Low Voltage

Last week, the Democrats told us how much they oppose big businesses, money in politics, subsidies, tax breaks … all while praising the auto bailout. Now let’s ignore that we, the taxpayers, still own billions of dollar in Chrysler stock that is worth less than we paid for it. Let’s forget that the Chapter 11 proceedings were hijacked to make sure unsecured union obligations were prioritized over secured lenders. How’s the revitalizing going?

Not well:

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts. GM on Monday issued a statement disputing the estimates.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

The Volt is supposed to be ground-breaking technology and ground-breaking technology can be a loss leader. But this is ridiculous. Given its construction costs, the Volt is a really a high-end gimmick for wealthy buyers (like the taxpayer-loan-receiving Tesla motors). But they insist on marketing it to the general public as a … what? … high-end sedan? Meanwhile, the less-subsidized and not-bailed-out Prius continues to sell.

Someone wake me when our investment in these companies pays off.

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  1. Mississippi Yankee

    This shut down is sure to increase sales

    GM says that it has planned for the production shutdown by building Volts ahead of anticipated demand while the car’s production is offline — a different reason than earlier production suspensions this year tied to poor sales:

    Malcho said the company “built ahead” with Volt production anticipating the shutdown so it will have enough vehicles on hand to meet demand.

    The assembly line shutdown will begin Sept. 17 and continue through Oct. 15, as GM readies for production of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the brand’s flagship full-size sedan.

    About 1,500 workers will be idled during retooling because the automaker builds multiple models on the same assembly line.

    GM was forced to idle Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly for two stretches this year because of sluggish demand for the Volt.

    General Motors is halting production of the poorly selling Chevy Volt

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  2. Retluocc1

    Now let’s ignore that we, the taxpayers, still own billions of dollar in Chrysler stock that is worth less than we paid for it.

    (my emphasis)

    I might be picking nits – or misremembering – but the government bought GM stock, not Chrysler. I’m pretty sure that FIAT brought all the cash necessary to bailout/buy Chrysler in 2008/9.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    I might be picking nits – or misremembering – but the government bought GM stock, not Chrysler. I’m pretty sure that FIAT brought all the cash necessary to bailout/buy Chrysler in 2008/9.

    You are correct. Dammit, I needed more sleep before blogging last night. That’s a couple of mistakes that slipped through.

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