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November 17, 2010

Chevy Volt Car of the Year

CARS - Motor Trend magazine has named the Chevrolet Volt electric car its "2011 Car of the Year".

As usual Motor Trend is either behind the times or trying desperately to get ahead of the curve. And they miss pretty often based on their track record. Lets look at some of Motor Trend's past "Cars of the Year"...

2010 Ford Fusion - Production of gasoline version the Ford Fusion began in 2005, but it wasn't until 2010 that they came out with a hybrid version. Otherwise there isn't anything special about it.

2009 Nissan GT-R - Its a 485 horsepower supercar made in Japan. It also won Top Gear's "Supercar of the Year"... in 2007! Motor Trend is 2 years too late.

2008 Cadillac CTS - A luxury sedan. Yawn. So bored just saying the name. Next please.

2007 Toyota Camry - The Toyota Camry has been on sale since 1980. The only major change in recent years is they started selling a hybrid version in 2006.

2006 Honda Civic - Another oldie... The Honda Civic was first introduced in July 1972!!! Again the only major change is they introduced a hybrid version.

2005 Chrysler 300 - Ironic because it wasn't even sold in 2005. Although sales in 2006 of this luxury segan (yawn!) were good, sales in recent years have dropped by over 70%.

2004 Toyota Prius - Ah, the original hybrid that started it all. It was the biggest innovation of its time. On sale since 1997 it was first introduced to the American market in 2000, but it took Motor Trends another 4 years to get the drift. Toyota sold over 400,000 Priuses in the last year alone; Over 2 million in the last decade.

2003 Infiniti G35 - ANOTHER luxury sedan. Seriously, Motor Trend just seems to take turns between the latest hybrid and latest luxury sedan which crosses their fancy. Yawnerrific.

2002 Ford Thunderbird - And then just for kicks they toss in the occassional car to make your head spin and wonder if they know what year it is. The Ford Thunderbird has been on sale since 1955. It was taken off the market in 2005 because sales were ridiculously low and the brand had become lame and ugly ever since 1972 (the old Thunderbirds are a thing of beauty, but ever since 1972 they've been ugly as sin).

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser - Its a new car with an ugly design, a crappy engine, poor performance, and a big butt. Some people like the look, but most of us think they're god-awful-ugly-and-slow! (If you want a retro-looking car, get a Plymouth Prowler. At least it looks good... but alas it was taken off the market in 2002.) The good new however is that the PT Cruiser was also discontinued in 2009.

2000 Lincoln LS - Oh look another Luxury Sedan! And oh look it was taken off the market in 2006 due to low sales!

Anywho... back to the Chevy Volt. Motor Trend claims they picked the Volt because it has some of the most advanced engineering ever seen in an American car.

No seriously, that is what they said! Nevermind that they've ignored electric cars entirely until now and only picked up promoting hybrids 4 years after they went on sale. They really should be called Motor Behind the Trend magazine.

Oh and the Chevy Volt comes with a backup gasoline engine... which makes it technically a hybrid. It can go "up to" 50 miles on the electric engine before the gasoline engine kicks in.

At $33,500 (with a federal tax credit) the Chevy Volt is nothing special when compared to other hybrids. The only real difference is that if you can keep yourself under the 50 mile mark and hypermile it you could in theory be driving a car that is 100% electric. But good luck keeping under that mark unless you live really close to work... in which case, why aren't you just walking or cycling? The Volt goes on sale this December.

Automakers often quote Motor Trend awards in advertising... but one must wonder if they just promote whichever company throws the most money at them. Not a bribe per se, just whichever company buys the top spot. Its basically a rag when it comes to car magazines.

But whatever...

In other news General Motors is having its initial public offering of stock on Thursday (tomorrow) and they've already upped the minimum stock price from $29 to almost $33 due to high demand.

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