Wagoner Rings in Century at GM with Volt

September 16, 2008
Wrapping up what sounded remarkably like a recent campaign speech by a certain democratic hopeful, GM CEO Rick Wagoner took the wraps off the highly anticipated 2011 Chevrolet Volt E-REV electric vehicle at the conclusion of the GMnext Day Global Broadcast, a celebration of GM's 100 years by its employees around the world.

As Bob Lutz, car guru responsible for shaking some life and good design back into GM, drove the vehicle onstage, our first impressions were a sigh of relief. Looking better than the recently leaked Volt photos and more like the original concept, today's Volt was low, sleek, and much like a four-fifths 2008 Acura TL in appearance and attitude: crouched, athletic, svelte, and muscular. GM seems to finally have in the Volt a small car with visual distinction and confidence. GM's official photos don't quite do justice to the Volt; it gets shortened in photos and too compressed in length, when in reality, it's more sleek.

Preceding and preparing for his Volt unveil, Wagoner stated that the most important direction for the future of the automobile is "the development of alternative-fueled propulsion" and his belief that the automobile is changing from a machine "that's mechanically driven to one that's electrically driven." Addressing the audience of GM folk, he underscored his belief that "it's you, today's and tomorrow's global team...who will lead the reinvention of the automobile."

Wagoner concluded his speech by stating that "GM's second century starts right now." Or, perhaps more accurately, when the Feds approve that $25 billion loan so that cash-strapped GM can pay for all those Volt battery packs? A very significant line in the Volt press release contains the catch that production will begin in late 2010, so long as certain government incentives are approved.--Colin Mathews

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