Chevrolet Volt Production Increase PHOTOS: John F. Martin for Chevrolet

It's too late

GM’s new business plan is much the same old song set to eco-friendly music

By Jennifer Hadley 08/05/2010

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I’m becoming ever more suspicious of corporations.  It all started back in the heyday of the mortgage boom, when I watched my friends make money hand over fist selling bogus mortgages to people who would never, ever be able to pay them off.  
Then all the banks owned up to the fact that they were essentially broke. To be sure, they were only minimally apologetic about the fact that thousands of us watched our futures go up in smoke at their hands.  
Then Detroit’s Big Three kept lying to us over and over, and that more or less sealed the deal. Call me crazy, but this collective seismic economic activity was enough to send me, a traditionally non-conspiracy leaning hack, into a mode of utter cynicism and skepticism. 
So, yes, I’m a little jaded. And that exhaustion and distrust just keeps growing as I read the headlines coming out of Detroit. Take last week for example. President Obama paid a visit to GM, where the now-disgraced automaker is hard at work on producing the highly anticipated Chevy Volt. There was an announcement that the company plans to increase production of the Volt by 50 percent come 2012. Instead of the original 30,000 cars it planned to produce and sell, they will now produce 45,000. 
A sound not unlike a monthly test of the Emergency Broadcasting System goes off inside me,  because deep down I think this is nothing more than a ploy by GM’s CEO to get the company back to public status by year’s end. And then I start to wonder if CNN has a huge stake in the company’s success, as they announced this non-news with aplomb.
Seeing that GM has yet to sell a Volt, I guess I think it’s just a little premature for such an announcement. Although the decision to up production is supposedly driven by consumer interest, I view it as an insult, as in they think I’m so stupid that they can pull this thinly veiled PR tactic and I won’t call their bluff.
The cars are not on the market yet.  We don’t know if the accelerator works properly or safely.  (You’re welcome, Toyota). And if I’m looking for reassurance in the fact that I could drive my $41,000 Volt to Long Beach without emissions, the car’s Web site does nothing to make me think I’m really doing my part.
Yes, technically you can drive the car 40 miles on pure electricity, just as long as you’re not using the air conditioner. Or as long as it’s not hot outside. Or I’m not toting anything heavy. Radical, Chevrolet. The Nissan Leaf is offering the same thing. But they are offering me 100 miles without using gas. And they are doing it for less money.  
Granted, the Leaf doesn’t have a backup plan for when it runs out of juice. But I appreciate the fact that they own up to this.
Chevy, on the other hand, has a backup plan, and that is to use gas. 
So, GM, once again I call BS. This announcement is a bunch of hooey, and even if I still had any money I wouldn’t buy your stock. That’s because I just don’t support your behind-the-curve business plan. I don’t buy into ideas that at their root are just reinventing the wheel. As Americans, we’re supposed to be industrious. So with all due respect, please step up to the plate and sell me something I don’t know. I’m not buying this load of crap. And I’m not buying your Volt, either. 

Contact Jennifer Hadley at


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