GM Damage Control: Chevy Volt is Full Speed Ahead

 

In a late night blog post, John Lauckner, GM’s Vice President of Global Program Management, has attempted to quash some of the rumors floating around the blogosphere that the Volt is delayed or even dead.

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We all know how fast things can spread online. One blog picks up a story, then every other blog under the sun races to post their take on the story in the hopes of beating everybody else to the punch. This was certainly the case this week after GM announced they were delaying construction on the new plant in Flint, MI, devoted to building the Volt engine.





Given GM’s recent troubles and flaccid cash flow, it doesn’t seem so off-base to imagine that a construction delay of the plant that will supply the Volt’s engine spells doom for the Volt itself — or at the very minimum means the Volt will miss its target release date of late 2010. On the other hand, the Volt really is the only thing GM’s got going for it right now, so it would seem supremely stupid to shut ‘er down.

Lauckner says the Volt remains perhaps the highest priority program within GM. As a showing of good faith that GM remains committed to bringing the Volt to market, Lauckner parades a spat of recent milestones including the appearance of Generation II prototypes in Washington, D.C., the production of the last of the 33 vehicles in the current hardware testing stage, and the completion of the engineering for the final prototypes, which will begin testing in July 2009.

As Lauckner says, “It is true that, due to our current liquidity situation among other things, we have temporarily suspended some construction activities at the new engine plant in Flint. This has no impact on our production timing for the Volt or the Chevy Cruze. Moreover, our global manufacturing process is flexible enough to construct this plant within a year, and the planning activities that require less cash upfront are continuing in Flint.”

As is so often the case, only time will tell if anybody ever gets to drive a Volt, but, regardless of GM’s massive damage control, at this point I remain a devout skeptic.

Image Credit: GM

Source: GM Fastlane





About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.

  • Well, thet did it before:

    Who killed the electric car ?

    http://www.stichtingmilieunet.nl/andersbekekenblog/?p=1282

  • Well, thet did it before:

    Who killed the electric car ?

    http://www.stichtingmilieunet.nl/andersbekekenblog/?p=1282

  • “Lauckner says the Volt remains perhaps the highest priority program within GM.”

    Perhaps the highest priority? Perhaps? Just GM doing spin. Perhaps they will soon realize that it’s almost 2009. Knock knock.

    – Green Mullet

    http://greenmullet.com/

  • “Lauckner says the Volt remains perhaps the highest priority program within GM.”

    Perhaps the highest priority? Perhaps? Just GM doing spin. Perhaps they will soon realize that it’s almost 2009. Knock knock.

    – Green Mullet

    http://greenmullet.com/

  • Doug

    They should cancel the plant in Flint. They should take about half that money and go build it in the non-union South East where workers will be excited to make 25-30 an hr and take pride in what they build,

  • Doug

    They should cancel the plant in Flint. They should take about half that money and go build it in the non-union South East where workers will be excited to make 25-30 an hr and take pride in what they build,

  • Jo

    I don’t have the inside-GM access I once did, but I can tell you this: Lutz will napalm the RenCenter before the Volt gets cancelled. GM’s top brass is all kinds of Serious on this one, and they will cut jobs, scrap assembly lines, and possibly bomb a third-world country before they let the Volt fail.

    GM didn’t kill the electric car (sorry to break it to you, but GM wanted DESPERATELY for the EV program to make money), but GM did drop the ball.

    That said: Wagoner is not GM. Lutz is not GM. There are dozens of individuals in leadership roles at GM, who are not GM. Those people want the Volt to succeed, and I hope it does …

    … if it doesn’t, I don’t think I’ll get my deposit back!

  • Jo

    I don’t have the inside-GM access I once did, but I can tell you this: Lutz will napalm the RenCenter before the Volt gets cancelled. GM’s top brass is all kinds of Serious on this one, and they will cut jobs, scrap assembly lines, and possibly bomb a third-world country before they let the Volt fail.

    GM didn’t kill the electric car (sorry to break it to you, but GM wanted DESPERATELY for the EV program to make money), but GM did drop the ball.

    That said: Wagoner is not GM. Lutz is not GM. There are dozens of individuals in leadership roles at GM, who are not GM. Those people want the Volt to succeed, and I hope it does …

    … if it doesn’t, I don’t think I’ll get my deposit back!

  • Mark

    When something is your highest priority, you cut something else to get resources for it. GM’s own spin is, therefore, self contradictory.

  • Mark

    When something is your highest priority, you cut something else to get resources for it. GM’s own spin is, therefore, self contradictory.

  • BS

    What a bunch of bitch union BS

  • BS

    What a bunch of bitch union BS

  • Bob

    I agree with Jo that GM’s leaders are as committed to the Volt as they can possibly be given the reality of their current financial situation and their agreement with the Treasury for the bailout money. Doug is clearly uninformed about how the industry and how the UAW relationship works with the Big 3, they are not able to build a non-union plant anywhere, they are hostage, if you will, to the unions. Anyway, new workers only make $14/hour, not $25-$30 under the current contract and that will be renegotiated under the bailout deal.

    Obviously, if GM is not able to meet the terms of the bailout and are forced through bankruptcy, the liklihood of a delay in the Volt is almost unavoidable due to disruptions in supplier contracts, etc.

    I don’t think Mr. Chambers is being fair to say the Volt is the only thing going for GM. They have a large number of excellent new vehicles that were doing very well in the marketplace before the financial crisis hit earlier this fall. Examples include the Malibu, Aura, Vue, CTS, and the Tahoo hybrid. If they can weather this crisis, they have good product to perform well in the marketplace.

    If you really want to see the Volt built, probably the best thing you can do is go purchase a new GM vehicle right now.

  • Bob

    I agree with Jo that GM’s leaders are as committed to the Volt as they can possibly be given the reality of their current financial situation and their agreement with the Treasury for the bailout money. Doug is clearly uninformed about how the industry and how the UAW relationship works with the Big 3, they are not able to build a non-union plant anywhere, they are hostage, if you will, to the unions. Anyway, new workers only make $14/hour, not $25-$30 under the current contract and that will be renegotiated under the bailout deal.

    Obviously, if GM is not able to meet the terms of the bailout and are forced through bankruptcy, the liklihood of a delay in the Volt is almost unavoidable due to disruptions in supplier contracts, etc.

    I don’t think Mr. Chambers is being fair to say the Volt is the only thing going for GM. They have a large number of excellent new vehicles that were doing very well in the marketplace before the financial crisis hit earlier this fall. Examples include the Malibu, Aura, Vue, CTS, and the Tahoo hybrid. If they can weather this crisis, they have good product to perform well in the marketplace.

    If you really want to see the Volt built, probably the best thing you can do is go purchase a new GM vehicle right now.

  • ChuckL

    Did you characters ever stop to think that your negativism could very well be a self fulfilling prophecy?

    GM has the most 30+MPG cars of any manufacturer. GM and Ford have the only full size pickups that gets over 20 MPG.I wish that my compact pickup did as well.

    You just might try a comparison of the UAW legacy wage costs with the current Social Security shortfall. In both cases, we have fewer workers trying to support more retirees.

  • ChuckL

    Did you characters ever stop to think that your negativism could very well be a self fulfilling prophecy?

    GM has the most 30+MPG cars of any manufacturer. GM and Ford have the only full size pickups that gets over 20 MPG.I wish that my compact pickup did as well.

    You just might try a comparison of the UAW legacy wage costs with the current Social Security shortfall. In both cases, we have fewer workers trying to support more retirees.

  • ChuckL

    Did you characters ever stop to think that your negativism could very well be a self fulfilling prophecy?

    GM has the most 30+MPG cars of any manufacturer. GM and Ford have the only full size pickups that gets over 20 MPG.I wish that my compact pickup did as well.

    You just might try a comparison of the UAW legacy wage costs with the current Social Security shortfall. In both cases, we have fewer workers trying to support more retirees.

  • Doug

    @Bob,

    I understand perfectly how the lead balloon that is the UAW works. My comment was not meant to be literal,but feel free to preach about what you think others know. GM will NEVER be a viable company as long as they are forced to abide by their UAW contract. The UAW is to short sighted and greedy to ever rework a feasible deal.

  • Doug

    @Bob,

    I understand perfectly how the lead balloon that is the UAW works. My comment was not meant to be literal,but feel free to preach about what you think others know. GM will NEVER be a viable company as long as they are forced to abide by their UAW contract. The UAW is to short sighted and greedy to ever rework a feasible deal.

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