In March, Fox News walked back its false attacks on the Chevy Volt after being called out by former GM Vice Chairman and political conservative Bob Lutz. But with Volt sales up, Fox is resuming its campaign against Chevy's plug-in hybrid, promoting a falsehood that Fox News itself labeled a “myth.”
Fox Nation is promoting a Newsbusters article that calls the Chevy Volt the “epitome of this [auto] bailout nightmare mess” and claims “The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama's signature vehicle.”
I'll let Fox News' Steve Doocy debunk this one. From Fox & Friends back in March:
DOOCY: Lee, I'm glad you brought up that, the myth -- that so many people think that Barack Obama, you know, came to office and shoved this down GM's throat. It had been in development for almost two years, as you detailed.
The article also contains several other false attacks:
- It falsely claims the “Volt fire problem remains unsolved.” In fact, regulators concluded an inquiry into the Volt after finding it was just as safe as conventional cars. The three fires had occurred after extreme crash tests, and GM voluntarily offered to make the cars even safer by reinforcing the battery pack. Newsbusters complains that the press has not covered two other fires, but those fires had nothing to do with the Volt. Investigators found that the Volt was not involved in a fire in North Carolina, and a fire from extreme testing at GM was for a battery that is being developed for all-electric cars, not the Volt.
- It calls Volt's 2012 sales “pathetic” and complains that the press doesn't put it “in perspective.” But the real perspective is that despite the recession, electric cars sold more in their first year than hybrids did. Hybrid cars have since become an undeniable success: the Prius is the world's third best-selling car in the world. And the Volt has tripled its sales in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year.
- It claims that the Volt cost taxpayers "$250,000" per Volt sold last year. But as finance writer Anton Wahlman noted for the TheStreet.com, the report that made this claim ignored that the “development cost for any product is written off across large volumes.” He called this a “fundamental flaw” that “discredits the entire report.”
- It says that the “Volt Makes NO Money,” so the company's promotion of the car is actually intended to “campaign” for Obama. Newsbusters has apparently never heard of the concept of a halo car: a unique car that can bring customers into dealerships and cause them to think more highly of all the cars created by that company. Additionally, Toyota initially sold the Prius at a loss, but now that it's a very profitable success for the company, it seems like it was a smart move.
The fact that conservative media closely associate the Volt with President Obama reveals their real motivation in demonizing this pioneering American car. As Fox News guest Lee Spieckerman, and Wall Street Journal auto columnist Dan Neil have pointed out, it's downright cynical for Fox to continue to root against an engineering marvel that is a "Win for the Home Team."