Episode 786 – Nissan Pulls Plug on Battery Plant, Cischke Retires from Ford, Dodge Dart Interior

December 13th, 2011 at 12:15pm

Runtime: 6:46

In yet another sign that electric cars might not catch on as fast as some automakers expected, Nissan is stopping construction of a battery plant in Portugal.  Long-time industry executive Sue Cischke is retiring from the Ford Motor Company, where she was group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering.  Last week Chrysler taunted us with a few teaser shots of Dodge’s latest compact car, the Dart. Now it’s hinting at what’s going on inside.  All that and more, plus John answers your questions and responds to your comments.  That’s right; it’s time for another “You Said It!”

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This is Autoline Daily for December 13, 2011, and now the news.

FOUR IS ENOUGH!
In yet another sign that electric cars might not catch on as fast as some automakers expected, Nissan is stopping construction of a battery plant in Portugal. The company says the four battery plants it already has are enough to meet expected demand.

FAREWELL FORD
Long-time industry executive Sue Cischke is retiring from the Ford Motor Company, where she was group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering. Before working at Ford, she was at Chrysler. Cischke will be replaced by Robert Brown who had been handling the same responsibilities at Ford of Europe.

LEXUS, YOU TEASE!
Yesterday Honda announced several new cars it will show at next month’s Detroit Auto Show. Now Lexus is teasing us with this picture of a front end of a new, yet-to-be-named concept it will unveil at the show. The company says the design showcases the direction it is heading in. It looks pretty dramatic to me, hopefully this does signal a shift in Lexus design.

HUNGRY, HUNGRY TOYOTA
All year we’ve been following the story of China restricting sales of rare-earth metals, which are needed to make electric motors and other parts for EVs and hybrids. Automakers have been scrambling to find new sources as a result. Now, Bloomberg reports that a subsidiary of Toyota is forming a partnership with Canadian mining company Matamec Explorations to help speed up production of rare-earth metals and buy all the output as well.

IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS
Last week Chrysler taunted us with a few teaser shots of Dodge’s latest compact car, the Dart. Now it’s hinting at what’s going on inside. It will offer 12 exterior colors AND a whopping 14 different interior trim combinations. It will feature a seven-inch color display in the instrument cluster, PLUS the company’s latest UConnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch screen on the center stack. I can’t wait for the Detroit Auto Show to get all the details.

MINING FOR CARS (subscription required)
It’s no secret used cars are in high demand. The Great Recession destroyed new-vehicle sales for at least two years, which means supplies of late-model, second-hand cars are extremely tight. WardsAuto.com reports dealers are using innovative tactics to keep their lots stocked. One of the latest maneuvers is called “mining.” No, salespeople aren’t putting on hardhats and swinging pickaxes, they’re scouting service lanes for potential buys. The strategy is working extremely well for some dealers. One store mentioned in the article is bringing in 10 to 12 vehicles per week! Keep an eye out for “miners” the next time you take your car in for service.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It.

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

A lot of you had a lot to say about our report that a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives is trying to stop the EPA from allowing E15 gasoline to be sold.

Jesse wrote in to say, “E15= higher gas bills, lower fuel economy and higher auto repairs when that crap starts eating away at the parts not made to accept it.”

And we got this anonymous entry from a Fuel System Supplier wrote in to say, “We have pumps and lines capable of meeting these standards. We’ve been sending them to Latin America for years. From a service standpoint, I’d love to see the E15 implemented. The ethanol in the fuel will eat away at the fuel pump gaskets and seals. I will sell a whole lot more service parts!”

tomofnorthcal weighs in by saying, “None of my friends and associates drive E-85s. I mostly see them owned by a biz or gov org. I am seeing lot more Leafs on the road in NorthCal.”

But Kit Gerhart says, “Everyone was predicting doom and gloom when E10 came along, but my ‘86 VW and my ‘77 John Deere lawn tractor work fine on E10, and neither has ever had any fuel system problems. Is there any reason that a little more ethanol would destroy fuel systems? Probably not.”

Kit I agree. I would point out that in Brazil they’ve been running their cars for years on 100 percent ethanol with no problems. Those cars are designed to run on that amount, and most U.S. cars made in the last 20 years can tolerate E15. In fact, today it’s almost impossible to buy pure gasoline in the United States anymore. Almost all of it has 10 percent ethanol.

Thanks for all your comments, but a word of caution. Our comment section is for you to share your ideas and opinions, not to be nasty. It’s ok to disagree on issues, even to vehemently disagree, but not to make personal attacks. We want to encourage participation, and we will block out people who we think step over the line.

I’ll be out of town for the next two days covering the launch of the 2013 Chevy Malibu, but don’t worry; Michelle Krebs, Senior Analyst and Editor-at-Large at Edmunds.com and Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto will be filling in for me.

And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

127 Comments to “Episode 786 – Nissan Pulls Plug on Battery Plant, Cischke Retires from Ford, Dodge Dart Interior”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Ethanol Debate ;

    Too bad 90% of all independent mechanics , scientists and engineers don’t agree when it comes to the detrimental effects of Ethanol e.g. E15 even in modern cars . Funny no one thinks to ask the race series mechanics their opinions of Ethanol either .

    But ……. then again , no one these days seems to give a damn about engineering and mechanical facts , relying on propaganda , hearsay , media and E15 producers hype

    ——

    ( file this under the heading )

    THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/science/some-blame-hydraulic-fracturing-for-earthquake-epidemic.html?src=dayp

    Yup ! Scientific and verifiable fact as well as engineering wisdom and knowledge .

    Why bother with it all ? Just go off and do whatever sounds good and appeals to the uneducated and mindless general public , as well of course makes you a pretty penny and to heck with the mass destruction , cost to the consumer , long term environmental effects etc

    Such is the World we live in …. so ………

  2. tj Martin Says:

    Looking at Nissan’s latest move with the battery plant in Portugal that …..

    Common Sense is Having Its Revenge on the Electric Car

    Hmmn. Too bad this music things rumbling again or I’d have a go at making a documentary

    ” ICE’s Revenge Upon the Electric Car “

  3. tj Martin Says:

    DODGE DART Interior

    Gee whizz Maude it looks like one o them thar computer games

    Too bad its an unreliable , pathetic quality , Alfa Romeo underneath .

    All flash … zero substance

    Marchionne’s Madness M.O.

  4. Autos101 Says:

    #2

    I’d call it “the revenge of the Laws of Physics and Economics upon the pure EV”.

    Until and Unless huge new battery breakthrus occur, that make Pure EVs price competitive AND allow them a 300 mile (city)-500 mile (HWY) range, like all my gas powered vehicles were always capable of,

    there will be “No soup for you!”, Pure EVs and the fools who promote them!

  5. Autos101 Says:

    I am unimpressed by the Dodge Dart gimmicks and wonder why John gives a hoot and looks forward to seeing them.

    I also wonder why Fiat decided to bring the Alfa as a cheapo Dodge. I am sure it could charge far more for it if it had the ALFA ROMEO badge

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s too bad they are going the Ford route with all those electronic distractions in the Fiat Dart. Even if the car otherwise ok, they ruined it with that crap.

    I like that it will offer lots of interior combinations, though, if it means there will be choices other than light grey, dark grey, and beige.

  7. Brett Says:

    God knows that as long as everyone in the United States is only allowed one single vehicle per person, electric cars SIMPLY MUST get at least 300-400 miles on a charge and cost no more than a gasoline-powered vehicle on the showroom floor or they are nothing but a JOKE, doomed to failure.

  8. Brett Says:

    Ah, that’s nice, this web comment software strips out angle braces. So, FYI there is supposed to be a “sarcasm off” tag at the bottom of post #7 there.

    Intended as an aid for the sarcasm-impaired.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If Lutz turns out to be correct in his predictions that within a few years, batteries will have 3 times the energy density, and cost a lot less than now, electric cars will be a bigger niche than they are now. Still, except for plug-in hybrids, they are unlikely to ever be only cars for many people.

    By the way, Mitsubishi is now taking pre-orders for their electric. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

  10. MJB Says:

    Well, I knew it’d be just a matter of time before J. Mac had to issue a formal ‘Stand Down’ to the ‘negative personal attacks’ offenders.

    Oh well. Such is the nature of internet forums, blogs and boards I suppose. I would venture that harsh words even let fly from time to time over on the knitting and crocheting forums too. LOL

  11. Autos101 Says:

    ALl pure EVs will fail, and they deserve to.

    I just hope that we, the long suffering taxpayers, get back the $7,500 forced subsidies on every one of those losers that is returned to the manufacturer (VOlt owners can already return the worthless POS to GM if they want)

  12. Autos101 Says:

    Even if Lutz’s “Hail Mary Pass”, the Volt, was perfect, there is still the issue of how much each POS costs GM to make.

    It is actually even more, much more, than the already inflated (one Cobalt-Cruze fort the price of two!) $42k price (before taxpayer handout of $7,500!)

    Some even speculate that it costs as much as $100,000 to make one miserable Volt! More than an S-class Mercedes SELLS for, WITH a ton of profit!

    COmpare the Volt to the Prius… not even close.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    New Alfa Dart, all flash, smoke and mirrors to hide the crappy quality that dwells within, Sergio must think all Americans are suckers, just look at the phony econobox pretending to be something exotic and chic known as the 500.

  14. Autos101 Says:

    PLUG-INS

    While they may sound good as an idea, I challenge anybody to find me one human being of the 7,000,000,000 on this planet, for whom the plug-in version makes more sense than the simple Hybrid.

    We know in the case of the Prius, that the plug-in in Europe costs 8,000 Euros more (this is $10,000-$12,000 more!) than the regular prius.

    Maybe the differential will be a little less in the US, say $8,000.

    I challenge anybody here to find me one driver for whom it pays to shell out the $8000-$12,000 extra, on top of the regular 50MPG prius, to buy the plug-in version, which has a puny 13 mile range on electric alone.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding ethanol in racing, a friend with Vega wagon drag car loves E85, because it is much higher octane than any gas you can buy, and it’s cheap. The main problem is that, with the carbureted engine on his Chevy “crate” engine, you need to have the same percentage ethanol or the mixture will be off, and E85 pump gas can vary enough in actual percentage ethanol and gas to make a difference. He gets his fuel directly from a plant that produces, it, and seems to get consistent fuel that way.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #14,
    By plug-ins, I am referring to Chevy Volt, or similar cars that may come along, that have “full performance” and meaningful range on electric only.

    The plug-in Prius does not make sense. It has very limited range, and uses the gas engine for maximum acceleration, even with a full battery. And, as you say, it costs way too much to be cost effective for anyone. I’m definitely not going to trade my regular Prius on the plug-in.

  17. HtG Says:

    New Sheriff in Town

    So we’re going to tone down the personal challenges in the interests of encouraging people to contribute. Is there an exception for my personal attacks on Trump? Because he’s a dooshbag. Always will be.

    Will there be warnings, or ‘first time, you die?’

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #12,
    The Prius was a big money loser for Toyota until the second generation came along and the volume went up, but yeah, the way things are now going with Volt, there will probably never be a second generation.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    #17 That means that just because my name is Pedro, it does not make me an illegal or a lazy, salsa-dancing, banana-boat person.

  20. HtG Says:

    19 Are auto execs fair game? I’m inferring that only commenters on this board are off limits. Is that right, John?

  21. Autos101 Says:

    The number one shortcoming of the Plug-in prius is its $8,000-$12,000 price hike over the regular prius, not so much the 13 mile range.

    In my case, almost all my local trips are less than 6 miles each way, and only some rare invitations to friends 30+ miles away that happen maybe 5 times a year would exceed the all-electric range. But even if they do, who cares? it is not a Pure EV, but can use its gas engine after that, and in the case of the prius it will be far more fuel efficient than the 37 MPG HWY Volt engine.

  22. Autos101 Says:

    “Is there an exception for my personal attacks on Trump? Because he’s a dooshbag. Always will be.”

    Trump is always number one. Even as a Douchebag, he is the biggest Douchebag of the Universe (see related South Park Episode, in which, if Trump was included, would have wrestled the crown from that other huge douchebag who had a daytime talk show where he claimed he could talk to the dead)

  23. HtG Says:

    It doesn’t feel like Volt is currently earning its keep as a halo car either. I’d like to know if people are coming into dealerships to look at or drive the Volt, but going home in a Cruze.

  24. MJB Says:

    @11

    I certainly feel your angst about the use of our tax dollars to subsidize a technology that is #1, not ready to go large scale, and #2, America is not willing to pay for.

    But, I hope your Volt remark is not based on the battery fire incident. That whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

  25. Autos101 Says:

    it will be intriguing to see the number of extras sales the (presently available) Prius V wagon and the forthcoming Prius Coupe (allegedly $4k less expensive than the regular Prius, and with much better, if possible, MPG!) next year.

    Just for the fun of it, I predict annual sales at steady state (2013?)

    Prius regular, 120,000-150,000
    Prius Wagon, 50,000
    Prius Coupe, 50,000-100,000 (?)
    Prius Plug-in, 10,000-20,000 (due to its shortcomings)

    Total Prius Family- 230,000-320,000 a year

    Toyota is expecting the Prius Family sales to exceed the US no 1 car model, its own Camry. It could happen, esp if the new, uglier, cheaper inside Camry fails to succeed vs the Accord, Passat, Sonata, Fusion, Malibu and Altima

  26. Autos101 Says:

    “It doesn’t feel like Volt is currently earning its keep as a halo car either.”

    The Volt and the LEaf and that cheaper EV from Mitsu are not halo cars, they are the CIRCUS FREAKS

    (Wait until Christie Schweinberg reads this!!!!)

    That dealers can use to bring the crowds in, which will then buy a Cruze or a Sentra-Versa-Altima.

    As for the real Halo Car, for Chevy it’s the Awesome Corvette and for Nissan it’s its own affordable Supercar, the GS-R.

  27. HtG Says:

    Headline from WashPost: NTSB to recommend banning cellphone use while driving. I haven’t read it yet so no summary.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/ntsb-seeks-nationwide-ban-on-driver-use-of-personal-electronic-devices/2011/12/13/gIQATeu2rO_story.html?hpid=z1

  28. Autos101 Says:

    MJB: Your hopes were fulfilled. My remark was sure not based on the Volt Fires.

    I called this overpriced Cobalt-Cruze with a battery “The Stupid, Stupid Volt” LONG before it had a single fire.

    Why would anybody shell out $42k for a $20k (tops) Cobalt-Cruze that costs Government Motors anywhere up to $100,000 to make one miserable copy?

  29. Autos101 Says:

    In the morning as I parked my car, I saw a silver Passat poorly parked at the best parking spot of the lot, its side was more than two feet from the pavement, and of course its other side just barely cut the next parking space so as to make it unusable except by very narrow cars like the failed “Dumb” (aka Smart) or a bike.

    I hope somebody reads this anti-social clown (or clownette) the riot act. I thought of calling the police and asking them to throw the book at the clown, but did not bother.

  30. HtG Says:

    28 Because they think it’s cool. I can’t price emotions, and some people are real rich. Have you priced sexy lady jeans, lately?

    Autos101, where have you heard about this 100K number? Because some months ago, a salesman told me the same number. I asked him twice, and he affirmed it.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    e.g. Volt fires being blown out of proportion

    Errrrrrr. No it hasn’t been

    Have a look at the link I tossed up yesterday

    The Opel Ampera is having the same issues

    Its a problem all right . One that a moments thought could of foreseen five years ago had GM been paying attention

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @ Autos101

    Where are you getting those numbers ( #25 ) from ?

    I’m only asking because all the financial pundits are saying differently when it comes to Prius sales

  33. tj Martin Says:

    # 32 continued

    Also my Toyota connection is saying , not so , especially any viable hopes for the Prius to outsell the Camry

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #30

    To heck with ladies jeans . i saw a mens pair the other day for …

    ……….

    ………

    …..

    $750 ! Nuts I say . whether you’ve got the money or not

  35. tj Martin Says:

    Gee .. so I assume I’m probably the evil culprit thats instigated Johnny Mac’s ‘ No Nasty ‘ statement

    Oh well . Mea culpa I guess .

    Such is the life of an individual thinker vs the conformist

    Guess I’ll always be the former , living by the credo …

    ” Individual thinkers live on for ever . Conformists remain eternally anonymous ‘

    CIAO 8)

  36. HtG Says:

    34 in Kansas City? Impossible.

    go cry to Ben

  37. Chuck Grenci Says:

    As long as E-15 is an optional pump, perhaps the motoring public will be able to get along (without too much trouble), but if the introduction of E-15 is then adapted (as the new norm) then the already numerous altercations with ethanol interference will drastically increase. The greatest concern with ethanol usage is in fuel systems that are not closed to atmosphere (e.g. moisture); the small engine, boating and still existing carbureted engines are currently having the most ethanol problems. And secondarily, unless they stop, or at least, reduce the use of corn (foodstuffs), we’re dealing with a double edge sword in the form of increased food prices as well.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Why would anybody shell out $42k for a $20k (tops) Cobalt-Cruze”

    …because it’s a hatchback, and the hatch version of Cruze is not sold in the U.S. Oh, wait, a Prius is also a hatchback, and has an MSRP of about $24K.

  39. Autos101 Says:

    “HtG Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    28 Because they think it’s cool. I can’t price emotions, and some people are real rich. Have you priced sexy lady jeans, lately?”

    Ich bin keine Frau. Don’t get carried away, it is not a Corvette and sure not a Ferrari or Lambo. The concept may be cool, the execution was pitiful even before the fires and all the rest of its problems.

    “Autos101, where have you heard about this 100K number? Because some months ago, a salesman told me the same number. I asked him twice, and he affirmed it.”

    I was also told this number, but can’t remember where I saw it or who told me, but it is very interesting that they told you the same number.

    I doubt it very much that Toyota ever spend $100,000 to make a PRODUCTION version prius, even in its first year (back then i heard it lost $10,000 on each initially, buit later it became profitable)

  40. Autos101 Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    # 32 continued

    Also my Toyota connection is saying , not so , especially any viable hopes for the Prius to outsell the Camry”

    This is yet to be seen. I don;t know who your Toyota connection is, but I read what I posted in the most authoritative publication (Automotive News) of the industry, from the Official Toyota types who said so PUBLICLY.

    We will see what happens. The new Camry is underwhelming. poor exterior, cheaper interior.

  41. Autos101 Says:

    CAMRY HYBRID vs MALIBU ECO

    Amazingly, the Camry Hybrid sells for only $650 more than the Malibu Eco of 2013. I did a brief econ analysis and, even if you don’t nclude significantly better resale value for the Camry, you make up the $650 in less than two years of driving this car a modest no of miles, due to its vastly better city MPG over the Eco..

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as Prius sales, the demand for Prius seems to be affected more by gas prices than with any other car. Gas prices are flat, or falling right now, so Prius sales are down. If gas goes up to $4.00/gallon next week, you won’t find a Prius at a dealer, and I could sell my two year old one for almost what I paid for it.

    The big weakness of the Prius V is that, for a Prius, it is thirsty. It still certainly gets better mileage than most cars, though.

    If the “little” Prius sells for $4K less than a “regular” Prius, and if it has comparable cabin noise, etc. of a regular Prius, it should sell like crazy. It would be cheaper than a lot of the Foci, Elantras, etc., and should get almost twice the city mpg.

  43. Autos101 Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    “Why would anybody shell out $42k for a $20k (tops) Cobalt-Cruze”

    …because it’s a hatchback, and the hatch version of Cruze is not sold in the U.S. Oh, wait, a Prius is also a hatchback, and has an MSRP of about $24K.”

    While the Volt vaguely resembles a hatchback, what is its useful cargo volume? I would bet much less even than that of the regular Prius, and even less than other, very affordable, non-hybrid Hatchbacks.

  44. jim Says:

    It’s funny how many “experts” there seem to be on this blog regarding the Volt and other alternate fuel vehicles. Consumer Reports found that 93% of Volt owners really like the car. Most of the commenters are long on BS and short on actual evidence of their negative claims!

  45. Autos101 Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    @ Autos101

    Where are you getting those numbers ( #25 ) from ?”

    These are my own predictions, which, as I wrote down in that post, I did just for the fun of it.

    But they wer ebased on recent public announcements by Toyota as to what it wants to do with the prius Family, incl to surpass the Camry eventually in US sales!

    (I don’t have any link handy so just take my word for it for the time being)

    Forecasting is a very imperfect science. Few people make more than one bull’s eye prediction. Usually they look like fools afterwards, or, as a brit friend aptly put it,

    “Those who gaze in crystal balls eat broken glass”

    “I’m only asking because all the financial pundits are saying differently when it comes to Prius sales”

    Any names? R u talking about the CNBC types? or their guests?

    In the Automotive Field, I respect Maryann Keller, on the Industry side, and Czaba Czere on the engineer-enthusiasts side.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #44,
    I agree, and all of these “experts” should drive a Volt. It’s actually kind of cool, fairly quick acceleration with no vibration or the usual engine/power train sounds you have in a regular car that size.

    No, I wouldn’t buy one, or consider it, because it costs too much, and gets mediocre mpg when running on gas after the battery is dead. Still, I think the concept is a valid one for some people, especially if improved upon as much as the second generation Prius was improved over the first one.

  47. Autos101 Says:

    “Consumer Reports found that 93% of Volt owners really like the car.”

    SO WHAT??????????

    FIRST, this has to have been a STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT, VERY SMALL SAMPLE.

    SECOND, if you ask those who can bear watching any soap opera (I can’t stand them!), or Oprah, or Dr. Phil, if they really like them, I am sure they will tell you they LOVE them.

    That does not mean they don’t SUCK bigtime!

  48. Autos101 Says:

    jim Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    It’s funny how many “experts” there seem to be on this blog regarding the Volt and other alternate fuel vehicles. Consumer Reports found that 93% of Volt owners really like the car.

    How do you know that we ALL are experts in QUOTES and not people who, unlike some who quote statistically meaningless POLLS, KNOW the subject?

    Are YOU an “expert”? or a real expert? And do you work on the VOLT TEAM? We already have one poster who has admitted that he does, so his words are taken with a grain of salt, of course. And although he has posted lots of GM-related posts recently, he has been very silent on the Volt in recent weeks.

  49. Autos101 Says:

    But never mind, Jim. It’s a free country. Vote with your wallet.

    If you like the Volt, go buy one! LOL…

    Although I WISH you don’t ROB ME, the Taxpayer, of the undeserved $7,500 subsidy on each volt they sell!

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    CR does not publish the names and responses of people who answer their survey. It’s not like someone walking up and asking, “do you like your car.”

    Of course, the results of next year’s survey will be more meaningful. The people will have had the cars for a while, and the sample size will be larger.

  51. Autos101 Says:

    The first gen Prius was a lowly,tiny, ugly Toyota Echo.

    The next gen, which I drove extensively in 2009, was almost as good as the current (really the third, no tthe second) generation.

    We should not be talking about pie in the sky imaginary vastly improved Volts of the Future. They MAY or MAY NOT happen. It is obvious that this vehicle is NOT ready for prime time and not competitive. Long before any fire troubles surfaced.

    Similarly, battery tech may or may not achieve the breakthrus it needs to make pure EV serious autos.

  52. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    #47,
    CR does not publish the names and responses of people who answer their survey.

    From the viewpoint of VALID Statistics, the main problem is that it does not publish even the NUMBER of respondents, which it can easily legally do.

    “Of course, the results of next year’s survey will be more meaningful. The people will have had the cars for a while, and the sample size will be larger.”

    But it will still be a very subjective survey of an opinionated bunch, and it will be WRONG to extrapolate the alleged results from the group of fanatics who like the Volt idea to the general car buyers.

    would lose BILLIONS if it foolishly does that extrapolation and produces a ton of Volts that will gather dust in the dealer lots.

  53. tj Martin Says:

    Good night nurse …. and some here accuse me of being verbose

    Yikes !

    @ HtG

    #36 – Oh its possible in KC mien freund . Too ____ easy as a matter of fact

    —————–

    @ Autos101

    #1 My Toyota insiders . Toyota USA and TRD

    #2 Even if Toyota was foolish enough to make such brash and pretentious predictions , which I know for a fact they have not … predictions and $2.50 will get you a cup of joe at Starbucks and thats about it . FIAT predicting overwhelming sales for the 500 ( failed ) GM the same for the VOLT ( failed ) along with TESLA Fisker etc etc etc . e.g. Meaningless

    But as I said I know for a fact Toyota never said that officially or otherwise

    #3 I won’t bother discussing this with you , new rules and all , but the simple fact is the Prius is an over priced /underperforming/ creates more environmental problems than it can ever hope to solve …. along with being the dullest most banal excuse for a car Toyota has ever produced what with seats straight out of the Spanish Inquisition , brakes so wooden they might as well not exist , a ride that makes my wifes Matrix seem like a Mercedes S Class in comparison etc etc etc . So maybe the question you should be asking yourself is WHY would anyone pay the extra $$$ over an ICE for a Prius especially in light of AW AARP AAA etc proving for a fact that one here choses to deny that . i’ll tell you why . Early Adapter Syndrome and Hollywood Wanna Be/ Celebrity manifestations .

    It will take , at current gas prices TEN YEARs of driving the Prius in order to make up the extra cost for purchasing one over an equal ICE . Ten years ! Assuming (which even Toyota says they won’t ) your Pretentious Prius lasts Ten Years

    #4 Why do I get the very distinct feeling I know you already ? ;-)

  54. Steve Says:

    Below is a link to a website that promotes the book Energy Victory by Robert Zubrin. Zubrin advocates that automobiles should be required to operate of nonpetroleum fuels. This is a plan to put a lid on Oil prices. I was against this idea until I listened to the videos. Dr. Zubrin would be a great guest for Thursday night.

    http://www.energyvictory.net/

  55. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    I cry to no one . Make no excuses . Expect no quarter and give none in return etc

    But you should know that having a cous in the arts yourself ;-)

    Without strongly voiced opinions and facing confrontation head on , creativity would not be possible

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “The first gen Prius was a lowly,tiny, ugly Toyota Echo.”

    Yes, I know exactly what the first Prius was, and the second, and the third which I own.

    ” It is obvious that this vehicle is NOT ready for prime time and not competitive. Long before any fire troubles surfaced.”

    For a first generation of such a car, a Volt works pretty well. Yes, it costs too much, and yes, it gets mediocre mpg when run on gas, but it drives ok. Have you driven one?

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and we all know that pure EV’s can only serve as a second or third car, mainly for commuting. Even with batteries having triple the power density of today’s batteries, you’d get maybe 200 mile range, at it’s unlike that any batteries to come along can be charged at thousands of amps as would be needed to charge them in the time it takes to fill a gas tank, as on a road trip.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To those who say a Prius is overpriced, it costs no more than a similarly equipped Focus. That means the Prius is saving you money the day you buy it.

  59. tj Martin Says:

    @ Steve

    Here’s a link for a much better researched and factual book dealing with alternative energy solutions etc

    http://thebreakthrough.org/

    Dr Zubrin is a Pie in the Sky dreamer who’s feet haven’t touched terra firma for decades . As well as no one takes him seriously that has even the remotest understanding of the science and engineering as well as the consequences thereof behind ANY current form of alternative energy

  60. HtG Says:

    55 It is sometimes shocking to hear the way the dainty cakes aesthetes actually talk to each other. Holy smokes.

  61. tj Martin Says:

    #58

    One can dream , can’t one ;-)

    Dream on Kit I’ll no longer try to convince you of the errors of your ways .

    Oh but one thing . Apples and Oranges again I’m afraid

    The Focus would NOt be direct competition to the Prius .

    That would be the Corolla Yaris 4dr or Fiesta

    Soooo ……. that Prius has been costing you a pretty penny from day one and just wait till the batteries need replacing

    Thats the last argument you’ll get from me on the subject . Your money your car and I couldn’t care less anymore

  62. marshy459 Says:

    Here is what I believe to be an example of ‘token’ management:

    when you put the goals of “sustainability, environment and safety engineering” under the umbrella of one VP [off to the side] and the other Ops and Eng VPs do their thing. If the three areas above were important to the executive as a whole, they would be core fundamentals owned by the stakeholders.

    One doesn’t improve a metric (like quality) by creating a metric manager – you improve it by incorporation into core values and goals by the people responsible.

    This position just sounds like a place where they shoved all the things they don’t like to talk about into one corner.

    It’s just human nature.

    my two cents…having lived it.

  63. HtG Says:

    Is anyone keeping an eye on Iran? They’re making noises about shutting the Straits of Hormuz, and it’s bumping up prices. Their govt could probably use the subsidy of higher prices which a supply scare could lead to. What happens to demand for electrics then?

  64. tj Martin Says:

    #60

    Yeah everybody assumes as an artist you’re this sweet nice even tempered individual

    Whereas the reality is … if you’re even the least bit successful you’ve got a serious set of fangs and claws in hiding that you won’t hesitate to use at a moments notice .

  65. tj Martin Says:

    #63

    No oil . No electricity my friend . Be it production of , transportation of fuels ( assuming its coal or CNG ) etc

    No oil . No Electricity . No E/V’s

    As well as ICE’s are a more efficient use of oil than generating electricity for E/V’s so ….

    Anyway … Iran . Looney tunes personified . Who know what they’ll pull off next . Can’t personally see all Iran’s oil customers ( we’re not ) especially Putin putting up with any shenanigans from Iran for any length of time

  66. HtG Says:

    64 The cuz is as tough and canny as anyone, but can keep a straight face and be charming when dignitaries say the dumbest, infuriating things. But no interest in driving, as he can’t pay attention to crap like that. May not even have a license.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #61,
    Compare the interior space of some cars. Prius and Focus 5-door are about the same. Fiesta and Yaris are not even close. Corolla is close in passenger space, but there’s no hatch available, and Corolla has a smaller trunk than a Prius has with its back seat in use.

  68. HtG Says:

    65 I just mean they’d like to raise prices.

  69. tj Martin Says:

    #67

    ” ….. no hatchback available ”

    Oh really ?

    Need I remind you that the Matrix IS a Corolla ? Has more room than the Prius as well . Much more . Cost a heck of a lot less for an equally equipped Prius as well . I know . We considered both when buying the wife a new car .

    Now you know why I’ll not be wasting my time arguing this with you any further ;-)

    ( jeeze i hates these new ‘ Rules ” )

  70. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Oh I can put on the smiley face :o real well when it comes to the money and influence crowd .

    The CH cousins taught me that lesson many moons ago .

    ” Oh yes Lord Bigtooth , the second movement was absolutley sublime ” ….. ( when in reality you know you biffed 30% of the notes on that section )

    ” Certainly Lady Flogswart . I’ll gladly admit the third piece in the program could use a bit of a re-write ” …. ( knowing thats the most critically acclaimed composition in your entire repertoire )

    Yup . Mr Smily Face ( when needed ) Thats me Htg !

    :o

  71. HtG Says:

    70 OK, OT name drop alert. Years ago, the cuz and russian speaking pianist played for Gorby at an embassy. After, G chatted with the pianist who said he nearly collapsed laughing at the BS G said the piece was about. But you’d never have known it if you were in the room.

    Done. Sorry to car lovers.

  72. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    LoL !

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #69,
    Matrix has more height, but less floor length, and it’s noisier and has less rear seat leg room than a Prius, kind of “rough around the edges.”

    Yes, it’s almost a Corolla, and is a decent car, but is a tall wagon more than a hatchback.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and you can’t get a Matrix comparably equipped to a base Prius. No auto temp control. No “smart key.”

  75. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Off topic moment

    My little story

    Back in the early 80′s during my ‘ extra curricular activities ‘ 2 year stint ( phew… only 2 years ) I’m playing with a world renowned critic in the front row

    Suffice it to say I barely knew who never mind where I was and had spread out so much musical manure that evening that had it ben collected you could of fertilized the entirety of all midwest farms for a year

    Critic comes up and babbles on about ‘ how profound ‘ my improvisations were … how ‘ enrapturing ‘ my tone and execution was blaah blah blah ( the mgr had it all on tape and the critic repeated it in the press next day )

    The only thing that kept my verbal fist from boxing his pretentious ears WAS the other member of the ensemble and the mgr .

  76. Martin Says:

    The move from E10 to E15 could have serious consequences for engine manufacturers. Significant redesigns of fuel systems, and combustion chamber components would need to take place. But that only solves the problem for the new vehicles. What about all the people that will pump it into cars and other vehicles that arent designed for it? Mercury Marine just ran tests on a series of motors, a few of which suffered catastrphic failures as a result of running on E15. You can read more about it here: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/hearings/110211_Hilbert.pdf

  77. HtG Says:

    75 sounds like common occurrences, tj. Now I’ve got the giggles.

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #76,
    If they had catastrophic engine failures, they were running too lean and/or defective.

    Yeah, if/when E15 is sold, people will need to pay attention to the labeling. Many non-automotive engines are running “on the ragged edge” of being too lean on the standard E10, and will be running too lean with E15. Car engines with closed-loop mixture control make the adjustment to keep a proper fuel-air mixture.

  79. T. Bejma Says:

    #49

    How about complaining to your congressman about the thousands and thousands of YOUR dollars are blown everyday on things a lot more insignificant than a car?

    Anyone that thinks that because you are a taxpayer, you get to control the money you pay in, is sorely mistaken.

  80. T. Bejma Says:

    #50

    I spoke to about 50 of the 100 or so Volt owners during the Woodward Dream Cruise 100th Anniversary Parade and every single one of them said that they loved them. They also said that everyone they talk to that has them loves them too. What is so hard to believe? It is a great car. Everyone admits it is expensive, but the first thing of new technology always is. Remember when iPods had 80MB of space and still costs $300???

    Do you know how many of the 7,000 or so Volt owners let GM buy back their cars because of the (unfounded) fire concern? 33… 0.4%… You’re right, statistically insignificant…

    ;-)

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #79,
    I wrote my congressman during the lead up to the Iraq invasion, but it didn’t do any good. The cost is now, what, about a trillion dollars and counting, and many thousands of lives.

    As far as the GM and Chrysler “bailouts,” I’ll be getting my money’s worth thousands of times over when I sell my house up north in a couple years. If the companies had been allowed to die, about 5000 jobs would have gone away in my town, not good for resale value of houses.

  82. tj Martin Says:

    # 76

    Well said and thank you . Finally another voice of reason when it comes to the whole Gasahol E15 issue

    @ T Bejima

    Allow me to remind you that the overwhelming majority of the German population ‘ Loved ‘ Hitler as well . And we all know how well that one turned out now don’t we ;-)

    For an in depth explanation as to why this happens Google

    Post Decision Validation Syndrome

    To sum it up . 99% of the population , after spending some $42K on a car does not have the wherewithall to admit they made a mistake

    ——-

    #81

    Read Bob Baer’s books and you’ll understand somewhat better

    Suffice it to say you don’t know the full picture and probably never will ( no insult intended , just a simple fact )

    As to your house up north with Detroit’s housing still in a tailspin and another 1,000,000 homes to hit Repo by the end of next year ( thats conservative by the way ) no bailout given will help you in the slightest on selling your home ….. unfortunately .

    Best plan on holding onto it for at least 5- 10 years or accept what ever loses you’ll incur

    And thats from the best (BH , our FA CPA and Trust ( ours by the way ) and the CH cous’s )

    Trust me Kit , and this for god knows what reason , is me trying to help you out . You really do not know 1/10 of all the ugliness thats going on with the financials and housing

    And in all honesty ….. Be glad !

  83. jesse Says:

    So my mind keeps going back to the question of WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND try and push this e85 nonsense on the public?..and it keeps coming up with the same conclusion.Somebody,somewhere is making or stands to make a ton of money from this!If Politicians allow this nonsense to go thru,I hope the voting public finally wakes up to the idiots that are running things and bannishes them to a land far,far away….maybe they can name it CORN-BERRY,or E85-LAND…aS FOR RACERS USING THIS STUFF,WELL,THEY ALSO tune the hell out of their race cars TO PERFORM AS THEY DO..One can also buy 100 octane at the track to run down the drag strip…why not get that stuff out here too??I could care less about the Prius’ of the world..that’s a feel good gimmick that will take a billion years to have any impact on anything but ones ego.The earth was fine before we got here and will be fine long after we’re gone…so LIVE IT UP PEOPLE!!!Merry Christmas to all.

  84. GPL Says:

    “Allow me to remind you that the overwhelming majority of the German population ‘ Loved ‘ Hitler as well . And we all know how well that one turned out now don’t we.”

    And for an indepth explanation of that comment, Google “Godwin’s Law”.

  85. W L Simpson Says:

    Started in the biz 1948, still playing/restoring.
    Put 20 miles on a Volt, a cute,little,
    over complicated, novelty. But “lutz” had to start
    somewhere, have high hopes for the third gen.
    Sticking w/my rebuilt Terrain for now.

  86. tj Martin Says:

    @ GPL

    # 84

    Cute . Real cute . A bit absurd and irrelevant . But cute .

    Did you …… ahem notice the caveat on the explanation that Godwins Law was intended as a bit of humor ?

    Everybody’s a Critic . Till the rent comes due

  87. GPL Says:

    Re: the $100,000 Volt cost, that is probably a volume distributed production cost based on the first year or some such. That is to say if it cost a billion dollars to develop something and you make ten thousand of them, the first year’s production “cost” is $100,000 each plus materials, labor, and overhead.

    Toyota acknowledged that the Prius lost money initially but has always been tight-lipped on the actual cost. All figures I’ve seen are estimates from people in the industry outside of Toyota. Most notably, I read that when the first-gen Prius was shown, engineers from Honda’s Insight program estimated the Prius’ cost to be roughly $50,000 each – about twice its MSRP. It wasn’t until about its seventh year of production that Toyota said the Prius was finally breaking even, by then haven, again by industry estimates, lost roughly a billion dollars.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #82,
    My house, in a town of about 50,000 isn’t worth much, but it’s worth a lot more than it would be if 5000 of the best jobs went away.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #83,
    The companies that make methanol from corn, like Archer Daniels Midland, “bought” the congress, which is why we have E85.

    If cars were made that were intended to run ONLY on E85, they could have high compression, high boost if turbocharged, etc., commensurate with use of high octane fuel, the low estimate for E85 being 95 (R+M)/2 octane. All of the high-volume flex fuel vehicles, though, are tuned to run on 87 octane gas, so are not taking advantage of the high octane rating of E85, if used.

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #89,
    Sorry, meant ethanol, not methanol from corn.

  91. cwolf Says:

    @Kit; It won’t be long until the Ford C-MAX hybs. competes with the Prius. It will be interesting to see how it compares. It sure is better looking,bigger and is said to use better matls on the interior. I’m wondering if the engine hp is enough to satisfactorly propel it.

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #91,

    The C-Max is kind of midway between a regular Prius, and Prius-V in size and room, but should compete more with the V, based on looks, if nothing else. If the C-Max hybrid also fits between the two Priuses in price and MPG, it should do very well. I’d think it could be the first non-Prius to really compete with Toyota for a big share of the hybrid market.

    C-Max will use lithium batteries, which save size and weight, but have the fire concern to deal with. I’m looking forward to seeing more information, like price, mpg, and performance.

  93. cwolf Says:

    Kit, Eventhough these things are better suited for the city,one can only marvel at the Prius hwy. mpg’s. Why do you think they rein in hwy mileage over others. I don’t know the reason.

  94. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #93,
    Probably low aero drag is the biggest reason a Prius does as well as it does on the highway. A lot of the power it takes to make a car run at highway speed is from aero drag. Also, the Atkinson Cycle operation of the gas engine makes it more efficient than engines used in non-hybrids. The down side of Atkinson cycle is that the engine makes less power, especially at low rpm, but the electric motors help enough at low speed that a Prius, Fusion hybrid, etc. have decent low speed acceleration.

  95. cwolf Says:

    For me,the C-max is something to keep an eye on. Not very good for my type of driving,but perhaps my wife will show an interest. Her 30 mile jaunt to work includes about 40% backroads. She likes her Edge mostly for the seat hight and cargo area. Maybe the Max will meet her needs as well and get the fuel economy we both would appreciate.

    What do ya think about the Chinese slapping a duty on certain US vehicles? Arrogant bastards,aren’t they!

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, trade with China seems to be mostly a one way street. Well, I guess it’s a two way street. The stuff comes here, and the money goes there.

  97. Autos101 Says:

    “T. Bejma Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    #49

    How about complaining to your congressman about the thousands and thousands of YOUR dollars are blown everyday on things a lot more insignificant than a car?”

    How about YOU do it and not tell others what to do?

    How about YOU adress the (TWO independent sources, Mine and HTG) claim that it costs GM $100,000 to make every failed, pitiful Science project “Stupid, Stupid Volt”?

    How about YOU adress the ABSOLUTELY LOUSY highway MPG of the Volt on gas alone? (37 M PG on a good day, while the FAR SUPERIOR PRIUS NON-Plug in gets 47 ACTUAL MPG at 75 MPH?)

    Find me ONE Human for whom it makes ANY economic sense to buy this idiotic vehicle, EVEN after ROBBING the Taxpayer of $7,500 (and up to $22,000 or so in San Jose, CA with additional state, county AND SONY HANDOUTS to make this DAWG HUNT?)

    USe your intelligence, if any, to improve the NEXT Generation VOlt, because this one is DOA.

  98. Autos101 Says:

    “GPL Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Re: the $100,000 Volt cost, that is probably a volume distributed production cost based on the first year or some such. That is to say if it cost a billion dollars to develop something and you make ten thousand of them, the first year’s production “cost” is $100,000 each plus materials, labor, and overhead.”

    Interesting post, you make some valid points, but I doubt the $100,000 is based on just a few units produced. And Toyota rumors on losses on the prius were one tenth of this amount, $10,000.

  99. Autos101 Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    To those who say a Prius is overpriced,”

    I don’t (compared to other hybrids, it is by far the best choice)

    ” it costs no more than a similarly equipped Focus.”

    apples and oranges. WHy would a Focus buyer consider a Prius or vice versa.

    ” That means the Prius is saving you money the day you buy it.”

    This is NOT always true. Hybrids, and even the Prius, do not make economic sense for all people.

    It depends strongly on the price of gas, the number of city and highway miles you do every year, and lots of other factors.

  100. tj Martin Says:

    # 97

    +1

    We may fundamentally disagree on the Prius , but about the (re)VOLT(ing) we’re in total accord

    FYI The single largest reason Toyota would not hope for the Prius to become its #1 seller is to put it plainly

    PROFIT MARGINs

    The Prius being the least profitable car in then entire Toyota /Lexus/Scion line up though the iQ may yet steal that honor

  101. tj Martin Says:

    #93

    Those highway milage figures for the Prius are well and good overstated and pure hyperbole from both the owners as well as Toyota and the EPA

    Have a peak at any of the comparison tests that include the Prius and you’ll see that in real world driving , not controlled and on a test track , the Prius’s Highway milage comes up way short of all the abundant claims being bandied about

    Once again another case of the Lab vs The Real World with the Lab results overstating the case . As always , in any field

  102. Autos101 Says:

    1. On what specific Fact (not opinion) do we disagree on the Prius?

    2. Toyota management’s expectation to see the PRius FAMILY (4 models) be the US no 1 seller, dethroning the (also Toyota) Camry is not impossible.

    it depends of course on gas prices. $4 or $5 might do it.

    Remember, surpassing the Camry of 2015 may NOT require exceeding 400,000 or 450,000 units a year (the good old Camry sales). With the strong competition from the new Passat, the coming new Accord, the Sonata-Optima etc, this segment is too crowded and the no 1 vehicle could drop to two thirds to one-half that no, ie, only 250,000 per year, which COULD be surpassed by the Prius Family.

    As I said, we will see. Other reputable makers blundered in the past, why not TOyota too.

  103. Autos101 Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    December 14th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    #93

    Those highway milage figures for the Prius are well and good overstated”

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    I got a REAL WORLD 47 MPG in a drive from Los Angeles to San Diego (Del Mar, to be exact) in April 2009 with a rental Prius, and it was not even the current model!

    And that was the WORST MPG I got with this Prius there. OVerall it was 50+++, city traffic was 52, and on leisurly drives in country roads or equivalent (in palos Verdes) it showed 62-69 MPG,

    AND all that without ANY Hypermiling on my part. I did 75 MPH on the highway drive (half of it late night) or more!

    There are hybrids, even other toyota hybrids, and then there is the Prius, which is OPTIMIZED for MPG.

    AND next year the smaller, smaller engined Prius C Coupe, costing $4,000 LESS than the regular prius, will be MUCH MORE Fuel Efficient, IF this is possible.

    I extrapolated the japanese cycle numbers who were in the 90 MPGs range, and got EPA numbers 64 city and 60 hwy for it.

    You will have to wait a year to say if I was on target, but even 2 MPG less than the above is STILL AWESOME.

  104. Autos101 Says:

    As bad as the Volt is, the WORST Waste of Taxpayer and Company $ are the few miserable PURE EVs on the market.

    At least the VOlt can go on a trip. The pitiful, ugly Nissan Leaf or the little MItsu EV, can’t go more than 70 miles real world range!

  105. tj Martin Says:

    @ Autos101

    1)A plethora of FACTs that would take too long to place up here , as well as not worth the effort of arguing over . Just accept the fact that we disagree and leave it at that

    2) Profit margin my good man . Profit margin . Number of cars produced is irrelevant to the dollars per unit sold made .

    Guaranteed Toyota is all about the Profit Margin as is everyone else . Truth be know what Toyota is really wishing for is gas prices to go down and their Trucks outsell everything else on the lot

    As well as there’s no way on this little green planet , short of $10 a gallon gas the majority of Toyota buying Americans would ever purchase a car like the Prius .

  106. tj Martin Says:

    #104

    Actually and even worse Automotive use of out Tax dollars would be TESLA and FISKER .

    At least with the (re)VOLT(ing) we’ve got something ( product ) to show for our $$$ POS that it is , whereas with both TESLA and Fisker all we keep getting is a lot of promises hype and hyperbole with nary a single promise being fulfilled

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not defending the VOLT just pointing out our money’s being spent even more poorly elsewhere with the Virtual Carmaker ( TESLA ) and the washed up car designer turned car maker ( Fisker )

  107. GPL Says:

    “Interesting post, you make some valid points, but I doubt the $100,000 is based on just a few units produced.”

    Development cost of a new car is generally around a billion dollars giver or take a few hundred million. The first year production of the Volt was targeted on the order of 10,000 (+/-), I think. Dividing a billion by 10,000 is $100,000. Coincidence?

    I had a manager once that gave me some simple but valuable advice when upper management claimed that a competitor plant was building a similar product at a much lower price. He said, “Add up the parts.” If you are claiming the cost of the Volt, excluding development, – the parts, labor, and overhead – is $100,000, that just doesn’t pass the logic test. Add up the parts.

    The chassis and engnie are conventional and borrowed from the Cruze, there are no exotic materials in its structure, and it is built on an assembly line by the same laborers and in the same plant as other GM cars. A reasonably equipped Cruze retails for about $20,000. The battery is said to be about $15,000. Throw in a few grand for the gen set and other hardware, you are still no where near $100,000. The total is a lot closer to its sticker price.

    “…the (TWO independent sources, Mine and HTG) claim that it costs GM $100,000 to make…”

    You know, two people hearing the same rumor doesn’t make it true or them reliable sources. Hearing it from a salesman doesn’t make it true. Many of them are remarkably ignorant of their own product.

    I’m not saying the Volt is a good car. I wouldn’t buy one, but I don’t see any economic or physical basis of the $100,000 you are posting, so I pointed that out. If you have some supporting information or arguement for your point, please post it. Otherwise, it is just another unfounded rumor.

  108. HtG Says:

    just my half educated 2cents here. I think I saw the Prius coupe at the auto show. Aside from looking quite swish, it’s roofline is lower than the standard Prius which may give it a lower frontal area. Maybe this smaller form is going to contribute to the highway efficiency. I’ve lined up the Civic against a current Prius, and the bigger Toyota impresses me with its great highway mileage.

  109. tj Martin Says:

    #103

    Prove it .

    As every comparison test has proven otherwise

    Your personal opinion/experience is irrelevant and circular logic in this discussion and of no value to the argument

    Especially in light of my experience with a friends 2010 Prius directly contradicting yours

    So facts 101 and facts alone .

  110. HtG Says:

    107 GPL my 100K number is only my own repetition of what I heard. But I did speak closely with the guy, and specifically asked if he had gotten his number from the OEM. I asked twice. I have a tough time accepting the number too.

  111. Autos101 Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    December 14th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    #104

    Actually and even worse Automotive use of out Tax dollars would be TESLA and FISKER .”

    Absolutely true. A scandal of MONUMENTAL (Solyndra) proportions

  112. tj Martin Says:

    @ GPL

    Interesting , but like 101′s numbers yours are also pure guess work on your part and no more relevant than Autos101′s

    As well as your former manager giving you the poorest of economic/business advice

    in order to properly calculate the P&L on ANY given product and or transaction you need to factor in;

    1) Cost of parts
    2) Cost of labor
    3) cost of development
    4) Cost of advertising

    Leave out any of the above and you are a company heading straight towards Bankruptcy on a greased sliding board to Hades

    And thats Business/Economics 101 in a nutshell

  113. Autos101 Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    December 14th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    #103

    Prove it .

    I ABSOLUTELY CAN.

    I even have the gas receipt over 300++ miles (less than 6 gallons!!!).

  114. HtG Says:

    112 cost of capital? economies of scale? Payoffs to govt?

  115. Autos101 Says:

    TJ: PLEASE!!!!

    COmparison tests like Car and Driver DO NOT drive the vehicles like everyday drivers do, and ALWAYS fall far short (hybrids or not) of the 2008 (BIG decrease over 2007!) NEw EPA MPG.

  116. tj Martin Says:

    Where in the name of Pete , do people come up with the fluff like GPL was fed by his manager ?

    Does no one any longer with a Business or an MBA have even a fundamental understanding of the realities of Economics & Business anymore ?

    Well……… looking at the Financial institutions over the last decade I think we all know what the answer is

    A RESOUNDING and VEHEMENT

    NO !!!!

  117. Autos101 Says:

    107 GPL: another good post with good observations. I also agree that just because I and HTG heard the same rumor, it does not necessarily make it true.

    BUT even if GM breaks even with $42,000 Volt, after generous Taxpayer support ($7,500-$22,000+ in some cases) per unit to make people buy the POS, this is hardly a success story.

    BAsically what you can do in the VOlt, the Regular, non-plug in Prius does far more efficiebntly (TOTAL cost/mile driven) for practically any driver profile.

    So nobody would buy a Volt on ECONS alone.

  118. HtG Says:

    116 cook the books in cahoots with your lawyers and accountants. It’s called control fraud.

    IBGYBG I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone

  119. tj Martin Says:

    @ Autos101

    Give it up mate ! You can’t prove it . And I know for a fact your numbers are inaccurate . You may THINK that was your MPG but I can guarantee you unless you were driving that Prius at 35 mph or less on the highway …. you didn’t

    @HtG – Good additions to the equation

  120. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    IBGYBG ????

  121. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    never / mind googled it / got it

  122. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “I got a REAL WORLD 47 MPG in a drive from Los Angeles to San Diego (Del Mar, to be exact) in April 2009 with a rental Prius, and it was not even the current model!”

    I’ve taken four trips of about 1100 miles between Indiana and Florida with my 2010 Prius, driving 75 mph on the interstate. I get 44 mpg for this trip. This is actual mileage, not from the trip computer which reads a little high.

    My “overall” mileage, when I last calculated it, was about 47 mpg, and I “just drive it,” no hypermiling involved.

  123. tj Martin Says:

    #122

    Of course you did Kit

    And the South American Flying Tree Frogs are on their annual migration from Quebec and if you run down to the Everglades this very minute you can catch them before they head to Brazil

    FYI I’ve got two Toyota ‘ Insiders’ that say at best you’re either miscalculating or exaggerating . Which is to say , not even close Kit . Not even close !

  124. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj,
    I figured I would get that kind of response from you, even with the new “rules,” but as I’ve said before, I know how to subtract miles, add gallons for the trip, and divide miles by gallons. I have also checked the odometer of the car using GPS and mile markers, and the odo is within less one per cent.

    You hate Priuses, but don’t know much about them. I don’t get as good of mileage as some Prius drivers, because I don’t “hypermile,” I just drive it. I get better than some, like most magazine testers, because I don’t have it floored all the time, to see how fast I can get to the next red light.

    In summary, I’m neither miscalculating nor exaggerating, but you seem to have some kind of problem accepting that a car you don’t like actually does get truly exceptional gas mileage in all types of normal driving.

  125. GPL Says:

    “Where in the name of Pete , do people come up with the fluff like GPL was fed by his manager?”

    In his case, experiance. First off, the “parts” he spoke of included labor and overhead. Both plants were in the same organization so our cost structures were nearly identical. (Which is why I chose the Cruze for the cost comparison of the chassis and engine.)

    Second, he wasn’t just some MBA, he was also an engineer, with many years experience in design, cost, and manufacture of the products, and a quite brilliant one at that.

    Third, he was right. The upper management was just making up lower cost numbers to try to justify moving our production to the other plant, which we showed.

    But if you still don’t believe his advice is solid, maybe I should give you his phone number so you can call him up and school him good. I’d love to hear a musician explain to an experienced engineer and engineering manager how to calculate cost of manufactured product. Hell, you can tell him how to design the product and raise his kids while you are at it.

  126. Brett Says:

    “Surveys show 93% of Chevrolet Volt owners love their cars.”
    but
    “I hate the Chevrolet Volt”
    therefore
    “Chevrolet Volt owners are morons and the survey is hooey!!”

    ^^^ Internet Forum Logic ^^^

  127. T. Bejma Says:

    #117

    85% of all commuters have less than a 40 mile round trip to work. That is who the Volt was made for. So, to answer your question, the Volt is appropriate for 85% of the commuters. If you use the Volt for a commuter car to work and have less than a 40 mile round trip, then the Prius DOES NOT make more sense and CAN NOT get you there for ~$1.50/day (cost to fully charge a Volt in Michigan)…

    #126

    Hilarious! [and so true around here lately...] ;-)