Audi president labels Chevrolet Volt as a car for "idiots"

The upcoming Chevrolet Volt may promise a 230 mpg city rating, but not everyone in the automotive community is convinced the buying public is ready for a $40,000 electric car. Not surprisingly, Audi president Johan de Nysschen - an avid diesel supporter - is dubious of the Volt, even going as far as to call it a "car for idiots".

de Nysschen's biggest gripe with the Volt is its estimated $40,000 price tag. Although that price competes with mid-size luxury sedans, de Nysschen points out that the car itself is more in line with $25,000 competition. As such, the Volt might struggle to find buyers.

"No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla," de Nysschen told MSN. "So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."

de Nysschen admits plug-in hybrids have an advantage over diesel in stop-and-go driving, but feels the majority of hybrid buyers are still trying to make a statement. "They're for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are," he added.

Although Audi has some hybrid vehicles on the way, the German automaker will rely heavily on its diesel technology to increase fuel economy and reduce overall emissions. Compared to standard gas engines, Audi's diesel consume 25 percent less fuel and emit up to 35 percent fewer Co2 emissions - all while saving costs over a typical hybrid system.

In the end, de Nysschen predicts the Volt will be a sales flop, with the government intervening - once again - to keep the program afloat.