Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen has dismissed General Motors' Chevrolet Volt as "a car for idiots".
Speaking to veteran American journalist Lawrence Ulrich, de Nysschen said that few customers will be prepared to pay the estimated £25,000 asking price for the Volt, which will go on sale in Europe as the Vauxhall or Opel Ampera.
"No one is going to pay a $15,000 (£9000) premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla,” said de Nysschen. "So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."
De Nysschen, a long-time advocate of diesel power, admitted that plug-in hybrids are good in concept and hold advantages over diesels in stop-and-go driving. However, he maintained that electric cars are more about making a statement at present.
“They’re for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are,” he said.
De Nysschen concluded by saying that the Volt will fail to sell and the government will be forced to subsidise it and boost sales, having forced GM to develop electric cars.