August Update on Chevy Volt, Here's your chance to learn beyond your years.

Here’s your chance to learn a lot about the Car Business and life in general. will you pay attention?

First.. just a little background… let me set the stage for this blistering article I’ll share.

Designing any new car is a huge undertaking, and we older people have seen it done wrong a number of times.. really wrong..

Before the Engineers and Designers get too far down the road in a new concept, it’s critical that you get marketing involved to assure there is a market for the product you want to build. When I was in my early forties, I still hated marketing, I saw them as a group that spoiled a lot of projects, forced engineers to cut corners and build products that were far less than they could have been. Now that I am older, I understand more about their role, and why you can’t allow engineers to build the toys they want and expect a company to survive.

If you had money to research what people wanted in a new car, you’d likely get the same data that marketing has been hashing over for the last 75 years. Here’s some things people ask for:

I want a car that is:

  • Reliable.
  • Sexy.
  • Good fuel economy.
  • Room enough for the whole family including the dog.
  • Fast
  • One that handles like a slot car.
  • One I can buy for a payment I can afford.
  • Dark green in color.

But when it comes to a new concept car, Marketing  does far more than go to a shopping mall and ask people what they want to buy. They are focused on the most important question of all, and here’s where you’ll see fire and ice meet!

A note for the Engineering mind, you know of the superior efficiency of the compression ignition engine, and maybe you wondered why Toyota overlooked this and why they didn’t offer this superior engine in the Prius? WHY???   Fact is… Toyota studied this intensely, and learned that this power plant would place the car outside the price range of the group of people who were interested in buying the car.  Marketing knows that only a portion of those who say they would buy a Prius will, they’re job is to identify exactly who the real buyers are, and how much they can actually afford to spend. Marketing understands from years of experience that many of the people who show interest in the product will never buy the car.

Car Salesmen will tell you of all the men who came down to the Dealer’s show room  to check out the new Corvette and left driving a far more practical four-door sedan. Reality kicks in, there’s a lot of factors to consider, payments, flexibility, Insurance, proven design, resale, and far more. One large chunk of reality is there’s often two people involved in the selection of a new car and flexibility and cost often become major factors.

But you say.. where does the fire and ice meet? Is that when husband and wife battle over what car they’ll own?

No… The fire and Ice meet EVERY TIME the Government gets involved in dictating what consumer products will be, and here you’ll see the reason…..

Companies survive through profit, if they are not profitable, they are normally carved up and purchased by companies who have made better assessments in what people want and what they will pay for.

Government on the other hand has a history of ignoring profitability, and they see their Empire as a cost-plus-operation. They also understand that idiots cast votes, and far less thinking goes into casting that vote than goes into signing a five-year contract to buy a car.

When Government dictates a car to build, they are focused on what’s popular with their supporters… and the votes the effort will get their party.  They have no understanding of the car business, they often have no clue how private enterprise works.

Now for the GEMS.. Just take some time to read the comments under this article.. one I really enjoyed was the guy who says that big screen TVs were once $6500.00, now they’re cheap.. Fact is.. marketing proved there were buyers at the $6500 price! Some believe this will happen with the Chevy Volt, expensive today, but cheap tomorrow..  I believe the opposite might happen, as these materials go up in demand, so might the price.  Rare Earth has already gone up seven times in a six month period! lithium, and more might go up as well. There’s little chance a car with a very complex power train will ever be inexpensive.

But.. the Chevy Volt has nothing to do with reality, and I’d bet money that a proper marketing study (one done by Toyota for instance) would prove out that the vast majority of the people who say they are interested in purchasing this car couldn’t afford to buy the optional charger that is required to charge the car in a far more reasonable period of time.

Government is not focused on profit, and when they enter the marketplace and stay, the best move you can make is to sell their currency and invest elsewhere.. History is full of examples of what happens next.

Here’s the link.. if you think the Author is liable.. you might consider helping to fund a law suit.. make sure you click on the link in this article to see the full story.

Think about it, why is it that Chevy can’t even find a hand full of people to buy these cars even when tax payers are forced to pick up $7500.00 of the cost? Remember that friend  of yours that praised this effort? Is there one in his driveway now? Why not help him take delivery? You might even offer him a ride to the Chevy Dealer..


more musings..

One last thought for the Engineer. What are the losses between the charging source and the rear wheels? Who will pay to upgrade the utility if there’s a volt in every garage? How will we make this electrical energy with no dams, no nukes, no coal, and now we hear Obama’s supporters hate evil natural gas too 🙂

when you see the Huffington Post rebuttal, please send me the link, and do keep asking the Chevy Volt fans you know if they’ve ordered one yet?


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11 Responses to August Update on Chevy Volt, Here's your chance to learn beyond your years.

  1. Mike Anthony says:

    I think you’re right on this one George. It’s sad that they didn’t go the distance with these and do the diesel or Atkins cycle gassers… Even with the price difference they’d probably have sold more since they’d have a better mileage figure and a longer range/life expectancy. Then again, the basement dweller target would certainly have to win the Lotto to afford one without taxing the guy with more money ( than them ) for a subsidy.

    • George B. says:

      Mike, we need remember, there are excellent cars that compete in this market segment already and they are a lot cheaper. Adding a higher efficiency engine just drives the auto further away from those who have expressed interest in buying the Volt. Wealthy Greenies don’t drive efficient cars, they dictate that others should be forced to drive them. Reference Algore… A luxury hybrid ?? where’s the market?

  2. Ralph G. says:

    Well put, well said, especially concerning the gov. interverntion.
    A walk back in time, remember the 70’s gas rationing? At that time, I said the solution to the problem was reasonably simple:
    1. use an engine of 2 litres displacment or smaller
    2. a coefficient of drag (CD) of .20 or less
    3. an all up weight of 2500 lb or less
    this would end up being a vehicle (non hybrid) with gas (fuel) mileage in the 40 – 50 MPG range.
    And then in the early 80’s we had the CRX HF, at 40 – 50 MPG with lean burn technology (air fuel ratios of 18-19 to one)
    With direct injection (gas) and common rail (diesel ) technology, today we could do
    even better.
    And why do we need 40k hybrids, and gov intervention?

    • George B. says: know a thing or two about R&D and product development… this GM thing likely makes your knees all wobbly thinking about it..

      The CRX HF was a great little car Ralph!
      Do you remember the little Mazda 1200 cc cars? They were cross flow push rod hemis that would turn 8000 rpms stock.. they were littlle strippers that got a real 38 MPG with a carb!
      I think they were about $1760.00 new! A real shame the dollar has become so worthless.

      Remember boys and girls.. save your money and watch us people here in washington DC make it near worthless, you’ll feel liek a sucker for havign saved a dammed thing..


  3. John says:

    Two of my best mileage cars ever:
    1987 Fiero, 4 cyl (2.5L), 5 spd: real world, got about 50MPG highway (don’t remember city).
    1984 Chevette, stock Isuzu Diesel, 5 spd: real world, got 43mpg CITY, and could touch on 70 highway.

    Neither were high tech (ok, the Fiero was somewhat for the day) – point is, if it could be pulled off with the now low-tech of the day, how did we mostly go downhill from there?!

    • George B. says:

      News to me on the Fiero, good to get your report. The Chevette I understood.. a throw away car, but with that diesel, it was killer mileage. My borther has a metro that will do an honest 60MPG.

  4. Russ says:

    I have to chuckle everytime I see a car commericial bragging about 34, 36, or possibly 40 MPG. I pull at least low 40’s all day long mixed driving with my 1993 Ford Festiva with a high recorded 50.2 MPG.

    I’d say it meets most of Ralph’s criteria, at least 2 out of 3.

    1.3 fuel injected 4 cylinder.
    1860 lbs.
    Sorry, I don’t know the C.D.

    But gee, I don’t have 14 air bags, ABS, touch screen navigation, or an espresso machine…..

    • George B. says:

      Russ, I think you and Ralph both have a good understanding of reality.. the Ford Festiva was an excellent excercise in high mileage, and the majority of us who paid attention in eight grade science class know that hauling that espresso machine along with us is going to cost mileage (money).

      • Russ says:

        Yea, I really like the Festiva. Has done all I’ve asked of it including hauling a couple loads of scrap on a trailer I built.

        Just started a new project today installing a 6.2 diesel into an ’84 Caprice.

        If I ever get it completed I’ll try to report back on the MPG’s.

    • George B. says:

      Paul, excellent Article, but there’s far more than will burden us in finding a practical use for the EV at this time, that’s exactly why investors should be volunteers, not forced to invest as we tax payers often are. It may be a few years off yet, but eventually we’ll learn AGAIN who really killed the EV.. simply the lack of people who find them practical. Perhaps if >they< threaten to take your first born less you buy one? I know a few rabbid greenies who'd endorse that plan. You and I likely watched Evergreen solar together, I repported on it here, it was either stupidity or criminal, and I never thought anyone was that stupid.. still Solyndra happened! Ditto!

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