During the run of a week, we run into numerous stories that require a grain of salt to become palatable. Other stories require a metric ton of sodium chloride just to get past the headline.

We’re here to save you from automotive hypertension. This is the Salt Truck.

2016 Honda Civic EV Chevrolet Volt

Well, the sub-heading kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

Chevrolet took the new second-generation Volt to the Consumer Electronics Show to give event-goers a sneak peek of what’s coming from the Detroit automaker. They only showed the exterior and that was enough for me.

After the colossal flop that was Cadillac ELR pricing, General Motors had a chance to bring forth a stellar design in the next Volt and price it accordingly. Instead, we will see something that looks like a last-generation Honda Civic up front. That’s not a good thing.

But, it’s not just the Volt. The problem lies much deeper than with a single model.

General Motors has the ability to design unforgettable icons. Corvettes (depending on the generation) are recognizable by just their silhouette. The new Impala, while not setting the sales charts alight, is probably one of the best-looking full-size sedans money can buy without going into premium brands. And don’t forget the last-generation CTS Coupe. Oh my, I love that car.

Yet, it seems General Motors can’t nail down a good design for their bread-and-butter offerings. The designs are lost in a sea of other models that are just… better looking. Even Hyundai and Kia, also-rans not that long ago in the automotive market, are cracking out designs on small cars that stick out without being gaudy or ugly. There’s a serious lack of cohesiveness at Chevrolet in particular.

It’s not a Detroit problem either. Look at Ford. Their lineup is truly, unmistakably Ford. The Fiesta, Focus, Escape, Edge, and other mainstream models all look like they’re parts of the same master plan to take over the universe. Volkswagen is incredibly good at this as well.

But, at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, it seems like nobody is talking to its many global design centres; there’s no plan, no sense of purpose.

We will see the whole Chevrolet Volt – and probably the Cadillac ELR – in Detroit next week. I really, really hope I am wrong about it once I see it in person, but I’m not holding my breath.

Which brings me to…

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