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.
The Obama Administrations’ favorite car has had a rough time of late with sales goals not being met, exploding cars at NHTSA and media exposure of the high cost to taxpayers regarding Chevy Volt subsidies and federal funding of township purchases. Considering all the money spent by GM to hype the vehicle, the Worst Flop award is well-deserved. The piece made mention of the GM deception that Volt supply could not keep up with demand (something I disproved months ago) stating, “GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity – a statement later shown to be misguided.”
Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was pulled into the Volt fray when asked his opinion on the vehicle. Romney responded that the Volt was “An idea whose time has not come.” This mild criticism, as well as an analyst’s report that the Volt has cost taxpayers $250,000 per vehicle, did not go unanswered by supporters of GM. The vitriolic response gives insight to the mindset of those that support all that GM does, regardless of evidence that vehicles like the Volt are costing taxpayers billions of dollars while offering little benefits in return.
UAW Local 22 President, George McGregor, responded to Romney’s suggestion that the Volt was not quite ready for prime time. MLive.com quotes McGregor as saying, “It’s not an idea that is ahead of its time, it’s behind its time. It should have been here (years ago) so we wouldn’t be dependent on foreign oil.” Democratic Michigan Congressman, Hansen Clarke, chimed in, “We want to promote innovation like the Chevy Volt,” he added, “We want to promote manufacturing and innovation. We don’t want to look at ways to criticize it and stifle it.” I wonder if Rep. Clarke knows about GM’s plans to move Volt technology to China. Another telling quote on the philosophy of those like Clarke who feel our government (i.e., the taxpayer) needs to be heavily involved in the private sector came when he stated, “Throughout history, the government has been behind the innovation of great products and technology. Government support is key.”
Once again, defenders of the Chevy Volt and EV subsidies in general, do not give specifics as to what the vehicles are doing to benefit America. How will a tiny percentage of cars like the Volt, which go about 30 miles on an electric charge before getting approximately 30 miles per gallon of fuel, significantly lessen foreign oil dependence? More importantly, are the negligible benefits worth billions of taxpayer dollars? The lack of a credible defense with specifics leads supporters of Government Motors to resort to the type of ugly attacks that are often seen from those that can not substantiate their argument.
GMInsideNews.com gives the best examples of how GM defenders make their case. From the site’s forum come these comments:
Regarding the report that the Volt costs taxpayers $250,000 per vehicle, “A moron with a calculator and bias is still a moron.” And, “Assume for a moment that this bogus figure is actually correct. With each sale, the cost drops, so even if it were true when this ass-clown did his study, it’s certainly lower now, as more Volts have been sold.” Slightly more civil, “James Hohman, Anne Coulter, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh – a rose by any other name. Man, people will say anything to make President Obama’s administration look bad.” I made the list at GMInsideNews as well as one fan stated, “Mark Modica is an uneducated, manipulative, lying moron.”
The ugly politics continues at General Motors. The Chevy Volt continues to costs taxpayers huge amounts of money while offering little in return. Cronies that are politically connected at companies like Fisker, Tesla and GE benefit as well as wealthy purchasers of the vehicles who receive $7,500 supplied by taxpayers who are average Americans that can not afford the car, much less the subsidies. All the while supporters of the vehicle imply that the Volt is benefiting society in some great way (with no substantiation) and is worth the billions of dollars purloined from taxpayers. And if you don’t like it, prepare to be attacked.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.