Monday, April 9, 2012

The Volt And Fox News

Every once in a while the press pursues an agenda that facts just don’t support.  This time Fox News is being irrational.  They have engaged in an extended campaign against the Chevrolet Volt believing the car has been an instrument of the Obama administration’s green agenda.   Fox’s intention is to persuade the public against the DOE’s loan subsidy program.   

The campaign has taken the form of pouncing on every story that can impact the public’s perception of the Volt.  Any negative Volt news has been given prime spots on Fox News shows without presenting known facts that would balance the stories.  There was a Volt fire that the NHTSA eventually cleared that was a major source of Fox negative comments.  Despite the fact that recalls are not uncommon for newly released models, Fox covered a recall of the electrical cords that connect the car to the owners‘ outlets.  Fox News claimed that it cost GM $81,000 of subsidy per copy to produce it without presenting the math.  A one month production halt begun in late March due to oversupply has received more attention from Fox than other news outlets despite the fact that such suspensions are not uncommon.  Suspensions are a result of poor management planning that has nothing to do with the integrity of the car.

The Volt is a great car.  It has excellent handling and acceleration.  Its fit, finish, and materials are better than a Cadillac.  Its MPG surpasses any other regular hybrid by far.  If people would drive it, they would be impressed.  Fox’s Neil Cavuto drove it and did not even understand that the Volt was electric-gas plug-in hybrid.

But the real story of the Volt is in its development.  Before GM’s bankruptcy, Bob Lutz, then GM Executive Vice Chairman, was impressed that a little startup called Tesla could develop its electric roadster.  He asked why GM could not do the same or even better.  With that, he began development of the Volt.  When bankruptcy came, the project was well on its way towards production.  It was based on the same platform as the Cruze, a very necessary car to GM’s successful post-bankruptcy performance.   The idea that the Volt was a government-developed product does not match the facts.

Bob Lutz agrees as well as journalists, Volt owners, and perhaps even Fox News itself.  When it comes to Fox News and the Volt, fair and balanced was missing.