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  • General Motors Bailing Out Volt Owners?

    It’s been a mixed day in the world of the American auto industry. While Ford Motor posted huge sales for November — propelled by a strong demand for SUVs — General Motors has been forced to make the unusual offer of buying back cars from consumers.

    Tom Krisher at the Associated Press reports that GM is taking action in response to news that its highly touted electric Chevy Volts have been found to catch fire:

    In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, CEO Dan Akerson insisted that the cars are safe, but said the company will purchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.

    Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.

    “If we find that is the solution, we will retrofit every one of them,” Akerson said. “We’ll make it right.”

    The big problems with the Volt could spell trouble for electric cars as a whole. Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic explains:

    It’s an unpleasant story for GM. But it’s also bad news for the rest of the electric car movement. The Volt is no ordinary sedan. It’s a standard bearer. When GM was seeking a bailout from Congress, it trotted out the plug-in hybrid electric Volt as proof that the company was changing its truck-obsessed ways. Since then, executives have taken to calling it GM’s “moonshot.” Fewer than 6,000 have been sold. But the company already has plans to use the Volt’s engineering on other models, such as a new Cadillac.

    The Volt has been something of a linchpin in the Obama Administration’s “alternative energy” drive. In the President’s stimulus bill, a hefty $7,500 tax subsidy was offered to Volt buyers, bringing down the cost of the $41,000 vehicle, all at taxpayers’ expense. And the same federal government that bailed out GM and became a part owner also became a customer, buying 116 Volts for its government fleet. The President’s Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, spelled out the vehicle’s importance to the Administration’s agenda:

    Diversifying our transportation fleet with hybrids, electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles is a critical element in President Obama’s long-term plan to break our dependence on foreign oil and invest in America’s growing clean energy economy.

    The trouble is, American consumers don’t seem to be turned on by the notion of hybrid and electric vehicles. Ford’s strong vehicle sales in November were propelled by a 43.1 percent increase in sales of Ford-brand SUVs, as well as increased sales of midsize and fullsize cars. Among the weakest performers were the fuel efficient compact Focus and subcompact Fiesta. Chrysler, too, saw an incredibly strong month of sales–its numbers were driven in large part by Jeep SUVs and the Dodge Durango SUV. And those purchases of less fuel efficient vehicles come as gas prices are still well above $3 per gallon.

    But for the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, the reality of consumer demand doesn’t matter. Under a new rule, automakers would be required to double current fleet-wide fuel economy by 2025. That would require a crackdown on the internal combustion engine, increased production of electric, fuel-cell, and hybrid models, dangerously lighter vehicles, and nearly $3,000 in added costs per vehicle. In other words, the EPA wants to force the auto industry to make Americans spend more money to buy vehicles that today they’re choosing not to buy.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    26 Responses to General Motors Bailing Out Volt Owners?

    1. Laurie Davis says:

      Obama wants to put the burden of the cost of these ridiculous vehicles on the backs of the taxpayers by subsidizing them and then adding $3000 to the cost of any vehicles Americans buy. What a deal. And isn't that the 'real deal' Obama is offering the American public in all aspects…….pay more, and get less because we've been selfish and self-indulgent.

      I only hope that of the 116 Volts the government purchased, one of them belongs to the White House for the President to ride in……. really….. he should….

    2. Bobbie says:

      hey Mr. President, you look rather handsome in that car…

      but anyway, the truck is utilized more than a 4 door volt or whatever voltage in electric cars sets fires. it looks as if it will fly away in a strong wind and unsafe for mountain driving. this is why government shouldn't be involved with our money in the first place. where we make mistakes in our lives, government mistakes are always bigger to our lives. they're the "extra man" massive amounts of paperwork will also have to go through. lose lose benefit puts sacrifice on the innocent.

      the lesser the government the better the people…

    3. barack obuma says:

      Our country is doing their very best to ruin our businesses.

    4. jackie says:

      Will you follow suit and buy back any Corvettes that have had safety issues for month's? It only seems fair since GM is suddenly so concerned with its customers and their safety, worried Corvette owners need love and compassion too! Hey GM go do the right thing!

    5. Stirling says:

      This is exactly what you get when the public doesn't want a product, the government has to create the incentive no matter the cost to the taxpayer.. It makes no business sense because it's a central planers utopian dream which has no standing in the world of reality.

      • Dr. Dru says:

        just because you dont want this product does not mean others do not want it… I wanted a hybrid / high MPG car because I was spending 350 a month in gas and a high mpg car helped make the payment easier… after driving all high MPG and hybrid cars i settled on the volt cause its the nicest car and the only one I enjoyed driving….

    6. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, how long before an emboldened Congress uses the interstate commerce clause to pass a law forcing us "subjects of the crown" to buy Chevy Volts or any hybrid for that matter or any GM or Chrysler vehicle because it's either good for the environment and the "public good" or it helps a government-owned company?

    7. Greg B. says:

      We need to eliminate the EPA as it is set forth now. Some sort of agency is needed to ensure company's and individuals abide by the LAW. They can do inspections and issue citations, PERIOD. Such agencies should NOT have the ability to set regulations or rules. That is the job of CONGRESS. Remove the ability of every government agency to issues rules and regulations. That is unconstitutional. Again, CONGRESS is responsible for our laws.

    8. maryanne3935 says:

      GM should have gone under. The unions are so damn strong, when GM was collapsing, guess who got screwed, the bond holders. Now if you are an investor would you ever invest in a corporate bond? NO, when the government comes in screws the bondholders and upholds the union thugs that support them so well. The volt is an awful car and guess what, GM wants to put the same awful design into its cadillac!!!!! Wow, maybe we should be giving jobs to the management of GM and put them in the WH. It seems that is where the idiots are being collected

    9. Jeff says:

      I'm most concerned about the out right false statements behind the electric car movement. I strongly believe that this is more about saving unions in the auto world. Note the comments are about GM, not the union which is building this crap. America at it's best is freedom to find a solution, not regulations that hinder and destroy. Obama, is hoping that the unions come through for him around election time, so he can do some additional damage, but
      make sure he takes care of his "croneys" Chicago style destruction.

      I remember seeing the Chinese using bicycles as a major form of transportation, now they drive
      high end cars. I believe Obama and his energy Czar want us to ride more bicycles.

    10. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Again, the point is being missed. It's not the EPA forcing the auto industry. By blaming a government agency, that is being fully controlled by Obama, we are giving the real culprit a pass by not recognizing where the blame belongs. Since Obama took control of GM with our tax dollars, how many more billions will it cost us to buy back a car that no one wanted in the first place. The fools that bough a Volt did ao as a status simble. They now recognize that they paid double for a piece of junk. So, to keep their votes coming, Obama is bailing them out with our tax dollars.

    11. Will GM pay back the U.S. Taxpayers for the subsudy we provided to the buyers of the VOLT?

    12. Bill says:

      Ditto on Stirling's comments

    13. Chris Law says:

      We are life long Chevy guys (currently 6 GM trucks ranging from 1965 – 2011) but this obama ownership and bowing to the enviro. whackos has gone far enough. I am all for cleaner energy (no energy is completely clean) but American businesses must produce to meet market driven demand. That is what made America and that is what will keep America in a position to be the go to guy for the rest of the world. Ironic, Chevy considers itself America's truck but acts little like an American company. Pay back obama and go back to being the best automotive company in the world!

    14. greenkeel27 says:

      Lithium batteries can explode when the cells are shorted out. If car is in a wreck there is a very good chance a battery short will occur. So the solution is to put the batteries in a totally bulletproof encasement that can withstand any crash. I suspect that this case will be quite heavy. Which means we will need more horsepower. Which means we cannot meet mandated fuel economy standards. Which means the entire idea of the Volt is a pipedream from politicians who know nothing about cars, motors, batteries, chemistry or anything else.

      • Dr. Dru says:

        You really have no idea what your talking about. how does being bulletproof withstand a crash? also, lithium batteries do not explode when you short them out… I have "shorted out" numerous lithium ion batteries in my phone and they dont explode…..

    15. Tom Padamonsky says:

      Perhaps Obama should mandate that all his political appointees, members of the EPA, members of congress and all those holding major positions in his government purchase a Volt.

    16. RennyG says:

      Can this stuff be stopped??? This is my/our money this "guy" is pissing away. Is there no part of the government than stop this nonsense????? I don't want to hear "vote!!" There has to be some other quick way!!!! HELP US LORD!!!!

    17. Volt Owner says:

      215,000 auto fires in 2010! How long have IC engines been around? Shouldn't this be fixed by now? Zero Chevy Volt auto fires in 2011. When you have a wreck in a ICE vehicle and it causes a small leak in the gas tank that you can see and smell. Do you leave it as is, or do you drain it? NHTSA did not drain the battery after the test, and this happen weeks after the test. My FORD cost me $450 per month in fuel cost. My Chevy Volt is costing $50 per month. My 6 year cost is lower for the Volt. The Volt has better torgue response than my Ford, and outruns my Ford on an 1/8th mile track. I had to replace my Ford engine at 112,000 miles due to a cheap part in the timing chain. The back timing chain, not the front one. Pffft! GM has done a great job on the Chevy Volt… and it is currently the best solution to get us off the dependency of foreign oil. Don't have anything to do with Obama, liberals, communism, or the "left" wing. If you're worried about Obama looking good and can't fatham him succeeding, don't take it out on GM and the Chevy Volt.

      • Bobbie says:

        America doesn't need to depend on foreign oil. Nor does America need to depend on tax paid advice of government who's advice to mandate is conflicting to the interests of the people they serve. the "volt" or electric car is much less safe with greater potential of totaling out in simple fender benders. let the market sell the product giving the consumers their right to free choice. no more private sector partnerships with the American white house who continue their unwilling compliance toward any governmental responsibility using the tax payers dollar to spend on their mess ups and unconstitutional acts. the white house discourages productivity as their conduct, costs and policies exemplifies.

      • Dr. Dru says:

        OMG someone who has driven it and has half a brain!

        I went from a 1999 camaro which cost me 350 a month in gas and around 2k a year to fix (190k+ miles) to a payment of 450 a month with a 5 year warrenty… the volt is the nicest hybrid car on the road period…

    18. lilium479 says:

      Follow the money…..if you are against domestic production of energy you are working for OPEC.
      Not alternative nonsense energy either.
      If you want to buy alternative energy anything then do it on your own dime.

    19. Charlie2265 says:

      I live in Canada and I can appreciate all these comments. Howver, we are making the power cells which are in the batteries and we are really hoping that these caars take off. You need to remember, Henry Ford had to start over 3 times before the ford moter company actually took off. The process of working out all the bugs before the product is proper is just a part of the process. It also means more jobs for the U.S as well as Canada. Just because the first float in the parade is a bit disappointing, it does'nt mean the parade as a whole is going to be a flop.

    20. EC Hightower says:

      The NHTSA now admits that there is not and never was a safety issue or significant risk of fire with the Volt.

      Sales of both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf have been severely limited by GM and Nissan as they ramp up production and make sure this new technology is reliable. I had to wait three months to get my Volt! Customers want to buy it. It's the supply that's limited.

      For those of you who still believe the government should have let GM fail, despite GM's undeniable financial success since then and the fact that the government has mostly been paid back and stands to PROFIT from the "Bailout" when it's shares are sold, you would have instead caused the immediate layoff of Hundreds of thousands of workers at GM and their suppliers. The US would have lost nearly half it's domestic auto manufacturing industry PERMANENTLY and the recession would have been extended significantly. Whether you chose to believe it or not, history shows there is a proper and appropriate role for government and this was a text book case.

      For those who believe that an "unfettered free market" and "absolute minimum government" are the solution to all ills, you need to read the history of American industry in the 19th century. It is a story of boom and bust, of business collapse, of monopolies, abuse of power and severe mis-treatment of employees. What you seek has been tried and it did not work.

      For those of you who would abolish the EPA and remove mileage standards, you invite a return to cars of the early 1970s: Hulking, carbureted V-8 powered leaded gas burning steel sleds with no bumpers, no air bags and 10 mpg! Your same arguments were made at that time and thankfully for us all the government of Richard Nixon (Rep.) pushed ahead with modern standards. Yes, they added incremental cost to autos. Yes, it pushed the state of the art and not without some pain and struggles. But could you seriously argue that we are not better off for it, that automobiles and trucks are not far better overall values to us as consumers for the advancements that were forced by those standards? The new mileage standards will save us all money and save the country from imported oil from the Middle East. Isn't that a good thing?

    21. Scott Miller says:

      My God don't any of you care about passing on some of Americas Natural Resources to our children and
      grandchildren? Oil is the basis for so many modern commodities like plastic and it seems like everyone is in a rush to keep filling up these gas guzzelers, to hell with our grandchildren. How secure will future Amercans be when the only oil left is in the middel east and the forward thinking counties are selling us their advanced technology on alternative energy. What has happened to this country?

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