Well-respected car guy and General Motors supporter, Bob Lutz, posted a piece on Forbes that attacked "right-wing" criticism of the Chevy Volt. With all due respect and noting that I have nowhere near the credentials of Mr. Lutz, I feel it appropriate to respond to the ridiculous defense that we have seen of a vehicle that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars while offering little in return. I also have some questions of my own for Mr. Lutz and GM.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 08:58
NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica last night discussed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of the Chevy Volt fires with Gerri Willis on the Fox Business Network. Here's a transcript:
General Motors' much-hyped Chevy Volt has yet another distinction to add to its long list of commendations. We had all heard repeatedly about Motor Trends' Car of the Year award, Consumer Reports' recommendation and Jay Leno's love affair with the car, but the Volt now gets a less publicized, more deserved distinction from Yahoo Finance's 24/7 Wall Street site. The Volt has made the list of "The Worst Product Flops of 2011" and apologists for the vehicle are sure to, once again, attack the credibility of those issuing the opinion.
Bloomberg reported last week that General Motors will be paying $12 million in additional bonuses to its UAW workers for meeting "quality targets." It's nice to see the holiday spirit of giving at GM. Unfortunately; US taxpayers are not faring as well as Government Motors' politically favored union members.
The Obama Administration still refuses to exit its stake in GM with Treasury serving as Money Manager for the American taxpayers. Geithner and friends continue to gamble on a market-timing strategy to "maximize" taxpayers return on its GM bailout (sorry, "investment.") So, how are they doing?
In January of 2010 USA Today reported that Consumer Reports (CR) temporarily suspended its recommended rating for eight Toyota models. This was in response to the possibility of Toyota models being unsafe as accusations were made that the vehicles had sudden acceleration problems and NHTSA investigated the alleged incidents. In CRs' words, "Although incidents of sudden acceleration are rare, we are taking this action because the vehicles have been identified as potentially unsafe without a fix yet being available to consumers." CRs' response to the Chevy Volt NHTSA fires is quite different from the Toyota response.
You may have heard of the announcement that there will be a congressional investigation into why NHTSA waited six months to notify the public of the crash-tested Chevy Volt which burst into flames three weeks after the crash-test. If you have, it was probably not through mainstream media networks, which seem to be keeping fairly quiet on the story. I have not been able to ascertain a logical reason for General Motors and the Obama Administration's transportation safety agency to withhold reporting the incident.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for any and all communications with General Motors (GM).
The NHTSA is investigating three fires in the battery packs of GM's Chevy Volt following collision tests, but may have withheld information of this potential safety problem from the public for several months.
General Motors has announced it is buying back Chevy Volts from any purchasers who are concerned about safety risks associated with the vehicle. NHTSA is currently investigating fires that occurred after crash tests of the vehicles when the volatile lithium-ion batteries ignited days after the tests. Any buybacks of the vehicles sets the stage for wealthy purchasers to take advantage of lax rules for the $7,500 tax credit available on the vehicle. Essentially, many purchasers can return their Volts and then go ahead and apply for the credit, even though they do not currently own the vehicle and received a refund of what they paid for the car.