GM Says Bad Publicity from Fire Investigation Hurt Volt Sales
January 27, 2012 9:52 AM
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GM now working on making Volt image better
GM is hard at work on fixing the tarnished image of the Volt after the fire investigation. The Volt drama started when a crash tested vehicle caught fire three weeks after being tested while sitting in the parking lot of a government test facility. The fire was large enough to damage vehicles nearby.
GM's CEO was called to
before a House panel as part of the investigation into the fire and the methods in which the fire was disclosed. The day after the testimony was given; GM has acknowledged that the fire investigation had an impact on sales. GM started airing a new commercial on TV stations around the country that focuses on the Volt in an effort to improve the car's image.
The new commercial is called "Morning in Hamtramck." Hamtramck is the city where the Volt is constructed and is a suburb of Detroit. The commercial sees the Volts rolling down an assembly line on the main street of Hamtramck. The commercial touts the Volt as "the car that America had to build" and the commercial says that GM built the car for "for our town, for our country, for our future."
The commercial is perhaps the most visible part of the efforts to buff the tarnish off the Volt image. GM North American VP Mark Reuss sent a letter to Volt owners around the country this week that thanked the owners for their support. Despite GM offering to
Volts from worried owners no one asked for their car to be bought back. GM also offered loaner vehicles until the investigation was complete.
Detroit News reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was at the Washington Autoshow and noted that he is satisfied that the Volt is safe. LaHood also denied GM was given any preferential treatment in the investigation. There were some allegations that the delay in telling the public about the fire in testing, which spanned months, was preferential to GM. LaHood also said that it would have been inappropriate to disclose details on the fire until the investigation was complete.
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Not the investigation but how it was handled
1/27/2012 11:38:46 AM
I don't think the fire investigation hurt the Volt but rather how it was handled.
If not for the leak, I am not sure if NHTSA would have open the investigation (after 6 months) and just cover it up. Why did it take 6 months to open the investigation and only 2 weeks for Secretary Lahood to conclude that Volt is safe?
The fire broke out in June. President Obama was sitting in a Volt on his Detroit factory visit in July. Did NHTSA tell the president or the secret service of the fire? The whole thing doesn't sit well.
As for the ad, American need to build a compact car that weights more than a SUV? We need a light, clean, efficient and affordable car like Prius c. I am for electric and hybrid cars but Volt compromises on both fronts. It was engineered to meet political definition of electric car with maximum battery tax credit (16kWh). Yet, it has a gas engine that provides substandard hybrid MPG.
RE: Not the investigation but how it was handled
1/27/2012 12:05:52 PM
Why would the President need to know about these fires? How would that have affected his safety when he was sitting in a new one? These fires only happen several days AFTER the car was TOTALED.
The safety issue isn't in regards to the owners of the cars, it's with the personnel who handle and store cars that were totaled. This whole ordeal about fires is a non-issue that's been blown out of proportion.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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