GM CEO Calls the Prius a Geek-Mobile, Wouldn’t be Caught Dead in One

In the grand scheme of things, General Motors is a little late in the purpose-built hybrid range extended electric vehicle game. Toyota has recently launched its third generation Prius and Honda its second generation Insight. At worst, the soon-to-be-released Chevy Volt is a logical move from a marketing perspective; if the consumer wants frumpily styled eco-cars then who are we, the automakers, to say otherwise?

So it’s a little hard to swallow when GM’s current CEO, Dan Akerson, describes the Volt’s major competitor – some may even say raison d’être – as a geek-mobile. Here are his exact words:

“We commonly refer to the geek-mobile as the Prius. And I wouldn't be caught dead in a Prius."

If the Prius is a geek-mobile, what does that make the Volt? Is it a me-too-mobile? And the word “geek” is so muddied in our 21st century world. In the United States, 74% of the population use the internet, 27% own an Apple iPhone and almost half are on Facebook or MySpace. And Avatar, film widely considered to be the most successful film ever made, is a member of that classic geek genre: science fiction.

Is it any wonder that more than two million Priora have been sold since the nameplate came into existence? In a way, there’s a little geek in all of us. We buy organic, we tune into Lost and we use our Smartphones to text our friends what we’re eating for lunch.

It seems to me that GM wants to distance the Volt as much as possible from its Japanese stablemate. Have you noticed how no one at GM, Chevrolet or in the press calls it a hybrid? It’s a range extended electric vehicle. If that isn’t a geeky euphemism I don’t know what is.

The Volt, which according to Akerson "actually looks good,” compared to the Prius, goes on sale before the end of this year. With a starting price of US$41,000 (€31,016), the Volt will be more expensive than its main rival, though some buyers will be entitled to a US$7,500 (€5,674) federal tax credit.

By Tristan Hankins

Via: USAToday , Sources: Internetworldstats , Computerworld, Blogherald