Thursday, March 20, 2008

GM prepared to take loss on Volt

As much as I like to tease the electric car makers, the Chevy Volt is slightly impressive (it just looks so cool). Good luck GM!

Carmaker to stick with plug-in through initial sales; admits mistake in early hybrid strategy.

David Shepardson and Eric Morath / The Detroit News

General Motors Corp. could some day sell more than 500,000 Chevrolet Volts annually worldwide, but the company is preparing to lose money "for years" on the range-extended electric vehicle, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Wednesday.

This car is so cool.

While speaking to a group of Volt fanatics at the New York International Auto Show, Lutz said it was a mistake that GM didn't beat Toyota Motor Corp. to market with hybrid vehicles even though the Detroit automaker had electric vehicle technology dating back to the 1960s.

He said GM won't make that error again, even if it means losing money on initial Volt sales.

"We won't make a dime on this car for years, and the board is OK with that," he said. GM was hesitant to go to market with hybrids a decade ago because he said the automaker was likely to lose $250 million a year selling such vehicles.

Lutz said being late to the market with hybrids has cost GM billions in sales because it lost its image of having superior technology.

GM's initial estimates of 60,000 to 100,000 annual Volt sales could grow five-fold, Lutz said, adding that the car is a "game changer" on par with the Ford Model T.

More than 100 Volt fans accepted GM's invitation to attend the New York show and meet executives.


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