Sales of General Motors' one time cash cow, full-size trucks, are declining faster than the value of the US dollar, but with a birthday coming, GM still wants something to celebrate. This September, the world's largest automaker will be celebrating its centennial under a financial pall unlike any it has faced since its early days under Billy Durant. The car that GM management hopes will represent a new beginning is the Chevrolet Volt, which has been locked in for production for November 2010 and the shape of the production car has reportedly been finalized. The Volt team is apparently planning to unveil the definitive Volt shape as the star of the big party this September.
Early powertrain development mules have been running for several months now and GM insiders claim the lithium ion battery packs are exceeding performance expectations so far. The big question at this point seems to be cost. With everyone focused on GM's cash burn rate, the company is hoping that showing the production version of the extended range electric vehicle will divert attention to something positive. However, without some serious cost reduction of the battery and some hefty tax breaks from the government, the Volt may just end up making things even worse. GM desperately needs the Volt to be successful, but with the current financial situation, one has to wonder how long they will be able to build Volts at a loss?