These are challenging times to say the very least for General Motors.
Toyota just tipped GM out of its spot as world's largest automaker. At its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, GM had to celebrate that it "only" lost $2 billion dollars last year. In Washington today, its CEO is begging Congress not to ask too-much-better gas mileage from its cars.
But there is one car GM is dying to talk about: its "coming-soon" electric plug-in, and maybe its savior — the Chevy Volt.
This hour On Point: GM's vice chairman on the Volt, and General Motor's race to survive and thrive in a green century.
Quotes from the Show:
"We don't know how big this can be yet but it is a breakthrough car [The Chevy Volt] because it's not a plug-in hybrid. This vehicle is an electric vehicle. It's driven electrically; it has a small gasoline engine that can be used like an emergency generator set if you run your batteries down to generate more electricity. We're shooting for an all electric range of 40 miles including freeway driving at 70 miles an hour. This thing will have a top speed of 100 miles an hour so it will be a fully functional automobile." Robert "Bob" Lutz
"The reality of the marketplace is that we're living persistently with high gasoline prices in this country which is gonna drive a real change in consumer demand away from gasoline cars and toward fuel efficient vehicles." Roland Hwang
"The Volt or any single technology is not gonna be the savior of any company. It's gonna take across the board increases in fuel economy and reductions in global warming pollution from everyone or their vehicles ...." Roland Hwang
Dave Shepardson, Washington Correspondent, The Detroit News
Robert "Bob" Lutz, Vice Chairman of Product Development for GM and father of the Dodge Viper.
Roland Hwang, vehicles policy director, Natural Resources Defense Council
This program aired on June 6, 2007.