George Will has a very well-researched, and very accurate, column describing in painstaking detail the government-pushed folly that is the Chevy Volt. It's all there:
it's not electric, it's a hybrid
the government is using taxpayer dollars to bribe people to buy it
bankrupt California is tacking on its own bribe ... for the Nissan Leaf only, as the Volt is a hybrid
Even with the bribe it's pricey
to charge it you use home electricity - produced largely by coal-fired plants
it's battery has a range of 40 miles - or less
it seats only four - the battery is quite large
GM is still 61% government-owned, and paid back some of it's government debt with more government debt.
Alas, this is yet more evidence that the government does not know best - but you already knew that. The hosannas from green-thinking people notwithstanding, the Volt is not the automotive equivalent of Reardon Metal.
After the shopping binge inspired by the government's "Cash for
Clunkers" incentive program ended, U.S. auto sales plunged in September
and the industry sunk back to the depths from which it started, figures
released Thursday showed.
The reports of monthly sales numbers confirmed predictions that some
of the spectacular gains of August had merely been achieved by moving
up sales that would have happened in September.
The results raised doubts from some economists about the effectiveness of the $3 billion federal program as a stimulus
GM's sales down 45% year to year, Chrysler 42%. Ford, which didn't take bailout money, was down only 5% year to year, but 37% from August. Seriously, it's not just economists who have doubts. Some of us doubted the wisdom of the program from the moment it was announced. It was a feel-good program, nothing more, a temporary reset button on the price of autos that does nothing in the longer term for either "climate change" or the industry it would allegedly help.
The fate of the Janesville, Moraine, and Newark plants was sealed
this spring, when rising gas prices suddenly made S.U.V.’s unpopular,
and long before President Bush approved $17.4 billion in emergency
loans last week to keep G.M. and Chrysler out of bankruptcy.
While the overall new vehicle market has dropped 16 percent so far this year, sales of big S.U.V.’s have plummeted 40 percent.
consumers shifting rapidly to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, G.M.
no longer needed to produce big S.U.V.’s in Janesville as well as in a
plant in Texas.
As a father of three, who travels for ski trips, visits to friends in Pennsylvania, New York (both City and upstate), and vacations in Cape Cod on occasion, and whose daughters have friends along often for even those drives around town, I can safely say that the SUV is going nowhere. No vehicle I've seen combines the snow-worthiness, the room for tons of gear, the comfortable seating for children of all sizes, and the safety on hazardous roads of the large SUV. We have one, which we don't use everyday for routine driving. But it's great for getting to work in two feet of New Hampshire snow, along with those applications listed above.
Sales have dropped 40% - and will pick back up when a) the economy is better and b) gas prices fall. Oh, wait, we only need a) to happen now. GM, Chrysler and Ford better have contingency plans to ramp back up production in the future, or the Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX56 and other similar vehicles will be the beneficiaries.