Diesel comes to America, Chevy honors Chevrolet: Louis Chevrolet, Volt leases

It’s our last night in Geneva Switzerland for the Geneva Motor show. I spoke with John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor radio show about Diesel comes to America, Chevy honors Chevrolet: Louis Chevrolet, Volt leases.

My buddy, Warren Brown of the Washington Post, and I drove a Chevy Cruze 2.0-liter diesel engine from Geneva, Switzerland to La Chaux-Da-Fonds, Switzerland.

The diesel engine is produced in Torino, Italy, a product of the Fiat/General Motors joint venture gone bad years ago. According to General Motors, over half a million diesel-powered cars have been sold across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, including 33,000 Cruzes. The Chevy Cruze is one of Chevys top-selling gasoline-powered cars in the United States in 2011.

The Chevy Cruze diesel engine will come to the United States in 2013. As gasoline prices heat up and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) requirements rise diesel will play a more important part of the alternative power mix. Diesel will give you roughly 30 percent more miles to the gallon and better torque.

One can go their whole life saying a word and not realize there was a person behind that word.

La Chaux-De-Fonds is not architecturally stimulating. Driving around the town the word Utilitarian comes to mind. But that town was full of intricate watchmakers. The entire town was built to bring as much light into the houses where the watchmakers labored all day with little intricate pieces of machinery to create some of the most beautiful, timeless artworks in the world. Some of those watches are housed in the Musee International DHorlogerie, the largest museum of watches located in La Chaux-De-fonds, Switzerland.

A native of La Chaux-De-Fonds, Louis-Joseph Chevrolet. was born on Christmas day, 1878. Just a lad, Chevrolet and his family left Switzerland to the United States, via Canada.

Chevrolet laid claim to creating the Frontenac engine for Fords Model T. The Swiss-born American race-car driver won the Indy 500 twice.

On November 3, 1911, Chevrolet and William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors, created a new company after Durant was ousted from General Motors. The new company would be called Chevrolet Motor Company.

As Chevy becomes more prominent in Europe the company is looking for the roots that bring the past alive in the present. Parc de lQuest is a small park with weeds growing through the cracks in the cement and guys standing around smoking cigarettes. By the end of the month the Parc will take on a much stronger significance.

Chevy will pick from four different art propositions to adorn the Parc, to signify the geographical link between Louis Chevrolet and Detroit, MI.

I was part of a group of journalists that got to see all four art projects. It will be interesting to see if the jury picks the same piece of artwork, March 16, in honor of Louis Chevrolet. I will keep you posted.

While in Geneva, Switzerland, I met Scott LaRiche, son of Lou LaRiche Chevrolet in Plymouth, Michigan. LaRiche said that they could sell another dozen volts if they could get their hands on them.

LaRiche also said that about 95 percent of the Volts were leased. I asked Scott what percentage of the cars sold at his Plymouth store were leased. He said about 95 percent. The Volt is right in line with most cars sold for $40,000. One reason would be the great lease price, $395/month.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.