In a very real way, GM is putting it's future on the Volt. They have invested a billion dollars in the project and are hoping that the car will help them regain the technological advantage over Japanese auto companies.
But it's bigger than that. In a very real example of how much GM needs the Volt (and why) CEO Rick Wagoner is driving one to Capitol Hill tomorrow morning. He'll park it out front of Congress, walk in, and ask them for an $18 B loan.
The loan request comes on the heels of absolute dismal numbers for GM and the auto industry in general. GM sales are down 41% compared to last year, not as bad as Chrysler's 47$ (or Nissan's 42%.) No one is immune. Honda has faired the best of the major manufacturers dropping 32%.
GM is going all-in on the Volt. They want to show congress that they are not a victim of their own idiocy. That they're a victim of foreign car companies who don't have to pay union wages, and of pension plans that are great for workers, but are bankrupting one of America's largest and most important industries.
I'm not sure if I buy it. After all, GM did miss the hybrid boat completely, and their treatment of electric vehicle technology was deplorable before the last five years. But if they want to survive, they have to convince the world that they are moving forward, not a telegraph operator trying to stay in business in 1992.
Without congress, they will default. There's no question of that. In the next weeks, GM will discover whether or not they will get to celebrate their 101st birthday. And we'll all find out whether or not we'll get to drive a Chevy Volt.
written by Red HHR, December 03, 2008
written by Aneshka Svobodina, December 03, 2008
written by sushi, December 04, 2008
written by Taylor, December 05, 2008
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