Wired magazine got in the queue for some face time with Bob Lutz at the Detroit Auto Show, and came back with a quote that's raised a few brows. When asked what the target market for the car would be, Lutz said "I don't know. You'd like to have it at about $30,000 for the customer, but what I'm hearing from the team is we're not going to get there.... [I]f it costs closer to 40 than 30, well, that's too bad."
The issue is the timeline. His engineering team said that if they had more time they could cost-optimize the car, but Lutz doesn't want to wait for that. As for the recent go-round about when the Volt would appear, November 2010 is such a firm deadline in his mind that when it comes to the internal team, his only question is: "What is there about November 2010 that you don't understand?"
Lutz must know how important it will be to price this car competitively. A $40,000 Volt before you start checking options boxes will do a lot to keep people looking elsewhere for green options. For Lutz, though, the Volt -- like the moon landing -- is much about prestige, saying, "If it doesn't work, it's not fatal. But if it does work, it will be sensational." It is also just as much about a return to the kind of design and technological form that the marque hasn't seen in a long time. "GM's credibility is rapidly returning and it's beginning to be reflected in the marketplace.," Lutz said, "[b]ut there is no doubt you'd like to be able to leapfrog Toyota and come out with a car they aren't ready to do. There's nothing magic about the technology. Two or three years after the Volt is introduced, everybody will have something like it. We'd just like to be first for once."