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Opinion: Volt Signals a New Attitude at GM

Chevrolet’s extended-range EV shows a change in culture for the automaker.

by on Oct.21, 2011

Chevrolet's Volt isn't just a new kind of car. It signals a culture change at General Motors.

Chevrolet’s Volt extended-range electric vehicle is a groundbreaking car, one that introduces an entirely new kind of drivetrain.

But here’s amazing fact: After nine months on the market, the Volt has not had a single recall. In an environment where automakers are quick to recall a vehicle for even the smallest problem, the Volt – with a completely new type of drivetrain – hasn’t had any significant problems.

“To date we haven’t experienced any recalls and the car has continuously exceeded most customers’ expectations,” a GM spokesman said.

A Cultural Phenomenon!

Maybe the most important facet of the Volt’s development is how it shows the internal changes inside GM. There was a time when GM would have rushed a promising new technology to market without taking the time to make sure it worked as intended.

Consider what was going on at General Motors during the Volt’s amazingly public gestation. While GM’s leadership and finance people were shepherding the company through a messy and complicated government-funded bankruptcy, GM’s engineers were figuring out how to turn a promising concept that they didn’t yet have a solution to build into a viable vehicle using parts – particularly the lithium-ion battery – that had not yet been tried on such a large scale.

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