The GM Volt extended range hybrid has been in the news a lot lately after a test vehicle caught fire in the test center parking lot three weeks after a side impact crash test. The fire sparked a wider investigation into the Volt and other vehicles that use similar battery packs. Three more Volt vehicles were tested and two of them also had battery issues, one caught fire after a side impact crash test and the other smoked and emitted sparks. This has led to some worry among owners of the Volt and GM is doing all it can to make them feel better, including offering to buy the cars back.
The NYT reports that GM CEO Daniel F. Akerson has said that if an owner of a Volt is worried about the risk of fire that the automaker would buy the Volt back. The move is not common, a major safety issue will result in the cars being recalled and fixes applied typically. The Volt is an important car for GMs image so it is pulling out all of the stops. GM had previously offered to loan the Volt owner another GM model until the investigation into the fires was over.
It's not clear what the buyback terms would be. On the surface, this sounds like a good deal for worried Volt drivers. More details would be needed on the buyback offer to figure out if it is a good thing. GM has also said that there is a procedure for powering the battery packs down after an accident that wasn’t followed in the crash test fires. The automaker also notes that emergency personnel at the scene of an accident also need to follow some procedures to prevent fire.