Sunday, December 02, 2007
Is GM comming back after Toyota beatdown ??
Is GM coming back after Toyota beat down, taking over the majority market share in automobile sales in the US?? Well it looks like GM feels the VOLT is the answer. General Motors is developing a plug-in hybrid technology for its Chevy Volt that is miles ahead of Toyota and Honda. GM plans to blow past the competition with its new technology by 2010. GM has been unleashing the best vehicles it has ever produced. Quality is better than ever. Designs are being lauded. And critics are falling over themselves praising new versions of such previously dullard drives as the Chevy Malibu. Even a Buick,the Enclave SUV (BusinessWeek.com, 8/24/07), is drawing kudos, and GM can't make them fast enough to meet demand. But overall, GM sales are down almost 6% this year, compared with a drop of 2.5% for the industry through the first 10 months of the year. Indeed, some believe the "wow" factor of getting more than 100 mpg could help plug-ins eclipse the popularity of hybrids. GM says the Volt technology will allow consumers to go up to 40 miles on battery power, after which the gas engine kicks on to recharge the battery while the driver continues. If a driver makes several short trips on battery power, the battery can simply be plugged in overnight to recharge. Many drivers could go weeks without gassing up. GM engineers say the Volt and electric car program have "an open purse," meaning that when they need more money, they get it. A123 Systems Chief Executive David Vieau says GM's schedule for 2010 is "a risk" as far as using the nano-phosphate battery, but he believes they'll make it.When Toyota launched its first hybrids, it lost money for a few years on each one until the cost of the technology came down as sales volume went up. But the halo effect of the hybrid more than made up for it. The same internal study at GM that indicates consumers see the automaker as "part of the problem" also showed that the image of the Prius led car buyers to believe that Toyota's trucks and SUVs were about 25% more fuel efficient than they really are. Says GM's Burns: "We didn't understand the marketing benefit to the whole company that a hybrid would have, but Toyota schooled us on that." resource: www.businessweek.com