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That Chevy Volt Is A Great Deal! (But Not If You Want To Make A Profit.)

From the Christian Science Monitor:

General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August – but that probably isn’t a good thing for the automaker’s bottom line.

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

This is the vehicle that GM continues to tout as a “success?” A vehicle that loses money on every sale?

The Chevy Volt has not met sales expectations of 40,000 cars sold and will probably end the year with sales of less than 20,000. Yet even the sales numbers seemed to be rigged a bit:
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US Develops The Volt. The Dutch Develop A Flying Car.

This is awesomely cool.

This week the Dutch company PAL-V announced the first flights of its prototype “flying car”.
This unique vehicle is called the PAL-V One, or the ‘Personal Air and Land Vehicle’, and It marks the start of a new era.

On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car. Within minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail is extended: then it is ready to take off thanks to the advanced gyrocopter technology.

With these successful test results it is proven that it is not only possible to build a flying car but also that it can be done within existing international rules for both flying and driving.

Having passed this important milestone the company is now inviting investors to join them in creating the future.

The next step will be the design of the first commercial production model of the PAL-V, and first deliveries are expected in 2014.

For 100 years people have dreamed of a flying car, and many attempts have been made to realize this dream, but now it has truly become a reality.

PAL-V is a privately owned company founded by people in various industries. They have gotten investors from private companies an individuals.

They produce a flying car.

The US government produces the Chevy Volt.



Chevy Volt – “Just The Facts.”

In case you missed it, Chevrolet has released a new advertisement touting the Chevy Volt. We have covered the Volt here fairly extensively, highlighting its lack of sales, its tie in with the government’s manipulation of the market, the need to fix a problem that “doesn’t exist,” and the complicity of the government in the announcing the car had a safety issue.

The ad addresses “just the facts.”

Apparently in their rush to get the commercial out, Chevy forgot one tiny detail:

GM to Idle Chevy Volt Output as Sales Slow

General Motors Co. will idle production of its Chevrolet Volt battery-powered car for five weeks beginning this month because of slow sales amid an effort to boost the vehicle’s consumer appeal, the company said Friday.

Launched last year with great fanfare, the Volt has had a rocky start as sales stalled, and the car became a lightning rod for critics of the Obama administration’s auto-industry bailout and support for alternative energy.

GM said around 1,300 workers at the Hamtramck, Mich., factory where the Volt is built will be out of work between March 19 and April 23, a spokesman said. The plant had just resumed production on Feb. 6 after a prolonged holiday shutdown.

It is never a good thing when supply is so far outreaching demand that you have to stop production. GM (and by extension the government and taxpayers) have a lot riding on this car and while the sales are ticking upward, it may never get over its image and technical issues.

And that’s a fact.



When The Government Invests Your Money – The Green Edition.

William Teach over at The Pirate’s Cove has a post concerning Obama making gasoline prices and oil exploration a talking point as he travels around the country.

As usual, Teach is on top of his game with the 411 on the subject. at the bottom of the post, however, he makes what can be almost described as a “throw away point” on a company called A123 Systems who manufactures batteries. The company is in financial trouble after taking over $250 million in Federal funds plus another $100 million from the taxpayers of the state of Michigan. Teach’s point, and it is a good one, is that while Obama is out there lying talking about all he has done for oil and gas exploration, the energy sources he favors and the companies to which the administration has given money continue to fail.

The company’s name rang a bell with us and when we went back and looked at it, what we saw was a rip off of the American people again.

In May of 2008, the “green” section of the website Autoblog said of A123 Systems:

A123 Systems is pretty hot right now. How hot? It’s got more sizzle than the A123-powered Killacycle (pictured above). It’s been on the receiving end of $100 million investment dollars in a little over a year. That’s definitely hot. And it’s not all about “what ifs” and “could bes”, these guys are making all kinds of batteries for companies like Black & Decker and Hymotion. They are testing with GM’s Volt and stand a good chance of becoming the main supplier (or at least one of the main suppliers) for that model. So it seems A123, as they say, will strike while the iron is hot and issue an IPO.

According to Scott Kirsner over at Innovation Economy, the deal could put the company’s worth up around $1 billion. If you want to get in on the action you should have the whole summer to save up. Kirsner predicts September will be the magic month.

Autoblog was wrong about the projected date of the IPO. Instead of being in September of 2008, the IPO happened in September of 2009. In terms of investments, the IPO was solid.

When A123 went public in September 2009, it inspired visions of easy profits and growth. On its first day of trading, the stock jumped from its IPO price of $13.50 to close at $20.29. Within two weeks the stock had more than doubled, hitting a high of $28.20.

And why not?

The month prior to the IPO, A123 Systems received a grant of $249 million dollars from the Federal Government to develop batteries. One of the batteries A123 Systems was developing was for the Chevy Volt. As stated above in the Autoblog article, A123 Systems was a leading contender to make the battery packs for the Volt.

Yet in 2009, GM chose another company – LG Chem of Korea – to build the battery packs for the Volt. Without the contract, one would think the government would step back and pause a moment on investing more into the company.

One would be wrong.
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Lincoln MKZ Concept Car Is As Hot As The Chevy Volt.

Lincoln Motor Company apparently is not happy with all the attention rival Chevrolet has gotten with the Chevy Volt. In case you have forgotten, the Volt has been involved in some strange machinations due to the Volt bursting into fire 3 weeks after a crash test. After first saying there was nothing wrong with the Volt, then offering loaner cars to owners of the Volt, to then offering to buy back the Volt from owners to issuing a fix (but not a recall) for the Volt, Lincoln had to be salivating at all the press the Volt had gotten.

At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the Lincoln MKZ concept car was unveiled.

The car is smokin‘. Literally.

To be fair the car is a concept vehicle which means it is not in production. Automobile companies use concept cars to get public impressions of designs and features, before deciding whether to actually manufacture the vehicle. As you can imagine, there are going to be issues with “one off” cars. It is the nature of the beast.

Yet it is still good to know the car manufacturers of America still make some really hot, smokin’ cars.



GM To Fix Chevy Volt Fire Hazard Which The Company Says Doesn’t Exist.

GM has announced a fix for the Chevy Volt, the company’s “hot” hybrid that literally could burst into flames.

Actually, the only thing “hot” about the Volt was the fire hazard as sales missed projections for the year. It was estimated the Volt would sell 10,000 units and instead only sold 7,671.

NOTE: In researching this story, we found one “reporter” claiming the lack of sales was based in part, due to “right wing punditry.”

It’s pretty impressive that, given a wave of negative publicity from right-wing pundits and an NHTSA investigation into battery pack fires, Volt sales are continuing to climb.

I think, given the weak economy, right-wing punditry, and other factors, both vehicles sold pretty well, despite their high prices and controversial politics.

The move by GM comes after a long and odd trip some (including us) believe would not have happened if not for GM being bailed out and owned by the US Government.

The day after Thanksgiving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it was opening a formal safety review after there was a fire in a Volt that had been crash tested earlier in the year. Three weeks after the June test, the Volt was parked outside a warehouse when it inexplicably caught fire. A second Volt did the same thing.
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Chevy to Buy Back Cars That Are No Danger of Bursting Into Flames.

Chevrolet has announced it will buy back Chevy Volts if owners are concerned about the Volt catching fire.

This is the most recent public relations nightmare concerning the Volt. First the National Highway Safety Administration announced it was opening a formal investigation after a Volt involved in a crash test burst into flames – three weeks after the test. Two other Volts caught fire as in crash tests as well.

Claiming there was no reason to panic or worry about the safety of the Volt, Chevy then announced it would issue loaner cars to Volt owners who were concerned about the safety of the Volt.

Now, Chevy is offering to buy back Volts from owners that are worried the Volt may catch fire.

As safety investigations continue on the electric car, which caught fire following test crashes, GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson said the automaker would repurchase Volts from any concerned consumers.

The assurance marked an escalation of the company’s response to the post-crash reports. Earlier this week, GM offered to loan free vehicles to Chevy Volt owners until the safety concerns were resolved.

The Volt still lags behind in sales projections and a car that catches fire will not exactly improve those sales figures. Such low sales may actually help Chevy in making the offer to buy back Volts.

Auto analyst Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com said the company was fortunate, in the context of the repurchase, that only a small number of cars had been sold.

“GM is only dealing with a few thousand cars,” Caldwell said. “It’s much more manageable than a widespread car, like a (Toyota) Camry or Honda Accord, which would be logistically very tough and financially very complicated to do something like a repurchase.”

There is something else here though. The Chevy Volt was sold with a $7500.00 rebate from the Federal government.
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The Chevy Volt – Hot for All the Wrong Reasons.

The National Highway Safety Administration has opened a formal investigation looking into cases where the Chevy Volt has caught on fire.

And by “on fire,” we don’t mean “sales of the Volt are hot.”

Federal safety regulators announced Friday that they have opened “a formal safety defect investigation” into the Chevrolet Volt over concerns the electric car’s battery may pose a significant fire risk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking at the car for months, explaining in a press release that this includes crash-testing the Volt in May and conducting three tests last week focused specifically on the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries.

“The agency is concerned that damage to the Volt’s batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire,” the administration said. “NHTSA is therefore opening a safety defect investigation of Chevy Volts, which could experience a battery-related fire following a crash.”

The announcement was made on Friday – Black Friday – when most people had the day off and were watching football, shopping, or wondering how they ate that much turkey yesterday. Any “news” was not on the radar as most major newspeople were at home. Analysts were home too. This means the results of the tests were known last week, but not announced until a day when they could be buried.

You don’t think there might be a reason for trying to bury bad news about the flagship car of GM and Obama’s dream for reshaping the way America travels, do you?

You aren’t that cynical, are you?

Well, we are.

Not only has the NHSTA opened a formal investigation, it is the only one related to electric and electric hybreds.
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