Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The usual suspects bash the Volt

When someone asked Ben Franklin on what was the good of flight (balloons) responded, "of what use is a newborn baby?"  Back when this was still a nation of inventors, such a one-liner would silence the fools.  Now we have the situation of the Chevy Volt—a car as inventive as any in the past 50 years—perhaps ever.  And yet the buffoons like Rush Limbaugh are still taking potshots at the car of the year (Motor Trend, European car magazine editors, etc.)  In their world, Peak Oil has not happened, climate change is a hoax, and new technology is a failure if it doesn't make a ton of money right out of the box.  And since the Volt is obviously an act of pure genius, the Wrong-Wingers must resort to lying to make their point.  Here the growing number of Volt fans try to set the record straight.

What is so disturbing about this foolishness is that almost NONE of the technologies we need to climb out of the mess we find ourselves, will turn a profit in its first five years of existence—if that.  It's another example of why the marketplace is, at best, a lagging indicator.  HAS TO BE!  This isn't something simple like an iPhone App—this is something that has eaten up $Millions in engineering to satisfy a market they must create in a tough economic times caused by actions they did not take.  So it is not so surprising that the market purists at Cato and Forbes don't get it.  The Volt makes thermodynamic, fuels-choice sense.  Eventually it will make economic sense.  Amazing how often that works.

I pay no attention to critics—after all, no one ever built a monument to a critic.  attributed to Composer Jan Sibelius

The Chevy Volt Is Far From A Failure

John Voelcker, Christian Science Monitor | Sep. 24, 2012

With the Chevrolet Volt racking up the highest sales last month since it launched--though the numbers were helped by incentives for both buyers and dealers--some of the "Volt is a flop" coverage has abated.

Now, a post on the fan site GM-Volt.com points out that this so-called "sales failure" has higher sales to date this year than roughly half of the other 260 or so models sold in the U.S. 
The post responded to an article yesterday on Forbes, "Notwithstanding GM's Protests, No One Wants the Volt," written by the director of science at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Washington, D.C.

The GM-Volt.com post simply lists sales totals through August of every vehicle that logged fewer deliveries than the Volt's 13,497. 
The aggregated sales data can be found here, among other venues. 
The Volt is # 133 out of the 262 models listed, though the sales data are hardly linear: The top vehicles sell tens to thousands of times the volume of those at the bottom of the list. 
The highest-selling cars are the Toyota Camry (280,536 plus another 30,587 Camry Hybrids), Honda Accord (218,665), and Honda Civic (212,483 plus another 5,168 Civic Hybrids). No surprise there. 
And granted, some of the cars outsold by the Volt are predictably low-volume models. No one expects expensive sports cars like the Nissan GT-R (849) or the Lexus LFA (29) to do better than the Volt. 
Moreover, GM executives made rash projections of the number of Volts they planned to sell in 2011 (15,000) and 2012 (45,000) they they've now had to walk back.

Still, a number of the models that delivered fewer cars than the Volt are surprising. 
Would you have expected the Volt to outsell both the BMW 7-Series and the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Lincoln's large sedan, the MKS, for example--not to mention the mid-size Audi A6? It did. 
Then there are the several hybrids it beat, including the Lexus RX 400h and CT 200h, and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Even more impressive, it beat every single hybrid model sold by BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Honda, Kia, GMC, Infiniti, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen
The only hybrids it didn't outsell, in fact, were the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
For context, we like the data from this past January, when total 2011 sales figures revealed that the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf each sold more units in their first year on the market than did the Toyota Prius hybrid back in 2000, its first year. more

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