With Chevy Volt production halted until the 154-day supply of inventory gets more manageable, I stopped to think about why it's not resonating with consumers. The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of the '53 Corvette—a great idea lacking in execution and value.
First, is the range on electricity, which is the same as an electric car from 100 years ago. You're lucky if you can go 30 miles. Sure, it has extended range thanks to its gas engine, but this brings me to my next point. This is a four-passenger economy car from GM's entry level division that costs as much as a new Cadillac or a base Corvette. Sure, the $7,500 tax credit brings the price down, but all you're doing is sticking the US taxpayer with another bill—and President Barrack Obama wants to raise the credit to $10,000.
When word came down that the Corvette was going to be killed in '55, Zora Arkus-Duntov, the car's patron saint, said the reason it was unpopular (moved 300 units the first year and 700 in '55) was it didn't embody the traditional Chevy value for the dollar spent. An expensive sports car that had a cumbersome convertible top that leaked, no side windows, a cramped interior, etc., was not worth the price of admission and buyers stayed away.
Same with the Volt. It's a really slick-looking car with a tremendous interior, comfort, etc., However ... A Cruze costs half as much, gets great fuel economy and seats five instead of four. If you only ran the Volt on electric power, it would still take four decades to make up the price differential between it and a Cruze.
Again, where is the value Chevy is known for? I think the car has a bright future, but it has a lot going against it.