Posted by Dale Buss on January 20, 2012 06:28 PM
U.S. safety regulators today said they've concluded their investigation of fires in the Chevrolet Volt, and their conclusion was worthy of Roseanne Rosanneadanna: "Never mind."
After an eight-week inquiry which saw GM's crucial plug-in hybrid take a big hit to its reputation as a technological marvel, and presumably depressed sales, the federal vehicle-safety agency said that Volt's battery, after all, doesn't pose a significant fire risk following a crash. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, neither Volts nor "other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles."
That's what General Motors had been saying all along, but given the crucial importance of Volt to the future of electrified transportation, the automaker bent over backwards to accommodate Volt owners and any concerns. They offered to swap Volts temporarily for other GM cars — even Corvettes. And GM initiated a technical fix that will make Volt even safer in the unlikely set of circumstances, after a government testing crash, that surrounded the initial fire reports.
Now, GM can get back to fanning consumer interest in Volt once again as it hopes to catch up production and sales with somewhat lofty expectations that still haven't been met. Volt could even show up in an ad in the Super Bowl on February 5th as it did in happier times for the nameplate (last year), according to GM's U.S. CMO, Chris Perry. "Volt has been safe and has always been safe; that's a non-issue now," Perry told brandchannel.
"We produced Super Bowl ads for the Volt, but do they make it into the Super Bowl, and if so, does the ad actually make it into theme broadcast?" he said. "That's what we've been talking about today."