Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen made some indiscreet comments in a recent interview with Lawrence Ulrich that the media has been tsk tsk’ing over.
(Nysschen) dismissed (the Chevrolet Volt) plug-in hybrid as â€œa car for idiots,â€ saying that few consumers will be willing to pay $40,000 — the Voltâ€™s estimated base price — for a car that competes against $25,000 sedans and conventional hybrids. Nor, he noted, is the Volt a luxury car whose green-technology costs will be excused because it also delivers prestige or performance.
â€œNo one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla,â€ he said. â€œSo there are not enough idiots who will buy it.â€
He did add that plug-in hybrids are good in concept and hold advantages over diesels in stop-and-go driving. But for the moment, de Nysschen noted, electric vehicles (EVs) are more about making a statement.
â€œTheyâ€™re for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are,â€ he said.