General Motors announced last week that Chevrolet Volt production is being shut down for five weeks to balance dealer inventories of unsold cars. Production suspension prompted Fox News political commentators Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly to say it was due to reduced demand because the electric car may “catch fire.” Former General Motors adviser and car guy Bob Lutz decided it was time to fire back yet again.
Last month, Lutz predicted that Volt production would slow because of reduced demand due to the influence of right-wing “talking heads” who deliberately misinterpreted NHTSA crash test results. Lutz also asked, “Where is the outrage over the fact that roughly 178,000 conventional gasoline-powered vehicles are subject to either partial or total incineration each year?”
In his response, Lutz also reiterated some facts he said the political commentators “spin” for their own agenda – including the claim that the Volt is “the poster child of President Obama’s socialist meddling in the free automotive market.” Here is what Lutz had to say:
- The Volt was largely my idea, and I was its undeniable champion. Work on it was started in 2006. Obama was elected in 2008.
- No Volt in service has ever shown as much as a wisp of smoke. Not in normal service, and not in crashes. The three Volt battery fires all occurred under extremely destructive experimental conditions. Two of the fires were induced in batteries not mounted in cars.
- Those who know me will vouch for my credentials as a conservative and vocal global warming skeptic. I spent 11 years as a Marine attack aviator trained and ready to take out Communists during the Cold War.
Lutz also pointed out how the political commentators asserted that it was a shame that the Opel Ampera (the European market Chevrolet Volt) won the European Car of the Year award. The winner is selected by 59 of Europe’s top auto journalists. Lutz says the win should be “a source of national pride” because the Ampera is the first American-engineered and produced car to win European Car of the Year.