You know, the Chevy Volt is almost as polarizing as Tim Tebow. Economic number crunchers hate the car and eco greenie idealists love it.
No matter what camp you belong to, it’s pretty difficult to argue that it hasn’t been a taxpayer subsidized failure.
I say this because of an analysis piece that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy wrote about and discussed yesterday. They are considered to be a right-leaning organization, but I don’t think economic analysis always has to be framed in an "us versus them" manner.
Some people will always be blinded by their allegiance to party politics, but the numbers in the Mackinac Center’s analysis hold up, and they are hard to argue with. This should come as little or no surprise to those who opposed the mass bailouts in 2008.
We know GM was given tons of government money to stay afloat. People were sold on the idea that if GM didn’t get bailed out, the earth would spin off its axis and darkness would ensue. And even if the public was somehow collectively against the bailouts in 2008, would they have been able to stop it?
So the public bought into the fear-mongering and GM was given a total of $3 billion in state and federal tax dollars. And since they only sold about 6,000 Volts that means that there is between 50,000 and 250,000 taxpayer subsidized dollars in each one.
Three different plants that were part of its production were given over $100 million each on the hopes that this project will somehow save Michigan and whole economy from the recession. But the Volt hasn’t set the world on fire yet and probably never will. Not when there are reports of battery fires during crash tests, as TG Daily recently reported.
GM even offered loaner cars to Volt owners while the vehicle is under investigation from federal regulators. This may have smoothed things over a little with the owners, but it probably won’t be good for future sales.
Frankly, this is final straw in my decision to declare the Volt a failure. Then again, I figured it was going to fail as soon as the bailout starting taking shape. History has shown that central economic planning in the automobile industry doesn’t work, and I thought that government influence over GM would hurt them.
The arrogance it takes to think that a group of government appointed elitists can manage as economy is staggering, but this idea is sold to us all the time as the normal thing to do. Politicians love to convince people that only they can be trusted to preside over the economic council, but in reality we don’t need people to guard and protect the economy like it’s some pile of money that’s just sitting there in DC.
In my eyes, the Volt is a failure because it was sold to the public as the justification for proclaiming the bailout was a good thing. It was almost used as a sort of symbol for why government bailouts are a good practice. The Volt is not awesome enough for me to sit here and say "yeah, it was totally worth it!"
There are cooler electric cars out there than the Volt. I would much rather have a Nissan Leaf because it can be hooked up to the electric grid and the battery can also be used to power your home.
The Volt has been a failure and the only thing that GM can do to redeem the vehicle in my eyes is to make a version that flies or travels through time. Now that would be a car!