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Engineers have started to hand assemble the first "real" Chevy Volts -- the finalized pre-production test models.  (Source: General Motors)
Newly built car will be used for critical testing

The Chevy Volt, General Motors' pride and great hope for the future, has entered the pre-production phase, with engineers assembling a vehicle that looks identical to the design that is planned to be coming off the assembly  line late this year.  After months and years of waiting, GM's launch of the first mainstream electric vehicle is almost at hand.

GM Executive Director for Research and Development Dr. Alan Taub, speaking at a conference at the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, says that he believes the Volt will be integral to GM's turnaround.  He stated, "The key is to be ready when the market rebounds with technologies and vehicles that people got to have.  We really think the Volt represents the next generation in propulsion technology around what we are calling the reinvention of the vehicle.  It's going to be electrified drive. It's going to be connected to the world through electronics."

The new pre-production models will be play a critical role in preparing for the vehicles deployment.  They will be used as integration models, tweaking minor parameters to help lower wind resistance.  They will also be battered and bruised to make sure the vehicle is road-worthy.

Previous "test drives" by the press in "Volts" were not really a Chevy Volt -- rather, they were a similarly designed Chevy Malibu or Cruze-based test mule.  The current production marks the first Volt of the finalized design to be produced.  The cars are being built at the Technical Center in Detroit, MI.  It takes two weeks for engineers to hand-assemble one of the cars.

GM spokesman Rob Peterson cheered the news, stating, "The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold.  First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when production begins in November 2010."

By mid-July, GM will have ramped up the pre-production to a rate of 10 vehicles per week.  GM will have a fleet of 80 pre-production Volts by the fall.  The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly will start mass producing pre-production models next spring, providing "several hundred" vehicles to invade showrooms across the country.

Automotive industry experts say that vehicles like the Volt face a tough road ahead, but may offer solutions to critical environmental and national security problems.  States, Anne Tazewell, of the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, "There are a lot of variables, and one is our will to continue investing in this.  We have an environmental imperative and we really do have an economic imperative because of our reliance on imported oil. But we're also kind of battling the more immediate economic situation.”

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RE: Change the Logo
By Chaser on 5/28/2009 10:21:04 AM , Rating: 2
It's brand equity that's a significant part of GM's marketing problems. The consumer of the present has made a shift from makes and model names that msybe were stylish and fashionable through maybe the 80s but are now starting to look and sound like throw backs from the 60s. i.e. Oldsmobile and I personally believe Buick, (Pontiac), Cadillac, and Chevrolet. My grandmother only drove Cadillacs. GM needs to desperately redefine itself and permanently leave behind those outdated namesakes that today very few would use primarily as a primary purchasing preference.

That's not saying that Ford and Chrysler could also use a branding face lift, but GM is in the worst shape in this situation.

RE: Change the Logo
By Tsuwamono on 5/28/2009 12:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Im not very brand specific but i agree about the image thing.

Ford for some reason is seen as incredibly unreliable but the F150s and Rangers are insanely reliable.

Chrysler is seen as the same thing but this time for good reason. They only have two engines that are any good at all. The 242 which is simply AMAZING and the 318 which is almost as good.

I have an XJ(Cherokee) with a 242 I6 in it and it has over 300 000km and still runs like a top. They go easily over 400 000km without issue. The 318 is pretty close. They go between 300 000 and 350 000 without any problems.

The Rangers are also like this. Why they switched to the Duratech from the Lima is beyond me because the Lima went 300 000km without any problem at all. I know mine has and thats towing a 2500 pound trailer which obviously a 4cyl had no business doing lol.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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