Toyota just paid $1.1 billion to settle lawsuits alleging random acceleration problems in its cars. The allegations were, and are essentially false. But, Toyota paid out because it knew it had to, to move on. A giant speeding ticket to the government. (And Toyota wasn’t even speeding.)
The Chevy Volt is a travesty. When I see one on the road my stomach turns. According to the Mackinac Center, we the taxpayer drop over 200K into each and every one of the vehicles.
Plus, the cars still have a tendency to ignite. According to the attached article the fire problem which became public late last year has not been resolved.
By the way GM at its current stock price still owes the American public about $30 billion.
GM should have died in 2008. Cadillac would have survived because they actually make a pretty good car (because Mercedes and BMW have beaten them over the head for 2 decades). And the Corvette would have lived. Chevrolet might have survived in a much smaller form. Today GM would be a much leaner, meaner, and not to mention a better company.
Innovation is always good. It is one of the key elements of a capitalist economy. And innovation in vehicles is great. God bless the person who invented cruise control.
However in recent years government (in the name of innovation) has pushed car manufacturers to build vehicles that don’t quite fit the market.
Below is a chart showing how long it will take to break even, fuel wise, on the most popular “green” cars. I am actually pretty encouraged by some of the vehicles on the list. The Prius takes less than 2 years, and at under $24,000 it seems to make more sense with each passing year. I read a few months ago that Toyota is working on an electric-hybrid Prius which will get over 100 miles per gallon. The target price is under $30K. This vehicle might make even more sense than the current Prius.
The Volt in contrast is a black hole of a car. For most drivers to break even it will take over 26 years. And this is without factoring the $250,000 in subsidies that go into each new Volt. Imagine if it did. Now that would be an interesting chart.