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The point is the first sentence. I'll repost it for you. As seems often to be the case, some of Mr. Ransom's assertions don't appear to track very well with facts.
ericynot1, I don't think much of anything can be concluded wrt your second point. VW was going to say something to that effect regardless of what their intentions might be.
As seems often to be the case, some of Mr. Ransom's assertions don't appear to track very well with facts. Mr. Ransom writes: "In the $95 billion GM bankruptcy, $50 billion of it was benefit liabilities to UAW workers." I don't know where these numbers come from (Mr. Ransom doesn't supply references), nor what this statement is supposed to mean. In their filing GM listed $172B in debt and $82B in assets. $20.6B was listed to the UAW. As part of the bailout the UAW realized less than this obligation, however, many bailout critics argue that they received a disproportionately high percentage compared to other creditors. Later Mr. Ransom writes: "Labor costs, including benefits, put current per-hour employee cost for U.S. automakers [at] around 50 percent higher than the costs for their foreign counterparts" Here he does reference an article from NPR but it is from 2008. Not really consistent with what most people call "current". A lot has changed with respect to these costs, beginning even before the bailout. For instance, the large UAW debt was actually part of that, where in 2007 or 2008 GM negotiated to seed a UAW retiree medical fund in order to remove that ongoing obligation from their books and put it in the hands of the UAW. At any due to several factors, "currently" the hourly costs for the big 3 are right at the top end of the international automakers, so the average of the big 3 is probably 6% to 8% higher than the average for the international makers.
Preliminary data of requested and approved rates seems to indicate rates for bronze and silver plans will be lower on average in most states than their 2013 equivalents. This makes sense. This is a huge new market the government has opened up to the insurance industry. The land grab is on. Insurance companies can either compete or be left behind. The first objective in any new market is to grab as much market share as possible. So there will be very aggressive pricing as companies fight to capture as much market as they can early on. In a couple of years, after things have shaken out, the winners will start to raise prices as they work to turn that market share they have captured into increased profits.
"spontaneously combust" ... I guess Mr. Ransom is referring to the Volt fire that occurred several weeks after the safety test crash. It called to mind a woman who was trapped in her car in a crash on the off ramp near our office. Within 15 minutes, the car caught fire and she was tragically killed. If that had been a Volt she would have been trapped in there for 3 weeks before perishing. As to the battery pack lasting 8 years ... I'm not sure where that comes from. The warranty is for 8 years. I haven't seen anything to indicate the average pack won't outlast the warranty. That's the way warranties work. The vast majority of the units have to outlast the warranty. But lets do a "what if" and look ahead 10 years or so. If you were looking at buying a 10 year old Volt for say maybe $5,000, and say the battery pack could only handle 18 miles of range at that point. Would you put a new pack in? Of course not. The pricing in the secondary and tertiary market is going to be based around not replacing that pack. If there is enough of a market to drive a battery pack reconditioning industry to where you could get a replacement for say $1000 that might change things somewhat.
I'm sure GM was relieved to see that Volt sales responded to the sales incentives. Long term of course I'm sure they want it to be a profitable vehicle on its own. It looks to me like they have to be able to offer a base vehicle in the $28K range. As complex as the Volt is, that seems like a real reach. I think they made a big mistake offering this vehicle as a Chevy instead of a Cadillac to start with. They said they did that because Chevy is their international brand, but most of the Volts they're selling internationally are not under the Chevy brand anyway. Short term, because of CAFE requirements, selling the Volt at a loss may still be the most profitable option.
The author says ... "the Chevy Volt- the car on which the company says it pinned all its hopes and dreams". I couldn't find any attribution this grandiose from GM. What I do have is GM's stated goal of having 500,000 world wide sales of battery tech vehicles of all types including PHEVS, HEVs and LHEVs by 2018. My guesstimate is this will be around 4.5% of their sales by that point. This would be a small but not insignificant component of their overall sales, of which plug-ins would probably be the smallest. For comparison, Toyota currently attributes 15% of their sales to hybrid vehicles.
The author quotes greencarreports.com "China and Europe together accounted for only 111 Volts.” But then the article goes on to say: "In Europe, customers purchased 5,293 Amperas" I'm not sure why the author neglected to mention this .... This is the first year of sales in most of those markets so it will be interesting to see how sales develops in places where gas is as much as $8/gallon.
I think they've sold closer to 3.5 million Prii to this point and around 4.7 million hybrids overall. Hybrids are now accounting for 15% of their worldwide sales.
Roy Apparently you completely miss the point. You wouldn't buy a plug-in for that sort of driving. For the same reason a soccer mom who has to haul 4 kids around wouldn't buy a Corvette. These types of vehicles have there own specific market. The typical buyer is upper middle class (some say rich but that's an exaggeration). Its a couple or a family. They're going to have at least on and probably 2 other vehicles in the household. Fletch hits the nail on the head. Two big factors why other companies are getting into the US market for these vehicles are the government tax credits make them more attractive to buyers and buy selling more of them, they can also sell more lower mileage models and still meet their CAFE targets.
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