Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Chevy Volt: A $60,000 Mail Truck in the Near Future?


2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo
People are getting increasingly creative in their legitimization of massive amounts of government money propping up the U.S. auto industry. One anonymous individual wrote in with a detailed plan of how to save GM (and the U.S. economy, and the American auto worker) on GM-Volt.com, parts of which seem workable and prudent. This individual's ideas spring from a post written by retired NASA engineer Phil Toney.

But the blogger's entire plan relies on, and I quote, legislation allowing the purchase of "massive quantities of Chevy Volts to replace the current government fleet." What's more, these government-service Chevy Volts would be sold "at a premium" and "without a battery warranty." The writer goes on to suggest that these new-fleet Volts could replace one-sixth of U.S. government fleet vehicles, totaling some 100,000 cars. And what kind of premium does the author suggest? "Due to the cost of the lithium ion battey of about $10,000 - $15,000 per car," he writes, "GM has stated it won't be able to make a profit at a cost of $40,000 per car." That makes for quite a pricey fleet, and one footed in part by your tax dollars.

Wait a minute--fleet sales to ensure GM's viability? Haven't we seen this before? Isn't this tantamount to admitting that an automaker has failed at building products that consumers will buy of their own accord and at a profit to the automaker? Fleet sales became a dirty word not so long ago, as they were a quick and  clandestine way to offload thousands of Corsicas, Sebrings, Tempos, and Escorts to languish on Hertz and Budget Rent-a-Car lots. The image problem alone that this created is precisely the one GM, Ford, and Chrysler have been desperately trying to abandon as they swear up and down, "But we DO build competitive small cars! Promise!" Indeed, these companies not so long ago severely limited fleet sales because they realized that the buying public didn't want to pay tens of thousands for a new car only to rent its lowly base model on vacation, beat up and reeking of cigarette smoke.

Engineer Phil Toney compares this Volt governmental fleet plan to actions pursued in the '30s and '40s: "in fact, the US rose from a desperate, financially-anemic economy in the 30’s to the world’s strongest economy after WWII!!! ….due primarily, I believe, to the multi-billion dollar government contracts placed with the big 3 for the machinery of war! We know it works. So let’s do it again!!!" Well, if you consider social workers and postal workers soldiers, then perhaps you might also consider an armada of Chevy Volts the "machinery of war." But who wants to drive a postal van to the club on Saturday or to their parent's place for Christmas? Maybe if we upped the price of this GoverVolt even more, we could share a communal Volt with the neighbor: He could drive it on the even days, you on the odd. Come on, stop that complaining--if we're going to get through these tough times, you are simply going to have to make some sacrifices.

My favorite response to this concept is as follows: "Does this mean they will sell the car to the Gov't at $50,000 to $60,000 per car? Kind of like the $25k toilet seats?"

What are we: a free-market economy or one propped up with huge government programs that pay exorbitant amounts for products that otherwise wouldn't succeed in the marketplace?

I really, really want the Volt to succeed. ON ITS OWN MERITS. Should you and I, with our tax dollars, be forced to purchase an enormous fleet of Volts at ridiculous prices in order to keep a lumbering giant...well, lumbering along? And what of the sprawling network of 7,500 GM dealers that all want a piece of the pie? Do we keep them clunking along with handouts in the above scenario?

I'm not just a little troubled by the scenario proposed above. What's your take?--Colin Mathews
---

Make sure you check out our partner sites dedicated to focused news, reviews and more for Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, and the Toyota Prius.
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (4)
  1. Mail trucks, Police cars, Taxis, urban delivery vehicles are all ideal for Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid application.
    It makes far more sense for one of these to be hybrid or even pure electric than it does for the typical private owner to get one of these, when he or she drives lots of highway miles, or only a few city miles, every year.
    Re the Volt, I thought GM COULD break even at $40,000, but that the average consumer would give it the finger, since one can get a Prius for $10k to $15k less, so GM asked Big Mommy Govt to give every VOlt a $7,500 tax credit, essentially reducing its price to $32.5k to make it competitive with the Prius and other hybrids.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. Who said it has to be a ridiculous price that the government has to pay? I don't see it that way. I will agree the the government can waste money like no one else can, but let's say they buy each car for about $40K each, which is what GM is talking about charging us. Can this be considered a ridiculous amount of money? I don't think it can.
    As far as the $7500 tax credit....well... it's my money anyway, so I would like some of it back.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Agree with Colin, the strength of the uS lies in its market economy. unfortunately this doesn't seem to translate to the car industry, multiple gov't bailout's over the years, build it and they must buy it mentality and strong union involvement in management and a failure to adopt new technology. Culd you imagine where microsoft would be if it adopted these principles? What si worse the US attempts to deal with greenhouse gas immissions stinks of socialist bureuacracy knows best mentality set out in CAFE. Don't get me wrong I believe soemthing needs to be done on greenhouse emmissions, but the answer lies in the market not legislation. Markets are best moderated not through government policy but via price, $4 a gallon petrol finaly made a difference to US car buying and driving. If you want to affect US fuel economy forget CAFE. Impose a tax on petrol. HAs the advantage of not only affecting consumer choice (but leaves it to consumers to choose) but alowill raise billions needed to fund the stimulus plan. CAFE makes manufacturers look to government, a fule tax ill mean it is consumers that the automakers will pay attention to.
    Forcing government to buy cars at inflated prices is exactly what UK did with British Laylan, it was a failed policy that did not help UK car manufacturers but left police forces and others with crap vehicles that did not serve their point. Not sure how hybrids help the police force.
    Toyota got plenty of support from mummy gov't back home in Japan to build the 1st gen prius at a loss Ed, so in effect even playing field demanded by GM.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. I am very well aware of the cost of developing and producing the intial Prius. Toyota made them at $30k each and sold them at $20k, initially, and so did Honda, BUT The Government of Japan did NOT directly subsidise the Hybrids. If you got hard facts that it did, and at what level, let me know. But I am 100% sure that if it did, the Detroit 3 whining, pitiful, incompetent and impotent idiot CEOS and UAW's Middlefinger (their Pimp), would protest very loudly.
    What I DO remember is that later, Lutz said to a reporter that GM SHOULD have spent $100 Mill of its own 100s of Billions and invested it in Hybrids, and he viewed it at the time as just a MARKETING and ADVERTISING expense, to pretend they are green.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.