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Jalopnik: Audi President Thinks Chevy Volt Buyers Are "Idiots" [Auto Brand Slap Fight]

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500x_TDI.jpg"Nobody will pay a $15,000 premium for a car competing with a Corolla," said Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen. "There are not enough idiots who will buy it." Really? Put your money where your mouth is, Johan.

De Nysschen was speaking to MSN Autos about his frustration things were swinging in the favor of gasoline/electric hybrids over clean diesel technology. He believes consumers have been "hoodwinked" into thinking hybrids are the only answer to eco-friendly cars.

He described the Chevy Volt as "A car for idiots," before adding sarcastically, "They're for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are."

De Nysscen argues that clean diesel could have an immediate impact on national carbon emissions and the overall amount of fuel used, where, in contrast, Hybrids and electrics won't have a demonstrable impact on either for many years to come.

So, Mr. de Nysschen, why can't American consumers buy an A4 with a turbo-diesel and a manual transmission? [via MSN]

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I can't say I blame him. Would anyone here praise a $35,000 Corolla, even if it had the Volts engine technology?

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He's right and wrong all at once.

Right about the impact of what we generally know as "hybrids".

Wrong about the Volt, which harbors serious long-term potential.

And right again about the benefits of diesel.

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He's right and wrong all at once.

Right about the impact of what we generally know as "hybrids".

Wrong about the Volt, which harbors serious long-term potential.

And right again about the benefits of diesel.

Excellent points. I feel that in order for something like the volt to be truly successful, America needs to figure out a way to have a CHEAP and abundant power supply that doesn't pollute as much as coal, gas, and oil.

Nuclear!

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Somebody isn't familiar with the Toyota Prius.

I do agree that clean diesel would be a better option for now, but if people don't build cars like the Volt and get things off the ground, then an electric future will only continue to be postponed. His 'elite' comment is also a little weird to me, because I figured there's plenty of Audi owners that consider themselves part of that 'intellectual elite' .

Finally, smartass here should offer a more complete line of diesel vehicles in North America before opening his trap.

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I can't say I blame him. Would anyone here praise a $35,000 Corolla, even if it had the Volts engine technology?

Well, he certainly sounds like an idiot himself with the way he comes across in that article......but I think he does have an underlying point.....

At $35K - $40K......Volt IS going to be an extremely tough sell. There are just too many compromises...as promising and innovative as the technology is however.....

The Volt will have styling and innovation in it's favor, in my opinion......however, people that can afford a Prius or Insight most likely won't be able to stretch to a Volt.....and people that can afford a $35K-$40K car......will be shopping a ton of appealing stuff in that price range.

There will be the ones that will be able to, and will buy it strictly on it's innovation and "green" image....but I truly see it as a niche......at this time.....

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Wrong about the Volt, which harbors serious long-term potential.

Long term as in 30, 50, 100 years from now.

I'm skeptical that battery technology is going to get cheaper, lighter, capacious and longevious enough in the near future to make the Volt a huge win.

I worry that if the technology is not up to par, the backlash from a $35K Corolla that people can't reliably drive efficiently will be nasty and could turn off the public to electric cars... and newer battery power levels are creeping toward munitions levels (hence the exploding iPods and iPhones), so safety factors into the equation, as well... after all, safety perceptions are one of the reasons that keeps the hydrogen powered car off the road.

The initial Volt buyers will need to be brave and/or ignorant, so I agree with Mr. Audi, until I see better batteries.

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Volt will be niche by default - as you say for a time.

They won't be able to build more than a few at first.

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Volt will be niche by default - as you say for a time.

They won't be able to build more than a few at first.

Well, I'm not sure of what their initial sales forecasts are......or what they will actually be able to sell....but perhaps they should have considered a roll-out strategy similar to what Honda is doing with the Clarity?

Launch the Volt with a very closely controlled launch......to selected individuals that have shown interest in the vehicle.....let the concept gain a foothold in that way before they just start "dumping" them at Chevrolet dealerships.....

:scratchchin:

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The thing about the Volt is that with any new technology, it will always be expensive right from the first get-go. There will be early adopters, and as time goes on, economies of scale will begin to kick in as the implementation becomes more efficient and widespread.

It's what happened for the Prius, it's what happened for the plasma television, and perhaps the most glowing example is the personal computer. The Volt is perhaps the 8086 CPU in the scheme of things.

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Well, he certainly sounds like an idiot himself with the way he comes across in that article......but I think he does have an underlying point.....

Maybe so, but it sounds exactly like something Lutz would have said about the Prius when it first came out.

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He is pretty much right. The Volt isn't priced yet, what if it is $45,000? One could buy a Cruze which will offer about the same amenities and performance and have $25,000 left to spend on gasoline. Even with the tax credit, it is going to be a tough sell to get people to spend that much on a Chevy compact.

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"They're for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are."

The same can be said for a significant portion of Audi buyers. A3 anyone?

Edited by fightingbee
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1) He's full of $h!.

2) Initial sales expectations for the Volt: 10,000 units. At this time GM has capacity to build up to 60,000 units.

(I don't think they'll have any trouble selling 10K Volts)

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The same can be said for a significant portion of Audi buyers. A3 anyone?

It is odd to see this argument coming from a luxury maker, whose buyers for the most part are paying more for image and amenities. However, the argument is not the same. He is dogging on Volt buyers because they think they are "enlightened and elite", like they are going to save the planet. (I'm not saying that I agree with that, but that is his argument)

The A3 offers premium and luxury features that go well beyond normal small cars. Whether or not it is worth the price premium is up for debate, but it is not on the same lines as the Volt.

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The first gen Volt buyers are going to be the idiots that pave the way to cheaper and more affordable versions for the rest of us.

The folks who bought the first gas cars in the late 1800's when cars were poor and roads were worse were idiots with money too.

You have to be nuts to pay near $50K for this car. But I can not find fault for GM building this car as if they can sell it and make money God Bless Them. Idiots money show up on the profit at years end too.

It take idiots to bite the bullet with most new technologys. Just look at the flat screen TV's when they came out and lap top computers. They pay the price so we can get cheaper better products later.

I wish GM would make a small Diesel engine for the Volt and get even better mileage and more torque. Too bad Americans still do not understand Diesel and how good they are today.

He does remind me of Lutz in a positive way of speaking his mind vs PC crap.

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The first gen Volt buyers are going to be the idiots that pave the way to cheaper and more affordable versions for the rest of us.

This. For example, I know a dude who shilled out 15K for a plasma TV a few years ago. He just had to have it, and thanks to stupid morons like him, I can get one that's way better for less than a 10th of what he paid for his! It'l work the same way with the Volt.

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This. For example, I know a dude who shilled out 15K for a plasma TV a few years ago. He just had to have it, and thanks to stupid morons like him, I can get one that's way better for less than a 10th of what he paid for his! It'l work the same way with the Volt.

You got it! I remember the first plasma TV's I saw in NYC for $10K and today 1-2K will get you a great TV. He paid the price for me.

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This. For example, I know a dude who shilled out 15K for a plasma TV a few years ago. He just had to have it, and thanks to stupid morons like him, I can get one that's way better for less than a 10th of what he paid for his! It'l work the same way with the Volt.

This is apples and pears (i.e. closer than apples and oranges). Battery powered cars are not a new technology screaming onto the landscape. There have been electric cars for ~110 years... in 1899, they were competitive with gas engines... for a while... but then the internal combustion engine took off. Its not as if battery tech was forgotten... we have been working on better batteries for, what, two hundred years and more so in the last quarter of a century as they have other uses. Sure, battery tech will get better still, but not at the miraculous rate some folks are imagining.

OTOH, plasma displays started 40 odd years ago, but really didn't hit their stride for televisions until a decade ago. Its a technology that has matured quickly to a usable point and economies of scale have taken over.

Same can be said for many battery uses... but not for cars. Electric cars make your off-the-gird solar house look like an childs toy. Batteries will be getting better and better for years to come, which tends to interfere with economies of scale, as new techniques and materials need to be ushered into the factory every few months.

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You have to be nuts to pay near $50K for this car.

$35-40k is near $50k? I suppose I could believe the first ones out with have a markup, but still...

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Anyone notice on Autoblog Audi just anounced their A8 based Electric?

I guess it is just the way of the industry to slap one electric before you anounce your own.

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