Planet Gore

Obama Flops

Solyndra. The Fiat 500. Obamacare. All spectacular product failures from an administration that has staked billions on its expertise in picking the future. Add one more. As Pollowitz points out nearby, the Chevy Volt — one reason that the White House deemed GM’s bailout as essential to America — is #3 on Yahoo! Finance’s list of Worst Product Flops of 2011:

3. Volt

Company: General Motors

GM was originally so excited about the Volt that the company had announced in January it was speeding up its roll-out by six months. But by November the excitement had fizzled out. Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director for vehicle electrification told Reuters, “It’s naive to think that the world is going to switch tomorrow to EVs [electric vehicles].” Indeed, sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. Only 125 models were sold in July 2011. This was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be misguided. Adding insult to injury, Chevy Volts are under investigation for fires involving the cars’ lithium-ion batteries. For concerned Volt owners, GM has offered free loaner cars.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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