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    Thread: Chevy Volt Styling Is A Short-Circuit

    1. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 11:49 AM #1

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      DETROIT - If images circulated on the Web this week are representative of the Chevrolet Volt General Motors Corp. plans to deliver in two years, the General had better hope potential customers appreciate the engineering - because the Volt's design is a corporate brownout.

      AutoObserver's all-day cruise around auto-related Web sites noted heavy-traffic comment about the leaked images of the Volt extended-range electric vehicle; some are mildly complimentary, but critics seem to outnumber approvers by at least four to one.

      The most common reactions range in a bandwidth from disappointment to derision. The Volt concept car was widely applauded, and although GM subsequently warned certain aggressive aspects of the Volt concept would be sacrificed on the altar of production-car realities, the overwhelming blandness oozing from the images of what is purported to be the production Volt is inescapable.

      "Derivative" is a response that resonates on many Web sites, as the viral-reaction party line immediately settled on the Volt appearing to pay combined homage to Chevy's successful (but not necessarily sexy) Malibu and Toyota's almighty (but absolutely not sexy) Prius hybrid.

      Ever-probing, we left the Web critics in search of more wizened opinion - auto writers and industry insiders.

      "Thick," said one industry pundit. "It won't be an especially efficient four-passenger package."

      "It's a huge disappointment," said Jane Nakagawa, a freelance automotive writer who is a frequent AutoObserver contributor - and a former director of advanced planning for Nissan North America Inc.

      Nakagawa unflinchingly said the Volt's final styling - if that's what the images we've seen indeed portray - is "completely unacceptable. They made a big, fat promise," and didn't follow up, she said.

      The slabby, conservative Volt "looks like Grandma's electric vehicle," said Nakagawa, adding that compared with the muscular concept, the production Volt is "like a mail-order bride" that arrives looking nothing like what was expected.

      "I was highly disappointed by the Volt concept's silly shape," says one longtime journalist who admits to being one of the few to not like the Volt concept car.

      But, "the production version looks like the unlikely lovechild of a one-nighter involving GM's concept and the Prius," the journalist continues. "While that's progress (compared to the Volt concept car's sheetmetal), I think this design will seem ancient in 27 months when it finally hits the streets. By then, we'll have a third-generation Prius, a couple of Honda hybrids (including the new Prius-fighting Insight), and other green machines to choose from."

      Nakagawa goes further. She believes GM's elderly brain trust - including product-development czar Bob Lutz - failed to recognize the opportunity the Volt presented to captivate younger buyers typically considered forever lost to Detroit, instead forcing the Volt design "team" to craft an unadventurous shape.

      "The No. 1 lost opportunity (with the Volt's derivative styling)," she said, "was getting young people to come and buy this car.

      "It's a sad, sad moment for GM," Nakagawa said. "The Volt (concept) was a glimmer of hope the Big 3 isn't as stupid as you thought. This proves how risk-averse, unconfident and incompetent" GM management remains, she said, adding the conservative styling of the Volt seems to confirm GM management has no idea "how much different the future-tech landscape is going to be."

      GM took pains in recent months to temper anticipation of the Volt's design in light of what it described as the engineering realities of meeting the Volt's performance objectives - particularly the crucial 40-mile battery-only driving range. If those cold equations really necessitated such a wholesale withdrawal from the muscular uniqueness of the Volt concept car's shape, then perhaps those goals should have been recalibrated.

      But if the Volt's insipid sheetmetal is largely the result of executive meddling, GM should make every effort to change direction in the time before the tooling must be ordered. And begin to understand it's own bureaucratic limitations.

      GM executives should have lunch with Bill Gates, one source suggested. Even Gates, the captain of the biggest company in the high-tech world - and a younger man than many in GM's senior management - knew when to acknowledge his ideas perhaps were no longer at the cutting edge, stepping back to let younger people chart the corporate direction.


      http://www.autoobserver.com/20...#more
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

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    2. Member HaterSlayer's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 11:53 AM #2
      HOW seriously HOW could you think the production car would look ANYTHING like the concept based on spy pics and stuff? Lutz even said the concept had the aerodynamics of a brick. On a car based on fuel efficency(or performance) that's pretty much a death sentence on the design. The car looks fine and it doesn't look like the Prius or Insight which are both pretty ugly.

    3. Member Egz's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 11:54 AM #3
      I don't see a resemblance.

      Quote Originally Posted by cockerpunk
      that really comes down to a safety issue too. i mean if you do ANY kind of development, even the most basic stuff, you should at least be closed toe shoe.
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    4. Get Off My Lawn!!! vwlarry's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 11:55 AM #4
      Go too radical and scare away buyers. This time, it's a GM car with the cutting-edge stuff under the skin. I'm not anywhere near as pessimistic as the writer of that piece. When it comes to public acceptance of a given design's aesthetics, the LAST place I would go for accurate measurements would be to the automotive journalistic community. They live in an echo chamber, and spend most of their time striving to please each other.
      Do you enjoy old cars and long-winded stories about them? If your answer is "yes", then you might enjoy my blogpage. Try it here: http://vwlarry.blogspot.com . Leave a comment, too; I love feedback! Thanx for reading.

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      09-12-2008 11:58 AM #5
      Yeah, I'd say that's just a small departure from the concept:

      Oddfellows Local 726

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      09-12-2008 12:01 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by vwlarry »
      When it comes to public acceptance of a given design's aesthetics, the LAST place I would go for accurate measurements would be to the automotive journalistic community. They live in an echo chamber, and spend most of their time striving to please each other.

      I stopped subscribing to buff books for the same reason. Every new car that comes out has to be the spiritual successor to the 2002i or the 911 Turbo otherwise they get all weepy and disappointed. Not one of them seems to be able to figure out a car's purpose and then analyze it from the point of view of said car's typical customer.

      "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."
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      09-12-2008 12:05 PM #7
      http://blogs.edmunds.com/strat....html

      Leaked(?) Chevrolet Volt Pictures Reveal A Bad Case Of Dull

      By now you have probably seen the leaked Chevrolet Volt pictures. While there is a question as to whether they were leaked deliberately or not, there can be no debate as to the less than stellar reaction that people have had to the final production sheetmetal.

      GM has been teasing the public with pictures of the Volt concept since the 2007 NAIAS. That concept looked the part of a futuristic vehicle that promised a unique propulsion system. It looked unlike anything on the road today. It looked special. It looked like something that people might actually want to drop $40K on. Can GM really be surprised that most people are underwhelmed by the production version?

      Yes, the realities of full-scale production necessitate certain design compromises in sheet metal. Yes, the need to carry actual humans in comfort required that the hopelessly chopped greenhouse be expanded upwards. However, the end result is a vehicle that does little to distinguish itself, visually, from the economy-minded Chevrolet Cruze (seen here in red) that is set to debut around the same time as the Volt.

      Toyota was on to something when they offered up their first hybrid as a unique stand-alone model. The result is that most people identify "hybrid" with the Prius. This goes a long way toward explaining why it is more popular than its conventionally-styled hybrid counterparts like the Civic and Camry. Most Prius owners like the fact that other drivers know they are driving something different. It is part of the appeal and helps explain why you have famous people driving a glorified economy car. It is no wonder that Honda's new Insight hybrid shares design cues with the Prius (yes, aerodynamics play a part too).

      So it appears that, from a styling aspect, GM has dropped the ball with the Volt. One can only hope that GM follows through with the rest of what they have been promising with the Volt. Namely, an electric-only range of 40 miles, the ability to plug it in to recharge the batteries and making the electric motor, gas motor and batteries all play nice with each other. If they can deliver a Volt with those abilities, we might be able to get over its looks.


    8. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 12:08 PM #8
      The biggest offense of the design (other than being bland) is the black paint under the windows IMHO.
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
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      09-12-2008 12:09 PM #9
      Quote, originally posted by HaterSlayer »
      HOW seriously HOW could you think the production car would look ANYTHING like the concept based on spy pics and stuff? Lutz even said the concept had the aerodynamics of a brick. On a car based on fuel efficency(or performance) that's pretty much a death sentence on the design. The car looks fine and it doesn't look like the Prius or Insight which are both pretty ugly.

      Yeah, but this is still a hell of a buzzkill.


      [/QUOTE]

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    10. 09-12-2008 12:13 PM #10
      As a very, very serious potential buyer for the volt (our passat will be hitting about 160K miles by the time it comes out), I'm somewhat disappointed by the final design. I was much more attracted to the angular art & science/camaro style of the concept.

      On the other hand, I do find the new malibu attractive, and this seems to follow, so I'm going to wait and see, but my interest HAS been diminished.


    11. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 12:14 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by Big M »

      Yeah, but this is still a hell of a buzzkill.



      It's like thinking you're going to bed with Katherine Heigl, but then end up waking next to Sandra Oh.


      Modified by Mazda 3s at 12:15 PM 9-12-2008
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
      No, I got good grades in school

    12. 09-12-2008 12:30 PM #12
      Aerodynamic and practical requirements killed the concept styling.

    13. Member Professor Gascan's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 12:33 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by vwlarry »
      Go too radical and scare away buyers. This time, it's a GM car with the cutting-edge stuff under the skin.

      I think this car and what it represents was a perfect opportunity to go relatively radical and not scare away buyers. The Volt is all about being on the cutting edge, and I won't go so far as to call the styling a failure, but it sure isn't as interesting as what's underneath.

      Quis Mulgere Ipsos Lac Homines

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      09-12-2008 12:38 PM #14
      Dear TCL,

      I fixed it for you.


    15. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 12:38 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by Professor Gascan »

      I think this car and what it represents was a perfect opportunity to go relatively radical and not scare away buyers. The Volt is all about being on the cutting edge, and I won't go so far as to call the styling a failure, but it sure isn't as interesting as what's underneath.

      And will it be interesting in two years when it's finally released?

      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
      No, I got good grades in school

    16. Member Isgro's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 12:43 PM #16
      Since the concept and ideas behind this car first hit the media I had always had it in my head that I would like to be one of the people who would be purchasing one once it hit market. A great looking design with an awesome drivetrain sounded like a plan to me. But when I saw these production photos earlier this week that idea went right out the window. No matter how forward thinking this drivetrain is, I can not see myself driving such a bland and uninspiring looking car. It's too bad really as I don't think I'm alone in those feelings. I hope that the drivetrain ends in a better looking package at some point as I'd really like to get behind GM. I guess only time will tell.
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      09-12-2008 12:45 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by Mazda 3s »

      It's like thinking you're going to bed with Katherine Heigl, but then end up waking next to Sandra Oh.

      So then the production Volt is an improvement on the concept, eh?

      Personally, I'd rather The Flood jump out of Halo and consume me through my Xbox 360 controller than be found in bed with that horseface. It's all Sarah Chalke for me if we're on about TV docs.

      On topic: The Volt needed to be streamlined in order to have any chance of making use of that electric powertrain. The original concept was a flying brick that had no better aerodynamics than throwing a hotdog down a hallway. Yes, the production Volt looks more pedestrian but I have to say I don't agree an ounce with the writer. It's not ugly by any stretch. It's blends well with the family of Chevy vehicles, IMO. Hopefully, since it's not like the Prius [which looks little like anything else in Toyota's lineup] it won't be associated as much with the douchenozzlery that surrounds the Prius.

      Sorry. It's 1155 and I've had a few already in prep for gameday.

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      09-12-2008 12:47 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by AdrockMK2 »
      Dear TCL,

      I fixed it for you.



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      09-12-2008 12:48 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by Professor Gascan »

      I think this car and what it represents was a perfect opportunity to go relatively radical and not scare away buyers. The Volt is all about being on the cutting edge, and I won't go so far as to call the styling a failure, but it sure isn't as interesting as what's underneath.

      Yeah but if lack of aerodynamics hurt the fuel economy then people would be bitching, "OH noes it only gets 60 MPG it's a disappointment!"


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      09-12-2008 12:48 PM #20
      Quote, originally posted by Mazda 3s »

      And will it be interesting in two years when it's finally released?

      Absolutely not. Look at the pissing and moaning about getting bored with the Camaro and Challenger styling in the 18-24 months they took to get to the market, and they're both far more interesting to look at than the Volt.

      Quis Mulgere Ipsos Lac Homines

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      09-12-2008 12:49 PM #21
      I have to side with GM on this one. If the car cost $50K and couldn't deliver the promised efficiency, it would be a failure. They had to use an existing platform and style it for aerodynamics in order to make it viable. I think it looks better than the Cruze, which I believe is about the same size.

      What they probably shouldn't have done was show a whimsical concept before the real engineering work had been done.

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    22. 09-12-2008 12:49 PM #22
      GM has a pretty strong track record of showing off outlandish concept cars and building production cars that look nothing like the concept.

      How this is acceptable is beyond me.


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      09-12-2008 12:51 PM #23
      Still looks a thousand times better than the Prius.

    24. 09-12-2008 12:52 PM #24
      Doesn't look that bad in black or silver. I think the photo in reference is a very unflattering angle as well.


    25. 09-12-2008 12:54 PM #25
      Quote, originally posted by Mazda 3s »
      The biggest offense of the design (other than being bland) is the black paint under the windows IMHO.

      This is pretty much what you get without the black.

      Looks even more like a Prius, IMO.

    26. 09-12-2008 12:54 PM #26
      This looks like a rental fleet darling

    27. 09-12-2008 12:56 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by U n i o n 0015 »
      Still looks a thousand times better than the Prius.

      Let me know when it sells a thousand times better than the Prius.


    28. 09-12-2008 12:57 PM #28
      i don't think it looks BAD, but it does look BLAND compared to the concept... which might just be enough to make it flop.

      gm: keep the design of the concept for a coupe model. reduce the specs on fuel efficiency & range and market it as a city roadster.


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      09-12-2008 01:02 PM #29
      Can you color that dude in that nappy Baby-Blue color of the original car?

    30. 09-12-2008 01:09 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by SAVdub »

      The original concept was a flying brick that had no better aerodynamics than throwing a hotdog down a hallway.

      -SAV

      Not exactly mixing metaphors but still a bit off target there.


    31. Member eddiek's Avatar
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      09-12-2008 01:19 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by WakeHead »
      Aerodynamic and practical requirements killed the concept styling.

      There is nothing aerodynamic about that car. The roof line is as high as that guys shoulders. Even if he is short, that's way too high. This is just a case of a bunch of over the hill bean counters and management dictating what style should be. A lot of these manger couldn't car lass about a car then there status in there company. I know, I use to work with a few of them.


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      09-12-2008 01:20 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by eddiek »

      There is nothing aerodynamic about that car. T

      LAWL

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      09-12-2008 01:20 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by eddiek »

      There is nothing aerodynamic about that car. The roof line is as high as that guys shoulders. Even if he is short, that's way too high. This is just a case of a bunch of over the hill bean counters and management dictating what style should be. A lot of these manger couldn't car lass about a car then there status in there company. I know, I use to work with a few of them.

      Having a high or low roofline has nothing to with aerodynamics or efficiency.


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      09-12-2008 01:37 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by eddiek »
      There is nothing aerodynamic about that car. The roof line is as high as that guys shoulders. Even if he is short, that's way too high. This is just a case of a bunch of over the hill bean counters and management dictating what style should be. A lot of these manger couldn't car lass about a car then there status in there company. I know, I use to work with a few of them.


      Que?


      PT Cruiser drag coefficient - 0.393
      PT Cruiser overall height - 63.0"

      Buick Enclave drag coefficient - 0.360
      Buick Enclave overall height - 79.0"

      The Enclave is over a FOOT taller, yet has a lower drag coefficient. AKA, you fail.


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      09-12-2008 01:39 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by eddiek »

      There is nothing aerodynamic about that car. The roof line is as high as that guys shoulders. Even if he is short, that's way too high.

      Uh, have you seen how tall a prius is? I'm guessing a prius is taller than the volt, assuming this is it.

      There was a sort of interesting article on edmunds where they said the plan (top) view of the car has a lot of curvature to make it more aerodynamic. I don't think that jumps out from pictures.

      Frontal area does matter to aerodynamics, but so do a lot of other things.

      I don't think that ice blue color is helping.. and I don't think the black bars under the window make sense, but it's not horrible.


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