I hear all the time that GM or Chrysler are "going bankrupt"... they are, but how they file for bankruptcy is the key. Let them go under - they will very likely declare "Chapter 11" which is legal protection during reorganization. (Chapter 7 is liquidation - Chrysler seems to be the most dire and in need of avoiding this one). Under Chapter 11, they can cancel and renegotiate labor contracts (why the UAW was soooo supportive of a bailout instead!). This would also protect them from creditors - which may put some suppliers out of business, unfortunately. ...it would be their chance to get their acts together and start making the line of cars we think they need.
I have a brother who is a pilot for Delta Airlines. They declared Chapter 11 - the results: Pilot pay was slashed by nearly 50%, benefits reduced, and retirement cancelled. Yep, their company "pension" offered a one-time payout for the employees which most of them took... a lump sum offer. Those that did not (took a multi-year payout) lost everything down the road as the federal bankruptcy judge approved liquidation of the pension accounts to reduce the airline's financial obligations and to support company solvency - those that did not take the lump sum offer lost all their retirement $$$...
The UAW fears Chapter 11 - it might destroy them if 2 of the "Big 3" go there as the third - likely Ford - would possibly be able to adopt any new contracts as well.
Now - in light of all that - the Volt has great potential of getting to market. Will it sell? I don't think the price-point they are throwing around will work so good for them. One key question - How much is the 2010 Prius going to cost? I have a 2005, and out the door was close to $30k (tax, lic, ext warranty, etc.)... I wish I could trade it in for the 2010, but likely need to work on the other family vehicle first, which needs to be a tad larger. If the new Prius is significantly more expensive, the Volt has a fighting chance. If the Prius is $8k or even $10k cheaper than GMs PHEV - the Volt may be burnt toast. I like the Volt - hope it does well! ...but only time will tell - and if our economy worsens, a $40k mid-sized car will have trouble selling no matter what the power train.
Edited by socalsolar - Fri, 16 Jan 2009 06:38:30 UTC