General Motors earned considerable enmity in 2009 when it declared bankruptcy and accepted a $51 billion bailout from the U.S. government. Some GM customers have since discovered that they’re in the crossfire as well.
A few owners of the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s innovative plug-in hybrid, report that they’ve been booed, heckled and vandalized, presumably because they own a car deemed offensive to fellow taxpayers. These tales of Volt rage were uncovered by the car-research site Edmunds, which runs several online forums where owners swap stories.
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A Michigan Volt owner, Dave Muse, told Edmunds that he drew boos when driving his Volt in a famed Detroit automotive parade — a town, of all places, that gained as much as any city from the auto bailouts. Another time, a stranger insulted his car in a parking lot, then slammed the door shut while Muse was trying to get out. Muse also says his plug-in generates occasional family arguments.
Scott Leapman, a Volt owner in Florida, once stopped at an intersection next to a pickup truck whose driver rolled down his window and asked, “How do you like my car?” When Leapman asked what he meant, the driver answered, “My taxes paid for it!” then sped off.
General Motors is offering big discounts to boost sales of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in extended-range electric car that struggled to attract buyers until its price began dropping early this year.
Discounts run as high as $10,000 per Volt, according to figures from TrueCar.com, an auto pricing website. They include low-interest financing and subsidized leases. Leases have run as cheap as $250 a month
Sales of the $39,995 car have quadrupled this year, and set a monthly record in August. They show that Americans, who have been slow to embrace electric cars, are willing to buy them if prices are low enough.