Like Rush Limbaugh, auto industry observer Edward Niedermeyer can't think of too many reasons to plunk down $41,000 on a Chevy Volt. Among his complaints: It's too expensive, it has the interior room of a cheap economy car, the business model is lousy—GM could have sold it a loss initially, as Toyota did with the Prius—the leasing deal doesn't make sense, and GM has quietly scaled back first-year production to 10,000 units because of its shortcomings.
"In the end, making the bailout work—whatever the cost—is the only good reason for buying a Volt," Niedermeyer writes in the New York Times. "The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well. If GM were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of cross-branding that will make the Volt a runaway success."