2009 Toyota Prius from North America - Comments

3rd Jan 2011, 12:54

19:20 maybe the answer to your question is how is the California economy doing these days? Unemployment benefits aren't likely to pay mortgages for very long. This applies to products other than automotive as well. Waves of downsizing doesn't seem a solution. Sending the larger profits overseas vs some salaries gained; is it enough?

3rd Jan 2011, 16:41

"Besides, who cares about the UAW?"

We should. Putting 90% of our citizens out of work would hardly help our economy!!

3rd Jan 2011, 16:45

"Now drop this tired old argument would you?"

Helping U.S. citizens buy homes and put their kids through school is hardly catering to a "tired old argument". I guess if we no longer care about the U.S. and its people, there really isn't a great deal to argue for anyway. It seems we'd rather send our money and our jobs elsewhere, and close down our country.

3rd Jan 2011, 19:59

"Of course they count. They make up TEN PERCENT of the auto-related jobs in the U.S. It's simply a case of choosing to help 10% of our people or 90%. Personally, I feel that as an American helping 90% of my neighbors is preferable to helping only 10%."

Percentages are not the issue here. If a factory worker makes staples in the US, exactly what percentage of the workforce do they make? Probably a very tiny percentage. But if I buy a box of staples made by that American company, then I am supporting a small percentage of the whole. The truth of the matter is that if I buy a product that used American labor, regardless of whatever nationality the company that employs them happens to be - there is absolutely no difference in the end, because that American worker counts just as much as any other American worker.

"Funny how GM keeps making erroneous statements concerning this car. Originally it was a full electric, and then just another hybrid. The 30 to 50 mile range is a bit of an overestimate after real tests have been conducted. Really, for $40K this is hardly a bargain, nor is it even a good buying choice in any way. The overall mileage of many hybrids is actually better."

GM never made any such claim. I've been following the car since its introduction as a concept, and from day one, and the car was introduced as an electric car with an engine with a range of 40 miles on the battery. The car is basically a compromise between being an all-electric car with a limited range due to the need to charge up and a hybrid. The idea from the get go was to make a car that would fulfill the driving needs of the average American, regardless of how far they drove. It was determined via available data that most Americans drove less than 40 miles a day - hence the reason why the battery range was set to 40 miles.

It works in a completely different manner from the Prius. The engine kicks on after the battery is depleted. The engine is not what drives the car. Instead it runs as a generator to keep the battery charged and to run the electric motor that directly powers the wheels. One more big difference: It has a plug. You actually plug the car into an outlet and charge the car up overnight. The current Prius has no such capability. Trust me - I own one myself.

The MPG rating is nearly impossible to determine. If I only drive 40 miles a day, I might never actually use any gas because I will plug the car in at night. On the other hand, if I drive 100 miles a day, 60 miles will be using gas while 40 miles would be using all electric power.

Is the car pricey? Sure. But new technology is always expensive - just like VCRs when they first came out. I for one applaud GM for stepping out and doing something different. There has been a continual argument on here for years about "Imports" versus "Domestics". Had you asked me 5-6 years ago what I thought of domestic brand cars, I would probably tell you I didn't really care for anything they made. But now that GM actually made something that is unique - good for them. They have changed my opinion. This is what American ingenuity is SUPPOSED to be about. It's not about making poorly built big bloated cars and gigantic SUVs. It's about real technological advancement. The Volt is that kind of car.

4th Jan 2011, 10:59

What I would like to see is some hard data showing how much of Toyota-Hondas profit actually remains in America. Beyond some assembly worker salaries. And how that profit translates into a higher quality of life for everyone in America. If it's paying some mortgages here vs a great number of mortgages on the other side. That's what I see missing on here. If I hire some workers and keep over half while I bask it up overseas, is it really that beneficial to the domestic population as a whole? Maybe someone has some real life data on here vs saying some people get a paycheck. It should be very enlightening to discuss after we see the true overall dollar and cents involved. I would like to see how the standard of living for all is actually affected. A lot of people are collecting unemployment checks vs loss of livelihood overseas.

4th Jan 2011, 11:18

So I guess all of the articles of bad press on the Volt I have read are just my imagination. Huh. Truth is that this car will appeal to a very small crowd. It gets around 32 mpg with the gas engine (after 40 miles) and that is easily topped by any regular 4 cylinder car, never mind totally blown away by other hybrids like the Prius. There is a very small market for a $40K car that goes only 40 miles per day. GM has tried "new technologies" in the past and failed. I can only expect that this one will fail too, but there is a first time for everything I guess...

4th Jan 2011, 13:09

Why are people so focused on this? Where were you in the past 3 decades where virtually every business in our country sold out to foreign labor in favor of higher profits. Now you are going to chime in about buying imported cars? The auto business is a very tricky thing to understand. Virtually every brand has ties with foreign brands around the world. How many GM products have been built by Toyota, Honda, Kia, etc. etc... What is an import and what is a domestic?

Welcome to the 21st century. We now have a global auto industry. If you stop buying imports in the U.S., the whole business will fail including the big three. We can no longer be self sufficient, as we rely too heavily on other countries to supply us with parts, and in some cases whole cars to sell through our domestic nameplates. If we were to boycott them all, you would see just how much of your Chevy was built with Chinese and Japanese parts really quick. They would most likely cut us off or quadruple the price of their parts at the least. Plus the foreign markets for GM, Ford and Chrysler would fail too, costing them $billions in revenue. You seem to forget how many of our vehicles are purchased by other countries. Should they just buy their own vehicles and forgo ours too?

People already think the worst about the U.S. and our citizens, but going on like this just makes us seem more self centered and self serving. Try thinking outside of the box a little more, and take a look at the entire picture of a massive worldwide business that thrives on competition and balance.

What it comes down to is the companies themselves. They need to make competitive products that will sell really well all over the world. If they are threatened by import domination here in the U.S, then they need to try harder to make the better vehicle! U.S. consumers, myself included, have been burned by many decades of sub-par vehicles that cost too much to keep running and just don't outlast their import rivals. It will take a lot of proving to get anyone to believe that domestic cars are really that good. Ford has made strides toward this goal with the Fusion. They also have a couple of other new and fresh winning designs that look promising... We'll see.

When they are good enough, then they will survive and thrive as they did 50 years ago. If and when that happens, maybe we can stop talking about who's buying what?

Oh, and the unemployment rate has little to do with the auto business. Did you forget the government bailouts that saved that business? Unemployment is high because of the housing bubble that burst sending the housing market and the stock market plummeting. The banking sector failed and was again saved by the government. Now the banks are holding up all the cash and small businesses laid off many employees for fear of failure. This is still the problem. No cash for loans means no new business ventures and no progress. This translates to no new jobs or re-hiring, because of the fear of a double dip recession that we are heading into. Again, nothing to do with buying a Honda!