The developer of the extended-range plug-in, in an interview with Plug In America's Jeff U'Ren, blasted what he called "the right-wing talk show guys" for what he said was a deliberate attempt to trash the Volt in the wake of a vehicle fire that occurred weeks after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test. NHTSA in January concluded after a two-month probe into the situation that neither the Volt nor other electric vehicles are a greater fire risk than conventional vehicles.
Lutz, who spearheaded the Volt development as GM's former vice chairman, said such efforts "put a severe kink in the sales curve" of the model and necessitated the five-week production shut-down that began earlier this month. Lutz was also somewhat critical of GM's marketing approach, calling early advertising efforts "a little bit tepid." GM fell about 2,400 units short of its goal to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011, though the Volt boosted sales to 1,023 vehicles last month from 603 cars in January. Lutz predicted that March would be "a record month" for Volt sales.
He also hoped that the Volt's recently being named European car of the year would like help sales. "You would think that would get a little attention in the media, but don't wait for (Bill) O'Reilly to say it," Lutz cracked. See for yourself after the jump.