Chevy Volt sales flop, VW diesel owners get crumbs, Mercedes controls from hell

A 2015 Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in gas-electric hybrid the news media insists on calling an electric car.


What's all the shouting about?

Since 2011, Chevrolet has delivered about 85,000 Volt plug-in gas-electric hybrids in the United States and about 5,000 more in Canada.

That sounds like a sales flop to me, not a cause for celebration.

You'd have to add in sales in Europe and Australia through October to reach the 100,000-car milestone marked by the Gas2 blog and other media.

No one is saying how many hundreds of thousands of gallons of fossil fuel those cars burned or measuring how much pollution they poured into the atmosphere.

For a real success story, you have to look at Toyota, which sold more than 200,000 Prius gas-electric hybrids in each of the last three years.

From 2000 through December 2014, the Japanese automaker delivered nearly 1.5 million hybrids in the U.S. alone.

The Volt, including the redesigned 2016 model, represents the continuing failure of auto giant GM to answer Nissan and Tesla, leaders in all-electric cars.

A 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI powered by a turbodiesel, direct injection engine that is both peppy and far dirtier than the automaker acknowledged.

A real environmental disaster are the 11 million Volkswagen and Audi vehicles worldwide with the so-called clean-diesel engines that were rigged to cheat on government emissions test.

Now, Volkswagen of America is offering owners of 2009-15 vehicles in the U.S. two prepaid cards totaling $1,000.

That's just another way of saying, "Suckers."

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency said some Audi, Porsche and VW models powered by a bigger V-6 diesel engine also contained the emissions cheating software.

Back-up camera puzzle

I drove a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan on Tuesday, but was puzzled why no back-up camera went on when I put the transmission into reverse.

I fished out the owner's manual and found the page on turning on and turning off the camera, only to be referred to another manual I couldn't find.

Why in heavens would you want to turn off the camera?

I've driven Toyotas from 1986 through April of this year, when I took delivery of a Tesla Model S, and found the C300's interior controls a true nightmare when compared to those cars.

The Mercedes rode roughly over North Jersey's deteriorated streets, and all of the tossing motions made me more uncomfortable than I was in my 2010 Toyota Prius.

I feel sorry for the elderly woman who owns the car, because its advanced technology is almost totally inaccessible to her.

And to think the MSRP of this piece of crap is close to $40,000.

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