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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sales

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-it-resistance-ha-ha dept.

The Almighty Buck 599

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill reports that GM has announced to employees at one of its facilities that it is suspending production of the Chevy Volt for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees. Back when GM launched the beleaguered electric car, it boldly targeted sales of 10,000 in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012 but GM only sold 7,671 Volts in 2011 and just 1,626 so far this year. 'We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand,' says GM spokesman Chris Lee. 'We see positive trends, but we needed to make this market adjustment.' Although President Obama promised he would buy a Volt 'five years from now, when I'm not president anymore,' the Volt has come under criticism from Republicans in Congress because of reports of its batteries catching on fire during testing. Ironically, the shutdown comes as gas prices are soaring, exactly the time when an electric car should be an easy sell." If it's still true that GM was taking a loss on every Volt sold, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.

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Japan and Europe is where the industry is (-1, Flamebait)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230557)

From what I've seen, I'd just say that American car models are a thing of the past. Asian countries have largely taken that position, while European countries like Italy maintain the status of luxury car models. There's just no market for American cars. I am European myself and I've never heard any reason of having an US made car. A lot of people wanted Japanese cars, especially Subaru .. Then there's Ferrari and european luxul models. What does US have?

Thank you,
Agent Smitz

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

darkHanzz (2579493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230573)

Aren't Fords made in the US ? The ford focus is quite a nice and fairly popular car.
And the Crown Victoria is awesome of course, just a bit expensive at the gas station :-)

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (-1, Flamebait)

longbot (789962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230603)

As a former Ford owner, they are assembled in the US of Canadian and Mexican parts, and all of the engineering is done by Volvo's engineers now (which is a good thing, Ford never was good at making things that didn't fall apart).

I switched to European cars (first a Volvo, and then an old Mercedes). American cars are disposable at 10yrs or 100k miles or less. I'll never buy one again.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230771)

Is that why my 13 yo ford has 267k miles and I'm still driving it 140 miles a day?

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (3, Interesting)

dosware (695578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230807)

My 2002 generic Chevy Impala is going strong with 220K miles and orig transmission. My '92 BMW 850 (V12) bit the dust at 100K. Shit car for the price.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230825)

Perhaps you should drag your self two decades ahead. That hasn't been anywhere near to the truth for over two decades now. Sorry, but your post is just biased ignorance. The WELL DOCUMENTED FACT IS, the difference between all the major brands, until you get into the $50k or more, is so small, it generally doesn't matter which brand you buy. The biggest differences are in models, not brands. Period.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230605)

My Crown Vic was made in Quebec. That's in the US, right?

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230687)

If the Crown Vic is awesome now, it's the first time. I've worked on them and driven them and they are unremitting pieces of shit... the older ones anyway.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230803)

Crown Vic? St-Catherines, Ontario... Thats in Québec, right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Thomas_Assembly [wikipedia.org] uh... Ford has never had any plant in Québec. Hyundai did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromont,_Quebec#Hyundai_plant [wikipedia.org] (RIP: 1994), GM did ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Th%C3%A9r%C3%A8se_Assembly [wikipedia.org] ), (RIP 2002) but Ford/Linocln? never heard of it. With the Canadian Dollar trading at par with the US, that has meant a 30% increase in labour costs up here, and plants a closing left and right, and moving to the US (Caterpillar: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-23/caterpillar-union-workers-ratify-severance-package-as-ontario-plant-shuts.html [bloomberg.com] ) oh, and fwiw, for every dollar each American put into saving GM, a Canadian put in 2$. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2010/04/21/wdr-detroit-gm-government-loans-100421.html) oh, and the St-Catherines plant closed last year.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (4, Informative)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230841)

Aren't Fords made in the US ?
The ford focus is quite a nice and fairly popular car.

As far as I know, the mk1 Focus was developed/built in Europe in 1998, and then Ford US built it in 2000, too, with some changes. The mk2 Focus was developed independently in Europe/US (US model was very different from Europe model and only a restyled mk1). The mk3 Focus was a joint development between Ford US and Europe, and is built both in US and Europe. So the Focus is not really a good example of a good car developed solely in the US.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230579)

Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Honda, etc. all have plants in America. So we have those, at least. Apart from that, the coolest American car is probably the Tesla Roadster. Maybe a Jeep.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230683)

Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Honda, etc. all have plants in America. So we have those, at least. Apart from that, the coolest American car is probably the Tesla Roadster. Maybe a Jeep.

With the globalization of the auto industry - like every other industry - and the consolidation of the parts makers (down to VDO, Bosch, Walbro, and a couple of others), more than likely those "American" cars are also, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Swiss, English, Mexican, and Canadian.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230845)

The coolest car you can buy new in America is a GT40 kit. Oddly, that's the coolest car you can buy new anywhere.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230879)

To be fair, I think BMW only mfgrs X3 and X6's in the USA... nothing "cool" as far as BMW product.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230973)

You forgot Kia's plant in Georgia, USA.

7671 (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230585)

Anyway, 7671 volts is more than they used in an electric chair.
The lawyers saw this number and stopped production: a customer might get hurt and sue...

Simpler than that (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230591)

One of the reviews summarised it as:

Less economical than a Prius

Not as good as a Prius

Costs more than a Prius

Buy a Prius.

To use a reverse car analogy, it's Motorola Xoom to iPad2.

Re:Simpler than that (3, Insightful)

Dunega (901960) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230633)

Buy a Yaris and actually save gas and money.

I know, I know (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230659)

Cannot get 4 adults plus dog plus ancillaries in a Yaris. But that, or. Fiat 500 twinair, will be our next town car.

Re:I know, I know (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230697)

It's pathetic how few vehicles get decent mileage. but this one will fit your adults and dog, http://www.cars.com/kia/soul/2012/ [cars.com]

Dunno if the Soul is any good but Kia has really come up

Re:I know, I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230955)

Every time I drive by one of those, I expect to see a hairy overweight hamster...

Re:I know, I know (2)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231009)

Jetta Sportwagon TDI comes to mind 30 / 42 city/hwy. The touareg TDI gets 19 / 28MPG city / hwy which isn't great, but isn't a hummer either.

Re:I know, I know (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231043)

The Jetta probably costs a lot more, I haven't looked but VWs with TDIs don't come cheap. And the tourwfhweipeg is heinously overpriced.

Re:I know, I know (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231055)

I get better mileage than that in my Ford Escape hybrid, mines bigger, carries more passengers and cargo, and its a hell of a lot more reliable than a shitty VW.

Re:I know, I know (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231013)

"Cannot get 4 adults plus dog plus ancillaries in a Yaris."

Have multiple vehicles. I don't drive my F350 Ford or 366 big block Chevy truck unless I need to, but liability insurance is cheap and they are paid for.

Multiple vehicles allows selection of the right tool for the job.

Re:Simpler than that (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230917)

I've got one, and it's a great car. Cheap, reliable, great gas mileage, and handles shitty dirt roads a lot better than you'd expect. Now if it only had a built-in defense against ghetto folk tossing rocks through the windows...

Re:Simpler than that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230785)

TROLLOLOL

The Xoom is objectively better than the ipad2. The only (and quite legitimate, don't get me wrong) reason to buy the ipad line is because you like iOS better than Android.

I've used both, and prefer the Xoom only because I can develop on it for free. Usage wise, while I prefer Android over iOS, I see nothing that 1 can do that the other can't.

I wuv my Xoom! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231059)

Would you get back under the bridge, troll? You lurch into a discussion of AUTOMOBILES to sputter "your wrong my androids teh awesome it is not so inferior lol" ?

Tablet toy != automobile. At least have the sense of context to plug your awesome Yugo instead, okay?

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (2)

jedrek (79264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230731)

Ford is the second best selling car brand in europe.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230943)

Yeah, but the Fords sold in Europe are actually good because... wait for it... they're NOT designed and built in america.

Domestic made Fords are crap, as they've always been, unfortunately. Only GM is on a higher level of crappiness compared to Ford.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230799)

What does US have?

Hollywood and Predator drones, so watch your fuckin' mouth.

Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (4, Informative)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230853)

I just bought an American made car last week, a Honda Odyssey. It tells you on the window sticker these days where stuff was made. Assembled in Lincoln, Alabama USA. Engine constructed in USA, Transmission constructed in USA. 70% of all parts for it come from the USA, 15% from Japan, and the rest from "other".

That's good enough for me to call it American.

Slashdot Suspending Editing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230571)

Suspending production != Suspending sales. The two mean quite different things.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (3, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230597)

It does mean there is barely any demand for the car, even compared to what they were hoping for.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230805)

Communism (that vague thing) is pure evil. Clearly we needed to show them America's true arrogance. The red scare was great!

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231019)

That's not the point, the point is that the headline is _FALSE_

GM is _NOT_ suspending Sales.

unbelievable sloppy editing here.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230617)

Suspending production != Suspending sales. The two mean quite different things.

Very true. The sales number are low, and that's possible related to the cost of a Chevy Volt. I just did a quick search in my area and they're about $40,000. I'm never going to save $15k - $20k in gas over the life of the car, so buying a comparable car that runs on gasoline is probably a better value. There are some tax credits for buying an electric car, but even with those the price is still going to be far more than a "regular" car.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (4, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230699)

If I had kharma points I would credit you. I am a fanboy of the Volt but it is out of my price range. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome with the car and they are not doing enough to make it attractive. If you live in an apartment or terrace, it is impractical etc.. If you have the ability it is still going to take some modifications like not everyone has power in the garage etc. So the overall cost is a big problem. I realise that this is an early concept and that prices will come down as people switch but I think that most people will agree with you.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (4, Interesting)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230861)

I'm never going to save $15k - $20k in gas over the life of the car, so buying a comparable car that runs on gasoline is probably a better value.

Lately I've been finding this argument a little disingenuous. For example, if I were to lease a $38K all-electric vehicle my payments would be roughly $360/mo. At $4/gal the money I'd save on gasoline would make my monthly payments comparable to leasing a vehicle worth $20K under identical terms*. In terms of affordability, these who vehicles would almost the same for the duration of the lease. And yes, I figured the cost of electricity as well as gasoline.

The cost difference manifests only in the residual cost, but I need not pay that if I decide not to buy out.

=Smidge=
*Your mileage may vary, of course.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (5, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230981)

Not everyone leases vehicles though. I did once, and I'll never do it again. Tracking how many miles you can put on in a year and hoping you don't change jobs to somewhere further away is a PITA.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230999)

Here's the problem. People in California buy a lot of cars, the most in the US. Electricity is so outrageous here, that you would lose money. The same is true in all the Southwest states that use a lot of AC, you know, the spread out ones where you need an economical car.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231025)

For that much money I could buy an old school big block musclecar and feed it avgas.

Re:Slashdot Suspending Editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230775)

Exactly, there are still _plenty_ to choose from. :-)

expected outcome (3, Insightful)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230599)

It's kind of a do-nothing-well car for $40,000USD

Re:expected outcome (2)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230651)

Exactly. I was considering buy a Volt but not only are they hideously expensive but the resale value is almost nil because the batteries need to be fully replaced after 10 years and that costs $20,000.

Re:expected outcome (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230893)

the batteries need to be fully replaced after 10 years and that costs $20,000.

[Citation needed.]

Re:expected outcome (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231039)

Can you not use google? Hybrids have expected need for replacement at 10 to 12 years, electrics seem to be estimated at 10* but I'd bet it will be less in reality (and Chevy took that into account because they set the warranty at 8 years). This is information you can get with a simple search for "chevy volt batter replacement". If you have to write [Citation needed.] because somebody didn't write a bibliography for their post then you fail at using the internet.

*assuming they don't burst into flame 2 days after you buy the damn thing.

Ramping up... (1)

It'sVersusItsGuy (599536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230609)

1626 / 8 * 52 = 10569

Re:Ramping up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230643)

If they were building 60,000 for this year then it's no wonder they stopped production for the time being.

EV1 lovers are MIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230611)

Where are all the EV1 lovers? Claim was that people wanted electric cars...

Re:EV1 lovers are MIA (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230717)

The do, and people do.

I don't live in the US any more, but I'm hardly unique (ie, there are people like me still there) who would really love to go electric since our driving patterns are ideally suited to having a small, quiet, economical electric car that you recharge at night at home. (DISCLAIMER: yes, I'm aware, you need to tow your boat from LA to NYC every 2 days while simultaneously carrying 8 people and their luggage and there are no charging stations on route... electric cars useless for everyone etc etc, no possible use case etc etc...)

However, the current economics aren't making them viable - they're just too expensive at the moment but it's a chicken and egg problem since it's early generation tech and in low initial demand.

Don't mistake slow sales of a very expensive electric vehicle as definitive proof of a lack of interest. When (if?) I can buy one for a similar cost (also factoring in fuel costs) to the 2 litre turbodiesel minivan I drive right now (53 mpg EU / 44.1 mpg US) that can easily haul 5 adults and luggage then I am sure sales will pick right up. Cracking that early adopter and economy of scale problem is not easy though. Bear in mind that I also pay around $8 per gallon for diesel in the UK and it's still cheaper than going all-electric right now (or even to hybrid).

Re:EV1 lovers are MIA (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230941)

The Volt isn't an electric car, and that's part of the problem. It's a serial hybrid. GM's marketing has been extremely disingenuous with their claims and how they manipulate figures.

As for the EV1 lovers, many of them are doubly miffed at GM for still not taking the electric car market seriously and producing an expensive hybrid instead. Enthusiasts have long memories.

While Volts sit in dealer's lots gathering dust, Nissan can't produce their LEAFs fast enough. There is demand for a pure electric vehicle.
=Smidge=

Re:EV1 lovers are MIA (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231053)

They are already driving a PHEV-converted Prius.

Too expensive (4, Interesting)

dietdew7 (1171613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230621)

Without significant subsidies GM would have sold even fewer cars. The subsidy is a just transfer payment to the well off. High efficiency diesel engines are probably the most cost effective option for the masses and our stupid EPA requirements keep best ones out of the USA.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230667)

How is the Nissan Leaf selling? Knowing demand for it would be a decent indicator of whether people don't want an electric vehicle, or don't want an electric vehicle from Government Motors.

Re:Too expensive (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230985)

It's hard to tell what demand is like for the LEAF since there is still a registration list to get one, and the market has only recently been expanded to include the entire US - it was limited to select states for the first year of availability. The only place you're likely to find one on a dealer's lot without a deposit on it is in the initial rollout states, and it might be an orphan (a car someone reserved online but did not follow through with purchasing).

We probably won't know until 2013 or 2014 when the Tennessee plant opens up and starts production. Right now every LEAF is built in Japan and distributed to markets around the world.

...and the Volt is not an electric car. It's a hybrid.
=Smidge=

Re:Too expensive (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230765)

Without significant subsidies GM would have sold even fewer cars. The subsidy is a just transfer payment to the well off. High efficiency diesel engines are probably the most cost effective option for the masses and our stupid EPA requirements keep best ones out of the USA.

Yes, it is quite stupid of the EPA to worry about nitrogen dioxide. The masses need cost-effective cars, not healthy lungs.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230957)

Worse still, the EPA aren't taking the threat of Dihydrogen Monoxide seriously.

And wifi signals haven't been banned.

Won't SOMEBODY think of the children ??!!

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230975)

look up hyponatremia

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230929)

Volt = $10,000 subsidy
SUV = $25,000 subsidy (use to be $100,000)

What a country

No surprise (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230625)

I can buy TWO Ford Focus 40mpg cars for the same price as a Volt.

Unlike other districts, there are no subsidies for the Volt in Saskatchewan.

$20,000 buys a HELL of a lot of gasoline.

Re:No surprise (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230875)

IIRC, early on they were telling the world+dog it was going to be priced in the low $20K as the Prius was/is. How that changed and as you noted, it ended up being priced in the low $40K.

I guess they think they can compete with Tesla. Wrong.

LoB

Re:No surprise (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230939)

IIRC, early on they were telling the world+dog it was going to be priced in the low $20K as the Prius was/is.

More like mid $20K for bare-bones Prius. Up to low $30K....

But does it work? [Re:No surprise] (4, Funny)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230905)

I can buy TWO Ford Focus 40mpg cars for the same price as a Volt.

Wow, I haven't heard anybody else suggest that simple technique for getting 80 mpg.

Surgeon General Warning: subsidizes are bad. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230639)

"If it's still true that GM was taking a loss on every Volt sold, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise."

It isn't GM that takes the loss ... its every tax payer that has money taken from them to subsidize this vehicle just because some poll-itician thinks they know what is best for the market.

GM should of never received the bailout ... they should have been allowed to go bankrupt to gives companies like Tesla Motors a chance to do something better with those resources.

Re:Surgeon General Warning: subsidizes are bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230767)

Politicians aren't thinking what's best for the market.

They're thinking what's best for their constituents, and anybody who knows anything about a free market knows that the two are not necessarily the same thing.

Now the free market zealots will say that the free market will produce the ideal result on its own, and that it's the interference of politicians that causes less than favorable circumstances.

But they're fooling themselves. There's far too many actors with agendas for the market to stay free.

Now personally I have no love for GM, and I do wish some other corporate culture had been allowed to replace it, but the fact is, the executives at GM wouldn't have gone bankrupt, like vultures they'd have gone to scavenge some other corpse instead, and the only people that would have suffered would have been the workers and lower-echelon personnel.

So no, better for Tesla if the GM executives stay distracted.

Re:Surgeon General Warning: subsidizes are bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230797)

yea because tesla's model X is really going to be a peoples car...

Set up (capital) costs can be huge (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230641)

With some things you can afford a loss on the first N units if you later sell M and get more than your setup costs back.
So yes, a lot of things that are low volume but expected to sell later at a high volume can initially be sold at a loss without it being a total stuffup. Then of course you can have total stuffups where things are sold for less than the cost of the materials but that's rare.

A Joke (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230645)

The Volt costs $40,000 before tax rebates and only gets you 35 miles on an electric charge. Then 35 MPG city/40 hwy (gas) for 375 miles.

The Toyota Prius starts at $24,000 and goes to $30,000 for their top end. Mileage is 51 MPG city/48 hwy for approximately 600 miles.

So Chevrolet's market was people who have lots of money, are willing to spend it with abandon, want a car, but don't really need to drive much. In short, semi-rich idiot hipsters.

I think they probably just saturated their customer base.

Re:A Joke (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230835)

So Chevrolet's market was people who have lots of money, are willing to spend it with abandon, want a car, but don't really need to drive much. In short, semi-rich idiot hipsters.

You forgot "willing to drive a car that looks like total dogshit". The Prius is ugly but it looks futuristic. The volt is ugly, and it's also ugly.

Re:A Joke (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231071)

Eh, I don't think the Prius looks futuristic at all. All the electric cars are ugly as hell. The Leaf looks like an overweight catfish with a fat ass. The Volt looks like a patchwork doll with pieces and parts pasted on. The only thing the volt has going for it is 17" rims. The Prius looks like mini-van that got squashed in the back after someone replaced all the tires with shopping cart wheels. Yeah, I don't like tiny wheels on cars... but I thought electric vehicles were supposed to be high torque? Why is there a need to have smaller diameter wheels?

Re:A Joke (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230927)

It gets decent mileage on the highway (almost as much as the prius prius) and has a decent range (as much as any Corolla or similar). The benefit is for people who work or do whatever close to home. If your work is within 15 miles (mine is) you could potentially never use gas for a given week. Even if you needed to do some errands, 35 miles is decent just for tooling around your neighborhood. Never using gas is a huge plus. The only joke is the initial price. If you can overcome that, the prius has got nothing on it for the majority of driving time. 35 * 365 is about 13000 miles per year which is pretty reasonable (a little lower than average I think).

Re:A Joke (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230931)

Wait, it's that bad? I had heard something like 60 miles/charge and then 50-60MPG back when I looked at Chevy's plans. Is the real car that bad compared to their claims?

Re:A Joke (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230971)

The market is further restricted to people who would buy a GM. Their reputation for build quality is less than stellar. I think the government should have let them fail. I will never buy a GM.

Re:A Joke (2, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231037)

Didn't we have an article here recently about the impact of innumeracy?

The problem with the Volt / Prius comparison is that it's not that simple. You've got to factor in operation costs. The Volt costs $0.90 less per mile to run on electric mode than the Prius. When the gasoline engine kicks in, the Volt costs $0.80 *more* per mile.

So the more affordable choice depends on what your transportation needs. Let's start somebody who is a ridiculously ideal Volt candidate. She uses her car to commute and run errands around town. She runs the car 30 miles / day on average and never goes over the limit. That works out to $9855 savings annually. She's well into the money within two years, not even counting any tax rebates.

Now let's suppose every weekend our Volt owner drives to grandma's house to deliver a basket of goodies. Grandma lives 153.5 miles away, so our Volt owner drives 35 miles on electric, 118.5 on gas. She stays over night and does an identical return trip, so she's drive a total of 237 miles on gas, at a marginal cost of and additional 189.5 for the entire weekend round trip relative to the Prius. Over the course of 52 weeks, that adds up $9859 in additional operating costs, almost exactly canceling out her electric savings, so the Volt represents $10K-$16K out of her pocket she'll never see again.

And how about Grandma? Well she only uses her car to drive to church on Sunday, and it's a mile each way, so it really doesn't matter *what* she drives. She's better off sticking with her 1980 Plymouth Volare sedan that the nice man downtown keeps running, even though the beast only gets 18 mpg.

Who would have guessed? (4, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230655)

When you make a product for political reasons, not because there's a market, and then subject it to the market, it tends not to do well. Huh.

Re:Who would have guessed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230729)

The Volt was not made for "political" reasons, but it's success or failure has been turned into a political issue by right wingers. In fact, the first concept cars that led to the Volt were shown in 2007, during Bush Jr's term, and the technology was in development for years before that. Yes, the Volt is a risky product that GM is trying to develop to counter the success of the Prius. Sadly it sure doesn't help sales when you have an entire political party (and its popular party-run media outlets) dedicated to seeing the American auto industry fail just so they can get elected. Not a week has gone by that we have not seen Republican gasbags and the conservative-controlled media attacking the Volt in particular with false claims about battery fires and government subsidies. I know you folks really want to win the next election, but do you really have to cheer for America to fail to get it?

Re:Who would have guessed? (1, Insightful)

Stickybombs (1805046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230843)

This! Exactly this. The auto 'bailouts' saved probably a couple million jobs. If the auto companies fail, you lose suppliers, dealers, etc, etc., not to mention the massive tax impacts to the towns with factories. The loans have been partially repaid, and will be finally repaid whenever the government decides to sell its GM stock holdings (they are waiting for the price to go up). Even if they sold their shares right now, the total cost for the 'bailouts' would be about $14 billion. What about the bank bailouts? Those cost taxpayers anywhere from $15 billion to $90 billion. (It is pretty tough to find a good estimate, they range wildly all over the place) Have we seen any benefit from those bailouts? Or just a bunch of rich bankers getting richer? And yet, all we hear complaints about are the auto company loans. Everyone seems to forget about the banks, which likely cost us far more, and with less benefit.

Suspending Production != Suspending Sales (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230661)

They have not suspended sales, duh. They're trying like hell to sell them.

They've suspended PRODUCTION while they try to reduce the backlog of inventory.

Are we living in a world full of illiterates or something?

Ohm I God! (5, Funny)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230663)

Volt meets Resistance. I couldn't resist.

On a serious note, GM does not have a good record with respect to embracing effective change. Its management is still intellectually corrupt, except it is no longer led by executives who came up through sales/marketing and now has had government surrogates put in their places.

GM has never had a working grip on the obvious, and I'm old enough to remember when GM-made cars were more than half of the world's output. They no longer have a monopoly, nor the world's biggest dealer network, and only, apparently, one profitable brand of auto -- Cadillac.

So, as I told a friend who had inherited money in 2001 -- "Sell GM short. They're going down."

It's true again, How long must GM wait before it can return to the courts for relief?.

Re:Ohm I God! (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230671)

Volt meets Resistance. I couldn't resist.

It's good that Slashdot is here to help us keep up on current events.

Re:Ohm I God! (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230709)

/rimshot

Re:Ohm I God! (1, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230791)

Yea, I can't help but laugh Obama's little UAW trash the rule of law give away is about to blow up.

Its time to short GM, they will NOT be repeating their record profits next quarter or the one after it. The numbers are rigged. Its come out in recent days that GM has stuffed the channel like never before. Makes it look like the parent company sold a ton of cars (and technically they did) but the dealers and resellers did not move the inventory; so there will be FAR fewer re-orders.

Also Consumer reports just rated them near the bottom as usual; so much for that turn around and building cars American's want to buy. After a couple years on the road its being revealed the changes are all window dressing and the quality problems are still there. I only hope the next time these fools go bankrupt we let it get handled by the courts like its supposed to so that all that tooling can get sold off cheap to someone who is going to do something worth while with it.

Suck my troll cock (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230677)

Slashdot banned my origianal IP but hasn't stopped me from trolling you bastards

Re:Suck my troll cock (1, Offtopic)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230719)

No thanks, we choke on small bones.

So with 9297 Volts... (3, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230679)

How much resistance was there exactly to cause no current to flow?

The title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230721)

Should have been "Chevy Volt meets high resistance, GM suspending current production".

HAHA, this is so hilarious! (1, Informative)

fredan (54788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230735)

if they had continue with the EV1 they would have been the world leader in electric cars by now.

stupid americans.

Re:HAHA, this is so hilarious! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230839)

The EV1 cost twice as much as the volt. Probably would have been even more than that if it had actually been for sale. There are regulations in the US that if you sell a car, you have to make replacement parts for it for X number of years. It was a sure loser for GM, which is why they didn't sell any at the end of their test.

That said, the volt sucks. It's not an electric car, it's a plug in hybrid. So in addition to paying for an electric motor and high tech batteries, you also have to pay for (and haul around) a gasoline engine. How many more miles on a charge would it get if you just ripped out the gasoline engine?

As other posters are saying, buy a Prius. At least the Prius knows what it wants to be.

Re:HAHA, this is so hilarious! (2)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230961)

Plug in hybrids make a lot of sense in the USA. Out West it can be 200 miles between towns. Until and unless every gas station also has a battery-pack-exchange facility (I give you my empty pack, you give me a charged one for a fee), cars with a 60 mile range are not so practical.

There's a large chunk of potential car buyers who would look at the specs of a pure electric car with even a 100 mile range and say "Wait, so I can drive this in the LA area, the SF area, and the Boston-DC corridor, and that's it? Screw that, Imma buy a Prius."

Re:HAHA, this is so hilarious! (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230925)

and had they not sold the patent on NiMH batteries to the Texaco when they destroyed the EV1 they would also be the leader in high capacity vehicle battery technology.

LoB

make them look pretty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230831)

the only reason the Tesla got any attention at all was because it looked like a sporty Lotus!,
had it looked like the current crop of retarded looking square boxes and it wouldn't of batted an eyelid.

Make it look pretty and most wont really care about drivetrain or price too much for that matter. (See Appleâ for details)

try customizing a Prius/ClarityFCX/Volt eg. rims/lowering/shaved/paint
its physical proof that you cant polish poo,

car designers should hang their heads in shame,
1950s they went nuts with pretty design for the masses,
since then the trend has been create non-personable uninspiring rectangular boxes and style be dammed

you think in 50 years many people will be wanting to restore a Prius to Concours, see it on the stand at Baratt Jackson and marvell at its square lines and impeccable design choices ?

make it look desirable, make it hackable and it will be sought after.

Missed the real irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230921)

the Volt has come under criticism from Republicans in Congress because of reports of its batteries catching on fire during testing.

If only there was a group of people whose job it was to regulate things like this...

Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance... (2)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230937)

...low current ensues.

Have they even rolled it out completely yet? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230965)

I recall the initial launch of the Volt had it only available for sale in a short list of select states.

When an electric car should be an easy sell (3, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230967)

Ironically, the shutdown comes as gas prices are soaring, exactly the time when an electric car should be an easy sell.

Until a huge breakthrough is made in battery technology, electric cars are doomed to fail, no matter how high the price of gasoline.

Electric cars are too expensive -- it's cheaper to just pay the high gasoline prices.
Electric cars have an extremely limited range and take too to charge -- people will pay for gasoline as a "convenience fee" to be able to go farther, faster.

And even if those two problems are somehow fixed, the elephant in the room, that everyone is desperately trying to ignore, is the enormous cost of replacing the batteries. A conventional gasoline engine, which proper maintenance can last a very long time. And if you do have problems, you can replace/rebuild/replace parts as needed. Worst case -- you can go to a local junk yard and buy a used engine for a few hundred dollars.

With batteries, there is no repair or rebuild or get a used one from a junk yard. Once the batteries reach the end of their life they have to be replaced at a very high cost. As a result, the re-sale value of an electric car is going to be pretty close to zero -- who would want to buy a used electric car knowing that they are guaranteed to get hit with a bill for several thousand dollars in the near future.

Where are the EEs? (2)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231003)

Chevy Volt meets high resistance... Makes reductions in Chevy Ampere.

Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231007)

Try lowering the price.

I looked at the Volt. They wanted over MSRP. (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231027)

The dealer I went to had a $4000 markup over MSRP on it. I would have been interested at invoice (around $2000 off of MSRP). Despite the Volts flaws I wanted the all electric range that it provided. The bad dealer experience soured me enough to GM to give them less consideration when I bought my new vehicle. I am sure the dealers looked at the Volt as way to make a quick buck when they saw the Prius selling over list price but the Volt just is not good enough. The expected MPG was near Prius levels but in end it was 15% less. The expected price after the federal credit was $30k, but in the end it was closer to $35k. The range was expected at 40 miles but ended up being less then 35.

Obama's Free Money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231031)

It's the same with Solyndra!! It's free money so GM took it!! Unions happy for three years!! GM executives happy for three years!! Obama got kickbacks and more votes from unions!! Everybody happy!! Nice ending!!

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