Bob Lutz, the Vice Chairman of General Motors, reveals in an interview with the Canadian Press some of the background behind the creation of the Chevy Volt. Lutz felt that GM had been under “quite a bit of reputational pressure” when they released the Hummer H2 right around the same time Toyota came out with the Prius hybrid.
“The media just loved to characterize Toyota as this environmentally sensitive, high-technology company that wisely saw this situation coming and produced this gasoline-electric Prius with this sensational fuel economy. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, bad old General Motors just doesn’t get it, they’re doing Hummer H2s and they expect us to buy these 11-mile-per-gallon monsters. So this halo surrounding Toyota on fuel economy and technology leadership was more and more costing us business … and I thought, ‘Whoa, it’s time to do something here.”‘