General Motors had a good Tuesday: As it emerges from bankruptcy, demand for its big IPO on Thursday is so high that the company upped the price and amount of stock issued, meaning the U.S. government will be a smaller (and richer) minority shareholder by week's end. And the icon of the "new GM," its electric-hybrid Chevrolet Volt, was named Motor Trend's prestigious "Car of the Year." In fact, all the "sound and fury" and "political baggage" from the government's controversial auto-industry bailout "has tended to obscure a simple truth," says Motor Trend: The Volt "is a game-changer." Has it already saved GM? (Watch a local reporty about the Volt's introduction)
The eco-smart Volt signals a new beginning: "The Chevy Volt is a key part of GM's effort to convince investors the company has undergone a profound makeover," says Jim Jelter in MarketWatch. The Volt shows that the company is no longer stubbornly insisting on making the "gas hogs" that drove it into bankruptcy, and investors — and big fleet buyers like GE, which ordered 12,000 Volts last week — are clearly willing to buy into GM's "fresh start."
"GE jump-starts GM's Volt"
The Volt isn't enough: "If GM wants to get my money," says Clemens Kownatzki in Seeking Alpha, it has to start churning out "well-engineered, sharp-looking, and reliable cars that drive exceptionally well" — the automotive equivalent of "say, an iPhone." Is the Volt "a step in the right direction"? Yes, but "it may be too little too late" because GM also continues to build lots of "heavy, bulky looking cars that use too much gasoline."
"Why we're sitting out this GM IPO"
Car buyers will decide: "Critical acclaim does not necessarily translate into sales," says the Detroit Free Press in an editorial. For now, "many forecasters remain skeptical" that electric cars will catch on quickly. And among potential buyers, the Volt will also face competition from Nissan's plug-in hybrid Leaf. The auto industry may be driving toward a future full of electric vehicles, but the question is "how fast it will get there."
"Honors, and a hopefully long drive ahead, for Chevy Volt"