I'm dumbfounded by this. Mitt Romney, who presumably cares about winning his home state of Michigan, said on a radio talk show that the Chevrolet Volt is an "idea whose time has not come." He was laughing when he said it, too. I'd be more amazed at the prospect of a credible presidential candidate seemingly wanting the country's largest industry to fail, if I hadn't already seen the Tea Party leaves on this issue.
Rush Limbaugh hates the Volt, too. Here's what he said during a December show: "GM owned by the regime, what did they project, 10,000 sales and they've sold about 1,100 of 'em, something like that. I forget the number, and they're all bought with other people's money, every purchase is subsidized. Now they've got battery problems. The cars are supposedly catching fire."
Sorry, but GM has sold something like 6,500 Volts, and the cars aren't "catching fire." One car ignited three weeks after a government crash test in which it was folded up like an accordion. This stuff is all over the blogosphere. From the Daily Caller: "The buyers of Chevrolet's taxpayer-subsidized Chevy Volt hybrid have an average income of $170,000, but still receive thousands in tax breaks for their purchases. … The government subsidies add up to a potential maximum of $250,000 for each of the 6,000 Volts that was sold by the end of November, 2011."
Yes, and if you did the analysis after just the first car was sold, you'd get an even more incredible statistic: $1.5 billion per car! There's a denominator problem in that equation. Instead, if GM goes ahead and creates a family for the Volt, elements of the technology could be in 60 million cars over the next 25 years, and that means the $1.5 billion shakes out to $25 a car.
Why do these guys hate the Volt so much? Frankly, it's "Obama's car," part of his effort to reach a million plug-in cars by 2015. So if he owns it, they want it dead. But the Volt is a sincere effort, representing a billion dollars of GM investment, in creating a new kind of car. It's about creating a future for the domestic industry, which as you recall was totally on the ropes in 2008 because it had an SUV-heavy product line as $4-a-gallon gas descended.
But I forgot, Romney, the son of an American Motors president, wanted to let the industry die back then. "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," he said in a New York Times op-ed. "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye," he wrote as the Big Two's fate was in the balance. They got the bailout, and now GM is thriving. And for Romney and Limbaugh, that's the problem.