Despite the NHTSA inquiry into battery-pack fires following severe crash tests of the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car, the car's 5,000 or so owners to date seem to be unworried.
Comments on Volt owner forums largely dismiss worries about any risk of fire during accidents, and many owners still seem ecstatically happy with their cars.
So much so, in fact, that Consumer Reports says the Chevrolet Volt has the single highest rate of owner satisfaction of any new car this year. (And few if any apparently plan to accept the GM offer of a loaner car during the investigation--Corvette sports car or not.)
The respected magazine made the announcement yesterday as it released the results of its annual satisfaction survey, which includes ratings by more than 314,000 of its subscribers who own the 300-plus new vehicles on sale in the U.S. market from the 2009 through 2012 model years.
Fully 93 percent of Volt owners are happy enough with their cars that they would buy it again, according to the survey. The Volt satisfaction rate was just slightly higher than those for the next two cars on the list, the Porsche 911 sports car and the Dodge Challenger full-size coupe sedan fitted with a Hemi V-8 engine.
2011 Chevrolet Volt in IIHS crash test
The highest satisfaction rating, in which at least 80 percent of owners said they would buy the car again, included a disproportionately high number of sports cars, hybrids, and clean diesels.
Those are all specialty vehicles whose owners sought them out and made a conscious decision to buy an unusual car, meaning they were predisposed to like the car that they bought.
Consumer Reports noted that its survey was done after the Chevy Volt had been in showrooms only a few months, and before media reports of the battery-pack fires that followed NHTSA crash testing began to appear.
But based on the Volt owners we've talked to and the comments we see on owner forums, we have to say: They seem like a pretty darn happy bunch to us.
You can see the full findings from the Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey online at www.ConsumerReports.org.