No. 959
August 15, 2018

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On The Surface


On The Surface #463

September 17, 2008

The Chevrolet Volt. Publisher's Note: The hue and cry and hand-wringing on the Internet was premature, misplaced and unnecessary, because the design of the Volt is visually pleasing, purposeful and competently executed. I found it to be quite handsome, as a matter of fact, especially in the shape of its aero front end (the overhead view of the Volt also gives a real feel for the overall integrity of the design). And I was frankly relieved, because I thought the original design concept left a lot to be desired to begin with. But the best part by far of the new Volt is its decidedly forward reaching interior. The textures, colors, shapes and the detailing are all superbly executed, and beyond the obvious appeal of 40 miles on a single charge, the interior of the new Volt will do as much to sell this car as anything. In summary, the Volt is another outstanding effort from General Motors Design, and another example of why this tremendously talented group has once again returned GM to prominence at the top of the automotive design world, restoring the vaunted legacy of Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell to its proper luster. Congratulations to Ed Welburn and his entire team for yet another tremendous effort. - PMD

GM PR. Lost in the euphoria of GM's 100th anniversary celebration was an article in last Sunday's Detroit Free Press that was the most artful piece of PR spin we have seen in a long, long time. It was a blatant attempt by GM PR to pump-up CEO Rick Wagoner and present him as the savior of the company. The article even went so far as to portray Wagoner as somewhat of a "real deal" car guy who saved the 2010 Chevy Cruze from mediocrity by "pushing" the design, " needs a little more reach," Wagoner was quoted as saying. The glorified puff piece went on to set the tone for The Rick as the right guy, at the right time, at the right car company - and the greatest GM chairman since Alfred Sloan. Artful indeed. And the best news in all of this? We can all rest easy now, knowing that the Cruze is coming to market with "that jolt from Rick." So there you have it - The Rick, an arbiter of great design. Who knew?

Detroit. More pain for Detroit as the crisis on Wall Street is making it extremely difficult for the domestic automakers to floorplan inventories and offer financing, according to Automotive News, while conversely, it's easier for the top-tier import car companies to conduct their business. More than any of the long litany of problems facing the reeling Detroit automakers, this development, if allowed to continue, could be devastating.

Ferdinand Piech. Now that Porsche has control of VW (and has set its sights on Audi), some members of the extended Porsche family (including Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the Porsche holding company) are clamoring to get rid of Piech once and for all. Everyone's favorite maniacal auto executive has survived these moves before, but it looks like time may be finally running out on the "Colonel."

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