Burn the witch!
Today, General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson went before the U.S. House Subcomittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Spending to answer committee members’ concerns on the automaker’s Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric vehicle. Specifically, the committee wanted to know more about the EV’s battery fires, whose investigation was recently and formally closed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Akerson lauded GM’s handling of the issue by covering the Volt’s history; awards by independent automotive sources like Motor Trend; safety accolades by the NHTSA and the non-profit, private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; and satisfaction figures from Volt owners. He then pointed out how the GOP-led committee had turned the Volt into a “political punching bag” against the current administration’s goal for millions of EVs to hit America’s roads by 2015. Akerson then summarized GM’s handling of the battery fire issue from contacting all Volt owners, offering loaner vehicle and buyback options, and—finally—the company’s “enhancement” plans to shield the Volt’s batteries.
Concluded Akerson: “The Volt is safe. It’s a marvelous machine. It represents so much of what is right about General Motors and, frankly, about American ingenuity and manufacturing.”
Automotive.com’s take: Taxpayers had to pay how much for this dog and pony show? The Chevrolet Volt battery fire investigation, like Toyota’s “sudden acceleration” issue back in 2010, was one of the most watched stories in the autosphere. The truth of it is that the fires—which happened weeks after crash tests where proper post-crash procedures weren’t followed—were unusual in the extreme. “As one customer put it, if they couldn’t cut him out of the vehicle in three weeks, he’d have bigger problems to worry about,” Akerson said. You can imagine the scrutiny in this day and age where news is 24/7 and coming from official—and unofficial—sources from around the world. Any hint of impropriety during the NHTSA’s investigation of the Volt’s batteries would have been spotted and spread like wildfire online. With the exception of a few right-leaning publications, that simply didn’t happen.
What do you think of the government’s handling of the NHTSA and General Motors? Agree? Disagree? Or you need more information? Let us know in the comments below.