As the Obama Administration descends into a kind of extended performance-art parody of gross ineptitude, we get news of “green job” operations going bankrupt almost every day. Today’s news is special, because it involves everyone’s favorite Obamamobile, the Chevy Volt. It looks as if that storied boondoggle is ceasing production for five weeks, and 1,300 General Motors employees will be temporarily laid off as a result. From the Detroit Free Press:
“Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand,” said GM spokesman Chris Lee.
Lee said employees were told Thursday that production would put on hold from March 19 to April 23.
The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric car, is both a political lightning rod and a symbol of the company’s technological capability.
Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volts in the U.S. in February and has sold 1,626 so far this year.
In 2011, Chevrolet sold 7,671 Volts, but fell short of its initial goal of 10,000.
GM had planned to expand production of its Volt plug-in hybrid to 60,000 this year, with 45,000 earmarked for the U.S.
The Volt is a fantastically expensive electric toy, purchased primarily (according to GM’s own figures) by people with six-figure incomes. The true per-unit cost of the tiny vehicle is north of $250,000, but compulsory taxpayer subsidies leave those high-rolling trendy buyers paying only $39,000 apiece. Somehow GM thought it could increase sales by 700 percent over last year, but now feels obliged to “align our production with demand.”
That’s a darn shame, since President Obama claimed recently that he would personally buy a Chevy Volt upon leaving office. As the New York Times reported:
At a conference in Washington, Mr. Obama told representatives of the United Automobile Workers that he would buy a Chevrolet Volt in five years, after fulfilling a potential second term as president.
Referring to his visit in 2010 to the General Motors factory in Hamtramck, Mich., where the plug-in hybrid is built, Mr. Obama quipped that although he had sat in a Volt “fresh off the line,” the Secret Service had prevented him from driving it.
“But I liked sitting in it,” he said to laughter from conference attendees. “It was nice. I’ll bet it drives real good. And five years from now when I’m not president anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.”
The union audience reportedly offered lusty applause in response. It’s remotely possible some of them actually think Barack Obama will one day stuff his regal wife into a tiny electric car and drive it somewhere other than the next hole on an exclusive golf course. Hey, there are people willing to believe Georgetown law school students need $1000 per year in birth control supplies, and cannot afford to pay for it themselves.