Prius Personal Log  #904

November 29, 2018  -  December 2, 2018

Last Updated:  Tues. 12/18/2018

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12-02-2018 Closure, Mistake.  I'm hearing more and more comments like this, finally: "GM's big mistake was not getting Voltec into a larger car, SUV, and truck."  Imagined if they would have just listened in the first place.  Sharing of experience was intended to help; instead, they felt their pride was in jeopardy.  What a waste.  Oh well.  I share the observations regardless of how they will be received:

Do a search for Equinox & Two-Mode on this site.  You'll find countless posts over the years of me saying exactly that... hence the "too little, too slowly" mantra.  I kept pushing for diversification; the enthusiasts here kept pushing back.

For a Toyota owner to endorse GM's technology, sounding off favor for spreading it to vehicles across the fleet was too much.  They absolutely refused even just the spirit of cooperation.  Someone with over a decade of prior experience in the market couldn't possibly understand mainstream consumer better than a bunch of unrealistically optimistic early-adopters.  Ugh.

Of course, they understood that the transfer of the same battery-capacity to a much less aerodynamic vehicle that weighed significantly more would compromise their principles.  The result would be a lowering of range & power, making far too similar to the supposed competition... which exposed their underlying problem.

The enthusiasts didn't want to recognize the market as a whole, to acknowledge GM's own product-line.  They forced a scope of "plug-in owners" instead.  That was incredibly foolish, focusing on those who supported electrification anyway.  It was only low-hanging fruit getting any attention.  That far more difficult objection of appealing to SUV buyers was being neglected.

Now, we see the price of their choice to disregard homework the teacher assigned.  Rather than turning in what was required, they put emphasis on other deliverables... many of which didn't contribute to the necessity of ending traditional vehicle production.  They gambled that "it's worth it" promotion would result in high-volume profitable sales.

That effort failed miserably, hence attacking the very person would was heavily pushing the course that should have been taken years ago.  They screwed up.  They didn't listen to the voice of experience.  They are coming trying to come to grips with how much opportunity had been missed.

Ironically, the claim of desperation to catch up are now true for GM.  The tables have turned.  Honda rolled out Clarity.  Chrysler rolled out Pacifica.  Mitsubishi rolled out Outlander.  Subaru is about to roll out Crosstrek.  Ford is working on an Escape. All are larger plug-in vehicles that are not Toyota.  The enthusiast obsession was wrong, very wrong.  Each automaker is working hard to appeal to their own customers.  GM's focus on conquest instead was a terrible mistake.

That brings us to the catch-up effort.  Will an Equinox or Trax with Voltec actually be endorsed by this group of enthusiasts?  To do that, they will be falling back on their own words.  It's an admission of error, a rather hypocritical one at that too.  Swallowing pride to overcome such a mistake shows strength though... and will be welcomed. GM joining the team to help quickly deliver affordable plug-in offers requires compromise, so that will definitely useful.

I'm quite curious how such a big mistake will finally be reconciled.

12-01-2018

Closure, Fake News.  It's nice to finally have a term to identify the behavior.  Naturally, it will be misused.  We see that often the "troll" label, but the point of drawing attention still takes place.  So, it's ok.  Going unnoticed is the problem, which I continue having to deal with:  That is a common "fake news" technique.  They state a position, but provide supporting evidence for something else.  Both make sense.  They aren't actually associated though.  The hope is people aren't paying close enough attention to notice.  That's the case here.  It's easy to prove too.  Since the description doesn't contain any detail, there's no association to anything at all.  That's the nonsense our president pulls.  Vague is a dead giveaway of rhetoric.  The nonsense about Toyota being behind is rather ironic.  Because when you point out facts, GM is the one coming up short.  With respect to electrification, we see Toyota offering a hybrid model for each of their popular passenger vehicles in various markets... Camry, Corolla, Avalon, C-HR, Highlander, RAV4.  All are plug-ready. Increase battery-pack capacity, then add a one-way clutch.  That's it.  The approach sets a clear path forward with very little resistance, due to the approach being so inexpensive.  In fact, the upgrade to hybrid for RAV4 provides such a significant MPG improvement, the price difference is trivial.  And with such a strong reliability reputation already established, there is a strong possibility of drawing interest on the showroom floor.  That sets the stage for easy plug offerings with the next round of upgrades.  There's no rationale for the "innovator dilemma" claim.  It's a clear path forward, advancement with significant return.  Toyota will be able to discontinue production of traditional models at some point.  Their plan is well underway already.  GM literally has nothing yet for product-line advancement.  It's all a big mystery, leaving both dealer & customer with no green choice available... which is the "stuck" situation described by innovator's dilemma.  Notice how the definition focuses on sales & profit as the measure of success, not perceived superiority?

12-01-2018

Closure, Stupid Decisions.  The mess coming to light is an outcome far worse than they ever imagined.  Their own "behind" claims are being revealed as reflection.  Focusing on the wrong thing for too long has dire consequences.  I certainly tried to get them to pay attention to what was important.  They didn't care, until now.  Of course, it's only denial at this point.  But change has to start somewhere.  Seeing the mistake is progress, though it could take a very long time before the next step is taken.  I keep pointing out facts until then:  Resentment for Toyota is understandable.  The upcoming next-gen RAV4 hybrid (available in March) will deliver a combined city/highway rating of 39 MPG starting at $28,745.  With 118 horsepower output from the electric motors (AWD system), the combined output with the engine comes to 219 horsepower.  That totally outclasses GM where it hurts the most, their premiere SUV.  Why GM never bothered to put Volt technology in Equinox remains a mystery.  Most likely, it came down to cost.  There simply was no way to offer such a configuration affordability.  Trax is a new, smaller SUV offered by GM.  That could be a nice candidate as a plug-in hybrid choice.  But that could seriously impact sales of Equinox.  Whatever the case, this is GM's own doing.  They focused on offering an expensive Cadillac plug-in hybrid and a Malibu hybrid instead.  Both are sedans, a market GM clearly has little interest in.  To make matters worse, GM just rolled out diesel models of both Cruze & Equinox.  What in the world were they thinking?  Stupid decisions like that is why GM is falling behind.  It is why I get personally attacked, since there is simply no way to deliver such bad news without sounding bias.  Those are the facts though... like them or not.

12-01-2018 Closure, Know Your Audience.  They don't... still... after all this time:

I repeat that mantra on a very regular basis.  It has taken place for the "Who is the for Volt?" question I asked relentlessly in the past.  Enthusiasts simply didn't care about the wants & needs of mainstream consumers.  They had convinced themselves that Volt has "vastly superior" attributes ordinary showroom shoppers would be willing to pay a premium for.  Even with the $7,500 tax-credit, that approach failed to stir interest.

All these years later, the heavily promoted "EREV" campaign only served to confuse & deter.  GM didn't understand.  Enthusiasts didn't understand.  It was only Prius owners who did.  They understood.  They knew their audience... which is why so much resentment has come about. Prius owners recognized how to reach out and capture the hearts of random consumers.

Potential buyers are customers wandering the showroom floor.  They are looking for a vehicle with set attributes at a good price.  This is where plug-in hybrids show great opportunity.  Hybrids have become so well established, most all of the misconceptions are just a faint memory now.  In fact, there is an expectation of the technology having improved over the years.  That's why the addition of a plug is looked upon as a natural next step.

It would be incredible for every car to already have access to overnight 240-volt charging.  Unfortunately, many consumers face the challenge & expense of just that for one of their vehicles in the household.  Access to public rapid chargers (level-3) are pretty much non-existent still.  Only a small number of initial locations have been built and connection-type is not standard yet.  Sadly, most people don't even know what most of that means.

We know it signifies is overnight having to charge with a 120-volt connection, some with just an 8-amp rate.  That very much limits battery-capacity; however, it does offer a very smooth and intimidating approach to mainstream acceptance.  It simplifies the transition away from traditional vehicles.  During ownership, many owners will likely consider a 240-volt upgrade for their overnight charging.

This information is what enthusiasts have refused to accept... hence the negative votes.  They don't want to face the reality of change.  It is monumentally complex and pushback intense.

12-01-2018

Closure, Attacks.  Once they've run out of things to retaliate with, you get attacked personally.  The enthusiast transforms to an enraged antagonist.  Lack of substance to their claims and evidence being presented as proof of their oversight makes that course of action quite predictable.  I've seen the behavior routinely.  At some point, they just give up and laugh.  Sometimes it becomes so cynical laugh, the word smug is too kind.  It borders on evil.  That's quite bizarre to see in writing.  This is how it starts:  "I see john is still spewing his filth...  Some things never change.  Happy I was able to add the 10th neg vote to several of his posts.  LOL."  Disbelief is always my reaction to that.  How bizarre to be so clueless:  That stick-your-head-in-the-sand response to posts is what keeps me coming back.  Hiding what you don't want to see isn't constructive.  And in this case, it has been destructive.  Volt gen-1 failed to address purchase priorities of mainstream consumers.  It had a number of shortcomings the group of enthusiasts here worked hard to assure everyone the needs of the changing market would be met by the next-generation offering.  Volt gen-2 failed too, by not even addressing the issues resulting in sales struggle.  Rather than GM striving to meet its own pricing target and making the interior larger, the design was enhanced to further appeal to enthusiasts.  That didn't work though.  Sales remained flat.  The significant growth required to persist beyond the expiration of tax-credits was not achieved.  The fact that you use "filth" to describe essential business is the type of closure needed here to declare Volt dead.  The "too little, too slowly" concern was quite correct.  GM didn't spread the technology in time.  Accounting is something enthusiasts always despise.  I saw the trophy-mentality problem emerge on this blogging site right from the very beginning, over 11 years ago.  Recognition of mistakes being made were dismissed and the messenger attacked by some, but most just left from disenchantment.  Look at how many abandoned Volt and the growing resentment for GM being so slow to take a next step with plug-in hybrids... to the point where some wonder if GM will just give up and only offer EV choices.  It's a disastrous outcome you contributed to, not me.  I certainly wasn't any part of the enabling that took place to encourage GM to continue down a path that would not led to acceptance by ordinary consumers.  No label or negative voting will change that.

11-30-2018

Closure, Spin.  It is getting so bad, you can see why so many were so easily manipulated during the election.  There's simply no critical thinking from some people.  They just brainlessly repost what they believe, rather than actually give some thought to what is actually being conveyed.  They have no idea.  The words don't have any substance.  It's all primal instinct at some point, just lashing out with whatever they have available rather than considering all factors.  Oh well.  That is their loss, not mine:  What I see is that you are so vague, you aren't actually saying anything.  It's the usual rhetoric, repeated over and over to avoid addressing issues.  The absence of detail is a dead giveaway.  No substance..  As for projection, to what?  All automakers are held to the same standard market criteria.  Without the necessary quantity, price, and efficiency, the necessary profit will not be achieved.  That's how a business functions.  GM failed to achieve that.  So, they are moving on because they have run out of time (tax-credit phaseout triggered).  As each of the other automakers reach the same point, they will be faced with a decision as well.

11-30-2018

Closure, Real.  Their reality is crashing down.  Mine is simply the stage call closure.  I get this: "Let's be real."  They get this:  GM wasn't able to face the true competition... traditional vehicles ...so you want to spin a narrative that Toyota won't be able to either.  Who are you trying to convince?  Know your audience.  In this case here in the United States, a majority of the country has absolutely no idea what Prime is.  That's because Toyota waited. As of the first of this month, they still had 109,301 tax-credits left.  Allowing GM to use up the few they have left, while in the meantime reinforcing their commitment to traditional vehicle replacement, totally makes sense.  The next-gen RAV4 hybrid and introduction of Corolla hybrid are undeniable moves toward electrification.  Even the most uninformed consumer will recognize Toyota's commitment to using batteries more.  The addition of AWD to Prius is a new draw too, as are the mid-cycle appearance changes.  The advancement forward is quite clear, even without Prime.  The fact that Toyota has been burning down Prime inventory and hasn't said anything whatsoever about the 2019 model-year makes us wonder if the Detroit auto-show will bring about some mid-cycle updates... perfectly timed to take advantage of the changing market situation.  That lack of advertising will finally change.  Toyota will have an affordable, extremely efficient, plug-in hybrid available... that they worked out all the details of high-volume production for already.  In other words, your attempt to portray Toyota's silence as a lack of interest is really the calm before the storm.  They have been preparing for wide-spread acceptance.  That's why distribution has been spread so thin. Toyota was observing each market to come up with the best plan for mainstream penetration.  This isn't rocket-science.  It's simply studying consumer behavior.  GM didn't do that with Volt.  Rather than trying to attract ordinary consumers, they appealed to enthusiasts... giving that group of early-adopters exactly what they wanted.  It's a business mistake known as "innovator's dilemma".  GM built a vehicle for a limited audience.  Oops!  It's their loss, not Toyota's.  We see that Corolla hybrid is already planned to get a PHEV upgrade.  The process is simple & affordable, as clearly demonstrated by the Prime update to Prius. Camry, C-HR, Avalon, and RAV4 hybrids can all be upgraded that way too.  Facing the true competition is quite real.

11-29-2018

Closure, Fail.  Do everything possible to keep focus exclusively on engineering.  Never let anyone draw attention to business.  Ugh.  It's been that way for 10 years: "Volt was and is a fantastic car with the best US plug-in sales for any model.  To this day.  I don't call that a fail."  Ironically, I get attacked all the time with the reasoning that no individual can draw a conclusion, since whatever goals they identify are their own.  It's that spin they do day in, day out.  Don't ever let someone outside your group of enablers to sight anything related to progress.  Again, ugh.  I knew the end of production for Volt would turn into a fight.  That's what happens when an enthusiast gets cornered.  They don't surrender or admit defeat.  They defend their position to the bitter end.  That's how pride works.  Go down with honor.  What a waste.  Oh well.  This is when it happens.  Right now.  It's official.  So, I humor them with bittersweet facts:  Better than any model is a relative measure, not what's necessary for sustainable business. The goal was to achieve mainstream sales.  That specifically is a minimum of 60,000 annual without tax-credit dependency.  Setting a target like that is how profit is achieved.  Your opinion is that of an early-adopter taking advantage of a $7,500 tax-credit... not GM... not stockholders... not EPA... not CARB... and certainly not ordinary GM customers.  So, it doesn't matter.  Know your audience.

11-29-2018

Closure, Repeating History.  It's getting messy.  They are stirring rhetoric any way they can to control the situation. It's hopeless, of course.  But that's what happens when they come to realize the fight is over.  The lost... which is why attempts to rewrite history are their focus at the moment.  They want to prevent onlookers from noticing the pattern.  I'm not going to allow that, especially after the hell they put me through:  It was about preventing mistakes from being repeated.  When pointing out lessons learned from Two-Mode and the recognition of following that same pattern again, the messenger was attacked and the message obscured. Enthusiasts didn't care.  They kept up at attitude of hope without any substance to actually support such a stance.  Volt was vastly superior, period.  We all watched that fall apart with gen-1.  GM focused on size & power for Volt just like they did for Two-Mode.  But this time, the "size" was range instead of vehicle bulk.  That imbalance was a costly mistake for Two-Mode and quickly become a mistake repeated for Volt confirmed by soft sales.  The resulting price was too high.  The rollout of gen-2 for Volt didn't address the problem.  Rather than strive for a better balance to draw in more customers, that potential was wasted by increasing the range and increasing the power.  That turned out to be a colossal blunder too.  Sales never improved.  That was a terrible sign, knowing that even with the $7,500 tax-credit, reaching a sustainable level to remain an everyday offering would not be possible.  That is why Volt was cancelled mid-cycle.  Waiting for the normal product-cycle to conclude would be far too costly.  So now, the technology is left without a successor established.  GM will basically need to start over... which is now why the enthusiasts are so angry. Their arguments claiming other automakers are years behind have completely fallen apart.  There will be a few who dispute this history.  They'll remain in denial. It doesn't matter, since they are not the intended reader anyway.  Know your audience.

 

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