A lot is riding on GM’s Volt. While General Motors is now a sleeker, streamlined version of itself, devoid of a lot of dead weight, the automotive heavyweight still has a lot to prove to the average consumer. The General was not long ago known for its gas guzzling SUVs; now it is trying to remake its image as something more well-rounded. While Chevy has performance on lockdown with the Camaro and Corvette, the Volt is the all important Ying to the performance Yang.
So when Ed Whitacre took over as GM’s CEO, he thought it important to get the Volt on the road and in the hands of consumers as soon as possible. But rushing a car this important is never a good thing, especially a car this important.
GM has already had several missteps with the Volt, such as the 230 MPG claim that was quickly shot down. Then there were the Chevy Volt dancers. They are anxious to change opinions on their company, and I understand why. But rushing the Volt out of the gate before its ready could kill the car’s reputation before it even makes it into the hands of the consumers. Right now the planned release date is November of this year. Whitacre wanted to get just a few of those Volts on the road early, to give some lucky consumers a chance to test the car out and (hopefully) sing its praises.
But this is not a simple car. The Detroit Free Press reported that engineers are afraid any Volts sold ahead of time might not get the needed tweaks and fixes common on a first-generation car. Imagine if Chevy sent a Volt to a respected car reviewer, only to have that car break in the middle of testing? While one bad review won’t sink the Volt, several bad reviews could. And while GM may be working on a bunch of rear-wheel drive hybrids, the Volt is in many ways a halo car for their new image. It needs to succeed.
Luckily, Whitacre and other executives seem to realize this. Instead of pushing for an early rollout, GM now considers November early enough.
Get it right the first time guys. You might not get (another) second chance.
Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: GM