Prius Personal Log  #905

December 2, 2018  -  December 8, 2018

Last Updated:  Tues. 12/18/2018

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12-08-2018

Closure, Change.  It's happening.  We are witnessing another chapter in history coming to a close.  I'm enjoying the opportunity now to remind people of what took place and how important this moment in time truly is:  With Volt disappearing from the media and Tesla consuming what's left of low-hanging fruit (final full tax-credit purchases from those with high disposable-income), we can see change coming.  The most obvious sign is witnessing outright lies being posted without challenge.  The other is red-herring being followed on a regular basis.  Since none of that audience represented mainstream consumers, the problem should be obvious.  To them though, it is not.  That's how misconceptions and narratives take hold.  The industry has seen this before.  It's the stage when leaders lose their lead.  In other words, the moment when the tortoise passed the hare.  This is very familiar.  It reminds me a lot about the death of Two-Mode.  The supposed advantage GM had completely fell apart when the early-adopter pool of buyers had become entirely saturated.  They had no one else to sell those monster SUVs to.  GM failed to address the needs of ordinary people, those who could not justify a high sticker-price regardless of how the vehicle performed.  It all comes down to reaching buyers on the showroom floor.  They couldn't care less about efficiency.  That's a bonus if the vehicle is already affordably price, not by any means a priority.  Gas is only $2.29 per gallon here.  The obsession with large vehicles has become such a norm now, it is an expectation.  Cars are now lumped into the categories of "economy" and "sport".  That's why Prius Prime dropped the middle seat and took on an aggressive look.  It was the economic recovery of GM that made me realize years ago that they would fall into the same profit trap.  Rather than actually invest in Volt to spread the technology, it would become a trophy and the pursuit of money from guzzlers would resume.  That temptation to follow the money, rather than invest in the future is very difficult to resist.  Change can be painful.  I suspect more and more rhetoric to stir as the reality of the situation becomes apparent.  Toyota didn't focus on short-term gain.  Toyota followed their own approach to success again.  Study that history.  You'll recognize the pattern.

12-08-2018

Closure, Confirm.  Repeating the same old false information based on misleading facts is how I confirm you are worried.  Adding to that is the continued effort to send a message of no progress.  That could be recognition of the fundamental mistake you made about mainstream buyers.  Toyota has been painfully quiet about their plug-in and isolated rollout.  Last time they did that, it was because they had an upgrade on the way.  Evading that topic, as well as the EV drive, the newly introduced AWD-e, and the upcoming RAV4 offering tells an interesting story of understanding their customers.  GM's failure to set a path for electrification of their product-line should have you worried.  Their dealers keep on selling the same old guzzlers without any expectation for improvement.  Ignoring the all-electric drive experience you now get from Prius, while at the same time turning a blind-eye to the lack of anything beyond a discontinued plug-in hybrid and a tax-credit dependent electric-only vehicle, is all I really need for that confirm.  The rest was a bonus.

12-07-2018

Closure, Repeating.  This was interesting: "History is repeating itself."  It came from a troublemaker who really didn't have any idea what had happened in the past.  His naive nature made him gullible to hype... which I witnessed firsthand.  It transformed him into a true believer of the propaganda being pushed.  It's when rhetoric gets so out of hand, the person has no idea they have been mislead.  In this case, it was a matter of thinking he knew all the relevant information.  Missing key points will cause you to draw incorrect conclusions... which is exactly what he did.  Being poorly informed is one thing.  He chose to dismiss the warnings and pretend the detail offered about omitted facts never happened.  Choosing to remain poorly informed is just plain stupid.  But when you see an end coming to what you had fought & lost so much for, convincing yourself it was a good cause is a typical outcome.  I get my closure from seeing him get his.  It's a strange situation.  I provided this:  Are you aware of Toyot's history, how much of a different path to success they took?  Many here don't, hence the never-ending conflicts.  Know your audience.  Forcing a paradigm of GM to fit into the same approach makes no sense, hence the objectivity about engineering being lost.  Understanding that fundamental difference is vital.

12-07-2018

Closure, Selective Omission.  I especially liked reading a post that intentionally tried to divert focus and went out of the way to exclude the vital bit of information I was trying to emphasize: "the non-giant (large SUV & Pickup) offerings".  So, I posted it again by quoting myself, then adding:  You went out of your way to disregard that part of my information.  Those offerings have never been part of the discussion.  It simply makes no sense to compare Volt to a Silverado or Traverse.  No one takes such extreme vehicle type & size differences as a consideration to a compact hatchback seriously.  Your choice to include them is obvious greenwash.  As for RAV4, haven't you been paying attention?  219 horsepower from a vehicle delivering a combined city/highway rating of 39 MPG is the new focus.  As the market shifts to SUV choices as the norm, that is naturally what efficiency offerings should target. Its hybrid platform is an excellent next step for a plug upgrade.  Keep doing whatever you need to for the sake of drawing attention away from Equinox inefficiency.  The lack of any type of electrification is quite a GM shortcoming, undeniable evidence of how far behind they are.  Remember Two-Mode?  Unwillingness to address that confirms you are painfully aware of the problem.  This is the history that repeats. I saw that pattern in the past and knew it would be followed again.  And, it was.

12-06-2018

Closure, Saying Nothing.  The worst of the antagonists don't.  It becomes meaningless gibberish.  There's no substance.  How is nothing of any type of measure is helpful?  They somehow convince themselves that despite not having any evidence, nothing more then "facts" based on hearsay, that they are absolutely correct.  It's so strange to see someone so dead set on a stance which there is no support for.  All you can do is point out their fallacy:  That literally says nothing… an excellent example of rhetoric.  Setting an expectation without any detail is an attempt to feed hype.  We all know words like "leapfrog" and "forward" are meaningless.  Vague is a dead giveaway of greenwash.  You're doing everything possible to avoid accountability… again.  GM must achieve high-volume profitable sales, period.  That means something matching sales of their profitable vehicles, which is where the 60,000 minimum counts into play… specific detail.  Add to that a timeline, like 2 years from rollout, there's accountability.

12-06-2018

Closure, Mainstream.  Refusing to acknowledge the basics of business: "So you made up a number that is close to doable for Prius Prime worldwide for this year - good to know."  Ugh.  How else do you respond to such close-minded individuals.  I keep trying:  Posting that indicates you aren't familiar with this site. E ach month I would post numbers with respect to GM's own fleet.  Toyota never came into play.  The enablers here were the ones to do that, as an obvious effort to distract from GM's own internal problem.  234,379 = Equinox.  109,662 = Cruze.  107,458 = Malibu.  13,243 = Volt. It was that reality (numbers above are from 2018 thru Q3) which made enthusiasts absolutely crazy.  They knew Volt's true competition was traditional vehicles, not other plug-in choices from other automakers.  Yet, they kept posting their own perspective, downvoting facts as a head-in-sand tactic to ensure their own narrative would persist.  Reading through those old posts, you'll notice the rise of Equinox.  That SUV became the sales leader.  It became Volt's ultimate foe.  Popularity grew so much, even the well-being of Cruze came into jeopardy.  Trax coming into the picture spelled the end of Volt though.  At 67,538 thru Q3, the writing was on the wall for Volt. Even with the $7,500 assistance, sales couldn't even remotely compete.  In short, say whatever you about "mainstream" measure.  GM's own choices on GM's own showroom floors tell the story about profit for the non-giant (large SUV & Pickup) offerings.  This is why the shuttering of plants for the smaller cars is taking place for GM.  No amount of rhetoric can hide that.

12-06-2018

Closure, Hatred.  Like I said, this is finally wrapping up:  "While Prime wins for the year, it has been declining as overall sales increase, indicating that Toyota enthusiast purchases have come a lot closer to being satisfied; and that the overall virtues of the superior Volt remained a major factor in Plug-In sales."  That's called not really understanding what has taken place and recognizing what will next:  Speaking of hatred, there’s no excuse for such misrepresentation of supply.  Prime has never been offered in a large portion of the United States.  Rollout has been limited to CARB states and special-order for a small number of dealers.  That means there's no possible way to measure demand yet, especially since we have observed inventory burndown this year… which is usually indicative of change coming.  As for the superiority claim, those "virtues" are very much that of early-adopters, who in no way are representative of mainstream consumers.  That's a real-world example of innovator's dilemma playing out.  GM focused on feedback from enthusiasts, making that fundamental mistake of not delivering something with the "virtues" of ordinary shoppers... the very thing Toyota has strived to avoid with Prime.  To sight a specific, consider MSRP.  Toyota delivered on GM’s own target of "nicely under $30,000".  GM did not, hence the vaporware assessment.  That affordable choice was never delivered, which was an essential component of Volt being able to meet business sales & profit without dependency on tax-credits.

12-06-2018

Closure, So What?  Good thing the end of this chapter is near:  I never imagined all those years ago, collecting information to document events as they happened, that I would become the Jon Stewart of this news category.  Of course, no one imagined the fall of Volt to be so "vastly superior" either.  Here we are though.  There's spin, denial, and outright lies all attempting to distort & mislead about really happened.  The history is well documented.  Two-Mode, Volt-1, and Volt-2 all failed to achieve sales growth needed to remain a viable product.  That approach didn't work.  So what?  GM will just try something else instead.  True, there's disenchantment to deal with and a history of false starts, but we are only now about to progress beyond the early-adopter stage.  Lighten up and enjoy the market emerging for plug-in vehicles.  GM can still be a player among the wide variety of choices that will be offered.  No more claims of vastly superior though.  Enthusiasts will have to play friendly with the rest of the team now.

12-05-2018

Closure, Fake News.  Sometimes, they simply don't care:  For years, GM would provide ambiguous press-releases and this site would spin them into blind hope.  There wasn’t substance to support what enthusiasts took away from them.  Merit was lacking, but they didn’t care.   It built up excitement. Anyone who brought up a concern about lack of detail would get the "troll" label and their credibility attacked.  There wasn’t a term like "fake news" back then, nor was there an understanding of how influential the loss of objectivity could be.  Critical thinking was lost.  Rhetoric became the norm.  Fallout was inevitable at some point.  We have arrived at that time of reckoning.  Volt will be discontinued without a successor established.  There isn't even certainty about what direction GM will be taking for a next step.  That concern in the past has been validated.  Whether or not lessens were learned from the mistakes made are uncertain though.  Most here are pushing back, unwilling to acknowledge what happened.

12-04-2018

Closure, Platform.  I deal with the engineer-focused routinely.  They are the ones so blinded by the hope of technological solutions, they dismiss the realities of business.  There's another type of antagonist I also must deal with.  They are the one that are either clueless or careless.  How do you interpret this: "Why do you insist that the decades-old Prius platform is current technology?"  It's difficult to recognize the perspective.  My guess is they have no idea how Prius actually works or how any of the upgrades have been implemented.  Never having a good grasp of the technology would explain a lot of their behavior.  It's hard to know for sure.  Today, I responded with:  Electric vehicles have been around for over a century.  That's an old platform.  Attempting to convince people upgrades are impossible is greenwash.  I drive to work every day in my Prime using only electricity.  All those EV miles from an affordable platform...  It's what GM has yet to deliver.  Volt had a terrible dependency on the $7,500 tax-credit that GM didn't consider a priority to overcome.  It's an example of what's possible for GM.  Take what they learned from Volt, removing the enthusiast overkill to make a product for their own ordinary showroom shoppers.  The system does not need to be that robust or that large.  Sacrifices for power & range were too much.  It traded efficiency & cost for early-adopter appeal.  That lack of balance doesn't work for mainstream consumers.

12-04-2018

Closure, The Point.  Some people never get it.  They won't acknowledge what you are trying to convey, regardless of how obvious it may be to others.  There's always a twist to get you to humor there obsession.  "What size is their biggest battery pack?  How much torque is their biggest production electric motor?"  That seems reasonable, until you notice the pattern.  I did, but responded anyway:  I'll bite your trolling bait, a rather blatant diversion from the topic of GM…  Battery-Packs are just stacks of cells. Increasing either increases capacity, as well as resulting power.  With respect to electric-motors, Toyota’s fuel-cell buses are rather substantial.  But if you want personal, rather than commercial, look up Highlander hybrid (next-gen will be built in Texas, btw).  GM produced Two-Mode for years.  Heck, they even showed off a prototype plug-in model prior to Volt rollout.  What became of those electric motors… you know, used in Tahoe… a large SUV.  See the point?

12-03-2018

Closure, Smug.  Loss of type of reason is a sign of an end approaching.  This was the epitome of that: "Hahaha!"  How does one respond to what is essentially a caricature of an evil villain laughing at your efforts?  Did he know how stupid that appeared?  It's somewhat bizarre to encounter something so extreme.  I was rather taken aback.  So, it was just a simple reply in return:  What a great way to sum up a thread about what should have been done to prevent the losses of so many jobs… pretend its all a joke and do nothing whatsoever to address the next step.

12-02-2018

Closure, Ready.  The banter continued:  Battery cost & density simply were not realistic until very recently.  Infrastructure still requires a painful wait, for both commercial & home setup.  Production capacity is obviously a major issue currently too.  We're getting there though.  Plug-In Hybrids help to bring that about somewhat faster.  Buying one right away doesn't require upgrades at home or even much of a behavior change.  You just plug in at night.  Even with just a 110-volt connection, it works fine.  Of course, there's the complexity of needing to charge multiple cars in the same household.  Those plug-in hybrids at home will help encourage people to explore the EV charging & driving experience.  Remember, most people will resist change by simply dismissing the new tech as "not ready yet".  There's little to do in response to that when they just plain are not interested.  Fortunately, the step from traditional guzzler to plug-in hybrid isn't intimidating and doesn't require much of any education for either customer or salesperson.  The hope from automakers is it will become a no-brainer decision for everyone, including dealers stocking inventory.  Put it this way. Ordinary consumers will see the tech as "ready" when they notice old plug-in vehicle still on the road, confirming they work just fine despite years of service. That is at minimum a decade from now. Do your part as an early-adopter by purchasing any type of vehicle with a plug, then making sure friends, family, and coworkers see you using it routinely.

12-02-2018

Closure, Vision.  This quote from an article published today sums up the situation well: "While it's not too late for GM to change course, companies are so often obsessed with short-term profit that they usually find it nearly impossible to sustain long-term vision."  I posted that, followed by:  Your own assessment of the situation just now reflects that too.  Rather than acknowledge what has happened over the years and how much resistance there has been to change, you took a snapshot of the situation at the moment.  Of course the enthusiasts have been asking for GM to expand, but that's only as of setting gen-2 fail to grow sales and every single one of them has evaded the provision of any detail.  Notice how they fight back when you mention price or range?  They like the idea as a concept, but absolutely refuse to actually take a stance.  That lack of commitment to a clear purpose, target, or goal tells the real story.  As for you stating the situation as "your magical 5,000/month", it shows a denial of business objective.  Automakers have a purpose of making sustainable profit.  They set production quantity levels to achieve a return.  Falling short means losing money.  Third-Party suppliers have contracts that must be paid in full, whether or not the vehicle is sold at full price or not.  As for Prime itself, that 5,000/month (60,000 annual) level should be met.  That should be close to what Toyota produced & sold worldwide in 2018, which would result in the return they had anticipated.  Of course, it doesn't yet anyway.  Each automaker's target for mainstream sales is for just prior to triggering tax-credit phaseout.  For GM, that is this month.  For Toyota, it will be sometime in 2020.  In other words, I'm calling out your lack of long-term vision.  Toyota is setting the stage for widescale plug-in hybrid rollout, offering Prius Prime initially, then adding Corolla PHEV.  Following that could be any of the other hybrids, most likely either C-HR or RAV4.  That transition from guzzler to plug-in for the entire fleet has a smooth & clear path being set, without disruption to dealer, consumer, or employee.  What is GM's vision?

 

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