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CAR of the YEAR



Published: Wed, November 17, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

photo

Wieck

2011 Chevrolet Volt.

By GRACE WYLER

gwyler@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

General Motors’ Chevrolet Cruze is drawing rave reviews, and the automaker has now garnered another prestigious achievement. The Chevrolet Volt, GM’s highly anticipated electric car, has been named Motor Trend magazine’s 2011 Car of the Year.

The announcement comes just weeks before the vehicle is due to hit dealer showrooms.

The coveted industry award was presented Tuesday at a ceremony at GM’s wind tunnel in Warren, Mich. The ceremony was surreal, said Bob Boniface, lead designer for the Volt and a Poland native.

“The Volt was done during very difficult times for GM,” Boniface said. “The fact that we soldiered through the rough patch and got the car out in record time — it shows that we are doing the right thing.”

Motor Trend’s award recognizes the Volt — a battery-powered car with a backup gasoline engine — for its advanced engineering, design and unique approach to fuel efficiency.

The Volt can run up to 50 miles on an electric charge before the backup engine takes over to power the car for up to 300 miles.

The Volt is the “world’s first intelligent hybrid,” magazine editors wrote in their review of the car.

“It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact automobile that offers consumers real benefits in terms of lower running costs,” the review said. “The investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”

The accolades are good news for GM as it prepares for Thursday’s initial stock offering, boosting the Volt’s image as a symbol of the company’s turnaround since its 2009 bankruptcy.

“We learned a lot beyond just the electrification of the automobile,” Boniface said. “Efficient design, efficient engineering, efficient manufacturing — those will carry over to GM’s gasoline-powered vehicles.”

The Motor Trend award is a notable testament to GM’s achievements in the electric-vehicle segment, said James Bell, executive market analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

The Volt can be a “replacement vehicle” for another car because its gasoline-powered backup engine enables the electric vehicle to take lengthy trips, Bell said.

“The Volt could take you anywhere you wanted to go at any time,” Bell said. “That is part of being an American driver, that freedom.”

The car’s advanced engineering accounts for the Volt’s $41,000 price tag, although the cost is expected to come down as GM improves battery technology and powertrain systems. A $7,500 federal tax credit will partly offset the high price, and the Volt remains cheaper than many traditional hybrids now on the market, GM says.

The Volt beat out 20 other finalists for this year’s Motor Trend award, including the Lordstown-built Cruze and luxury cars such as the Audi A8 and the Jaguar XJ. GM last received the award for the Cadillac CTS in 2008.

Motor Trend’s 2011 Car of the Year report will be featured in the January issue of the magazine and can be viewed online at www.motortrend.com.


Comments

1YSUGRAD(134 comments)posted 4 years ago

$41 k, what a deal!!! I will opt for the Prius @ $23k or Insight for under $20k, save a few bucks and know that the car will last. GM did a bang up job this time, is it any surprise that they had to be bailed out?

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years ago

Im really glad that all Americans who dont buy a new car help other Americans who buy this government product. Not only do Americans chip in $7500 per car, but we have helped another corporate giant named GE to the tune of $2,000 for the battery that they designed for the VOLT, not to mention EVEN more tax dollars for the plug in stations that have to be built.

The VOLT will be this Government's version of the Edsel!

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3Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years ago

Dear author 50. To drink water, you must prime the well.

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4piak(508 comments)posted 4 years ago

The above three posts indicate that they didn't buy into the "hype" about the Volt.
Neither do I.

Author50 also brought out a real sore point for me. WE are going to subsidize other people buying one of these "wonder cars"?

I hope the "newbies" coming into the House on Jan 12 take the meat axe to that "earmark" or boondoggle or out right theft of taxpayer money, whatever you see it as.

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5Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years ago

Congrats Bob Boniface!

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6Woody(452 comments)posted 4 years ago

There is only 10,000 that are going to be available. And the demand is supposed to be so huge, why do we need to offer the tax rebate?

George Will says it best:
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content...

Plus does anyone realize what it takes to mine and then refine the nickel used for thise batteries? It is not enviromentally sound.

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7fudputer(46 comments)posted 4 years ago

Ford-150--great mil. great product--or Harley!!!!!!---40 K--come on !!!!!!!

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8iBuck(225 comments)posted 4 years ago

It's an extremely over-priced kludge.

It doesn't work like an efficient diesel-electric locomotive -- having the petroleum engine run at its optimal rate to generate electricity and having the electric motors power the wheels, but exactly the same as all of the other recent "hybrids" -- taking power from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor, which required some heavy-duty baling-wire and duct tape and is more prone to failures.

We had cars with very good RAM characteristics that got 35-40 mpg back in 1982 for less than $10K. If you can't produce a hybrid that gets at least 50mpg and costs the same ($15K to $20K) as a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle of at least the same size and power, go back to the lab and keep trying.

Of course, the federal government and Fed are working hard to make sure you ARE paying $5 or $10 per gallon as soon as they can swing it -- if not by the cap and tax scam, then by devaluing the currency.

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9HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 4 years ago

Well, the taxpayers bailed out this behemoth and won't be paid back for many years. Their are 500,000 retirees and only 80,000 employees. That means GM has an almost 30 billion dollar pension obligation and not enough workers to fund it. The Chinese company SAIC will be part owner. I wonder how that sits with the average GM worker who always promoted buying American and doesn't realize that GM's future is reliant on the Chinese market to survive. Should have just let them go under instead of allowing a prepackaged bankruptcy that circumvented bankruptcy laws and the Constitution. That would have been better for Ford, Chrysler/Fiat, and others. Chances are good that the union workers will see GM profits as theirs to plunder and force GM under at some future date.

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10Silence_Dogood(1374 comments)posted 4 years ago

HEY BIRDBRAIN, WHEN IT IS THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER THAT IS HAVING TO COVER THE COST OF $7,500.00 FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE OVERPRICED GOVERNMENT MOTORS BOONDOGLE WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BITCH.

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11RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 4 years ago

Hate hate hate hate hate. I don't know where Mr. Boniface lives but why would he ever return to hang around a bunch of haters like you.

Have you fools ever heard of progress? Cars don't just magically appear and get 100 mpg and cost $10,000 grand, they have to start somewhere.

You cavemen will only be happy when the only cars available are Model T's made in China. Losers.

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12YSUGRAD(134 comments)posted 4 years ago

GM wont get another penny from me, 40k for this cavalier/cobalt/malibu looking thing, CHILD PLEAZZZZZ!!!

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13RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 4 years ago

censor I mentioned the Model T and you are lying. It did not get 25mpg.....it was closer to the 13-15 range.

Way to provide links to your other sources and then just bullsh*t the rest.

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