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.