Monday, October 19, 2009

Cruzing for Bruising?

Will the Chevy Cruze and Volt save G.M. and, by extension, help Flint? Reader Shawn Chittle doesn't think so:

"Nissan's Leaf gets 367MPG and will be out about the same time as the Cruze and Volt, which gets 230MPG.

"As you know, yuppies and hippies don't buy Chevrolet cars. And few people I know have $45,000 sitting around for a new car anyway.

"These will be the most colossal duds ever — perhaps bigger than the Edsel — and just more ammunition for GM to close its last door on Flint for good."


  1. I hope he's wrong but if a car can get 367 MPG, I don't care who makes it I'll buy it.

  2. The price tag will kill it...not many common folks ready to plunk down or even go in debt for forty plus thousand at this juncture in/of the economy. Good competition and realistic price tags will prevail. I believe...and they don't even have to be pretty. unclebuck

  3. Yeah, if an economy car isn't affordable, isn't that the opposite of what it was created for?

    When an electric car costs under $20K, I'll be interested, otherwise I'm burning the fuel.

  4. It's obvious you've done extensive market research on this project. Anyone who can pin the success or failure of a product based on what hippies and yuppies will do, must really know what they are spewing about.
    The fact that you don't know anyone with $45K is also very relevant to what a world wide company will do. Get some new friends.

  5. Other technological developments that:

    1. Started out "too expensive" for most consumers, and of interest only to "early adopters" and technology aficianados.
    2. Had their development costs and early-generation technology improvements paid for by the early high prices.
    3. Gradually worked their way into broad distribution and general acceptance as pricing ramped down:

    Cordless telephones
    Color televisions
    Projection televisions
    CD players
    DVD players
    Small business computers
    Personal computers
    Laptop computers
    Train travel
    Steamship travel
    Airplane travel
    Gasoline powered automobiles

  6. The Yuppies and Hippies wouldn't drive an American car if it was given to them. I know because I raised some of them. They haven't a clue what quality means other than to say the foriegn companies have it and American companies don't. Don't bother them with facts; they have an image to uphold. Looking at the Volt concept car; I wonder how many Yuppies will be eating their hearts out that they can't buy one without compromising their values. We will get thru this and our American cars will surge back. I just don't know which decade we are talking about.

  7. Also...isn't the Cruze, with conventional technology and rated at about 45 highway MPG, expected to have a base price of ~ $15,000?

    The premise of the quote, and even the clever title, are somewhat broken.

  8. uh, I drive an American car... because it was affordable. Guess I'm not a hippie or a yuppie... whoopee! :)

  9. I think your long list could go on and on JWiley. A lot of the price reduction resulted from patent endings also. A good example right now is,digital TVs. The price was way up in the thousands early on, but now in the hundreds. Visio is setting trend right now. The parts and engineering designs are being jobbed out along with employee layoffs in those areas. Patience is virtue...unclebuck

  10. Thanks for posting Gordon! Sources I used for my facts:

    230 vs. 367 MPG


  11. To get everyone on the same page:

    The Volt is expected to have a list price of ~$45,000, with plug-in technology, a 40 mile range on battery only, and an onboard generator so that it can operate without plug-in recharging.

    The Cruze is expected to have a list price of ~$15,000, with conventional turbocharged-gasoline-engine technology and a ~45MPG highway mileage rating.

    The two vehicles will share many body and suspension parts, but will have completely different propulsion systems. The Volt's interior may also be substantially more upscale, in reflection of its greater cost.

  12. Putting aside the relative price-benefit merits of the cars themselves, if Flint is waiting for GM to save it, the citizens there will prove they've learned nothing from the past 40 years.

    And that's criminal.

    GM owes Flint big-time, but it's a debt that will never be paid.

  13. "GM owes Flint big-time"

    What do they owe us?

    80,000 high-paid blue collar jobs-for-life?

  14. For at least a few years, battery-only vehicles like the Leaf will be an impractical choice for many car buyers. Across most of the country, people occasionally want to use their car for a long trip. I doubt if they will want to either be limited to just the few routes where Nissan has paid for special quick-charging stations, or make a regular-plug-in recharging stop of four to eight hours every hundred miles. (And even the latter requires a special 220V electrical outlet.)

    Vehicles like the Volt, on the other hand, have a generator on board. They will have the same emissions level (i.e. zero) as the Leaf during a typical daily commute, but if the owner wants to take off on the weekend and drive 200 miles to Aunt Esmerelda's cottage in the north woods, no problem. And when you get there, it'll be possible to recharge overnight from a conventional electrical outlet.

    On other fronts...the Cruze has been introduced so far in China and Australia, and just ten days ago in India...all at local mass-market prices. It'll be the most "world" of any car GM has introduced yet.

  15. One model is not going to save GM


  16. One or even two cars aren't going to "save" GM, but they are a step in the right direction.

    what's annoying is that the poster didn't research his facts very well re: range extending engine, government rebate which will bring the price below $40k. which is still pricey for a car in that class but is reportedly the same price as the Leaf.

    to compare the Volt to the Edsel is ridiculous and inflammatory. the Edsel's failure was based on it's less than desirable styling. the Volt has the opportunity to hit the market right when gas is back up to $4/gallon.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at