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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?

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you look at GM's balance sheet, yea they have roughly 22 Billion in cash but...wow...70 Billion in Current Liabilities???
      All their main financials are negative...... I'm no wizard but things don't look so good. Hence their stock plummenting like a rock. I'd like to see one of the big 3 go. Any of them really. Besides, They worked so hard to become insolvent. So yea, let them become the bankrupted company they always wanted to be.

      I still haven't forgiven the big 3 for gouging us when lawmakers protected them. I could care less about the Volt. I would like to see how the "free market" reacts to this soap opera.

        • 6 Years Ago
        When the "free market responds"?

        Do you know what Japan has done to the value of the Yen over the last dozen years? And done so with you footing the bill?

        When Bernake lowered the prime to 2% over the last few months, it was done in response to foreign markets. He did what he could to make American goods saleable around the world. He also did that to save some peoples jobs.

        So why in the heck has the prime rate published by the Bank of Japan been at or below a half percent for the last dozen years? While the Japanese economy has been at full employement by our standards and while they are sitting on better than a half trillion of our public debt?

        Do you understand what they are doing to us yet?

        They are screwing us with our own greed arrogance and stupidity and everytime a Corolla, Prius or Camry goes out the door you screw your neighbors again. It's so simple and devious but all you idiots see is the emblem on the hood.

        If they are so hot, why don't they trade fair? Because they know the same thing anybody but the sheep know. That you morons won't buy an Accord at Mercedes prices. So you stick the rest of the nation with the bill and they lie about how they "don't manipulate currency" while every single trader out there sees it.

        My goodness are you people full of yourselves.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wouldn't a more basic, less extreme looking car at a moderate price make more sense? GM needs a high volume car not a niche car to keep factories going.
        • 7 Years Ago
        As is usually the case when going from concept to production, the "real" volt will be DRASTICALLY toned down from the prototype pictures, because they'll lose sales if people think it's "funny-looking." The moderate price will be a little harder to hit at first, because of the "all-new" nature of many of its systems.

        I'm not a GM fan particularly (though I like the CTS and Corvette) but I'm a life-long car geek, and GM has done some great things when it focuses. Their execution has been poor in come cases... the Corvair was a brilliant idea that was destroyed by arrogant bean-counters telling engineers to shut up and do it the cheap way, for example. By the time they ate crow and let them engineers fix what they knew was wrong with the rear suspension, they'd destroyed the car's reputation.

        That's the greatest risk the Volt runs, IMHO. If they push it out into the market with some serious flaw (especially if it's a safety issue) then the technology will get the same treatment that rear engines and diesels got, and for the same reason. Half-ass is all bad.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM should price Volt to sell at a profit. There are plenty of eco / fuel efficiency minded people that will buy this car... look at all the interest in that Tesla.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ah the general tries to distract attention from impending bankruptcy with the volt which may or may not be complete bs. What separates gm from honda toyota etc, aside from bloated labor cost, is quality intelligent management. Survival of the fittest means greedy short sighted executives slink off into their holes with ill gotten gains and line workers and investors go hungry as the company implodes. Imagine not having contingency plans in place for a changing market. Imagine not taking all that money from fat times and putting into more r&d. Oh yea then where would all the huge executive payouts come from.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sad to see you all arguing over this. I mean crying at me over the Hummer is expected, if not laughable, but you should ALL be applauding them if for once Chevy may move ahead of schedule as opposed to arguing over potentially awesome future tech or racing each to say "whats taking so long" on the next Chevy post.

      Group hug.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't get all the negative comments back and forth. I can see why people are concerned and as someone who's finally giving credit to GM (for the past 8 years, they've been making some great strides, one vehicle at a time...it was just poor timing), I'm inclined to agree. I certainly don't wish them failure, which, let's be honest, would affect not only GM's people but the entire automotive industry and America in general to a degree, but I am VERY weary that the technology for the Volt won't be ready and Lutz will be pushing it out the door just to make a sale and curtail losses and gain more positive media. I'm not concerned about the Volt itself. I'm concerned about GM's management. This wouldn't be the first time they've made a unnecessary promise and fell a bit short. Quite frankly, November 2010 will probably either make or break GM, sad to say. I'm honest-to-God crossing my fingers hoping it's the former and not the latter.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Right car. Bad timing.

      I really want to see the Volt succeed. But it can't. A $40,000 car with a $10,000 tax break ain't gonna cut the mustard. What you end up with is 20,000 initial units at $40,000 per copy which is $800 million...and that doesn't even begin to cover the time and investment to get this world shaker to market.

      It cost over $5 billion to build the Saturn brand with no prospect of it ever turning a healthy profit. Is Volt doomed to the same fate?

      The Volt is a game changer. But realistically, it is a rich man's toy. Another EV1. Soon to be forgotten. This car would have better been positioned as a Cadillac. Then GM could have charged and, no doubt, got $60,000 a copy.

      This car does not scream CHEVROLET. However Toyota Prius does. GM seems to be at a loss as to who this car will appeal to and who can actually afford it.

      I would rather see the Chevy Volt take on the SATURN nameplate. Saturn should drop the rest its line-up entirely, and focus on plug-in hybrids. The fresh and rather somewhat lost Saturn moniker fits the bill well. This could actually revive the Saturn nameplate better than the Opel imports which are better suited to Pontiac anyway. A new identity is what Saturn needs, not someone else's identity (ie. Opel).

      Overall it is going to be an uphill battle for GM, and the Volt may be useful in the future, but for now, it is somewhat out of place. I do hope the Volt will not be a drag on GMs finances like Saturn has been.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Very good points. Saturn should be revamped into their Green line and save the sportier stuff for Pontiac.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm not sure why a $40,000.00 car would be seen as a "rich-man's" car. Especially with a $10,000.00 tax break.

        Hypotheticals being what they are, that's middle-class territory.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's going to be a rough 100th anniversary for GM.
      • 7 Years Ago
      TJ, I know you're a GM fanboi, but knock off the personal insults, they make you sound like you're 12.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, not a GM fanboy. I just get a kick out of the drivel the pro-toy-fanboi's post.....
      • 7 Years Ago
      So GM is going to show it even though it could make them look even worse in 12-18 months when it's $40-50k and not up to the expectations that they set for themselves now?

      Risky...I sure hope they don't end up with egg all over their (bankrupt) faces.
        • 7 Years Ago

        A million volts on the power grid wouldn't feel like much, since most would be powering their ride at night, where the utilities are still outputting power at full capacity but demand has significantly dropped off. When the batteries top off, they might even be able to put back electricity into the powergrid, which they could they could then sell back to the utility.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ RMc: is it hard work being as stupid as you are?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Baffledu2: "baffled" seems a very nickname for you. The volt runs on its "range extending" power source when the batteries are tapped out, but of course reality isn't as cute as you want it to be for your posts.

        Much of the "rolling blackout" crap in CA a few years ago was due to Enron and other traders gaming the system to jack the prices sky high. One good way for a modern power system to manage load is to offer customers a discount for interruptible loads, so the power company can send a signal that will idle your AC for a certain period of time (subject to maximums, so they can't just shut it down for hours.) They could sell you off-peak power for your car-charging station and tell it to go offline if/when they were having capacity issues.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Here is a picture of the 2010 Prius. Looks Sharp!

        • 7 Years Ago
        California hasn't had brownouts in 6 years (except for SoCal during a short period 3 years ago due to a downed power line).

        The cars charge at night, when use is low.

        And if you don't charge the Volt, you just use more gas. It never comes to a stop just because the batteries are flat any more than a Prius does.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wait a minute. I thought people wanted GM to take more risks.

        This makes some sense to me, but I dunno about November 2010, showing a car two years early isn't something you want to do very often.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "...GM still wants something to celebrate."

      Ask for Maximum Bob's resignation, accept it and then celebrate that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You realize he hasn't been CEO for years, right?
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's correct. He's in charge of vehicle development.

        Is the head of vehicle development responsible for what's wrong with GM right now?

        He develops the Beat. He doesn't decide whether it goes to the US or not.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gotta love all the GM haters that come into these things.
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