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President Obama with a Chevrolet Volt

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)  (Source: flickr.com)
Despite recent issues with the Chevrolet Volt's battery, GM expects increased Volt sales for November and a recent survey found that Volt customers are satisfied. A GOP lawmaker may, however, ruin EV success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit

General Motors Co. may have hit a few speed bumps this year with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV's battery-related incidents, but things seem to be looking up with an expected increase in November Volt sales and a recent survey that confirmed Volt customer satisfaction.

The Chevrolet Volt had its best-ever sales month in October 2011, but according to GM Spokesman Jim Cain, November Volt sales are expected to surpass the previous month.

In October, GM sold 1,108 Volts, which was the first time it had outsold the Nissan Leaf EV since April. For the year through October, GM sold a total of 5,003 Volts.

Experts say that it is now very unlikely that GM will meet its sales goal of 10,000 Volts sold in 2011, but GM predicts increased sales in November over the month of October. The final sales figures for November have not yet been released.

Perhaps the reason for increased sales expectations is Volt customer satisfaction. According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, Chevrolet Volt owners "love their cars."

The Consumer Reports survey, which was released Thursday, is based on over 314,000 opinions of 2009-2012 model year vehicles. The survey found that 93 percent of Volt owners who participated said they'd buy the EV again.

However, the survey was conducted only a few months after the Volt hit showrooms, and mainly consisted of early buyers and enthusiasts. The survey was also taken before the formal investigation of Volt/lithium battery safety began.

Earlier this year, the Volt underwent a series of tests at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12, the Volt went up in flames while parked at the facility, catching nearby vehicles on fire.

This sparked a NHTSA investigation, where three more Volts were tested November 16, 17 and 18. One battery had normal results while another emitted sparks and smoke, and the third caught on fire one week later. The NHTSA is now conducting a formal investigation of the vehicle's safety.

The Volt may be seeing the upside of a nasty situation for now with a potential sales increase and customer satisfaction, but one GOP lawmaker is looking to throw a wrench in the EV industry's success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told Congress Wednesday that he wants the $7,500 tax credit for EVs to cease because he says electric vehicles have not met desired goals and the tax credit only benefits the wealthy. He specifically noted that the annual income of Volt owners is $175,000.

"[The Volt] has become the poster child of President Obama's failed green agenda," said Kelly. "Like many green initiatives promoted by this administration and bankrolled by the American taxpayer, the electric car is better in theory than in practice; has limited consumer demand; is heavily subsidized; and has fallen short of reaching targeted goals. Despite the fact that the federal government has no business subsidizing a product that a manufacturer could just as easily promote through rebates and other buyer incentives, the tax subsidies are largely going to the affluent few who can actually afford to buy an electric car, which costs anywhere between $40,000 and $97,000."

Kelly's "like many other green initiatives promoted by this administration" comment was more than likely referring to this year's Solyndra disaster, where the U.S. government loaned solar panel company Solyndra $535 million in 2009 despite warnings that the company would go bankrupt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011.

Sources: The Detroit News, The Detroit News



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RE: Duh....
By tallcool1 on 12/1/2011 12:20:11 PM , Rating: 5
Sheeple who do not realize (or care) that other citizens are footing $7,500 of the bill for them.

Anybody that got $7,500 for FREE to help pay for their car purchase would "love their car" that much better...

If it is true that "annual income of Volt owners is $175,000", I'm sorry but they do not need our tax dollars to help them buy a car, period!

That $7,500 would go better towards re-training an out of work individual for an available job, helping the homeless, helping low income single parents, etc, etc. There are a lot better things I can think of to put our tax dollars too, besides helping someone who makes a good living already purchase an expensive hybrid car.


RE: Duh....
By Dr of crap on 12/1/2011 12:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, and on another posting about the Volt, I was told If I could not afford a Volt or any car at $40K I had better get a beter job.

So $175,000 on average, eh.
I don't quite make that much and even if I did I wouldn't waste my cash on this car. Sorry.


RE: Duh....
By Spuke on 12/1/2011 1:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't quite make that much and even if I did I wouldn't waste my cash on this car.
Me either.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
For me GM would have to prove it has developed an entire new culture and mindset building cars.

GM has worked with this motto for far too long: There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over. My last GM car had more problems and recalls than my 5 prior GM cars combined, three of which were Vegas, the engineering disaster of the 70's.

The last thing you ever want to buy is a GM car that's in high demand and flying off the assembly line. The other model is the one that just completed a cost reduction project.


RE: Duh....
By room200 on 12/1/2011 1:50:37 PM , Rating: 1
Umm, there are a lot of people who don't own homes who are poor or lower middle class who "subsidize" the tax credit homeowners get for their house. Is THAT fair? If you own a home, I'll bet they're not too keen on giving that tax credit up; I know I'm not. I don't have any children, yet I subsidize the tax credits people who have children get. Should I be able to moan and groan about that? I'm not attacking you, and I agree with what you say. I'm simply playing devil's advocate.


RE: Duh....
By tng on 12/1/2011 2:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is THAT fair?
Well no, if it were strictly true, but it really isn't. Despite the fact that there is a mortgage credit they still pay taxes on dozens of things associated with owning a home that people living in an apartment do not, so it does pay off in more taxes elsewhere. Property taxes on those homes got to many services in my area, including parks, local roads, police, fire,shelters,etc... All things that those poor people who don't own homes take advantage of.

By the same argument I can say that the tax credit for having a child under 18 as a dependent is subsidized by my taxes, but people who have kids probably pay even more in taxes raising them than I ever will on my house.


RE: Duh....
By room200 on 12/2/2011 6:58:39 AM , Rating: 2
It is strictly true, and the republicans are trying to wipe out those home tax credits too.

The same argument could be made for those who drive vs. those who don't. The car owner pays taxes on gas, repairs, maintenance, license plates, window stickers, etc. Those taxes go to pay for roads, bridges, all the things that people who do not drive also have to pay for.

Also, poor people pay taxes too; they simply pay less in income taxes. All the other taxes on cars, food, etc. the pay the say as anyone else.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 11:58:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, poor people pay taxes too; they simply pay less in income taxes.

Yes, but taxes on booze and cigarettes can be eluded. So here yes, it's their own damn fault.


RE: Duh....
By tng on 12/2/2011 5:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks Yash. I have to agree with the taxes for schools, they are very high where I am and I don't have any kids.

As for his statement that it is "strictly true", it isn't really. Taxes individuals pay vary widely according to lifestyle and location.

It is simply not fair to say that people who don't own their own home are subsidizing those that do while ignoring how property taxes on those homes subsidize many of the things apartment dwellers take advantage of.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
There are some self proclaimed know-it-alls here that try to force you into their B&W world. They have yet to succeed with a single person.

For the purposes of proving the rich pay too much everything except fed income tax is dismissed. For the purposes of Joe Average the method may include things like SS and gas taxes, which don't amount to much for a billionaire. Then of course besides beer and cigarettes the lottery is considered a "tax on the poor" by some, usually those complaining about taxes the loudest. Do we ever see a graph of all the taxes imposed no? No, not because it's not worthy, but because it undermines the rich argument.

Ask any person in Greece, rich or poor, and they will all tell you the country has been pillaged by politicians for decades. And are politicians poor? Sorry they fall into the rich category, no big surprise there.

In this state seniors below a certain (very low) income no longer pay school taxes. Apparently driving them into poverty (and into nursing homes once broke where everybody but the elderly pick up the tab) or forcing them to move away is viewed as a bad thing. Damn those progressives!


RE: Duh....
By tng on 12/2/2011 6:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I understand.

I whine about taxes as much as the next guy. Are my taxes to high? Yes, but not for the reason most people would think.

I think that I could probably stomach more taxes if the people who were spending it were not such bozos. Conservative or Progressive, they are all bozos. If they knew what they were doing, instead of just throwing money at everything, I could be convinced that higher taxes were OK.

While I don't think that the most wealthy in the world would really be hurt by a tax increase, I don't want it to become a habit that when the bozos come up short, they just increase taxes. Eventually the definition of "Rich" gets to the point of including people like you and me.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 7:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Conservative or Progressive, they are all bozos.

And it's each party's goal to convince their sheeple of everything but this fact. And many fall for the propaganda, cause they like it. As Jesse Ventura said, the US is a 2 party dictatorship. And too many bozos are still riding the bus.

quote:
I think that I could probably stomach more taxes if the people who were spending it were not such bozos.

That's the very reason so much of Europe tolerated it for so long, frankly they always got more for their money than we ever did. and wanting to stay informed versus ignoring what's going on is one of the reasons that happened over there. Of course there are situations beyond one's control. They 1967 Greek revolution brought in a junta that turned out and sold all the military gear Greece had and then disappeared.

quote:
Eventually the definition of "Rich" gets to the point of including people like you and me.

An excellent example of that would be the AMT. It was developed and implemented in its day for all the right reasons, but it wasn't adjusted for inflation. Why is that? You'd have to ask them.

Anyway if you live in an area with $300,000 home that's average there, and have been investing since IRAs and 401Ks have been out with a decent salary you can be a millionaire on paper without being "rich." Well off, but not so comfortable you never worry about anything again. I don't think a lot of people get that. I'm nowhere near that, but people who live in higher cost areas may have this scenario as quite common.

But you have to worry less then before about actually becoming rich, Wall St is making sure you never reach the rich level. Here's a great example
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2011/07/go...

quote:
I whine about taxes as much as the next guy.

It seems people whine more today than decades ago when rates were higher. It's a national past time, the way Europeans drink coffee. I tell people I wish I was paying half a million a year in taxes, because I'd definitely could get by on what's left. The emphasis on this statement is not on wanting to pay taxes(the way Murdoch would twist it around), but to have the ability to pay it, ie a big salary.


RE: Duh....
By Mint on 12/9/2011 3:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
You should really take a closer look at the spending. The bozo spending really only accounts for a small fraction. Add up all the controversial things like the EV credit, Solyndra loan, etc and you get almost nothing. They're just talking points that are successful because the general populace has no sense of scale. Million, billion, and trillion really mean nothing to them.

The majority of federal spending is either in direct transfers (SS/welfare/unemployment), Medicare that is already paying less than free market, or military spending that the US public supports so much that it would be political suicide to cut.

The federal gov't payroll is ~$180B out of total spending of $3729B. If you think that 5% is too much and cut public workers, you get job losses because the private sector can't find work for 13M people right now, so few of them would get jobs elsewhere. The newly unemployed's reduced consumption then creates even more job losses.

Everyone and their mother makes claims about wasteful spending, but nothing significant ever gets done about them because nobody ever notices. It's simple math.

We need higher taxes now, as we're stealing from future generations. Deal with the reality of insufficient revenues today, and stop the pipe dream of a magical economic boom solving all our problems. If we decide to cut military spending or, god forbid, make the poor even poorer, then we can consider bringing taxes back down a bit.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 12:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but people who have kids probably pay even more in taxes raising them than I ever will on my house.

I wonder just how much more, since I pay school taxes and don't have any kids.


RE: Duh....
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 2:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
New technology is expensive and it's difficult to get over the "hump", where economies of scale can start pushing prices down. It's not any different than other industries with innovation. First generation of almost anything is expensive. In this case, it has the potential to significantly reduce petroleum consumption.

quote:
That $7,500 would go better towards re-training an out of work individual for an available job, helping the homeless, helping low income single parents, etc, etc. There are a lot better things I can think of to put our tax dollars too, besides helping someone who makes a good living already purchase an expensive hybrid car.


I would argue this expenditure has enough future benefit to be "worth it". On the other hand, there are plenty of government programs, especially entitlement, that have no future benefit or even negative future "benefits" because they breed complacency and government dependence. The $131 billion home interest deduction comes to mind, along with zero deductible medical plans under Medicaid.


RE: Duh....
By Rukkian on 12/1/2011 2:45:38 PM , Rating: 3
While I agree that subsidizing new technology can help get it to a level where prices come down, the only way that should make sense is if the manufacturer (Chevy in this case) is not making much (or any) off the product. The company is getting the benefit of not having to foot the entire bill for the tech, and getting a leg up to help further the technology.

I get the feeling that the ev cars out there are not actually any cheaper, as all the manufacturers are just inflating the price by $7500 since they know the consumer will get the rebate so they can pocket extra cash. If that is not the case, then show the books on what it costs to produce, and make it open.


RE: Duh....
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 2:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
GM is not making a penny on each Volt they sell.

EVs are expensive. The Focus electric is going to be priced at $39,995, and so is the Plug-in Prius.


RE: Duh....
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 3:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM is not making a penny on each Volt they sell.


Yes and I would think that for a company that was just bailed out by the taxpayers from collapsing would be quite concerned about their new Golden Goose being a loss leader.

But then again, they DID have to be bailed out in the first place. So they tells you what kind of thinking is going on over there.


RE: Duh....
By Dr of crap on 12/2/2011 8:40:33 AM , Rating: 2
Really, you believe they aren't making ANY profits on these cars?
I find that WAY unlikely no matter what they say.
Think of all the R & D that went into it, and the marketing and over head. Unless this car's design was already done by someone else, but you'd still have to pay the designee!

I've heard that people want to go into the sales floor to see the Volt and then end up buying something else, so the Volt gets MORE people into the door. So for a very expensive marketing ploy the Volt is useful for that I guess.
Problem with that is that they were bailed out and a sales flop in the eyes of the tax payers doesn't look to good! And as a tax payer, I'll say I don't like it and I hope it's sales drop further yet! And I'll take my part of the $7500 they've handed out and use it for soemthing better.


RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've heard that people want to go into the sales floor to see the Volt and then end up buying something else, so the Volt gets MORE people into the door.

Well the other option is a 60 second commercial during the Superbowl. And what a bargain that is.


RE: Duh....
By Mint on 12/9/2011 3:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're making unbased assumptions. Right now companies are milking those that want to buy EVs. It will take time for competition to take effect.

Look at the plug-in Prius. They basically added a charger and 3 kWh more battery. How on earth does that cost $5-10k?


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