest addition to the GM board.
www.autoblog.com...



General Motors has officially added a 13th seat to its board of directors just for Cynthia A. Telles. If you live in the greater L.A. area, there's a good chance that name sounds familiar. She spent a lengthy 13 years as a Los Angeles commissioner, and has background steeped in ethics and equality.

Telles has her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Boston University, and currently serves as the director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic.


Are you starting to see a pattern here? They are appointing people that have NO FRELLING IDEA how to run a business.

They are going to run these things just like they have been running the country.

Right into the ground!
Wait til they start taking over the agriculture business and you will see the same thing you see in EVERY communist controlled country in history.




posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 10:22 AM
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reply to post by endisnighe
 


Funny! The Volt could be our nation's Trabant. We've already paid for it, now its time to put one in the garage. Time to open the wallets just a little more so we all can all help out AGAIN.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 11:05 AM
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This is not so much a case of GM screwing up as it is greater interests once again squashing a technology.

PBS did a documentary a couple years ago called Who Killed The Electric Car that points out what we already know. Big Oil and their legions of bought-and-paid-for mouthpeices do not want an electric vehicle to succeed.

Period.

The problem is that the public is increasingly interested in an alternative so we have this type of situaton. The government has to appear to be doing something but at the same time they can't jeopardize the massive oil revenues and (more importantly) graft being paid.

When California had it's zero emission targets on the books many manufacturers were producing and preparing to sell electric models. As soon as California softened the laws the manufacturers cancelled most of their plans and rushed to pull the cars from the market.

It's not that they can't build a good electric car, it's that they won't.

Seriously, watch the documentary...it shows just how blatant this arrangement is. Of particular interest is when electric vehicles were recalled from the lease holders and then destroyed. The companies had to sneak around to try and get the cars off the storage lots because people were watching to see what was going on.

What was the company's PR line? The cars will go to research facilities.

I don't understand what type of reseach they were talking about, we have been crushing cars for decades how much more 'research' needs to be done.



[edit on 30-7-2010 by [davinci]]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 11:19 AM
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First of all , GM's problems began long before this bailout debacle.

Watch a 1989 movie called "Roger and Me"....about then GM CEO Roger Smith.

The VOLT is not a hybrid, like a Prius, The Volt runs solely off of the electric motor and cost $33,500. after tax breaks.

Their are advantages to this platform is it's ability to evolve with the advancements in Lithium Ion battery technology and possibly ridding itself of the need for it's onboard generating system replaced by a high efficiency solar panel in the future for example.

This 40 mile limit was due to 75% of Americans daily commute being 40 miles or less. If you could charge while at work for example, it would run completely off of the batteries charge.

Once the batteries are depleted it runs off of a gas generator which powers the motor and charges the batteries.

It can be recharged overnight from a standard 120V wall outlet and doesn't require any new filling stations or infrastructure changes such as hydrogen filling stations.

I just watched a car race this weekend and a new 2010 Camaro costing about half that of a new Porsche Cayman....beat the Porsche through the corners and the straights lap after lap leading to it's victory.

GM can develop good products, it's the overpaid management that obstruct the way of good products. Not necessarily the American worker.

Would I buy one ? Give it a few years, and better battery technology and I might consider it.

And finally a question to those out there at ATS:

Q: Who taught the Japanese about quality after WWII ?

A: An American named W. Edwards Deming....


And as it is said ...."And the rest is History...."



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:08 PM
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reply to post by nh_ee
 


I agree with just about everythging you've stated... except the part about labor. I have had many family and friends employed by GM. Some laborers and others managers and the stories are consistent. From low-level managers playing golf and boating on the clock to laborers sleeping their shifts away in their cars, there is plenty of balme to be passed around. The unions have made it virtually impossible for the auto manufacturers to demand a full day's work for a full day's pay and have provided even less recourse to the employer regarding recompense for failure to do so. The least compentent and productive are protected and paid fro doing essentially nothing. This will absolutely kill a company.

And I offer yet another example of how government interference in pure capitalsim kills the effectiveness of the system.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 02:12 AM
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reply to post by kozmo
 


Deming masterminded quality methods during WWII allowing the US to out produce Germany with reliable products leading to their inevitable defeat.

Everything you have cited with GM's Labor are inherent to the management by objectives system Which creates friction amongst the workers leading to more defects. This is also why those same Americans working for Toyota in the USA under better processes still turn out better quality products than GM.

It isn't that GM has bad employees but the processes in which they are subjected to are archaic.
Look at some of the antiquated factories GM still uses to milk the last dollar of profit out of for example.

The quality systems that Deming taught to the Japanese changed the philosophy of the Master Slave system called management by objectives. and replaced this age old system with peer groups called quality teams.

Quality teams of peers resolved quality issues on a lower component level and implemented these changes into the overall manufacturing process.

The improvements to the overall process can then be carried over and implemented world wide. Exactly how Toyota can build quality products wherever they build a factory.

This is why Deming ended up leaving GM and Ford after WWII and going to Japan.

Due to The lack of willingness for management to change


The Rest is History....



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 02:37 AM
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But I will consider buying a Volt...as new battery tech evolves
Like the EESTOR capacitive battery replacement system.


They claim to have invented a new ultracapacitor power system that would replace current battery technologies and hopefully turn the automobile industry on its head. Based on current claims, a three to five minute charge should give the capacitor sufficient energy to drive a small car 300 miles (480 km)


www.eestorbatteries.com...



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 03:37 AM
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reply to post by kozmo
 




And I offer yet another example of how government interference in pure capitalsim kills the effectiveness of the system.


While the rest of your post I can agree with, this part doesn't fit. It's the UAW not the government that is to blame for the rest of what you posted.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 03:42 AM
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reply to post by jibeho
 




I had to take a look at the Trabant.

Here is a snippet from the wiki page-Trabant Wiki


the Trabant is often cited as an example of the disadvantages of centralized planning; on the other hand, it is regarded with derisive affection as a symbol of the failed former East Germany and of the fall of communism (in former West Germany, as many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their Trabants after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989). It was in production without any significant changes for nearly 30 years with 3,096,099 Trabants produced in total.[1]


I wonder how many of them are still running?



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 03:59 AM
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Course, on the other hand. You gotta love the Anti Americanism gushing throughout this thread, ever wonder why the economy is doing so poorly? Because people here are putting their politics before the welfare of this nation.

Way to go y'all!

Give yourselves a big round of applause for helping destroy the economy!



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