Is Chevy Volt Vitriol Simply Toyota Prius-Bashing Rehashed?


2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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What goes around comes around, and you need look no further than the auto industry for proof.

Model names can be mothballed for decades before reappearing. Features and styling cues make comebacks, with mixed success--all the marketing in the world can’t make Ventiports modern today.

Less common is what you might call "echo bashing." But DailyFinance.com points to interesting parallels between attacks on the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car and those aimed at the Toyota Prius hybrid when it debuted in America more than a decade ago.

The article quotes half a dozen statements from the Cato Institute, and the author invites readers to guess which car--Volt or Prius--the DC-based libertarian think tank was being grouchy about.

Ominous wording including warnings that one of them is emphatically “not the wave of the future,” that the car “can’t achieve popularity," and that support without sales “can’t prop up this flop.”

As you might guess, the statements are a mix of assessments about both cars, written a decade apart.

Having driven both cars before either gained mainstream acceptance, we recall similar inhospitable curiosity from other drivers at times.

And yet today, success has virtually made the Prius anonymous.

The quintessential hybrid no longer gets aggressive double-takes or has passers-by yelling at it--except perhaps for inattentive jaywalkers who didn’t hear the silent hybrid approaching in all-electric mode.

So while GM gives Volt production a time-out, maybe it can take solace in the idea that the Volt has a similar shot to enjoy Prius-like sales figures.

Or as the saying goes: This, too, shall pass.

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