At the congressional hearings last week, GM, Chrysler and Ford made it a point to flaunt Detroit’s hybrids and electric cars. Again Ford, who is in the best shape out of the three, shined bright as CEO Alan Mulally drove up to D.C. in a Ford Escape Hybrid and talked up the company’s new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid which the company says gets 6 mpg more in the city than its Japanese rival – the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Chrysler’s Nardelli drove up to the congressional hearings in an Aspen Hybrid, an SUV that the company doesn’t even produce anymore. Wagoner, on the other hand, drove up in a prototype of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt – a plug-in hybrid car that GM says won’t be profitable for at least another decade.
“We’re putting a lot of money into the Chevy Volt, which we’re endeavoring to get into production by 2010,” Wagoner told a congressional committee. “It will not be at that point fully cost competitive.”
In its business plan to Congress, GM said that it is spending almost $750 million to develop the Volt with much of the money going into battery research and development. GM said that the Volt won’t be profitable in its first generation, meaning a return on investment could be out until at least 2016.
But the General argues that it wants to be ahead of the trend this time – not behind it.
2011 Chevrolet Volt: