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GM using Volt to help land bailout

Nov. 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- General Motors Corp. is using its new Chevrolet Volt hybrid car as one of its main selling points in trying to land a federal bailout, industry observers say.

With a skeptical U.S. Congress delaying action on a possible $25 billion injection of taxpayer cash into the struggling "Big Three" Detroit automakers, GM is using its plans for the Volt to show it is committed to building the kind of green technology cars being demanded by Congressional leaders, The New York Times reported Saturday.

GM ran newspaper ads as its chief executive testified before Congress this week touting the plug-in gas-electric hybrid, which is set to be delivered in 2010. But some doubt the Volt alone will be enough to change the minds of skeptics.

"If you're the affluent individual who wants to make a statement, it's one thing," Ron Pinelli, president of MotorIntelligence.com, an industry analysis firm, told the Times. "If you're Joe the Commuter, you're not going to spend $40,000 on an electric car. It's insane."

"I do worry GM is doing it more out of image building than a focus on developing products," added David Friedman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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