Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Drive My Car Year Round

It was interesting to read the criticism leveled by GM spokesman Greg Martin at Consumer Reports. The magazine's most recent issue cast doubts as to whether discriminating consumers would be as enamored with Chevrolet's new signature vehicle as the White House, environmentalists, and other auto industry honchos had hoped they would be.

The test drives were, shall we say, disappointing. The battery packs died 26 miles into test drives, the drivers froze their asses off, and the overall economics of the purchase made little sense to editors. Besides that, everything was good.

Martin was not pleased.

In response, GM spokesman Greg Martin reminded Reuters that the Volt has received positive technical reviews and questioned CR's decision to base its review on "the most cold and snowy conditions this winter in the Northeast."
The timing may not have been the greatest for the Volt test drives, but the sad fact remains that I drive my car year round as do most other people who live in northern states.

As a consumer I find the Volt information valuable.

The Volt sells for $41,000 before the taxpayers take a $7,500 hit. As such it costs $18,000 more than a baseline Prius (a vehicle getting 51 mpg.) and costs $13,000 more than the hybrid Ford Fusion (a vehicle getting 41 mpg.) Also noteworthy is that the Volt's hybrid competitors do not freeze the cheeks off of drivers who have to get to work during "cold and snowy conditions..."

I do think we can expect plug-in vehicles to improve through the years so its way too early to insist the Volt is a disaster. Still, when government busybodies infuse their money (with strings-attached ideas) into the big world of crony capitalism, what usually emerges is an illogical mutation on the consumer.

Excluded from this particular round of cronyism is Toyota and Ford who have produced a more consumer friendly (if not taxpayer friendly) product. I cannot wait to see what the White House, the EPA, the DOE, the UAW, and Government Motors cook up next time.

No comments: