Dan Akerson gave an interview to CNN Money this week in which he answered critics of the Volt, and denied the interviewer’s assertion that Chevy’s new PHEV had given the company a “black eye.”
GM CEO Dan Akerson gave an interview to CNN Money this week in which he answered critics of the Volt, and denied the interviewer’s assertion that Chevy’s new PHEV had given the company a “black eye.”
“It’s a great car…that we’re very proud of,” said Akerson. “This is reminiscent of [how] American ingenuity and manufacturing used to manifest itself in the space program.”
As Charged readers know, a couple of incidents involving battery fires during safety testing, followed by the Volt’s failure to meet GM’s sales target for 2011, have led to much negative media coverage. The level of jubilation increases as one ventures farther right on the media-political continuum, which has led “Father of the Volt” Bob Lutz (no sandal-wearing liberal) to castigate some of the crowing conservative commentators.
“The Volt has to be considered against the backdrop of a lot of politics,” said Akerson. “There’s a political discourse [that] draws more attention than I think is necessary.” Obama’s opponents have depicted the Volt as “the President’s car,” but in fact, “the car was designed when [Obama] was in the Illinois State Senate.”
As for the battery fires, Mr. Akerson pointed out that there are 150,000 car fires in the US each year, and one of the first things emergency personnel do in such a case is to disconnect the battery and drain the gas tank. Each of the Volt fires happened three weeks after a simulated major crash, with the battery left undrained. The Volt’s five-star safety rating remains unchanged.
Sales targets? “Our sales jumped by double in February versus January. They outsold the Nissan Leaf by two to one, they outsold the Mitsubisi i car…by forty to one.”