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He said what? GM's Mark Reuss disses Nissan Leaf

by Mark Kleis

Bob Lutz has left the building at GM, but luckily for our entertainment purposes it appears that Mark Reuss is looking to fill his shoes with off the cuff commentary.

Despite the significant technological differences between the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, the two vehicles have become arch rivals nonetheless, prompting strong support and criticism from many on both sides.

The latest comments come from none other than Mark Reuss, the Australian transplant that now holds the title of president of North America for General Motors. It appears that Reuss, like now retired Lutz, isn't afraid to speak what's on his mind, as he recently did with the Nashville Business Journal when he spoke quite candidly about how he feels the Leaf has many drawbacks not shared by the Chevy Volt.

"[The Nissan Leaf] has a finite range and requires infrastructure and charging to run it, where the Volt is really an extended-range vehicle." Fair enough commentary based on hard to argue technical differences, but it continues, "The Volt can really be the only car you own. You better be living within a certain range for the Leaf..."

At this point Reuss began to dip a bit into arguable grey area, and obviously was stating his opinion of the technology involved. But the GM exec wasn't quite done, as he moved on from the cars, to their drivers, "It's [Leaf] a lot different market, a lot different car and a completely different driver."

The icing on the cake comes when Reuss then gives what is undeniably his personal opinion of the car, "I'm not sure if I'd put the Leaf in the hands of my three kids. Say, what if they can't charge it? what if they get to school and can't charge it? The Leaf is a single purpose car."

Even by Lutz's standards, it seems the concluding remarks on the subject may have gone a bit far, especially for an executive of his stature, but you can't fault the man for being honest and open in a time when that seems to be hard to come by. Or can you?

Do you feel that Reuss went too far with his assessment of the Leaf? Or were his remarks fair?

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